The Macintosh Way: At Work

by Matthew Bookspan Apr 24, 2007

One of the exciting things about my new employment is that I get to use a Macintosh computer. I haven’t had this luxury in over 14 years. It’s great because I prefer OS X to Windows and as we all know, Apple’s hardware is top notch. My new computer is a MacBook Pro. It’s maxed out with 3GB of RAM. This is a most important detail as I need to run Parallels for many work-related items.

As the title of this article says, welcome to the Macintosh Way: at work. I have had all sorts of fun using my Macintosh in the office. There are many specific issues that I didn’t have to encounter when I just ran a Windows based system.

Well, thank goodness for Parallels. Those guys deserve every penny for their software. Parallels is reliable, has all of the key features I need (graphical performance is fine on my MB Pro), and enables me to run LookOut! (oops, meant Outlook) as well. On my personal Mac, I only run Parallels about once a week. On my work Mac, I run it daily, and all day!

Why do I need to do this? Well, as much as Mac users abhor the Windows world, guess what, we still live in that Windows world. And this goes beyond file format compatibility. There are internal web sites authored for IE. There are meeting requests and the ability to view other users’ calendars. Yes, there is Entourage or GroupCal. However, neither of those are a perfect solution.

Why not Entourage? Well, I love it at home. However, at work, and with an Exchange Server, it just doesn’t meet the horsepower of Outlook’s scheduling capabilities. And GroupCal, as cool as it is, requires too much effort to maintain so many calendars for all of my coworkers. So, I suffer with Outlook in Parallels.

However, and I do mean however, I only use Outlook for scheduling. Otherwise, I use for email. It works very well and I love the integrated search. I just hope that Entourage 2008 has similar functionality (beyond being a universal binary).

So, let’s talk about the good things in using a Mac at work. I can VPN just fine. I can use Adium to connect to other IM clients. Firefox covers my primary browsing and social networking needs. And, Mac Office gives me the file format compatibility. I don’t have to worry about the Office 2007 file format, as my new employer has not standardized on it yet. By the time they do, Mac Office 2008 will have shipped.

I like being able to tell my friends that I can use a Mac at work. Most of them are either a) jealous or b) surprised. Either way, I love the flexibility. I need to get a wireless broadband card so that I can really begin to work from anywhere.

To the folks out there reading my column: any suggestions for a card? Is Verizon or Sprint better than Cingular? How much traction has HSPDA made over EVDO Rev A? I would love to hear your recommendations. I am leaning toward Verizon as their network tends to be the most robust (I have a Verizon phone as well). However, I can be persuaded if there is better information out there.

Also, I am looking for tips on better cross-platform compatibility with Exchange scheduling. Is there a better way than running Outlook in Parallels? Am I missing something?


I have decided to stick with Entourage. Once it was properly configured, the scheduling capabilities are close enough to match my needs. Would still love to hear folks’ thoughts.


  • Matthew, while I have to hear anything about Cingular’s service (which I rally need to be looking in to) Verizon’s is absolutely shady. At one point they advertised unlimited use but secretly capped the limit at 5GB and did not tell you. The were recently busted over and advertise the 5GB cap. They are trying to also ban certain content (videos, torrenting big files) so not too many people will tie things up.

    Tanner Godarzi had this to say on Apr 24, 2007 Posts: 70
  • Smarmy Moustache had this to say on Apr 24, 2007 Posts: 2
  • Spare me from your “real-world” comments, but I do find the level of acceptance for M$ formats, structures and pseudo-standards disgusting. It’s “still a Windows world” because of willing acceptance.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Apr 24, 2007 Posts: 371
  • I have decided to stick with Entourage.

    I use both Entourage and LookOut! at work for the last several years.

    No, I haven’t upgraded to the 8-core monster that is the MacPro so running Parallels is out of the question. I do run Parallels in my MacBook Pro.

    Neeways, Entourage (as you’ve finally discovered) is as robust and capable as it’s Windows sibling. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles (not very surprising there) as the the Mac one but is very compatible with Exchange 2000 and 2003.

    As for your choice of running heavy-duty Windows apps with Parallels at work is your business, why not have your employer give you a dedicated Windows desktop or portable? Then, you can use the Mac as a Mac, and I mean - just a gorgeous Mac, as it was designed for with the occasional Parallels when your “envious” friends are yacking-off in your office.

    Good article, Matthew.

    Robomac had this to say on Apr 24, 2007 Posts: 846
  • Someone else has pointed out verizon’s 5GB “flaw”, so i’ll point out Sprint’s: they don’t ship cards “ready-for-mac-use”, they don’t provide a Mac OSX Connection manager, and they don’t provide quality Mac tech support!

    No problem, the solution is! check out:

    and speaking of Guy Kawasaki… he’s a customer of ours:

    EVDOalex had this to say on Apr 24, 2007 Posts: 1
  • If you do hear of anything that works ‘better’ than your current setup ( I do the same thing you’re doing at work by the way) I would love for you to share it. I am happy with most everything but the scheduling piece. It does tend to get horked up every now and again. “Oh, you don’t have that meeting on your calendar?”

    Peace out

    Kageysea had this to say on Apr 25, 2007 Posts: 9
  • why not have your employer give you a dedicated Windows desktop or portable?

    Robotech Infidel, are you being facetious? Lugging one laptop around is bad enough, but having to carry around two?  Blech! 

    I had to use a multiple-machine set up at my last place of work (pre Intel Macs) where I had a Mac laptop and an XP laptop for those few things I had to do on the Windows side (like VB apps or such).  I used the Mac almost exclusively, but still had to occasionally work with the Windows laptop.

    Keeping data sync’d between the two machines was basically impossible, but I set up shared folders on both machines to allow me to quickly push/pull files back and forth when needed.

    Even if Parallels can get bogged down using “heavy duty” Win apps, I’d say it’s still a fair bit better than having to deal with two physical machines, which was a total pain in the ass for me. I wish Parallels had been an option back then.

    vb_baysider had this to say on Apr 25, 2007 Posts: 243
  • Entourage is not a solution if you need to be able to archive your mail.  not that archiving in outlook is any great shake but it is better than nothing.  i still log into a windows machine to archive my mail and if i need to check one of my mail archives.  if anyone has an alternate solution i would love to know of it…

    sydneystephen had this to say on Apr 27, 2007 Posts: 124
  • are you being facetious? -VB

    Would I say it if I do not actually practice it? VB, not to be demeaning but having a Windows desktop/laptop to complement your workhorse Mac portable is the way to go.

    Honestly, this is exactly my office setup. I have a dual core G5 and a generic white box XP as desktops while having a <gasp> Dell D820 2GB XP and a sweet Core Duo MB Pro as laptops.

    I do run those “occassional” Win apps under Parallels in my MB Pro but would rather use a full blown, dedicated XP machine to do that job. That frees up my MB Pro to perform the best part of my job.

    I admit Parallels is really good at what it is designed for - bridging the Mac and Windows in practically the same environment under OSX. But no matter how fast my MB Pro or how much memory I have set aside, I still wish it were much faster.

    Robomac had this to say on Apr 28, 2007 Posts: 846
  • Page 1 of 1 pages
You need log in, or register, in order to comment