Disclaimer: This post contains massive amounts of geekery which non-geeks or geek wannabe’s may not understand or care for. Do proceed if your sense of curiosity for all things new outweighs your natural instinct for general ignorance.
After years of procrastinating, I’ve finally taken around to mess with with VirtualBox over the weekend. I’m both a Windows and a Linux user, I usually have to resort to using 2 separate computers at the same time, or at least dual boot my main rig whenever I want to use one operating system or another. For those uninitiated, virtual machine programs like Virtualbox allow for people to run 2 operating systems on a single computer at the same time. They do this by running another operating system within an operating system like you do a program.
I’m pretty sure the first and only thing that was going through my mind over the course of figuring out how it all works was “Why didn’t I do this before?”. Then I was gently reminded of the fact that VM programs have gotten easier over the years. I was pretty sure several years ago, you had to spend a day or so trying to configure all the settings so that your virtual OS could run properly within your system. Nowadays all I had to do was run an inbuilt configuration system and everything was set to how it should be without me running around my room with arms flailing in the air. The second and probably more important reason at this point was the fact I now own a pretty powerful gaming rig, and two 22′ wide screen monitors. Switching back and forth between Windows and Linux at the same time is as troublesome as just turning my head. I’m pretty sure I can live with that very well.
So now that I know how to work a virtual machine, what can I do with it? For starters I can run OS specific programs without having to shut down all my work and reboot into the other system or the trouble of cluttering up my workspace with another computer. I can run everything on one system, one keyboard and one mouse. Then again, what I’ve actually done is used Ubuntu to test run Windows based programs on Wine. I know it’s like one of those pointless double negatives, but hey I’m still exploring the limits of what I can do with it. I’m pretty sure I’ll come up with some geeky project somewhere down the line to put my virtual Linux to good use. Plus, I’m not really spending any money getting this to work. It’s a free technical exercise which is always a good thing for a geek.
The real goal however and the reason why I entitled my post this way rather than “My weekend getting to know VM intimately without having to buy it dinner” is the idea that sooner or later I’m going to have to build a prison to house the greatest evil that has graced computers in the past few years – OSX. For now, we’ll skip the lengthy bits where I explain my hatred for all things Apple and go to the reasons why I’m seriously considering this crazy plan that has a few people I know googly-eyed in abject horror.
First of all, seeing that Apple has been the trojan horse for the anti-geek counter culture, it helps to know what the enemy is capable of doing and how we can use it to actually create more geeks. Theoretically, I know what Macs are capable of doing, but I do need to put it to practice. It’s nice to one day say “Sure Macs can/can’t do that, but let me show you another way of doing it for cheaper, better and faster.”
The second reason is that I’m a geek and I can’t quite call myself that until I’m able to have working mastery in the three main operating systems that grace the PC market. It’s just one of those things you have to put aside some (but not all) personal prejudices aside just to make yourself a better person. Again, while in theory I know enough about Macs to make me an OSX kung fu master, it’s still like saying I can beat a hallway full of trained, armed guards because I’ve watched The Matrix over 200 times. Reality just doesn’t work that way.
Lastly, my sense of curiosity has gotten the better of me. While Windows and Linux systems can do everything OSX can do, there is that one program I’m really itching to try called Scrivener. Basically it looks like a novel writing program that’s on steroids and gone through very good plastic surgery. A flattering image I know, but that’s really the only real selfish reason why I would want to use a Mac because they don’t build the damn thing for any other operating system.
So there we have it, the grand goal, the master plan. To house the corrupting scourge of the geek world in my system without it causing havoc. I’m pretty sure at one point I’m going to have to custom build a cage that has several wards on it. Maybe a pentagram inside 3 runic circles to protect against physical and spiritual afflictions. Either way, it’s going to be a tricky task seeing that OSX is the only OS that doesn’t seem to have a pre-built customisation program that makes life easier to run it outside of its walled garden; but hey, elbow grease and techno-supernatural charms are what I live for.
Of course, at the end of the day it’ll have to boil down to, would I really fork out more money just to test the things because I want to? Money is a luxury for a geek, not a prerequisite. It’s one of those rules that have been lost in time due to the commercialised onslaught on the market. If I can live with it for a while, I would at least until I have extra bucks to spend on a hobby and to pay the Melissa tax. After all, never be willing to spend money on pretty things unless you have money to spend it on your partner who should be the prettiest thing in your life regardless of all subjectivity on the matter. That, I would say is the wisest thing I can do about now and the best reason to hold back experimenting with the hell dimension for a few more years.
Who said I’m not getting smarter with age?