WEEKEND FEATURE: The importance of a technical innovation cannot be appreciated unless it results in what amount to small joys of daily life. The first time I understood the power of mobile phones, when my brother called me to share the news of his fatherhood.
At the time, I was in transit – between planes in a city whose name I can’t recall. The distance between New Delhi and my undisclosed location didn’t matter. No surprise, the only reason I keep the old landline around is just to send faxes.
Earlier this month, virtualization – a technology that is oh so geeky – became an indispensable part of my daily life, and not for technical reasons.
Virtualization software allows you to run an entire second machine on your existing machine. Thanks to Apple’s switch to Intel processors, the interest in virtualization has gotten a big boost. From VMWare to Parallels to Microsoft Virtual PC, there are many choices available to users looking to try out different operating systems.
We have tracked its progress here and also on our sister publication, WebWorkerDaily. There is no denying our bias towards easy-to-install and use Parallels, using it to test the GigaNet sites on the Windows versions of different browsers.
Occasionally we would use it to test our piece of software not available for the OS X platform. Still, it was not part of our daily life. And then earlier this month, World Cup Cricket kicked off in the Caribbean Islands. The tourney wasn’t available on the cable networks, and the only way to watch the matches live was if I signed up for Echostar. And since my building doesn’t allow installing satellite dishes, I was looking at the prospect of missing one of the biggest events on the cricket calendar.
My last option was to watch it on the Internet – except one needed Windows XP, Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer. I signed up for Willow.TV’s $200 tournament package. Of course I could have watched the games on a Windows laptop, but it would have been tough to keep an eye on two different computers.
Instead, I booted up Parallels’ praying that it wouldn’t be money flushed down the toilet. In less than 15 minutes I was watching the battle between leather and willow, in a nice crisp 1280 X 764 window, on my 20
3-inch iMac. Okay, it was not a TV like experience, but its still better than nothing. The window left enough free screen space to run email application, Camino and Microsoft Word, and not constantly toggling between various windows.
The Indian team has managed to disappoint, but not all is lost. The Australia-South Africa game earlier today was worth watching. And Parallels’ is going to come in handy when the Major League Season kicks off.
There is some debate about out-of-area fans being able to get baseball games on their cable networks, leaving MLB.com’s Internet broadcasts as our last option. With Parallels on my side, I am not too worried since I will be able to watch the Yankees win another league championship, if not the World Series. For next six months Virtualization will be part of my daily life….