Parallels 12 $80

Make Windows work effortlessly on a Mac

There are several ways to run non-Apple operating systems on a Mac. If you need to switch quickly between operating systems, a good off-the-shelf software program to try is Parallels Desktop for Mac.

The latest version is the 12th. If you are unsure about updating to the newest edition ($50 for upgrade), you might be interested to know it runs much faster than its predecessor and quickly boots up your system of choice.

If your computer has enough RAM, you can simultaneously run several operating systems, each in a separate window, on the Mac desktop without partitioning the hard drive.

Parallels runs the operating systems as virtual machines, much like having separate computers, calling on a Mac’s RAM to do its work. The folks at Parallels recommend that computers have at least eight gigabytes of memory. The new version works with Windows 10 and will be compatible with the next version of the Mac operating system, due to be released soon.

The program also has a grab bag of tools that makes running Macs more interesting. The most useful tool converts video from a smartphone to video that can be played back on a Mac. Other features include an alarm tool, a clock, a stopwatch and, for a year, 500 gigs of free online storage (good for a year).

Even though I’ve been using Parallels on my Mac for the past eight years, I’m still impressed with how easy it makes moving files from Windows to Mac to Chrome and back again.



Transform your photos into a piece of art

Your snapshots are obviously works of art all on their own — but do you ever want to give them a little boost? Prisma takes the concept of a filter and amps it up another level, transforming your photos using different art styles. It can be a line-art drawing, or the “Mondrian” (as in Piet) or “Roy” (as in Lichtenstein).

The app can take a bit of time to process the filters, but that makes sense given that it’s essentially redrawing your photos. The company releases new art styles regularly, so even if you aren’t that keen on what they have on tap, you may get something you really like down the line. Sure, adding these filters don’t make your photos true to life, necessarily, but you might find one that lets you show off your photos with something that says more about your personality than a standard photo can.