Mariner's use of PC vs Mac
We do not see many of the leading maritime software companies rushing to native Mac programs. In the world of marine weather, communications, and echart navigation, the PC options are still years ahead of Mac counterparts in most cases. (Even some new Mac versions of the PC counterparts are not up to the PC standards yet). In some apps, there is no Mac counterpart. We offer several PC programs without Mac counterparts, but there are several easy ways for Mac users to take advantage of Windows software when needed. As for our online courses, it is only the Radar Course that requires a PC solution, as noted below.
Running PC software on a Mac
Alternatively, you can install a Windows emulation (virtual machine) onto your Mac, and then run either Windows or Mac or both as you choose. This is often the most convenient solution, because you can go seamlessly between them. The Bootcamp option is one or the other, and you have to log out and reboot to switch.
There are several options for virtual machines. These are stand alone Mac apps that you install on the Mac that then lets you run Windows on the same machine. The two leading commercial brands are Parallels and Fusion. They are about the same price ($70 or so), with periodic promotional specials. Parallels advertises that they are more popular. We use Fusion, but that is largely because we have used this company's products (VMWare) for years for PC virtual machines. They seem to have the similar specs and features. This has to be checked with their advertising and any friends who might have experience to share.
These programs also require a Windows OS, and the same notes above on this apply. We might add that most Windows users in a Mac have chosen the virtual machine approach, rather than Bootcamp. It is much more convenient, and basically integrates your options to run programs and save files. The Bootcamp option would be best for those who want 100% separation between the two systems at the price of reboots when switching.
For completeness we note there is also an open-source, free emulator called Virtual Box. Our feelings would be that if you do not know that already, then this would not be a good choice. The other two are very easy to use. The tech support from VMWare is outstanding.
Another option ...may sound blasphemous to
dedicated Mac users!
Add to your netbook or notebook a Blue tooth GPS (GlobalSat BT-368i for ~$50 or the slick XGPS150a from Dualav ~$100), and you have a super portable complete nav station, with echarts, satellite email, weather services, and tons of maritime training tools and applications. When you go chartering or sail on someone else's boat, you can take your entire nav station with you... include your own vhf as well. There are also very compact AIS receivers for $60 or so to add to your complete, stand-alone nav station.
Another fact we can proudly share, is that our courses are so effective and cost efficient, that we have had many users over the years purchase or obtain a PC for dedicated use on our courses and have been very happy they did in the end.
Except for the Radar course, which does require a PC, the main PC specific parts of our courses are the complimentary PC ebooks we provide. However, we do provide printed copies of our texts with the courses, and all of the ebook texts are available in iBooks, Kindle, or pdf formats that do run on Macs, iPads, and other tablets. So for a small extra cost for these ebooks the courses are the same, PC or Mac. There is virtue to the ebooks for searching and book marking as you proceed. These ebooks are listed at www.ebooks.starpath.com.
If you do wish to run any of our courses with Mac alone, then please contact us so we can outline the set up procedure so it is not confused by the standard PC components.
Here is a list of the courses, individually, that have a Windows component other than ebooks. If you do choose to take any one of these using only a Mac, we can help you individually if needed. Again, the options above for getting Windows access might still be considered.
Inland and Coastal Navigation
Please skim through the past Student Comments on our courses and the Reviews links for our books and software to see the value of going that extra step into the PC world to accomplish this training. And do not hesitate to contact us if there are further questions.
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