Students, Apple, VMWare and Microsoft DreamSpark

I am a genuine student of the Open University ( having so far completed three out of lots of modules in a bid to achieve a Masters Degree in Computing for Commerce and Industry. As a general rule of thumb, so far, this aim has cost me a lot of money (Open University courses are not cheap!) but recently I have been pleasantly surprised by the discounts/freebies that are available to students. So without further ado, and as an introduction to the fact that in future you may well see posts relating to Apple Macs appearing here, I thought I would share a couple of the discounts I have recently received:

Apple iMac

I finally took the plunge and bought an Apple iMac 24″ 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM. The retail price for this either in an Apple shop or online for us UK customers is £1457.00. In case anyone is interested by the way, it is absolutely gorgeous and I don’t think I’ll be using a PC anytime soon for anything other than work!

Anyway, I got 12% off the Apple iMac and 11% off the 2GB RAM upgrade resulting in a saving of £184.64. Granted it is still a lot of money but hey, £184.64 is worth having!

VMWare Fusion

I do a lot of work on Microsoft Windows (both servers and desktops) and consequently, at least for the time being, I need access to these environments. VMWare sell a very cool product in the form of VMWare Fusion 2! Essentially this provides virtual environments for the Mac in the same way as their Workstation product provided for Windows. Microsoft have a similar (FREE) product called Virtual PC which is also rather neat. However, the really cool thing here is that a) I can happily run Linux machines as well as Windows ones and b) I can place links on my Apple desktop to files and applications on my virtual Windows machines using the amazing Unity feature! Take a look at some of the videos on YouTube regarding VMWare Fusion 2.

Anyway, I got 50% off VMWare Fusion 2 resulting in a saving of £33.29.

Microsoft DreamSpark

I mentioned I did a lot of work on Microsoft Windows – usually in the form of Service Desk Express stuff or .NET software development in general. Whilst hunting around for something else on the Internet (as you do) I came across a result offering “Microsoft Gives Students Access to Technical Software at No Charge to Inspire Success and Make a Difference” alternatively known as DreamSpark.

Now, subject (of course) to certain licensing agreements (e.g. not using the software for commercial purposes), students can download and use the full version of the following Microsoft products:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional
  • Microsoft XNA Game Studio 2.0
  • Microsoft Expression Studio 2
  • Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Developer

This is a brilliant initiative by Microsoft and an excellent way of students developing essential new skills e.g. Silverlight 2.0 in the forthcoming year.

Hope everyone had a great holiday period and I look forward to receiving your comments throughout this year.