How to: Virtualize Mac OS X Lion

A virtual machine (VM) is a software implementation of a machine that executes programs like a physical machine. VMs are separated into two major categories; these categories are based on their use and degree of correspondence to any real machine. A system virtual machine provides a complete system platform which supports the execution of a complete operating system. A process virtual machine is designed to run a single program, which means that it supports a single process. Any software running in a virtual machine is restricted and it cannot break out of its virtual world.


The virtualization story for Mac OS X is about to change, a lot. This is a positive change as Lion’s licensing changes the rules for virtual machines. In some circumstances for certain enterprise deployments, virtual Mac OS X environments are held in a very high light. By giving access to Mac only applications, the demand increases without having to supply Mac hardware on a one-to-one basis.


Leopard started the virtualization for Apple. Apple began to permit limited virtualization of Mac OS X, with two major caveats: you could only run VMs on Mac hardware (no blade server racks full of HP gear serving out Mac desktops). By doing this, it cost a steep price because you needed a Mac OS X Server license. Since it was so expensive, few people took advantage of it.


Lion’s new EULA is prepared to change all the rules. 10.7 users will be allowed to run one or two virtual Mac instances on each physical Mac. The tools will be helped by VMware Fusion, Parallels, VirtualBox or others. The people that will benefit from this are developers, IT managers and others who need to keep a known-good test environment or try out new apps in a controlled fashion. Like this article? Hate this article? Leave a comment and we will let you know as soon as possible.


One Mac to Rule Them All

As a network technician, I found myself in a unique position when it came to my Mac. How far could I take the task of administering my LAN’s user profiles and machines using my MacBook Pro? Turns out it is possible.

My Mac is on the same network as all the Dells on campus. It’s my job to remotely unlock user accounts, add new computers to the network, and manage the files on the four servers. Here’s what I’ve found:

1. Use OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

I know there are still those out there who love Tiger. Trust me, I’m one of them. But the fact of the matter is that Apple didn’t really incorporate the tools necessary for working on PC networks until OS X 10.5 Leopard. Snow Leopard improved upon those tools, such as notifying me when my network password is about to expire. In general, Snow Leopard is more stable.

2. Download CoRD

CoRD is a free download that will let you open Windows servers on your Mac. What’s great about this program is that it will open the server up in a window on your desktop. No restarting or logging off, or anything like that. Move your mouse around the server window, and you’re controlling the server’s interface. From here, you can easily get in to Active Directory to manage user accounts, or access any of the other tools on the server.

3. Use command+k to access the server folders

Browsing through folders on the server is no problem at all, though you may not see them initially. Open Finder and select Go > Connect to Server (command+k). From there, type in smb://YourServerName.YourDomainName

You’ll need to authenticate with your credentials, but after that you’re good to go.

If there are other Macs on the network, make sure to log on to them as an administrator. In Sharing under System Preferences, make sure to select Remote Management. That way you’ll be able to share the screens of the client Macs after authenticating. It’s not Apple Remote Desktop, but it can at least show you what’s going on with the user.

With the dawning of the Age of Intel, Macs have become better and better with working along side PCs. Being an administrator with a MacBook Pro hasn’t hindered me a bit.

If anything, I have to remind myself that Expose is not an option for me when I do use a PC. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve jammed the cursor into the corner, expecting something to happen.

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Average Joe's Tips

Going Retro With a PowerPC

Last year I went to my school district’s surplus warehouse, looking to pick up a Mac. I hoped to find a Power Mac G4 in order to relive my college days of cutting video on them. Sure, there are certainly faster Macs available for doing that, but certainly not at the cost of a used classroom one.

I found a pallet full of Mac desktops, but it only took a glance to tell they weren’t G4’s. The boxes were the same shape, but colored a light blue; something I hadn’t seen before. My friend who was with me told me it was a G3. I had no idea what specs it had, but all I knew was that I wanted it.

We fired it up there in the warehouse and found out that the hard drive worked, it had OS 9.2, and it clocked in at 300 MHz. I still wanted it. My friend told me how Tiger could be installed on it, despite its lack of a DVD drive. Forty bucks later, and the box and monitor were mine.

And so the obsession began.

I went from knowing little about Macs before the age of Intel chips, to scouring websites and discussion boards about Power PCs. Sites like Low End Mac and Other World Computing showed me that not only is it possible to keep an old Mac alive and kicking, but parts for upgrading it are still available.

In just a few months I installed OS X 10.4.11 Tiger, maxed my G3 out on 1GB of memory, installed a wireless card, a DVD drive, and a ZIF chip that took it from 300 MHz to 500. Thanks to Circuit City going out of business, I also got a Bluetooth dongle for only $20. Amazingly, what I found made the biggest difference was getting a new Radeon video card that bumped the video memory from 8 MB to 32 MB, which made a dramatic effect on the bus speed.

What at first I thought would be a hobby turned into a reliable workhorse. I write every morning on it, actually opting for it over my MacBook Pro. There’s a rewarding feeling about working on a desktop that I fixed up. Also, the fact that browsing the web or checking e-mail takes a little longer than usual helps keep me focused on just writing.

The G3 marked Apple’s turning away from beige boxes. Even ten years later, the G3’s exterior is a thing of beauty. Inside, it’s solid and reliable. I would highly recommend buying a PowerPC to any Mac fan who doesn’t already have one. As long as you get rid of the expectation to use anything past Tiger on it, and are willing to spend some money to upgrade it, you can own a reliable piece of Apple hardware. I can’t see Cover Flow in iTunes, and YouTube is more of a waiting game, but I’d take my 10-year-old G3 over a 10-year-old PC any day.

Macs age the way Harrison Ford does–improving as they get older. PCs tend to age like Carol Channing.


Which iOS features should be on the Mac OS X?

Which iOS features would you want on your Mac? Touch screen definitely sounds like a fun feature for the Mac. Wouldn’t it be cool to change your Mac into a touch screen like an iPhone and change it back? There are rumors that Apple is planning to make an iMac with a screen that pivots into a horizontal touch mode. It sounds like it will be a combination of a Mac and an iPad. It sounds like they should call it a MacBook touch or something like that. Combining the features of both would be really cool because the touch screen is what attracts many users to iOS devices. There are also many other features that would be great for Mac OS X.

Virtual iPhone dashboard widgets could be a possible feature for Mac OS X. Your Mac would have a screen that looks similar to an iPhones, with wallpaper, apps, and etc. It would be easy to organize your programs and it would make use of all the free space on your desktop. When you look at your Mac desktop, it looks very empty and spacious, but your iOS devices have different pages of apps. Some may prefer to have this feature offered on their Mac. It should be an optional feature.

What else does your iOS device do that your Mac doesn’t? Your iOS device has the option to alert you automatically if you receive an email, even if your device is on sleep mode. Wouldn’t it be smart to give that feature to your Mac? The idea of having your Mac alert you that you have received a new email while the Mac is on sleep mode is fairly simple. Apple should definitely allow people to use that feature and for those that don’t want to, turn it off.

Have you ever noticed that when you play music off your iPod touch or your iPhone, it is simple and organized, but when you play music off iTunes, it can look pretty cluttered? Don’t you think it is time that Apple made an iPod app or Music app on your computer that may be simpler and more organized then your iTunes? I think so. Also, my iTunes can be really slow, so I think having an iPod app might help.

When you are outside, you take out your iPhone and can surf the internet from wherever if you have 3G, right? If you are lost, you can just check your GPS on your iPhone too and find directions. There are many people that also take their MacBook everywhere, so shouldn’t they have the same features as an iPhone? Should there be 3G for the MacBook? I think that 3G should be made available for MacBook users, especially when it is made available for the iPad.

Another feature that iOS devices have is that many iOS apps have notifications that are provided by third-party software. It notifies you if there is new information and other important news. Apple should definitely provide a feature that provides notifications for your apps on your Mac too.

When you go on an airplane, you can click Airplane Mode on your iOS device. But can your Mac do that? Not that I know of. If Apple adds that feature, that will be really helpful to those that travel a lot with their MacBooks. You should definitely add that feature on so people don’t have to manually turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth separately.

Your iOS device has iBooks and Game Center, but your Mac still doesn’t have either of them. It is about time that Apple provides iBooks as a feature. If I wanted to read a book on my Mac, rather then my small iPhone, I would really want that feature. Game Center should also be a feature for Mac OS X. People get pretty competitive with gaming on the iPhone and iPod touch. It’s time for the competition to get started on the Mac.

All and all, I figure that Mac OS X definitely needs an upgrade. Why does iOS have so many features that Mac OS X doesn’t have? It’s not because it isn’t useful on the Mac, so it’s probably about time for Apple to improve Mac OS X. Once Mac OS X gets more features such as an iPod app and touch screen, I can’t wait to use my Mac.

What do you think?

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October 20th, 10.7 Lion Preview?

Lion + Back to the Mac =  Mac OS X 10.7 Lion?

“Come see what’s new for the Mac on October 20, including a sneak peek of the next major version of Mac OS X.”

What are you expecting. Will 10.7 run iOS apps? Let us know what you think. Leave a comment.