What Apple's "Boot Camp" might mean to me (and many other Apple users in academia)

Just another quick post: while I was waiting for my movie file to upload, I skimmed through this snarky MacWorld article/tit-for-tat comment on an article in USA Today. You can read this exchange for yourself if you’re interested. I got bored.

That is not to say that I’m not excited about Apple’s Bootcamp software, which allow users to boot into Windoze on the new intel chip Macs. I think this is going to be a useful thing for Mac users (like me) in academia in general, and at places like EMU (which is about 50-50 Mac/Windoze), for our labs and for faculty desktops (at least my desktop).

Assuming it all works right and everything, Boot Camp will allow us to reconfigure our computer labs to be both OS 10.x and Windoze. Right now, for reasons that have largely been forgotten, we have a Mac lab and a Windoze lab. What I’d like to see us do is replace the computers in both of these labs with iMacs that are all configured to run either Apple stuff or Windoze stuff. If there’s a particular piece of instructional software that can only run on the PC or the Mac, no problem.

And besides that, students have a choice. I teach in the Mac lab, and I get all kinds of students complain about having to work on a Mac. (I should point out most of these complaints are based on the less then compelling argument, “this isn’t what I’m used to working with!” But I digress…). With this new configuration, I could simply tell this hypothetical and Windoze-obsessed student to just reboot and pick a different OS and stop complaining about the Mac.

Second, it will allow me to run Windoze software once in a while. Of course, no one is going to go out and buy a Mac just to run Windoze– that’d be stupid. But it’d be very nice to be able to do some Windoze stuff, even if it wouldn’t be on the fly. For example, there are a couple of scheduling/admissions-type software programs at EMU which I would like to be able to use occassionally but which are Windoze only. This is stuff I wouldn’t use every day all day long, just once in a while, and this is exactly the strength of this Boot Camp option.

Another example: I have students who come to my office all the time with some sort of problem with their web site, and when I show them what to do, I right now have to say stuff like “now, on your Windoze computer at home, it’s going to look a little different.” Boot Camp will allow me to say “hang on, let me reboot…. okay, here’s how it is going to look on your computer at home.”

Sweet. Bring me my new iMac, please.

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2 Responses to What Apple's "Boot Camp" might mean to me (and many other Apple users in academia)

  1. Be fair says:

    Why do insist on spreading your bias against windows, which borders on being propoganda? Now that Windows and Mac OS both run on the same processor, there is no reason why there won’t be a program that will allow PCs to run Mac OS. Your preference to Macs is equal your students preference to PCs and and to say that their complaints about using Macs is unwarranted is almost a form of discrimination. One reason to use PCs is because they have a better interface to using that hardware. It has long been known that the one button mice the Apple has been so devoted is a hassle at most. And with new products like the Apple Mighty Mouse, they have finally admitted that the two button mouse is superior, althought their attempt two catch up still falls short. PC’s have always been more versatile platforms because most software was designed to run on them, and to suggest a complete overthrow of PC’s because of one beta stage software is premature at best. Change is a good thing, but carrying it to extremes because of one’s bias and disposition is not adequate reasoning.

  2. Steven D. Krause says:

    Ah, okay….

    Well, like I said at the beginning of this post, I’m not going to get into the whole Mac vs. PC thing because a) it’s not a very interesting discussion, and b) the Mac is better for a whole bunch of reasons– IMO. And you can’t really “discriminate” against a platform that has a 90% market share, either. And if you’re claiming that the PC is better because it has a two button mouse, ah, hmmm…..

    But two other things: there’s no WAY Apple is ever going to allow their OS to run on a PC, at least legally. They’ve said as much. You can emulate Mac OS on a PC now and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a hack in the works that is sort of a reverse boot camp kind of thing, but Apple would never support it.

    The second thing is I never suggested any kind of “overthrow” of anybody. All I was saying was it would be really convenient, especially in a computer lab environment or an office environment, to have a computer that could boot into windoze once in a while. It’s just a question of offering choice, that’s all.

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