Making the switch to Mac
A completely unrelated post, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this lately ….
I recently purchased a 15″ MacBook Pro. I am also the owner of a seven-year-old PC running XP and a one-year-old Lenovo T41 running Vista. I’ve been a PC/DOS/Windows user since I left my Apple 2+ about 25 years ago.
So, I made the switch.
I’ve never been a strong advocate of Windows technology. Mac always bugged me because I was used to doing things in Windows, and I didn’t see the point of paying a premium for hardware that wasn’t any better. In recent years, there’s nothing a Mac can do that a Windows PC can’t, including desktop design, video editing, et cetera. I was also strongly tied to Windows for the software I used: MS Office, MS Project, et cetera. Not that you can’t get this stuff on a Mac, but let’s just say … it was easier to get for Windows.
But over the past few months, I couldn’t help but think: while Windows appears to get worse (more frustrating, more buggy, more power-demanding, more controlling) with every release, Apple just releases better and better hardware and software. I’ve also stopped using most desktop software. I use Google Docs or otherwise OpenOffice. I no longer use MS Project if I can avoid it. Open source and online applications have negated the need for expensive or pirated desktop software. Then Apple released their new lines of MacBooks, with the amazing multi-touch trackpad, a glass LED screen, and a gorgeous aluminum case. I couldn’t resist.
I took delivery last Friday, so I’ve had a few days to play so far. The design is beautiful. Performance is miles ahead of my T41, which by most accounts is a first-class laptop. It turns on and off almost instantly, and does wake up instantly. Installing software is ridiculously easy and fast. The multi-touch track-pad is brilliant — there have got to be about a dozen things you can do with it depending on the number of fingers you use and the direction you swipe. The only thing I haven’t go my head around yet is it’s management of various open windows … I don’t quite get it yet, but I’m sure it will come with time.
Another bit of navel-gazing I’ve done is one my relationship with Windows. It may seem kind of strange to think about having a relationship with software (or a class of software), but given the role computers have played in my life, the operating system I work with is actually a fairly important thing, whether it should be or not. I’ve used just about every flavour of Windows that’s come out (and DOS before that): 3.1, 95, 98, NT, 2000, XP, Vista. I liked 2000. After the second or third service pack I even liked XP. But even though I consider myself the kind of person who embraces change, Microsoft can really piss me off betweeen major releases with some of their changes, most of which don’t appear to make sense. I *really* struggled with Windows 95. I spent the first few days with Vista making it act like XP. Mac OS 10.5 has many things that Vista has (actually the other way around), and where they frustrated me with Vista, I can accept them on the Mac. So, I think it was time for a change.
So, I’m sold, although I’m not a fanatic convert (I don’t care about computers enough to be). I’m even starting to think about replacing that seven-year-old desktop.