Pigs, pokes and Parallels

There’s an old saying – Never buy a pig in a poke – which roughly means “don’t pay for something unless you’ve seen it”. It was one that came to mind as I forked out for the Parallels pre-release upgrade a week or so ago.

Parallels is a virtual machine environment for the Mac, allowing you to run Windows applications even when OS X is running as your primary Operating System. Parallels 3 has just been released, but upto a week or so ago you could pay for an upgrade (before getting the actual software) with a discount. This is a classic case of pig/poke alarm, but I thought Parallels had built such good marketting momentum over the last year or so that they would do anything to hurt that.

I paid for Parallels less than a year ago, and so I was already a bit miffed about forking out my hard-earned bucks for an upgrade so soon. However, it had one feature I was particularly interested in, that of 3D video support. I don’t play many games, but it would be nice to play Half Life 2 occasionally wihout having to boot into Windows using Boot Camp.

I was a little surprised to hear that Parallels were willing to sell this functionality without a big test phase, but they mentioned both ‘Half Life 2’ and the phrase ‘at near native speeds’ explicitally in their advertising, so I decided to purchase sight-unseen.

Of course, it was too good to be true. HL2 doesn’t run anything close to native speed, and is pretty much unplayable, even on my beefy pimped-out iMac. The software is definitely not production-ready, and definitely not worth the cash of the upgrade. Sure enough, there was a pile of stones, and not a pig, in my bag.

Parallels had better fix this up pretty soon or all of their good marketting is going to drain away in the direction of VMWare. May the Mac virtualisation games commence!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: