THE MAC AT WORK

A reader told us he’s getting a Mac but wishes he could keep the Windows version
of “Quicken” because the Mac version is, as he put it, “a real dog.” (He’s a man of few
words.)

Making the Mac work the way you want it makes sense to us; we would also like to
use some of our favorite Windows programs. So we decided to try “Parallels,” an $80
program from Parallels.com.

We used Parallels to install Windows and were soon up and running on the Macbook
Air. We installed our printer and followed with MS Word, Printmaster, and other
Windows programs. All worked fine and – especially nice — you can copy and paste
items between the Mac and Windows environments.

One problem that shouldn’t exist but does, is the Windows programs you’d like to run
on the MacBook Air usually are on CDs or DVDs. Tough luck buddy, because the “Air”
doesn’t have a disk drive. To get over this hump, you can use a separate free program
to move the contents of the CD/DVD disks to a flash drive, thumb drive, whatever you
call it, that can then be plugged into the Mac’s USB port. Got it? Good.

To do this, we used Ashampoo’s” Burning Studio 6,” which is a free program from
Ashampoo.com. This transfers whatever is on the CD or DVD disk to whatever medium
you happen to want as the destination – which in this case was a large capacity flash
drive. By the way, these things are cheap, cheap, cheap. We bought a 16-gigabyte flash
drive, made by Sandisk, the inventor of the flash drive, for $15 at Radio Shack.

The transfer worked beautifully. The Burning Studio program even converts Blu-ray
discs and movie DVDs to run from a flash drive. This would be handy if you want to
watch movies on a train or plane.

Some Mac users will rush to point out that the Mac comes with “Boot Camp,” a free
program for running Windows in dual mode. It also requires that you have or buy a copy
of Windows; the instructions were so complicated we gave up.

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