Monday, 1 December 2008

The move to Mac

For a couple of years now I read about the fascination people had with all things Mac. How much better they thought they had it compared to Windows users. How they never had any IT problems with Mac OSX. Friends of mine (IT pros) bought Macs and said they were satisfied with it. So I got curious. So curious in fact that two months ago, I switched my primary computer from a Shuttle Windows machine to a Macbook.

The thing was I wanted to switch from a desktop to a notebook. I like the portability of a notebook and after more than 4 years my little, trusty pc was due for an upgrade, but I got a good opportunity for it to sell.
I've used Windows 95, 98, ME (bit of hate there), 2000 and XP and I have respect for what Microsoft does: they have to build an OS that works on numerous combinations of hardware (a problem Apple does not have since they build their own) whitout problems while constantly being scrutinized for being the biggest software company in the world. I never had the big horror stories that some seem to have. Maybe this was do to the fact I kept my firewall, virus-software and updates up to date and never installed software I wasn't exactly sure of. But for full disclosure: I have had my viruses and an occasional blue screen, but those where minor and over the last 10 or so years, my computer experience has been mostly good. But to put it like this: I don't hate Windows or Microsoft.

But as stated I got curious. So after doing research I took the leap and bought a black model of the Macbook. It took little time to get used to (really, when you know your way around a pc, the Mac has no real hurdles), but let's not get into detail. Just the likes and dislikes.

Likes:

Installing/removing applications:
Really, this is a no-brainer. Just throw it in the applications folder and it'll work. Just throw it in the trash from the applications folder and it's gone. That easy. At least for 95% of the programs. There are some programs (Office for Mac for instance) that seem to do things a little different, but most of the programs I installed come from the former category.

Sleep function:
Somehow this never worked really well in Windows. Works like a charm in Mac.

Quicksilver:
Quicksilver should come pre-installed with every Mac. It's that good. Another bonus it's that it's Open Source and free.

The smaller things such as the overall design from both hard- and software. Almost every program I used on my Windows machine has a Mac counterpart. That there's no real learning curve. Time Machine and iLife are a great set of applications.

Dislikes:

Itunes:
Itunes plays the music and has some good features, but when you come from being a Winamp user with its easy to use interface and options, Itunes is a bit of a disappointment. Reloading 5000+ mp3's in Winamp is a snap; in Itunes it takes time.

No tabs on a taskbar:
Call me Windows-nostalgic. I usually had a lot of windows open and would switch between them easily clicking away on the taskbar. I miss that on the Mac.

Finder is no Explorer:
I just prefer Windows Explorer to Finder. No real reason, I just do.

Then there are the smaller things: having to do the force-quits on some applications that stopped running. The fact that I can't get the firewall to do what I really want it to. The fact that you have to Cmd + Q to quit programs. Having to use iSync and Contacts to sync my Nokia phone to Entourage. No simple way (yet) to sync my Google Calendar to Entourage (although it seems there is some hope). That when you click a bit below the application bar it goes back to the Finder bar. Some hassle importing settings for Firefox. But those are minor and could be part of me not knowing the ins and outs of the applications. There's still a bit of a learning curve there.

Despite that, my experiences with the Mac and OSX have been great. I love the design of the UI and the Macbook itself. It's true is that it just works. There are a few snags, but nothing major. It's a great system with good software and I'm satisfied with it.

It is however not the eye-opening or life-altering experience that some claim it to be.

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