You may have recently read my initial review of iWork’08. If you haven’t go check it out. As I said in that post, I don’t think iWork is yet full enough of an application to 100% replace Microsoft Office when you’re more than a home user who creates more than just simple, standard Office tasks. Plus, in a world full of Windows users, we Mac folks still struggle with the occasional jarbled Word doc or spreadsheet that isn’t even cross-compaitible between Microsoft products. True, it happens only rarely these days, but still shows up enough to warrant a complaint. So, the underlining theme seems to be that a) People don’t seem to realize that “.doc” is NOT a file format designed for sharing (I’ll speak more of this in a moment), and b) MS Office isn’t always MS Office if it’s not on Windows. So if I need Office and iWork isn’t quite enough, what’s with the blog title? Well, I’ve been in the process of discovering Parallels. Parallels is OS virtualization software for Mac with really great OS integration features. With Parallels, I can run Windows XP Professional on my Mac and have it run just as quickly (for the tasks I use it for) as on my PC hardware. It really is quick, especially if you’ve been used to the old Virtual PC or have been RDC’ing to Windows. In Parallels, Windows applications run similar to how Classic apps run within the OS X environment on pre-G5 machines. Best part about Parallels is that it integrates with the doc and other Mac OS elements.
I have it set up to open Microsoft Word on Windows XP in Parallels when I double click on any .doc or .xls file on my Mac. It opens whether Parallels was open at the time or not… and Parallels startup is nearly as fast as Word for Mac opened. Not only do I not have to continue to pay for a second seat to run Office, but I’ve eliminated all of the OS incompatibilities that plague the Mac versions of Microsoft’s apps. I’m happy with it, though I wish iWork’08 could have done the same job. Since I’m only ever running web browsers and office applications in Windows, I hardly see any memory hit while running Windows. It really is as good as they all say.