PowerPC seeks Intel based Mac workaround
March 30, 2009 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Can I run an Intel based Mac application on my PowerPC mac laptop?

I would like to buy MacSpeech Dictate. I would not like to buy a new laptop or computer. The system requirements state Intel based Macs. I am running 10.5.1 on a G4 Powerbook (Power PC). Does anyone have any experience with this kind of dilemma or suggestions for a workaround?

As a last resort, I have thought of renting an Intel Mac laptop, as this is for a short term project I am working on. Does anyone have experience with laptop rentals in NYC?
posted by alice ayres to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Not possible, sadly. There's no workaround for lack of an Intel Mac.

There are good deals on Mac Minis to be had on both the Apple Store and Amazon, both refurbished and clearance models for under $500.
posted by porn in the woods at 2:23 PM on March 30, 2009

What "porn in the woods" says. The codebase is based on the Dragon Naturally speaking engine which presumably has intel specific stuff in it. So no, you can't, sorry.
posted by singingfish at 3:19 PM on March 30, 2009

Sadly, no. Apple made it relatively easy for developers to make their applications run on both PowerPC and Intel architectures — precisely to prevent these sort of situations — but if the developer didn't compile for PowerPC there's not a runtime converter like Rosetta, which goes in the other direction (run PowerPC code on Intel).

Unfortunately the developers threw you under the bus on this one.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:44 PM on March 30, 2009

I don't have experience with laptop rentals, but I'd imagine they would get somewhat pricey. The Mac Minis have been on some good discounts lately. Apple was selling refurbs for around $400 the other day, with a pretty good processor, memory, etc. Might be worth it, depending on whether or not (and how much) you are getting paid for your project. You could always put it up on Craigslist and make back most of what you spent if you didn't want to keep it, especially if you kept the box and everything in like-new condition.
posted by bengarland at 4:39 PM on March 30, 2009

Do you have experience with dictation software? It takes a while to train the software (and to train the user, in my experience!) so renting an Intel Mac just to use Dictate for a short project may not work out as well as you hope.

For the record, there are Windows-based dictation programs, and Windows programs can (theoretically) run on a PowerPC Mac under VirtualPC. However, I think the performance hit that VirtualPC imposes would prevent successful dictation.
posted by anadem at 5:51 PM on March 30, 2009

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