I finally got my computer dual-booting into Windows, and everything I need for work installed on the Windows partition. That only took two days.
It’s not Apple’s fault; BootCamp couldn’t be simpler or easier to use. And I guess it’s not Windows’ fault either, since once I had an official install, it worked without hassle. It’s just that it’s been so long since I’ve used a machine that didn’t already have everything pre-installed, I’d forgotten what a pain in the ass it is to get everything up and running. Even if it is just a matter of clicking “Next” and waiting an hour.
So far, everything’s worked pretty much as expected. A couple of crashes and failure to boot, but that’s included in the “working as expected.” I installed a virus scanner (and on its first scan, on a clean install of Windows XP I’d done just one day ago, it reported four viruses found — no joke) and Firefox and everything I need for work, and it all works fine. For yuks I installed Civilization IV, and that works fine.
I also tried out that Parallels Workstation. Even in beta, it works exactly as advertised, allowing both OS X and Windows to run simultaneously. I’ve already uninstalled it, though, since at least in the Beta version, it can’t access any of my Mac files or even the Windows files on my other partition. Which makes it, at least at the moment, a non-functional novelty. (But a very solid one, I’ve got to admit).
And I got out of Windows as quickly as possible. Call me an OS snob; that’s a fair accusation. Windows just feels all underpowered and ugly now. Maybe Vista will improve the experience, but everything I’ve seen just looks like Microsoft trying to do OS X. Even if they succeed, why should I care? All of the apps I need that are Windows-only are still going to be as ugly and kludgey in Vista as they are in XP. And the home-user stuff that Vista’s emphasizing — photo viewers, music players, etc. — don’t promise anything I’m not already getting from iPhoto and iTunes and the like.