Over the past year I’ve been thinking about getting a new PC for the family. The current Dell Dimension 8200 (almost 10 years old) was having a hard time running Windows XP and all the patches and security to keep it mostly virus and malware free. I installed Ubuntu 11.10 server on that Dell PC and turned it into a media server and backup storage device.
So what to get for the family? I could go with another Windows 7 PC and have the option to have more virus and malware installed every time the kids go to one of their kid friendly sites. My wife might need Windows 7 for remote access to work, plus it’s a familiar interface for everyone.
I could go with Linux OS such as Ubuntu 11.10, Linux Mint 12 (when it is available), or some other disto. But the problem with Linux for the family, a whole bunch of kid websites just don’t work with Linux. For example, Cartoon Network has some pretty cool games, but most of the games will not work in Linux. Those games require different engines such as Unity (not to be confused with Unity for Ubuntu). Also, many games that I like to play are not available in a Linux environment. I tried running Windows XP in a VM, but the performance is terrible and the games require high-end video cards which you never see in a VM.
My buddy at work suggested getting an iMac. The first thing that went in my mind, “How am I going to afford that?” Turns out the entry level iMac is within my budget. So I stopped at the local Apple Store and took a look. Usually I’m in there for a few minutes with the kids to kill time while my wife is shopping. Now I had time to shop. As usual I was assaulted but several employees right away. But I needed time to look over what they had and get some ideas before I would talk with someone.
Steve, the sales person, saw I was ready to have my questions answered. After a few minutes of talking about my concerns and what I wanted to accomplish, Steve unlocked the iMac and let me install some of the games from Cartoon Network. Out of all my years in IT, from selling to support, I’ve never heard someone say let’s unlock the computer and install the web apps you mentioned. So I played some of the Cartoon Network games. I was hooked. Just need to upgrade the memory from 4GB to 8GB. The Apple memory is expensive. Looks like I’ll be checking on-line for a better price.
Now, what am I going to do about some of the Windows only applications I need? I will keep my notebook PC as a dual boot between Windows 7 and Linux (not sure about keeping Ubuntu). Maybe I’ll install VMWare Fusion, VirtualBox, Parallels or Bootcamp for my Windows needs. I doubt I’ll ever break away completely from Windows. Too many applications I need for Windows for my job.
So this Christmas Santa will deliver a new computer for the family. It will meet the needs of my family, address my concerns, and also give me a little education in the Mac world.
Now, what book should I get…