Review: Mac on a Stick

Mac on a stick is a prove-it-can-be done project.  Meaning, it has no substative purpose other than proving that you can run a virtual Mac Classic from a thumb drive.

The vMac emulator requires assembling half a dozen files from multiple websites.  One assembled, you can launch the mac emulator, choose the boot disk and you are up.  Now the real work starts.

Unless you already are on a Mac, mounting the the disk on Windows requires using a slow, non-intuitive application to move files from Windows to the disk image.  It only works on disks that are not in use.  Ideally, one would like to drag and drop files between windows. 

Next, the vMac has no networking capabilities.  It might be nice to have a non-networked computer for doing things that require concentration and few distractions, such as writing a short story. However, so far I’ve only found some primitive text editors that are still available.  However, one I finish writing my great document, I want to be able to quickly transfer it to a real word processor where I can edit, print and publish it.  Getting files out of a Mac requires the same clunky utility.  Then you will face the challenge of getting any modern word processor to deal with the file you created.

In fact, any application that involves the creation or editing of  existing files is going to have this problem.  Mac on a stick not only brings back the good ole days of a simpler OS, but of the total lack of file format interop.

The Mac never really was a important gaming platform, so you can’t play a lot of compelling games on the vMac.  Utility applications I found on the remaining mac classic software download site have comparable windows versions, usually for free, better quality and also portable.

I’m thinking that Ubunutu on a stick is a more compelling idea. 

There may still be a single time when a emulator like vMac is interesting: When you don’t have administrator rights on a computer.  But the vMac sandbox is so limiting, you might as well be a standard user.

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