Apple's new slogan, "The Hip Factor"

I just recently read Jason Hiner's latest blog post on Tech Sanity Check, "Poll Would you be willing to use a Mac as your primary system?." Early last year, I wrote a piece called "The Hip Factor" that discussed the cool factor in owning an Apple as opposed to owning a Linux machine. I finally bit the bullet this year and purchased a 24 inch iMac with 1.5 GB and a 250 GB hard drive. It boasts a NVIDIA GeForce 7300 and an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. This machine is smokin. I also added a VP2130b ViewSonic 21.3 inch secondary monitor with a Logitech Dinovo Edge keyboard which I plan to review for you later this month. My mouse is a simple MX 610 Laser Cordless mouse.

After setting up my Apple configuration, I used Parallels for my virtualization needs. I loaded Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP, and Windows Vista in separate virtual machines. It was a snap to do this in Parallels and the performance was great. During the day when I was working remotely, I had to use Windows boxes so Parallels was the ticket. I would fire up my XP or Vista machine at full-screen and perform my job.

As a Sr. Technical Consultant out in the field, I work remotely on Windows machines all day and I do a lot of database and Web server work. I do not think a day goes by where I do not touch some sort of SQL Server or Terminal Server box.

It was extremely difficult for me to completely move to an Apple machine. Initially, I was very unhappy with the Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse. I dumped them in the first 60 minutes of using them. Moving around an Apple was difficult for me the first 30 days. I had a lot of new keyboard shortcuts to get used to as well as the basic file structure configuration. I love keyboard shortcuts. I know each and every one in Windows, so moving to an iMac was very frustrating from the shortcut sense. I had to retrain myself while continuing to switch between Windows and Apple. At the end of each day, I felt mentally drained and realized it had a lot to do with trying to remember how to move around in an OS X environment. I have always been a Windows user and moving around a machine in Windows is effortless for me.

At 60 days, I was moving around very quickly and really started looking at what Tiger really offered me. There are a lot of great tools for both the average user and the publishing guru. I see a lot of value. I never felt safer using one over the other. You still had to elevate your rights in Tiger to do certain administration tasks. I really do like the nifty white remote that I get with my iMac that allows me to watch movies and play music. The Apple hardware is top notch.

At 90 days, I was completely frustrated with my virtual experience. I was doing too much hardcore Windows work to totally rely on a virtual machine. I needed to be able to maximize the power of this great machine. It was time for Bootcamp. Installing Windows Vista on my iMac was a piece of cake. The performance was a 4.5 on the Vista Scale with the lowest score going to my gaming graphics (3.5). I am not a gamer so that is a non issue to me. One thing that came out and slapped me in the face was that for some reason the ALT/OPTION key on my keyboard did not allow me to choose what OS I wanted on a reboot. The only way to choose is to reboot and hold this key down. Upon further research, I found out no Windows keyboard can do this; you need to use the Apple keyboard.

At 120 days, I haven't booted into OS X in over a week because I have been very busy. As a corporate user, it is impossible for me to use just Apple as there are many pieces of software that just do not work with OS X. I also have issues with Safari and Firefox that I do not have with Internet Explorer. Safari and Firefox are great browsers and I use them but for some reason I still prefer the look and feel of Internet Explorer and I am not alone. We can debate all day long about how other browsers are more secure and I would agree with you but I still click the "big blue E" when three browsers such as Firefox, Opera, and/or Internet Explorer are my choices. It is my comfort zone. Do you feel the same way?

When using Apple, Parallels works great and I have plans to show you just how great it works. It is a fabulous piece of software and they have a feature called Coherence that you are just going to fall in love with (more on that later). Virtualization falls short for me personally when I need to utilize all the memory and processing power for the work that I do. When this happens, I boot into Windows Vista completely via Bootcamp.

In the corporate world, I need a Windows machine. I enjoy my Windows machine. I love the Apple hardware and I love Windows Vista on this hardware and now I have the best of both worlds. Windows Vista on some sweet hardware and Tiger OS X as well.

At 150 days, I use Windows Vista with boot camp primarily but when my corporate work is done, I boot into Tiger OS X and I play with iPhoto to make calendars for my kids and I watch movies, upload video and make really cool movies with iMovie and iDVD. There is a lot to learn about Tiger OS X. And I have to admit, I do feel hip when I use my Apple.

Are you interested in taking a journey with me? Fill out the following polls and let me look at the results.