Someone once told me that you buy a Mac if you don’t know where the power on switch is. For years I’ve always wanted to own an Apple Mac computer but couldn’t because my company has standardized on the Windows platform so all our applications were wired for the Microsoft operating system. Then came the decision by Apple to get out of the PowerPC platform and joined the Intel X86 bandwagon. I was ecstatic as I now thought I could finally use the much desired Apple operating system on an x86 computer – my PC. Alas, I soon realise things were not as simple as it seemed. Yes there were a few geniuses out in the world that tried to hack the Mac OS to run on an Intel PC but to my dismay you can’t expect to reap the benefits of the Apple operating system when you hack it into your standard Intel PC hardware.

To test the waters I borrowed a friend’s Apple Macbook. He’d been using Boot Camp for some time and swears by it. He was going away for a couple of weeks and said he didn’t plan on bringing his workhorse for the ride.

I tried Boot Camp and quickly realized a few things: (1) I have to reboot to shift from one platform to another; (2) it’s not easy sharing data between the two platforms; and (3) Boot Camp, while easy to install, took up what limited space was available on the MacBook (250GB configuration). Sure they say Boot Camp is faster because it runs native on the Mac hardware but cutting 250GB storage capacity cripples my ability to have my favourite programs and data with me when I need it.

A friend of mine loaned me an evaluation copy of Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac. With the new PD6 I get around the single biggest complaint about running Windows on a virtual machine – which it doesn’t run as fast as Boot Camp.

With PD6, I can install Boot Camp inside a PD6 instance and get the same experience as if I were running Windows 7 in native mode. And because I was using Parallels I could run both Mac OSX and Windows 7 at the same time with no rebooting.

Best of all I can now check my Outlook email and run Microsoft Word and Power Point on the VM window and be able to quickly cut and paste data from Windows 7 apps to the Mac OS X apps. It was an awesome experience!

For those of who have been following my typical reviews, you will discover this to be a totally different approach. Its largely because I’m still fiddling with this platform. If you want more info on a more details review, watch the video below. I didn’t get to try all the features highlighted in the video.

One other thing I found quite interesting with PD6 is the available of an app for the iPad (I happen to own one) meaning I can boot Windows on the Macbook using the iPad. The caveat is the Macbook has to be powered up, I have the Macbook’s IP address, and it only works on Windows running inside Mac OS X.

How cool is that?

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A friend asked me to test out the newly launched Samsung Omnia SGH-i900. But rather than do the usual indepth product review I thought I’d look at it from the angle of the common user – my wife. If you still want to read one of those in-depth product reviews, click on the links below:

TrustedReviews: Samsung Omnia i900
CNETAsia: Samsung Omnia SGH-i900 (8GB)
Wassup: Samsung Omnia – New 3G iPhone Killer?
Pocketnow: Review – Samsung Omnia i900

So what do I like about the Omnia? It comes in a beautiful box that reminds me of those expensive luxury watches from Switzerland. Thanks to the Samsung heritage of great LCD panels, the Omnia boasts the best LCD screen I’ve ever come across barring those beautiful Samsung LCD computer monitors. Beats the iphone and every portable wannabee when it comes to crisp, clear display.

I only have a couple of gripes about the Omnia: (1) it takes close to 1 minute to power up. If I were to come across someone having a heart attack and I needed to make a call and unfortunately my Omnia was powered off, the guy will be close to death’s door before I can reach someone on the emergency hotline; (2) the back panel gets warm when the display is on – not toasty hot – but warm. Which is great for winter when you need something to warm your hands but very lousy during hot summer days in Hong Kong. 

One more thing: I am not a geek but certainly after 22 years of being in the IT industry, I am no newbie either. But I can tell you that you can get really frustrated trying to connect to your WiFi with this phone. I’ve been trying to do it for two days now and I still haven’t found the magic sequence to connect to my WiFi at home. My iPod Touch took about a minute to find and connect to my WiFi. My favorite BlackBerry Pearl managed to get connected in under a minute as well. So why can’t I get the Omnia connected? Beats the hell out of me. Fortunately I am not alone. Lots more folks shouting for help out on the WWW (just type – I can’t connect to WiFi on Omnia).

So we go back to the topic of this article: Do you buy a phone for its features or ease-of-use? Apple has shown that if you can make a phone easy-to-use while still being cool, people will buy it. Manufacturers like to think that if you stick a supercomputer on a handheld device, people will buy it. Yes, I am sure a few geeks would love to get their hands on such a device. But time and again, consumer statistics and common sense tell us that people like to use things that are simple to use, and oh yes, it does as advertise (OSX vs Windows).

I’m not taking a swipe at Windows. I am writing this blog on a Windows XP PC (I have a Mac too). But when it comes right down to it, the more elegant and simple a device is, the more people are drawn to it. Wll you buy a sleek, sexy, curvey jacquar or a tank? Both can bring you from point A to B. But you only need to know how to steer, where the gas and break peddals are to drive a Jag.

So you tell me!