With Crossover Mac, you're not actually running Windows at all.
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T e c h n o f i l e
Run Picasa on a Mac? Here's how

July 13, 2008

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2008, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2008, The Post-Standard

   Picasa, the amazing free photo program from Google, is coming to the Mac.
   Google won't say when, but reports circulating on the Web insist that a Mac version of Picasa will be ready later this year. Google hasn't even officially confirmed that it's working on a Mac version, but the company just can't seem to deny that a Mac version is on the way. (Picasa "isn't available yet for the Mac," Google says.)
   But I don't want to wait. I'm running Picasa on my Mac already. You can, too, if you have a recent enough Apple computer.
   I'll explain shortly, after I back up a bit. Picasa, which you can download from http://picasa.google.com/download, is unique among photo-management programs. It shows a touch of genius in everything it does -- ferreting out all your pictures, no matter where they're hidden away (or, more to the point, where you lost track of them) on your computer, and giving you the easiest imaginable ways to fix their flaws or improve their qualities.
   Picasa makes all other photo programs look old fashioned -- and that includes iPhoto, the photo program that comes with all new Apple computers. I've used many photo-editing programs on Macs and Windows PCs and found not a single one that makes editing pictures as easy and as much fun as Picasa.
   I'll be celebrating when the Mac version arrives. In the meantime, I'm enjoying Picasa on my MacBook Pro through the magic of Crossover Mac, a $40 program for Intel-based Macs (that's every current model) that mimics Windows just enough to let you run Windows programs on your Mac. You can download a trial version from www.codeweavers.com. It costs $39.95 if you want to use it beyond the 30-day trial.
   The advantages of Crossover Mac make it ideal when you want to run just a few Windows programs. With Crossover Mac, you're not actually running Windows at all. You're not exposing your Mac to any of the security failings of Windows, and you don't have to worry about the 1.1 million viruses that are trying to attack Windows PCs. There's no danger of spyware, either.
   You simply install Crossover Mac and then let it handle the installation of your favorite Windows programs. Some, like Picasa, work exceptionally well. Others have a few problems. Codeweavers has a list of programs that work under Crossover Mac at www.codeweavers.com/compatibility. (There are 4,340 Windows programs in the list.) Internet Explorer runs fine, as do QuickBooks Pro, Microsoft Project and many other important Windows programs that aren't available for the Mac otherwise.
   Codeweavers bases its Crossover programs -- there's a Linux version, too -- on an open-source project called WINE. The WINE project has been steadily improving its basic Windows emulation methods for years, and Codeweavers helps pay for WINE. (In the typical oddball humor pervading many Internet projects, the name WINE means "Wine Is Not an Emulator.")
   I teach workshops in photo management using Picasa, and at one of them I switched the class computer from Windows XP running Picasa to Crossover Mac running Picasa. Could the class tell the difference? Yes, the tiniest fonts in the Crossover version of Picasa seemed a bit too bold -- not a big problem, for sure.
   And there was one other difference: Picasa running under Crossover Mac ran faster and worked more smoothly than Picasa running under Windows XP. That's a big plus while you're waiting for the real Mac Picasa to arrive. Give the Windows Picasa a spin while you're waiting for the real thing.