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Emulators and USB
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ghporter
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May 17, 2010, 07:41 AM
 
I have a label printer, a Brother PT-1950, that is not supported under OS X but is supported under Windows. I would like to be able to use its USB connectivity to make more complex labels-sometimes very complex ones-but it's a major hassle to reboot into Windows, wait for the antivirus to update, etc., etc. just to make a few labels.

I haven't used Parallels since their V2, and Fusion never seemed to work for me. I have VirtualBox installed but no OS installed in it yet. Will VirtualBox actually work with a USB connected device? Would it be worth my time to upgrade to a Snow Leopard-compatible version of either Parallels or Fusion for the same purpose?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Big Mac
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May 17, 2010, 09:28 AM
 
It will be pointed out that virtualization is not emulation. It's the real OS you're running on compatible hardware; the only difference is it's running in a virtual hardware environment on top of a VM machine that is running on another OS. When it comes to Windows (which is the most supported OS obviously) the only thing VMs don't really do well is hardware intensive/graphics intensive things because the VM incurs a speed penalty. A VM would be very incomplete or broken if it didn't have full USB support in Windows.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
Cold Warrior
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May 17, 2010, 12:00 PM
 
Virtualbox will have a small usb icon in its guest window (not in full screen mode). Click it and connect your label maker. That's all there is to it, assuming the Windows guest has drivers and the required software, if necessary. Downloads - VirtualBox

Virtualbox OSE doesn't have USB support, but the first option on the linked page above is the closed-source edition, which does support USB 1.1 and 2.0

VMware Fusion would work the same way.
     
ghporter  (op)
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May 17, 2010, 08:27 PM
 
Big Mac, thank you for assisting with precision-I didn't pay enough attention to this really important differentiation. All three mentioned programs are indeed virtualizers, not emulators.

Cold Warrior, supposedly Parallels 2 supported USB connections for the guest, but I always had a lot of trouble getting that to work on my iMac. Are you saying that VB is actually as easy as your post suggests? I currently have version 3.1.6, closed source; should I upgrade to 3.1.8, the current version?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Cold Warrior
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May 18, 2010, 12:54 AM
 
VB 3.1.6 should work fine and as easy as I described. I've even used this for more heavier operations like networking (USB wifi dongle for the guest). I can't speak for Parallels, haven't used it in a couple years.
     
besson3c
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May 18, 2010, 02:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
It will be pointed out that virtualization is not emulation. It's the real OS you're running on compatible hardware; the only difference is it's running in a virtual hardware environment on top of a VM machine that is running on another OS. When it comes to Windows (which is the most supported OS obviously) the only thing VMs don't really do well is hardware intensive/graphics intensive things because the VM incurs a speed penalty. A VM would be very incomplete or broken if it didn't have full USB support in Windows.

Technically, the reason why VM guests don't work well with intensive graphics stuff is because a VM host provides a virtual NIC, HD controller, and GPU. A VM host does not provide direct access to your real NIC, therefore 3D acceleration is not supported. Some newer VM hosts provide GPU acceleration, but only with DirectX games.

ghporter: Virtualbox is a good choice, it's fast!
     
   
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