[SLED] RE: uAdvice for iMac

Jeff Mao jmao at mlti.org
Sat Sep 15 17:21:57 PDT 2007

Using MS Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) on a Mac can be  
very simple. The simplest way is to install MS Office for Macintosh.  
Soon, MS claims to be releasing an updated version of Office for Mac.  
The current version works fine. .doc, .xls, and .ppt files are  
written the same on a Mac as they are on a PC, so you won't have any  
issues swapping files with Windows users.

You can also try using OpenOffice or NeoOffice. Last I checked, there  
is an alpha version of Open Office that uses the native Macintosh  
user interface. Otherwise, you can use the stable releases inside of  
an X11 window or NeoOffice which uses a java-wrapper if I'm not  
mistaken, to move the menus and such into the normal Mac user interface.

I help manage a large deployment of Macs with NeoOffice installed,  
and generally speaking, users who are accustomed to Word for windows  
find it easier to deal with than the Mac version of Office because it  
looks more Windows like.

iWork will open word, excel and powerpoint, and write back into those  
formats, but if you start to take advantage of some of the unique  
features of those applications on the Mac, then those won't translate  
well back to the Office formats.

For occasional Windows use on a Mac, Parallels is probably the best  
choice. Installation is fast and easy, and it really does work quite  
well. Using Parallels makes it much simpler to share data between the  
two operating system environments (drag and drop, cut and paste, or  
it will even set up a virtual file share for you too).

As far as your license goes,...seek out a Vista Business Upgrade  
license. Here, I know I can get a copy through our University  
purchasing contracts for $99. That licenses specifically allows for  
using Windows in a virtual machine. Most Windows licenses are not  
really licenses, but upgrade licences that presume you have a copy of  
Windows already,...which you wouldn't on this Mac. With the Vista  
Business Upgrade, you should be OK. You can run an older version of  
Windows (ie XP) with that license. Verify with your local purchasing  
group, but that's what we've determined here is the best course of  
action. Finding an actual OEM shrink wrapped copy of XP is hard, and  
usually costs upwards of $399.

Good luck!

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Jeff Mao
State of Maine
Coordinator of Educational Technology
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
(207) 624-6634 (office)
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Skype: jeffmao

On Sep 15, 2007, at 7:13 PM, Bruce Sommerville wrote:

> Hi Alan,
>  Thanks for that explanation of running two operating systems on  
> the Mac. It sounds as though Parallels might be easier to set up  
> and use - I might look at their website and see what they say. On  
> the other hand, the new Panther operating system might make this  
> easy, as you suggest. I'll wait to find out.
>    Ideally, I hope to keep the two systems separate, since I have  
> my Toshiba laptop for work, on which I run Windows, which the  
> majority of my students use, and which my university is geared up  
> for, while the iMac can be used at home for everything else.  
> However, everyone on this list will know the impossibility of  
> keeping work separated from home! The only possible problem here is  
> loading Windows/Word .doc files into a Mac, and perhaps that could  
> be done with Microsoft Office for Mac (as a last resort!). There  
> are many other options for reliable office or student/teacher style  
> software, including iWork and Open Office (Sun Microsystems), which  
> is free and very good. On that note, if anyone can recommend good  
> 'student/teacher edition' software for Apple machines, I'd be  
> pleased to hear about it.
>    Anyway, there's only one way to find out how this will work, and  
> that's buy the Mac and take the plunge!
> Regards,
> Bruce Sommerville.
>  On Fri, 14 Sep 2007 at 23:29 Alan Levine wrote:
> >
> >On Sep 14, 2007, at 9:57 AM, Bruce Sommerville wrote:
> >
> >>    Alan - I'm not sure what you mean by the Intel side and the Mac
> >> side of the same machine - I assume that running two operating
> >> systems requires partitioning the hard drive, which is what I
> >> presume Bootcamp/Parallels does. Is that what you mean?
> >
> >Bruce,
> >
> >Either- whatever it takes to run Windows on the Mac (at first an out
> >of body experience). You will need a licensed copy of XP to install
> >as an OS. I used Bootcamp for about a year as my PC use is very
> >occasional- Bootcamp is free and requires a reboot to switch to the
> >other OS, which may be a pain if you go back and forth a lot. The
> >Bootcamp setup does  partition of your Mac HD, but it is not a rigid
> >partition- you can expand it later or delete it completely. It may
> >likely be rolled into the Panther.
> >
> >I switched to Parallels for a period where I was flipping more often
> >(likely on web development)- it more or less allows you to run both
> >at the same time, and move files back and forth. Performance wise, I
> >cannot say there was a difference, though my hunch is with Parallels
> >you are somehow splitting the RAM and CPUs. Maybe not. Partallels
> >does not require a partition, but it does create a large multi Gb
> >virtual drive file.
> >
> >It just as well may not be necessary on the new iMac (and yes, the
> >screen size is mighty attractive, I travel a lot and need the
> >portability of the laptop), but may be worth trying if you have other
> >reasons to play for the other team.
> >
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