Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dazzled by Technology

The new computer came preloaded with Windows Vista 64-bit as an OS. Which is just fine from my perspective, as Vista works great for what limited things I do with the computer. Unfortunately one of the few things that I actually use the computer for regularly is VPN access to work, which does not work on 64-bit Vista.

Cisco apparently has decided that they don't have an interest in selling client software to companies with employees with new computers and amazingly no one else seems to want to either (except some German company that wanted $144 a copy for generic IPSec VPN software). Seriously, I've written 64-bit software, it's not rocket science.

That raised a bit of a problem, as only e-mail access to work is OK 85% of the time, but I didn't really want to bring home my laptop every single day on the off chance I needed to VPN for one reason or another.

Anyways, what I ended up doing was channeling my inner nerd and using a pre-made Linux virtual machine image that my company provides, along with VMWare Player. This lets me run the VM on the computer simultaneously with Vista and the Linux machine has full VPN access to the company along with all the software I need preloaded.

It sounds complicated but in reality it was ridiculously easy to setup (I downloaded the image and VM Player and was up and running <10 minutes later). And in many ways it is probably better then having the real VPN client polluting my PC. Plus with this I can access the Internet and other networks from Windows while still accessing work networks via the VM.

I even got a flashback to back in high-school when I was editing the X server configuration file tonight to change the resolution of the desktop. It was just like trying to get X configured on Slackware (installed from 250M tapes) back in 1994. Which is both amusing and sad at the same time.


McBrideFarm said...

Yeah, that does sound ridiculously easy.... :P

Glad you worked it out! ;)

Steve Eck said...

So perhaps a better way to put it was "surprisingly easy".