Windows

10 impressions from a new Mac user

If you've spent most of your time in a Windows environment, the Mac may hold a few surprises.

I recently purchased a Mac mini server so I could embark on learning iOS development. While I have used Macs in the past (the last time I touched one was 2000), I never used them extensively, and I have been a Windows user since the 3.0 days. But just because I have been a Windows user for decades does not mean that I am close-minded to other systems. And since I had the Mac, I thought it would be good to give it an honest evaluation. Here are 10 impressions I have as a new Mac user.

1: Wow!

The "fit and finish" on the Mac mini server I got is astounding. The hardware is beautiful, OS X is very welcoming to me, and there are little touches that make it feel warm and fuzzy. Even the packaging evoked positive emotions. There is a genunine opportunity to feel pride in ownership of a Mac product that is rare for a Windows PC. I know that this is a commonly noted phenomenon, but I must say that it is real. Kudos to Apple for a slick product.

2: The keyboard... argh

All my delight disappeared the moment I tried to get the cursor to the beginning of a line. Or copy and paste. Or do anything else with the keyboard other than type. Let's just say that OS X and Windows have wildly different sets of keyboard shortcuts, and using a keyboard on a KVM to handle both is not fun. Some of the OS X shortcuts involve multiple steps (like taking a screenshot of a single window, which is merely Alt+ Print Screen on a Windows machine). Even simple things (like moving to the beginning of the line) require two keys where one suffices on Windows. The silver lining is that I'm learning on a blank slate, so I can develop better habits up front.

3: I love the App Store!

Something that drives me nuts on a Windows computer is requiring an application to fill a particular need but not trusting the things I find. I've written plenty of Product Spotlight and Five Apps articles for TechRepublic, and along the way I have stumbled across some pretty shady looking packages -- the kind where you run antivirus on the installer before loading it and then run antivirus again after installing it, "just in case." With the App Store, I feel confident that I can install applications and stay safe. The App Store makes it easy to find applications that meet my needs, too. While I've had to go outside the App Store a number of times, I already prefer the App Store and items within it to those outside it.

4: Those apps sure are expensive

Maybe I've been spoiled by the freeware and open source applications for Windows, but I found that a lot of things that would be free for Windows cost some money. Not much, but it's something I noticed. Good for the developers to be able to turn their time into money, though; that's how you build a vibrant application ecosystem.

5: Speaking of applications...

One of my big concerns when trying out the Mac was that there would be a lack of applications or I'd have to constantly flip back to my Windows PC. Are all my favorite Windows applications also on Mac? No. But most of the "can't live without" applications I use (notably Chrome, Microsoft Office, and Skype) are there, and I have found suitable alternatives for those that aren't, with two special exceptions.

As a software developer, I do not expect my Windows-specific development tools (like Visual Studio) to be available, and obviously they are not. But the one major application I may always need a PC for is Quicken Home and Business. It hits the sweet spot between "basic consumer money management" and QuickBooks, and while I am looking around for a good Mac equivalent, I have not found one yet. So far, GnuCash looks like the best option. I am also fishing for a better alternative to Outlook. The good news is that Steam runs a lot of my games on the Mac.

6: iTunes has a specific audience, and I'm not it

My initial reaction when I started using iTunes was dismay and confusion. Tasks that were simple in WinAmp or Windows Media Player (like queuing up multiple albums to play in order) were not intuitive. But what was intuitive was grabbing a bunch of songs to play on shuffle, making playlists based on metadata or recommendations, and buying music.

After a while, I realized that my trouble with iTunes was that it has a specific purpose, which is getting people to purchase and pay for music, typically a single song at a time, and to play music based on their "mood" or "likes" or other similar criteria. But I'm the kind of person who just treats the computer like a really advanced CD rack. I listen to one album straight through, then another. So while iTunes has its issues (it is still harder to use than it needs to be, bloated, and has a poor user interface), my being a different kind of music listener than its intended audience amplifies those issues. Add in the lack of an optical drive (Apple has been aggressively phasing them out), and it is clear that Apple doesn't want me buying CDs from Amazon, ripping them, and putting them on my non-iPod MP3 player. It wants me buying the digital download through iTunes and syncing it with my iPod.

7: It needs more physical RAM than it comes with

My Mac mini "server" had only 4 GB of RAM out of the box and is only available with 8 GB from Apple. Apple says it is upgradable to 8 GB, but in truth it can go to a full 16 GB. When I first turned it on, it was fast and zippy. A few app installs later, and I found it bogging down. I didn't even install anything too heavy, but it is clear that OS X was sending a lot of stuff to the paging file. If I had an application open for a while and then returned to it, there wasn't a "pregnant pause" waiting for the application to respond. It was more like "waiting for the kid to grow up and go to college," as the application's memory was pulled off disk. I upgraded to 16 GB of RAM and it is a night-and-day difference.

8: The Magic Trackpad is really nice

I am not a huge fan of trackpads, but I picked up the Magic Trackpad anyway, on the recommendation of another Windows user who's been using a Mac lately. I like it a lot! I have to figure out a way to incorporate it into my daily life a bit better, though. It's fluid and easy to use, has lots of gestures other than clicking and double clicking, and is large enough so I don't have to constantly reorient my hand to it. The only thing I dislike is that a click requires enough pressure that a subsequent drag of the selected object is tough to do well.

9: Apple ID everywhere

If you think Windows and Google are overbearing, with their various single-sign-on systems, the Mac trumps them both. The use of an Apple ID is all over the place. It's funny, though: I do not question it as much as I do with Google or Microsoft. That's because Apple is not in the game of providing the data to third parties or tracking my use. If I had to rank Apple, Microsoft, and Google in order of, "who do I trust to not abuse my personal, private data for their own gain?" I'd put them in exactly that order. Does Apple use my iTunes history to suggest that I buy some songs or make it easier for me to decide what to buy? Probably. But it is no more intrusive than Amazon is, and I trust Amazon a lot with this data. Microsoft and Google, not so much.

10: It hasn't turned my life upside down

At the end of the day, an operating system is not the reason to use a device --it is what enables you to use the applications on the device and to maintain and manage it. Does OS X meet the "it just works" promise? Sure. But I do not use a computer for the sake of setting up printers or moving files around. I use it for the applications running on the device or through a Web browser. More and more, work is shifting to the Web browser, which makes the operating system almost an afterthought.

For the things that an operating system is supposed to do, OS X certainly fits the bill. But after spending a month using it, I am not running back to my Windows machine... but I am not shunning it either. Which OS I spend more time in simply depends on whether I am using my Windows development tools or the Mac development tools. If I did not use the specialized applications on either one, I don't think I would prefer either machine over the other. There are differences, but not strong enough differences for me to say one is definitively better than the other.

What is most telling is that after a month of use, I can't see any reason to hang onto the Windows machine for anything other than specialized use (development tools, Quicken), but I can't find the Mac compelling enough to take the time to hook it up to the second monitor that the Windows machine has on it and make it my fulltime primary machine. It's a stalemate. At this point, it's likely that I will wait until Windows 8 arrives and make a decision then.

How about you?

Are you an avid supporter of one platform over another? If so, what features and capabilities earned your loyalty?

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

59 comments
kim
kim

As an old Mac hand, I must say that you should install as much RAM as your hardware will allow. I run Windows in a virtual machine and things do slow down a lot when stuff is copied to and from disc.

myangeldust
myangeldust

They tell me don't buy the Windows Phone because it doesn't have the amount of applications as the iPhone. But they also tell me to buy the Mac even though it doesn't have the amount of applications as the PC. Contradictory logic. Now I find out you can't even get a top personal finance app. Nor can you use it for work - developing software for the majority of machines in the world. The OS isn't an afterthought. The web apps aren't the norm just like movie streaming isn't the norm. I'd hate to own a computer of any kind that's completely useless when Internet service goes out. Excuses are what people make to belong to something bigger. The something bigger was made by someone who made no excuses as to its purpose. Be the latter, not the former.

myangeldust
myangeldust

A vibrant ecosystem means fewer apps for more money. So developers create less and get paid more. Is there such a thing as a sellers' market in software design?

bjorn
bjorn

...I have switched entirely over to MAC about 2 years ago. I continue to support and service windows computers (thats my job) but found that it is almost necessary to use a MAC for repairing PCs! This way I do not get their Viruses when recovering data (big plus), and can easily (without the long process of inheriting rights) access read/write protected files without any difficulty. The quality of the hardware is unmatched by any PC manufacturer and the big advantage Apple has over Microsoft is that both hardware and OS is manufactured by the same company. No driver issues there to worry about to say the least. I used to HATE every trackpad on any laptop - but with the MAC I can't imagine not using one. It works amazingly good. Every gesture is processed on first try perfectly without any strain on my part... try pinch, zoom, two finger scroll on a multi-touch pc trackpad (terrible & very frustrating!). My list goes on and on... Anyway, I thank all windows users for sticking to them - it brings my bread in when getting paid to fix them!

joecamaro
joecamaro

I've been using Windows (still stuck with XP) and OSX for about six years. Needless to say, I like OSX better primarily because it's a modern OS compared to XP. The only app that I miss with OSX is Visio, but I find that I am using it less and less. I use Office 2011 Mac and I'm able to connect to SharePoint sites and use the version control features without issues. Other than problems with pivot tables in Excel (tables that work in Excel 2007 don't work in Excel 2011 Mac), I don't see any real difference. I don't use keyboard shortcuts, so that's not an issue.

charlessmall18
charlessmall18

First of all, "functional" is the adjective form of "function." And "functionality" is the noun form of "functional." All this vaporizing about which OS is the best reminds of me of the endless programming language debates I used to suffer through when I was a software engineer. Finally, after I had had enough, I said, "You can write a bad program in any language." I have used a Mac professionally (as a commercial artist) and am currently running a dual-boot Windows/Linux PC. I don't know about anyone else, but the overwheliming part of what I do with any OS is to start up programs and move files around. I take it for granted that any product who functionality/functioning/functions were so bad as to be unusalbe, would die in the marketplace quickly. So I view OSs (and cellular phones) as fungible items between whcih there is not a dime's worth of difference. When I installed the Fedora Linux distro, it took a couple of days for me to accustome myslef to the UI. After that, what I had to do first do do what I want (you always have to do something first before you can do what you want) because automatic and did not intrude on my consciousness. Ditto for any new cell phone I have ever gottent. Ditto ditto for any new car, motorcycle, or bicycle. But then, I guess I am like TV's McGuyver, if all I have to defule an atom bomb is a Swiss Army knife, a coat hanger, and some chewing gum, I will do that job with tools at hand. I am interest in results, and not the process of achieveing those results. I am especially not intersted in wasting my life dwelling on minutae like how many mouse clicks it takes to get something done!

nwallette
nwallette

It's an OSS utility that lets you cross between networked computers like they were just multiple monitors on the same box. Actually, get Syngergy+ since the original was abandoned some time ago and has several annoying bugs. One keyboard, one mouse, each computer has its own monitor(s). You can even copy/paste between them. I use it daily between two machines, running Win7 and Linux. It works great.

8130gat
8130gat

Justin; I enjoyed your article and although I am NOT a developer, I agree with your comparison & comments. When I shifted to the MAC world in 2009, I did so based on a recommendation from a friend who worked in my company's IT department. He had his MacBook Pro 15", at the office and let me "play" with it for a few minutes. Aside from a few menu items being on different sides of the screen and a slightly different GUI experience, I found the MBP to be a snappy laptop with promise. He also had the "mighty mouse" which gives the mouse the same functionality as the Microsoft PC mouse in Windows. This is really a "must" if you are to work your way around the desktop in a smooth and easy manner. I've since purchased an iMac 21" i3 with 8GB of RAM. I'm not sorry for that purchase either. Both computers do just what they are advertised to do....compute. :-) As a general user, I find the applications from the MAC Store to be quite sufficient for my needs and I can run about 95% of the types of applications that I once ran on my Intel based PC. I've been a member of the TechRepublic and ZDNet for about 4 months and have enjoyed reading the various articles/blogs comparing the MAC against the WIN Operating Systems. I often get amused by the strong opinions on both sides and can't help wanting to join in on some to request that both sides "grow-up", but that thought quickly drops, as such comments would only gender more strife. Like you, I believe that one's choice of computer is not necessairly based on the OS, but the entire package. I agree with you about the quality of workmanship and design features in the Apple line of products. I also have an iPad2, 16GB of RAM and simply WiFi. I enjoy and appreciate the design and functionality of the iPad. It nicely integrates with the iMac and MBP and I'm able to use the iCloud/Dropbox and GoFlex external storage and sync functions seemlessly. I also use Google Chrome and Firefox with their sync features to keep all applicable bookmarks/favorites/settings and the like synced between all three computers. I must agree with most people I talk to about the Mac. It is NOT cheap. But, I only purchase computers when absolutely necessary. I invested a good hunk of change to get the three machines that I have and don't expect to make any further purchases for some years to come. As a note, I just upgraded the Laptop to the latest OS, i.e., LION and noted that the laptop really runs a good deal faster. Oh, yes, one other small item asociated with that upgrade; I installed a 512GB Solid State Drive. I wonder if that had anything to do with the improved performance. ;-) All-in-All, I believe there a some great platforms on both sides of the Isle and I can't end this comment without a short sentence about the LINUX OS. It too, is a great OS, with some fine features and somewhat unlimited possibilities. Again, I appreciated your article and look forward to reading the posts that will follow.

nhadley
nhadley

But can't find a MAC substitute for Windows XP Office 2003 OUTLOOK CONTACTS where I can develop and use custom forms. OUTLOOK in MAC Office 2011on the iMAC looks very nice, but does not do custom forms. About QUICKEN: QUICKEN ESSENTIALS works on my iMAC, but takes some getting used to.

eehibew
eehibew

I think the MAC is harder to use. The PC Windows is Much - Much better and easier to use. Wake up APPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cuulblu
cuulblu

I bought my first PC in 1999. My first computing experience was windows 98. I have since been to college and worked in a Mac lab. So I know both platforms. My opinion is, for most people whatever platform you first learn is the platform you prefer. I know some people switch but they are few and far between. My biggest complaint about Apple is they are becoming a bully. How many lawsuits have they filed in the last five years? Having a beveled tablet case is copyright infringement? Really?

mrskellyscl
mrskellyscl

I've practically had Microsoft tattooed on myself for many years; however, I just purchased a mac mini for the same purpose as you two days ago. It hasn't arrived yet, and I was wondering how we'd get along. From what you've said, I guess I can relax now. I'm glad you mentioned the Magic Trackpad because I was thinking about getting one.

re.carter
re.carter

I switched to a MacBook Pro 4 months ago and like yourself I do not conform to Apples view of their users. The MacBook is a good compromise in that you can work with and around the Appstore as you can still download applications from the internet. Wait until you try setting up an iPad for any serious work if you think the Mac is at all frustrating. To overcome my residual needs for Windows apps I installed VMware and a Windows VM - but to be honest I now spend more time keeping it up to date (with windows updates and antivirus checks) than I do using the actual VM. Like you I had to double up the installed RAM, relearn the keyboard shortcuts, plus splitting the menu ribbon and the application apart, having the "X" on the left side of the tabs/apps. But that is just the price you pay for switching. On the positive side - I love the trackpad and magic mouse, really like using multiple desktops. The partial screen shots make my life a lot easier. The system updates without reboots - great. I like using Aliases to organise my documents, folders and Cloud storage (Dropbox and SkyDrive). On the negative side - I hate the non standard keyboard layout (for UK the @ is in the wrong place). Why oh why can I not get full 1920x1080 resolution thru thunderbolt port on a VGA connected monitor/tv ? Why can I not get iBooks on a MacBook ? Why do I have to prop the lid open 1/2" to get the Wireless to work when I am "docked" to my external monitor and keyboard. All in all I am not sorry that I moved away from Microsoft - though I think I will stick to my Android tablet rather than an iPad - as I like the freedom to mess around with the OS :=)

Mike Page
Mike Page

My boss wanted me to use a MacBook Pro as a Windows machine to prove to me how it is better at running Windows than machines currently produced by Dell and HP. So, I loaded Boot Camp and then Win 7. So far the Mac runs Win 7 pretty well though I haven't loaded it with the usual pile of large applications yet that tend to slow things down. The keyboard is frustrating for all the reasons people have mentioned, and the lack of a right button makes me want to scream occasionally. I've used the Mac OS since about 1985 off and on. There are a few things about the user interface that really frustrate me: 1. One menu bar for all applications. This works ok until several are open. Then I start thinking that I am interacting with a different program's menus than I am. For example, It is frustrating to close the wrong application. 2. No child windows. Each application han have multiple windows and none of them are contained in a parent window. Imagine having 4 application open with 3 windows each. Knowing which window belongs to which application drives me nuts and taxes my patience. 3. Other keyboard interactions. Windows was built for keyboard interactions from the inception. You can move / resize windows, interact with menus, move between applications, etc. all with your keyboard. This reduces the need to remove your hand from the keyboard to the mouse to the keyboard to the mouse... 4. The application dock. It takes up a lot of screen real estate, works ok until there are a lot of applications, and I don't intuitively recognize when an application is open by the graphical difference. In Windows I heavily customize the Start Button menu in a hierarchical fashion with applications I use frequently up front. Perhaps a lot of my issues are that I frequently use Windows and infrequently use the Mac, but after 27 years I still don't feel comfortable with the Mac, and Windows feels like a comfortable broken in pair of shoes or jeans.

krefting.fred
krefting.fred

I've been using a MAC at home for a couple of years and a Windows machine at work. They both work well. I really like the TimeMachine backup software on the MAC. I hook up my external drive and it keeps things backed up. Also, being a Unix Sys Admin, I like the terminal/CLI interface on the MAC.

pjshane
pjshane

I'm clearly a Windows bigot, but I enjoyed this fair comparison of Windows and Mac. pjs

don.howard
don.howard

I'm a Windows sysadmin by trade, but when I last needed to replace a laptop, I went with a macbook pro. It is a nice piece of kit with good battery life and portability. Wintel laptops with similar specs and performance are too close to the same price without the reputation for quality. Number one surprise - the multi-touch trackpad. I no longer even carry a mouse and cringe when I have to use a conventional laptop trackpad. Number one complaint - the keyboard. Honestly Apple, I think you have enough margin you could include home/end, page up/down and backspace keys. OSX is OK, but nothing special. I purchased Parallels, but have never even installed it. Found out I didn't really need it. Alas, this macbook will probably be my last. Like rhonin, I dislike the closed Apple ecosystem. (This is the same reason I don't have an iPhone.) I see no reason to have to pay the exorbitant Apple prices for things like memory upgrades and SSDs. With my current unit, I was able to perform those myself for about 30% of the cost through Apple. Seems that won't be possible on future units.

rhonin
rhonin

Using both, I find I am much more productive in a Windows environment. As i have clients in both OS's, I found I needed to have both systems. Windows feels more streamlined when executing tasks. Mac does have a great feel, but.... There are many times when executing similar tasks that the Mac feels like it has extra steps to accomplish the same. From a hardware perspective, especially ram, you are so right. This is the single biggest thing that has pushed me away from the new Mac (retina). Practice has shown me I require the ability to upgrade the hardware. This applies to both OS's. I do have a fix, resurrect the Amiga!

chris
chris

I have a Mac Mini running Snow Leopard Server, and a Mac Pro running Lion. On the Mac Pro I use Parallels Desktop and simultaneously (and mostly seamlessly I might add) can run Windows XP Pro, Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8, Ubuntu and Chrome OS. I set Parallels so I can use Mac keyboard shortcuts for everything, so I don't get confused at my ripe old age. The nice thing is, using Time Machine for backup actually backs up the other 5 virtual OSs and their data too. And Sophos scans both Lion and the other OSs for malware at the same time. I can't imagine ever going back to Windows.

gray.weakley
gray.weakley

Have you tried to run your Windows development tools in a virtualised environment on the Mac using VirtualBox or VMWare?

Rick_from_BC
Rick_from_BC

Command-Shift-4, press the Space Bar, move the camera pointer over the area to highlight it, and then click. To cancel, press Escape. Also, take a look at the program "Grab" in the Utilities folder. I use LittleSnapper from RealMac software. Preview has a screenshot capability too, under the File menu, near the bottom of the list.

Justin James
Justin James

1. I actually highly recommend Windows Phone; the ecosystem has roughly 100,000 apps in it now. A few years ago, when Android hit that number, people said, "that covers all the bases". I think WP7's app choice covers *most* of the bases. So *from me* there is no contradictory logic. I can't vouch for other writers. 2. I never said "you can't even get a top personal finance app". I said I can't get "Quicken Home & Business". There are is a version of Quicken for the Mac, as well as Quick Books. What I can't get is something that does what *this particular version* of Quicken does. I'm in a rather small boat, someone using Quicken to manage personal finances AND a business. Most businesses move to Quick Books and keep their information separate from person, few consumers try managing a business, let alone with the same package as their personal stuff. 3. I never said I can't "use it for work - developing software for the majority of machines in the world". I most certainly could, if I was doing something other than .NET development in some specific niches. I could even write Windows .NET apps on it in Mono if I really wanted to. I can write Web apps in Ruby, PHP, and Java on it. Etc. 4. "I'd hate to own a computer of any kind that's completely useless when Internet service goes out." - It's not. I have tons of locally installed applications and it's able to do everything without an Internet connection so long as you have local apps installed. Outside of the specific version of Quicken I use, and the .NET development stuff, the Mac has an equal for EVERY local desktop app I use on Windows. J.Ja

myangeldust
myangeldust

The reason you have no issues is because one company manufactures the hardware. It's the same company that develops the software. That's the reason behind your list of advantages. Alternately, if a software or hardware doesn't come from that company you'll rationalize its absence as something you didn't really need in the first place. The one constant Windows/Intel haters share and do quite well is rationalize NOT being able to use computers for all their computer needs.

myangeldust
myangeldust

That's funny. Perhaps the reason you use Visio less and less is because it's not on the OSX machine you prefer to use. As soon as you start your comments with "other than" you are placing yourself at a disadvantage when doing the things you need to do.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

XP is over a decade old. If you're going to compare OS X to a version of Windows, at least use W7.

CrispinChapman
CrispinChapman

" I am interest in results, and not the process of achieveing those results. I am especially not intersted in wasting my life dwelling on minutae like how many mouse clicks it takes to get something done!" But you see, the road to greeting the results is important. If you arrive at the same results with two oses but one of them makes you pull your hair out or throw the machine out the window then it DOES matter. If one OS requires 150 mouse clicks per hour to do my normal tasks and the other requires 50 then it DOES matter - the difference is muscle strain and productivity.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Nothing wrong with thinking one is easier and one is harder, but why do you thing that? What do you find harder about the Mac? What makes Windows easier?

dgbristow
dgbristow

I use both on a daily basis, including Windows under Paralells on my MBpro. I find the Mac interface much less frustrating to use than Windows. But then perhaps that is because I spent my early years working on UNIX systems and never learned to love anything from MS.

Slayer_
Slayer_

My first platform was Mac's, I didn't even know Windows existed until my folks bought me a PC with Windows 95 and I saw the light. Before that, I was accustomed to resetting Mac's every ten minutes. Always saving a copy of a file, never overwriting in case the system froze while saving and corrupted my data (saving to floppies). Win95 seemed amazing at the time, it started faster, ran faster, could run multiple programs at once, and the task bar made switching easier, and it didn't freeze regularly, sure, programs crashed lots, but the whole system didn't keep locking up. And of course, Task manager was a huge help. Mac seriously needed a task manager back then. The last Mac I used was OS9 back in high school, and it locked up almost every 10 minutes when you ran the graphics design software. With such a vomit taste left in my mouth from Macs, it's no wonder I stuck with Windows. Note: I have no experience with OSX and it is not my intent to bash Macs.

don.howard
don.howard

When I upgraded to an SSD, I just put it in an external enclosure, cloned to it, then mounted and set it as default. Absolutely no issues.

8130gat
8130gat

don.h; I agree that the Apple products are somewhat "closed", but that is a good thing in some ways. First: Not everyone is technically astute with hardware and software where they can open up the "box" and make improvements. So, Apple standardized their design and put their hardware and software under a tight Configuration Management system so that customer support (to the masses that are users, not technicians) could be made easier for both Apple and the user. Second: Like you, I have a technical background and once designed and built my personal computers, regardless of the Operating System. I've worked with UNIX, LINUX, Windows (ALL versions) and the MAC OS X. Over the years I've observed that the "geeks and techies" are the ones that comment the most on CLOSED and OPEN systems. Most of the condecending comments toward any OS come from the G's and T's that have the most experience with one OS and try to down-play any others. I use all four OS versions and enjoy the pro's and con's of each. I try not to do things with one that only the other might perform...but, I'm not the average USER. [This comment is not aimed at you.] I'm many years older now, and find that I enjoy just being a USER and not a G or T as I once was. I enjoy reading about the pro's and con's of various OS's and Applications, but try to keep somewhat neutral. Sometimes I open mouth and insert foot. :-) So, I'm not at odds with the closed system that Apple has developed nor am I at odds with the open system that Microsoft has created with Windows. Both have their strong suits. I do appreciate, because of my military background, the standardization that Apple has created so that when you purchase a MAC, you know exactly what you have and that it has been designed and tested in a very standard manner. The hardware is, in my opinion, excellent quality, top notch. Third: The Apple store is another somewhat fine idea, in that the software you get from the store has been examined by Apple and found to be compatible with their products. It may or may not be "perfect" and it may have a price associated with it. Personally, I don't mind paying for an application that has gone through some degree of quality control. And, by the way, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of "freeware" applications 'out there' for the MAC that will satisfy just about anyone's curiousity. It's a great computing world we live in with many, many options. And, BTW, I just upgraded my 2009 MacBookPro 15" with a 512GB SSD. Wow!, what a jump in performance. And, based on what I've read lately, I'm going to up the RAM to 8GB, even though Apple says it will only work with 4GB. Time will tell. ;-)

brf531
brf531

Or just load up Ubuntu, or MInt, or Fedora, or ... until you find the combination of features you like best. I'm typing this on an Xubuntu Linux machine, and it painlessly does everything I want. And the desktop environment is easy to customize as well. Just a thought...

jeslurkin
jeslurkin

Oh,... Aye! I would have preferred to buy an Amiga rather than my first generic beemer. The economics weren't right,... in that the system I needed would have cost as much as a true Beemer. If it were available now, perhaps I could swing it.

Justin James
Justin James

I've found that programming involves too many things like copy/paste between email and such, and *for me* I'd rather just have the two machines separate. Also, since the article was written (in was in my editor's queue for a bit longer than usual), I've made some changes to my work life and work style, and I'm aiming for full separation of work PC and personal PC. I'm using the Mac as my personal PC (if I start doing iOS work professionally, I'll buy a second Mac most likely), and slowly shifting all personal stuff off the Windows PC to the Mac. It's a slow transition, but I like having the separation since I can focus better on work, and not have work interrupt my personal life. :) J.Ja

JJFitz
JJFitz

alt-print screen is quicker than all of that. Frankly, I use Snag-it anyway.

myangeldust
myangeldust

However, your article which was missing some information that your comment above has filled in for me... except for your fourth point. You said "work is shifting to the Web browser, which makes the operating system almost an afterthought." I think it gives [non-technical] folks the idea that the future is browser apps but even you agree that local apps are still necessary. Can you imagine using Office365 on a trip where Wi-Fi is intermittent? I agree that OSX fits the bill for what an OS should do. But if I find myself making up excuses like "I can do without an app I like" then I can't say absolutely that OSX fits the bill. One has to question why can I do that with this version but not with that other version. The same goes for a Mac user going to Windows. If the user has some fav app that doesn't exist or has limited capabilities in Windows it doesn't seem right to make excuses to be without that app or those capabilities. Thanks.

don.howard
don.howard

I know I'm not and I doubt bjorn is either. (I'm in the process of building a new Win7 desktop for home right now.) However, I have to agree that the trackpad is the single best feature of my MacBook Pro. And I do hate using the trackpads on all our other laptops. In my experience, Apple is the only one that does multi-touch right. I may not get all the functionality I would with OSX, but my new desktop will have bluetooth so I can use a Magic TrackPad with Windows.

nwallette
nwallette

I never liked Mac OS back in the day. I was curious when OS X came out, but the whole Classic line was just awful, so I've been a faithful PC guy since Win 3.0 as well. Now, I run OS X on my mobile audio workstation because, so far, the performance and stability is head and shoulders above Windows. Again, I *switched* because it worked better -- I'm not a die-hard Apple fan, but I get their philosophy and I like their products. So when I say it performs better and is more stable, that comes from a long-time PC user with plenty of experience running a lean and mean Windows box. If my first (recent) dip into the Apple world had been a flop, I would be trying to put Win 7 on a diet to squeeze every bit of performance out of the hardware. (It matters when you're doing real-time audio and effects processing, and/or high track count recording.) I even tried XP first, since it's lighter, but recent hardware has moved on. If you have any interest or curiosity, you should give it a try. You can even go the Hackintosh route for the cost of OS X itself (i.e., using existing hardware), but it can be a bit of an uphill battle to get it working. If you've ever done the whole Linux thing, it's doable.

don.howard
don.howard

But you don't have to be a hardcore G or T to not want to pay Apple $200 for an increase from 4 to 8 GB of RAM, when you can do it yourself for $30. (And still have the 4 GB to use elsewhere.) I understand that manufacturing tolerances for things like the MacBook Air might only be achievable with soldered in RAM, but if they need to be a little more reasonable with the price delta. The app store mostly about control of the software distribution systems. If Apple (or Microsoft or Google) can get to the point where they are the only source for software, then they can move to a software as a service model where you have to pay and annual subscription to keep using that 3 year old system. There are lots of things I really, really like about my MacBook. I just think they are heading in a direction where I won't care to follow.

Justin James
Justin James

At least once a year I do my best to give some variety of Linux or Unix a fair, honest evaluation. It always comes up short... disastrously short. My last experiment was a few months ago, with both PC-BSD and another BSD-based distro (can't remember which one off hand, wish I could). One of them barely made it a day, the only less than a week. There were just too many foundational problems with them, like broken update systems. I've tried CentOS, SUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora, Knoppix, you name it. None of them have worked properly. I haven't tried Mint, though it's probably going to be my next stab at Linux in a few months. The problems are always the same, sadly, and they boil down to the fact that the *Nix community seems to prefer building new features over stabilizing existing features. That's their decision and I understand it completely, but for me, I can't work on a system that has some amazingly advanced features but I can't get the screen resolution where I want it, or I'm forced to choose between potentially breaking system utilities or using the most current version of Ruby for application development. J.Ja

rhonin
rhonin

Still have an old A1200 running. Had a 600 but that died, sadly. And an external, shoebox sized ( almost ) 20 mb hard drive.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Perfect setup! I love it when a plan comes together. :)

8130gat
8130gat

Justin, I would suggest that you look and try (for free) the PARALLELS VM application. You can put it in a mode that allows you to use both MAC and WIN applications seemlessly. You don't even know that you have the VM OS up and running. It is very fast and configurable. You can load all of your Windows apps in Parallels and enjoy the experience of both OS's without much, if any, degradation in performance. I've used it for about two years without any problems.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Is it because the one on the Macbook is more like an iPod touchscreen than a traditional trackpad? I thought the one sold by Apple is the newest version of the trackpad design while the most of the others are selling the previous version of the design, possibly waiting for the patents or licenses on the new design to come down in price.

Justin James
Justin James

I'm someone who also never liked a trackpad I liked. The Magic TrackPad is GIANT which helps a lot. It supports multi-touch gestures (pinch, zoom, 3 finger tap, etc.) which is nice. Even the one knock I have on it (I don't like how hard a "click" is for dragging) can should be fixable by changing what gesture is needed for drag/drop. The only reason I'm still using my mouse, is because it's on a KVM, and it would be a hassle to have both on my desk. If I were 100% Mac, there is a good chance I would use the Magic TrackPad instead of a mouse, maybe even with games. J.Ja

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I've never met a trackpad I liked, but then I've never laid finger on one from Apple. Fortunately, I only support laptops and don't have to use one on a daily basis. On the rare occasions I have to tote one, a full-sized mouse is the first thing I pack. I don't see myself buying a replacement for the mouse that came with my desktop.

Slayer_
Slayer_

At work, I use whatever they give me. At home, I am more into customization and playing. And right now, Windows is still the best OS for gaming. Mac is making progress, but still has a long way to go. Until then, I am watching from the sidelines, quietly cheering for Linux.

don.howard
don.howard

I did the whole deal with juggling drivers, IRQs, etc. just to get things to work, 20 years ago. I have no patience to do it now for basic functionality.

asotelo
asotelo

I had a client that had several laptops and PCs at home, but was always using her MAC. Unfortunately her bank did not support Quick-books for MAC, and she could not download her accounts data. She installed Parallels and was running windows Quick-books. She was not to happy about going back and forth, but other than that, Parallels was great.

chris
chris

See my "Mac with Parallels : )" post. I have 6 OSs on 1 machine at my fingertips. Parallels makes any hardware conflicts go away, and as you said, you don't even know that you have the VM OS up and running. I provide desktop phone support for customers using different browsers on different OSs, and having all these OSs so available at a click, and run so smoothly on one machine is tough to improve.

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