Intel MacBook, Parallels & Garmin GPS

Intel MacBook, Parallels & Garmin GPS

MacBook

Just a few days ago, I replaced my four year old white 500 Mhz G3 iBook with a shiny widescreen white 1.83 Ghz Intel Core Duo MacBook (the black one seemed altogether silly to spend extra money on). The laptop is a very nice machine. My home machine is a 20″ iMac G5 with a widescreen, and I’ve gotten used to the extra real estate, so I like the fact that the MacBook has one too. Really, the main reason I bought it is because my iBook had decayed to the point that it was only good for websurfing. I wanted a machine I could use at school, and the iBook just couldn’t cut it (I definitely tried to make the iBook work!).

Since Apple is switching to Intel chips, the world of Windows is now available using either Boot Camp or Parallels. I have a copy of Windows 2000, and since I believe that Boot Camp only works with Windows XP, I am not going to try that out. Also, Boot Camp makes your machine dual-boot, which means only one OS at a time and no interaction between the two. Parallels is the more attractive option, it allows you to run Windows along with Mac OS X. The Windows world lives inside of an application that runs on Mac OS X. Choosing to interact with Windows is no more difficult that switching applications. Also, Parallels works with basically any Intel-compatible operating system, so I could use my Win2000 install disk.

After much trial and tribulation (mainly related to the fact that my Win2000 is an upgrade version, not full install) I got Win2000 installed using Parallels on my MacBook. After installing the myriad of security updates, I installed the softwares for my Garmin Forerunner 301. You see, Garmin (right now) only makes software for their gadgets for Windows. They’ve promised to make a Mac OS X verison of the software I use by Spring 2006 (they have two and a half weeks). Obviously, waiting around for that to be relased will just waste my time, so I was hoping that I could use this whole setup to run the Windows software on my MacBook to talk to my GPS. However, sadly, it doesn’t work. It’s clear it almost works, since Win2000 notices when I plug in the GPS, but the Garmin stuff can’t quite talk to the GPS. The situation seems exactly the same as when I tried using Virtual PC on my G5 over a year ago.

All in all, I like the laptop, I like Parallels, and I’m displeased with Garmin. I’m using a beta 30-day activation key with Parallels, and I’m unsure if I’ll buy the full version ($40 for pre-ordering). I really try to stay away from Windows applications. Right now the only app I do want to run is the Garmin stuff, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to work.

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