When we started this adventure as an office we found ourselves at a crossroads – Mac or PC?

We needed to replace our technology because it was at the end of its usable life. Our software was outdated  and our email Windows XP server software was discontinued and no longer supported – believe it or not, this was the domino that fell first to start the others falling.

Curse you, Windows!


WHY would you turn your backs on such a great, reliable workhorse of an operating system like XP Pro?? WHY???!!!

Looking back now and seeing what Windows has developed, my intensity of the question is not so extreme anymore…

So, in the middle of the road, where do we go?

Our decision? Let’s see what’s possible. 

Boot Camp was possible.


Boot Camp would let us run Windows on Macs!

No limits to what we can do, we thought. No problems, we thought. No “you can’t do that because…” we thought. So, we tried it.

We set up a test machine that was already a few years old and began loading software (I suggest you always have a machine you can set up and try it on).

What we found was amazing –  a older machine that shouldn’t be running  Boot Camp “this well” was humming right along.

Bring it, it said to us. So we did.

We pushed and found two virtual machine softwares: VMware and Parallels.



At the time, we found VMware had some graphic issues with Autodesk and Sketchup and Parallels did not…problem solved. Good-bye, Boot Camp.


You don’t need boot camp?

You don’t have to be in one OS or the other? You don’t have to choose?

You can be in both at the same time?

How can this be?

Enter the world of the virtual machine…one computer running inside another. My little virtual friend.



This is going to be huge.

(Sorry Mr. President – this really is a huge deal.)

Now we have BOTH OSs available at the same time.

All the software, all the apps, all the time.

Both machines. AND you can move back and forth between them like any other software or active windows – and cut and paste between them!



Today we work in Apple hardware, utilizing Parallels that supports a Windows 8.1 Operating System for programs Apple does not allow/run/support or cannot run as well as Windows can.

What software do we run in Windows (i.e., our virtual machines)?

Autodesk products, specifically, and other graphics programs like:

Adobe Acrobat Pro (runs in BOTH  Apple and Windows – yes, I do have it installed in both, and frankly I’m so used to the user interface in Windows it’s hard to break away from it).

Corel graphics suite. We considered going (like everyone else) to Adobe for graphics,  Illustrator, Photoshop, etc., but we have such an inventory of information based upon Corel CDR files –  and no way to access them through Adobe products (Adobe does not play well with or even read .cdr files) –  that we have chosen to not abandon this inventory. In my opinion, Corel Graphic Suite does everything we have ever needed to do in Photoshop, so no loss there.

Sketchup – don’t forget Sketchup.

Amazing program.

Accessible to everyone.

Powerful. Capable. Intuitive. Flexible.

I said this before in one of my presentations, but thank you, Sketchup, for not messing up Sketchup. Thank you, Google, for not messing with Sketchup. And thank you, Trimble, for not messing with Sketchup! It has maintained all it was and grown through ownership, development, updates – and still delivers with the same soul. Wonderful.

Seriously, if you haven’t tried this you owe it to yourself to – just once. Sketchup runs on both the MAC and Windows sides, but it has been our experience that user-interface and performance are just easier on the Windows side.  I have it loaded on both, but almost always go to Windows…until now.

Remember Parallels, mentioned above? Parallels now has a limitation we are working around regarding the latest version of Sketchup – click here to watch a video I made for another post. Seems there is a graphics problem regarding what Parallels can provide and what Sketchup 2017 needs to run. Again, like in Zork, “you are likely to be eaten by a Grue.” This one will get you. Answer? Sketchup 2016 in Windows via Parallels and Sketchup 2017 in MAC…for now.

We find we work in two worlds on our traditional computers (desktops and MacBook Pros) and mobile devices everywhere else. Why? Because the design process is “on” at all times. Why be limited to in-office time? The conversations we have aren’t always in the office – why should our process be limited to that location? Utilizing mobile technology – laptops connected to the office network, mobile devices like iPads/iPhones, etc. and video conferencing effectively gives us unlimited place, time, and opportunity to engage in conversation, study, and sharing with others in the design process – all made possible by this wonderful swirl of technology.

The ingredients in this recipe? They will all sound familiar:


Apple OS

Also for us: mobile – IOS.

How these work together is where the previously mentioned magic happens.

I’ll discuss more about drawing your network later- for now, sketch how it is structured.

If you can’t, you are in trouble.

Ours is simple, but complex.

Ours is always changing with technology – your is, too, whether you know it or not. If you don’t know where these changes are occurring, how will you know how they affect you – for better or worse? Try it.

See image of a sketch of ours:


It’s rough, in process, and cleans up well (I’ll share more on that later), but without the ability to do this, how can you have a meaningful conversation with IT folks? How can you let them know your understanding (and therefore get correction from them – for BETTER UNDERSTANDING)?

And besides, how many IT folks KNOW how you need the elements of your design process to function together? Ours is not a typical nor simple business process. We in the design process do things with software many businesses do not. Don’t let IT marginalize what you are trying to do as typical. (We are currently doing things with some software set up – on our own – that we were later told we CAN’T, yet we are doing them, and they are working great…)

This is just software, hardware, 3D-printing, VR, connectivity (wireless, Bluetooth, etc. are addressed later) – things change and ours is like any other- changing…

This diagram represents AT LEAST two things:

Complexity of relationship in operation, AND flexibility of relationships of elements of our IT world – AND THEREFORE flexibility in our design process.

How well do you know yours?

Know it well.

Sleep with it. When I played football in high school our coach told us to sleep with the football…know it well, in your sleep, get comfortable around it, and WITH IT.

I encourage my office to “sleep with” the hardware (metaphorically) – play with it, know it. They take it home.

Only this way will you be comfortable with it when you need to have a conversation.

So, the take away today?

The technology of the design process has gotten complicated.

It doesn’t have to be – but it is for most of us. Know it. Well.

Get comfortable with it.

You (you and your technology) are going to be together working, playing, conversing with – and on behalf of each other – for a very long time.