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Switching from Windows to Mac - One Year Later

On February 2, 2008 I was a Windows software developer. I had a house full of Windows based machines and was working on building up my next software company using some of them. I am what you might call a heavy duty computer user; I use my machines to communicate with folks (e-mail, forums, etc), develop software, manage my digital photos, edit home videos, play high end games, etc. Basically I spent most of my waking hours in front of a computer and was fine plugging away on Windows XP.

Something however was missing. It took me a while to figure out but I was simply bored with Windows. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Microsoft seemed to have abandoned any attempt at maintaining a uniform user interface and many software vendors were innovating by trying very non-standard UIs. Every time I installed new software I worried that it was blowing up the size of my Registry, potentially subjecting me to Malware and Spyware or installing replacement DLLs for libraries that other applications were counting on.

Every 6-9 months I would have to reinstall Windows and my core applications and suddenly my performance would return. I couldn't shake the feeling that I was having to put far too much time into keeping my machines running smoothly.

It was at this point in my life that many of my friends started getting Macs. They would tell me how much they loved them and how "it just works". I personally didn't find that too informative. What do you mean, it just works? Isn't that just some marketing line Apple wants you to repeat? Are you guys really falling for that?

Still, more and more people, including some highly technical software developers I knew, were getting Macs and raving about them. So on a Sunday afternoon I walked into the Apple store in Tyson's Corner, VA and started checking out a little white MacBook. A short while later I was home with the MacBook sitting on my lap and I wrote the first entry of this blog: a hardcore Windows guy gets a Mac. I wrote nearly daily after that, recording in detail everything I found that I liked and didn't like, hoping it would help other people that were making the adjustment from Windows to Mac.

Invasion of the Macs
What started out as an addition to my collection of computers turned into a full scale replacement of my Windows machines with Macs. For a while I had both my Windows and Mac cranked up and running side by side, though I found myself constantly moving my hands over to the MacBook. Suddenly using a computer felt like fun again. The interface was crisp and clean and the little machine performed incredibly well, much faster than I expected from such an entry level Mac.

It didn't take long before I learned that many of the myths about Macs that I had clung to as a heavy Windows user were just wrong. Things like Macs can only use a single mouse button, that there wasn't much software for them, or that they were really just for consumers and graphic artists. Turns out I was wrong.

Before I knew it I was running VMware Fusion on my MacBook and playing with my Visual Studio development environment in there. Wanting a little more horsepower and a lot more screen real estate I bought a refurbished Mac Pro from Apple and set that up as my primary workstation, re-purposing my dual 20" LCDs as Mac displays. At this point I really didn't even fire up my Windows XP machine any longer. Why bother? Between VMware Fusion and a large collection of native Mac applications I had a machine that could run circles around my Windows XP system.

By the middle of the year my patience for supporting the Windows XP machines that remained in the house was wearing very thin. When my wife would yell to me that her HP laptop "wasn't working" or "is running REALLY slowly" I would look at the machine with disdain and plot to replace it with a Mac. I ended up doing that for her birthday and it's gone surprisingly well, even though she still hasn't mastered how to quit an application (she just clicks the close button on the window).

So here it is a full year later and nearly every member of my family is running a Mac. I've become the "go to" person in my network of friends and family on Mac issues; if someone is considering getting a Mac they like to call and ask me about it and try to understand what will be different, which machine they should buy and how they should set it up. I don't even mind the call and often tell them enthusiastically about things like Time Machine and the iLife suite. If they're more technical I get into Spaces, LaunchBar, terminal windows and half a dozen other "must have" utilities I think they should get.

Not Perfect But Close Enough
My Macs have not been perfect mind you. I continue to get Time Machine errors that correct themselves on the next try (can't it just auto-retry once and THEN tell me there was a problem if that failed???). From a design standpoint I like the fact that the top level menu is fixed and context sensitive because it cuts down on every window having a menu bar, but it means that on multiple display systems that menu may be a screen or two away from what I am working on.

There are also times that the Mac tries to do a little too much for a power user, like when iPhoto insists that I drop my 25K photos into it's collection model in order to do anything useful with them rather than letting me keep it in my own folder structure where it can be shared by everyone in the family. I have a couple other minor complaints but I mention them mainly to point out that I'm trying to be objective in the way I've approached my Macs.

These issues aside I have been extremely happy with my switch to being a Mac user. I frequently run more than a dozen applications at the same time, leveraging Spaces to create a large virtual workspace and jump between my applications. Perhaps it's because I've been lucky but since I became a Mac user I have not experienced a single kernel panic. I mention this only because I have installed a LOT of software on my Macs, trying out many of the tools and utilities that people have recommended to me through this blog.

The performance I get from my Macs has been as good as it was the day that I bought them. I've generally found that all of the applications I get from Apple use a very standardized user interface and because of that most after market vendors have followed that lead and produce applications that look and feel like something you would get from Apple.

Last but by no means least I've found that the Mac community is populated by extremely helpful people that have been willing to give me a hand when I had a question or provide a recommendation when I needed to find the right program. This is something I experienced in places like Mac-Forums and many times in the comments on this blog.

What I find a bit ironic is that when people now ask me why I seem to like Macs so much I don't usually go into all of the details you see in this blog post. I tend to sum up my reason with:

"It just works"

49 comments:

Greg said...

Great article - we share a similar history.

For me, it was late 2001 when I reached a point where I would literally spend two or more hours EVERY EVENING doing nothing more than making sure my PCs were running smoothly and at peak efficiency. Even with that investment of time, I was never really satisfied that my machines were giving me their best performance.

Then it came time for me to replace one of them, and in frustration, I decided to get an iMac. The out-of-the-box experience was nothing like anything I got from a PC. Within 3 weeks, I had an OS X solution for everything I was doing on my PCs, and by the fourth week, turned off the PC for good (ended up giving it away!).

I have an uncle who once told me I should try a Mac. He said, "Get a Mac and you'll never go back."

He was right.

David Alison said...

@Greg: I was really shocked to see how little "technical support" I've had to provide my wife and kids. After a brief initial adjustment they just seemed to get it. The last Windows machine in our house—my son's—actually started failing last night. It gets to the Windows logo and then just automatically reboots. I tried bringing it up in safe mode but even that doesn't work. I'm likely going to use this as an excuse to get him a Mac Mini tomorrow.

Keleko said...

I've been using my first Mac for just over a year now, too, and I've been very happy I made the change. I also gave my old Windows XP PC away right after Christmas to my in-laws. I'm still finding out nifty things about my Mac. I used Automator for the first time yesterday to automate a task in QuickBooks. I have some DVDs ripped to my hard drive and got them to play on my HD TV last night (no Apple TV), and was pleased that when I went back to my computer monitor it remembered the settings I used for it.

I'm about to start the process of switching my wife's computer to a Mac. We bought a Mac Mini this past Monday. Unfortunately it is still in the sealed box because I so psyched to get her a Mac that I didn't account for the no free time to set it up all this week. My wife also wants to take part in the setting up experience to help her transition. She's never been part of a computer setup from the beginning in the past since I'd just build it and say "here you go". I'll be glad to replace the tower XP system with the tiny Mini when we finally have a chance to sit down and set it up.

I wish I could have gotten my parents to get a Mac when they were shopping for a computer in late Dec. But, my dad needs too much Windows specific things, and I don't think he would like to deal with VMWare or Boot Camp for it, so they got a Windows laptop.

Now if I could just get my employer to buy a Mac instead of Lenovo...

DuncMac said...

I had a similar problem on my new Windows PC David, actually didn't even get that far, no beeps nothing. Turns out taking out and re-seating the memory was the answer!

Can't help thinking I should have bought a Mac

Khumpty said...

David,

I made the switch approximately the same time you did, except I went straight for the Mac Pro. I'm a Windows software developer, as well, and your experience seems to mirror mine. Guilt and nervousness followed quickly a calmed excitement. When looking for a new PC for my home, my options were Vista, which I wanted to avoid and, for the same hardware, the Mac Pro was a great bargain. I've never looked back.

I've since had a child so, space and time being more limited, sold the Mac Pro and switched to the new unibody 17" MBP. Another place where my Mac experience amazed me, resale value. I sold my ~1 year old Mac Pro for roughly 90% of it's value. Try doing that with a Dell.

I've since switched my mother and mother-in-law and the tech support issues have ceased.

The new Mac experience, compared to the Windows one, is almost boring. I was so used to un-installation of crapware, beginning the lockdown with firewall and virus protection, downloading and reinstallation of necessary apps, etc. With a new Mac, the Time Machine image actually works. You're up and running and trying to find something to do with your new machine.

Sorry to be long winded, but I've been reading and agreeing for a while and thought I'd share. I get slack from Windows friends for being a "fanboy", but I go where my bread's buttered, and for day-to-day usage, OS X is better.

Great blog. Keep it up.

Tom Lueker said...

Well, as you know, I switched before you did--January 2006 (thanks WebSurveyor). However, I have yet to upgrade the whole family but my daughter is begging every day. "Dad, when you gonna get a new mac so I can have your old one?"

I have finally decided to do like you did and get the MacPro. My iMac has been great. I really love its footprint, and for most tasks (web, email, numbers, pages, etc.) it's great. Only place it kills me is video mastering. Last week I shot two hours of a volleyball tournament, and it took over 8 hours to share the footage with iDVD. Then it took another two hours to master a disk image using iDVD. I was using iMovie, and not editing at all, just loaded the RAW footage onto the hard drive, then using iDVD to create a simple three movie menu (three different games) the burn a DVD. Burn time wasn't bad, just the mastering. I'm hoping a new 8 core machine with lots of RAM will fix the problem...

Anonymous said...

Of the dozen or so Mac blogs I follow on RSS, David, I enjoy yours the most. Thanks for your postings.

Steven Klass said...

Great article - I could have written the same thing 9 years ago.
You bring back some very painful reminders on why I shifted and why I remain a mac user. As a software developer I wanted to develop software not fix/rebuild/patch/reload machines. In an house full of computers maintaining them seemed a continual task, forcing me to shift from what I wanted to do - develop!!

Sad to say I just installed my 4th airport express - extended wireless to my neighbors and have a happy clan of 5 macs in the house.

It just works!!

Ralph said...

Good point about the resale value of Macs. This is hardly ever mentioned in comparisons. I sold a 12" 3 year old Powerbook for 20% less than the cost of a new intel MacBook (at the time the first Intel generation was available).

Matt said...

Just a note in passing... From what I've heard, kernel panics are nearly always because of misbehaving hardware, e.g., a bad firewire connection or some such. It's Unix, after all, so the kernel is mostly concerned with passing messages around between processes.

Arron said...

David,

Just wanted to say Thank You! At the time you started switching, I was tempted; but had a lot of reservations. As it turned out, I had a lot of the same reservations you wrote about.

Now it's a year later, I have 3 Macs (2 mini's / 1 iMac), and they all - "just work".

I've really enjoyed reading your blog - It has helped me a lot.I refer to it often, and have even sent people with questions your way.

Here's to your continued success - Thanks again!

the_0ne said...

ughhh, seems I'm in the same boat as you all. I'm the lead tech support for my family and friends.

This weekend coming up I have 2 projects. To fix my in-law's wireless problem. For some reason the wireless just stopped seeing the network even though the other machines in the house work fine. Might be spyware/viruses again. This'll be the second time in 6 months that an XP re-install will have to be done...

Next project is to install a wireless print server for my neighbors, because their laptops (Vista arghhhh) keep losing the printers after they reboot. Losing, gone, caput. Why the hell would a machine lose a printer, several machines in fact. All vista of course.

Thank God for my co-workers pushing us to try a mini about 3 years ago. Now I have a mini at home as my backup and bittorrent server. A 2nd gen Macbook Pro and at work the boss got us 24" iMac Extreme's. The only windows computer is my 3 sons' and that's on it's way out for a new iMac. :)

Eytan said...

Thank you for blogging this last year. It has been great!
And yeah, this:
(can't it just auto-retry once and THEN tell me there was a problem if that failed???)
Drives me crazy - such a simple fix, they need to do it. They could have an alert that tells us to check the log for a failure, and keep on going, but instead if I am not there it misses a few hours of backups (not a big deal because I WAS NOT THERE so there will be nothing new, but still....

Anonymous said...

"on multiple display systems that menu may be a screen or two away from what I am working on."

DejaMenu puts the menus at the tip of your mouse pointer (wherever it is)
http://homepage.mac.com/khsu/DejaMenu/DejaMenu.html

Bob Collins said...

I'm a Mac owner/user since Xmas 1984 (the 512K "Fat Mac") so I can't say much about switching, 25 or so family Macs later. But I have noticed that I get the Time Machine error ONLY after waking a computer from sleep.

That being the case, there's no reason for me to try to back up since I haven't created any new files or modified old ones during slumber. See if that occurs with you as well.

Marvin said...

i switched to a mac in 07 and i have to say your post hit the nail on the head. i will never forget when we bought the iMac, turned it on, 5 minutes later my wife said, "is that it". the same thing happend when i set up the time capsule. we now have the imac, macbook, a timecapsule and 3 iphones. yes there are some hiccups, but they all just work. i never get the most hated calls when i'm at work that the computer isn't working, or the network is down. that right there is worth the price of admission.

Anonymous said...

I very much enjoy your writings as a Switcher, and point out your blog to explain the goodness of the Mac.

I have been using Macs for almost 20 years at home and Microsoft OS based PCs for the same time at work. As a user, I can not but use 4-letter words when I use the PCs almost continuously because of the high stress factor associated with the UI, the instability etc. of the PCs. I continuously look forward to coming home and use the Macs to get rid of the Microsoft PC Stress.

David Alison said...

@Bob Collins: I have it happen all the time on my Mac Pro, not necessarily when it's dropping sleep mode. Looking at the logs I'd say once every day or two, many times right in the middle of a session I've been active on for a while. My MacBook Pro, which uses an external MyBook drive has this happen maybe once every month or two.

My frustration is not with the error, more as Eytan points out above that it's a completely recoverable error and I'd like it to just retry it ONCE before it tells me with a modal dialog that the error happened.

Marvin said...

i also only get the time machine error when waking the macs up from sleep.

Anonymous said...

Three years here for me, working on my fourth since the Great Mac Min Experiment of 2005. Coming off using Linux at home and Windows at work when the Mac Mini came out I thought "well, it is UNIX and you do UNIX...how bad could it be? Could a Mac completely replace the Linux/Windows mix for the things I do? Cost isn't that bad at $600 and I already have the keyboard/mouse."

You betcha.

Six months later my wife decides her computer (which I built, running XP) had crashed on her for the last time. She comes into my office and says "well, every time I have a problem with my computer and come in here to get you you're always happily working on your Mac with no problems." Got her one too. Set it up, showed her where things were, how things are a little different, then walked away. Two weeks go by, not a comment, question, or problem from her so I think she must not be using her computer at all.

So I ask her how it's working out. "Oh it's great! Everything is so intuitive, we should have done this awhile ago."

Score!

Now we have matching (though not in color, hers is black) Macbooks and are never looking back. Oh sure have to use a Windows notebook at the office, but I got a team of guys I can hand it to and say "fix" if it breaks.

-walkerj from the Mac Forums

MPR said...

I'd just like to echo the sentiment at risk of making this a Mac love in.

I switched in 2003 and never looked back for my personal computing needs. At work though, where inertia and politics meet I don't see Microsoft losing lifeblood there any time soon. I do believe it will happen though, and ultra portable handset computers like the iPhone and Touch are the beginning of the end.

Like you said, computing is fun again!

chesapeake ag said...

I switched my Mom to an iMac last year and while the experience wasn't perfect (getting Quicken ported over was abysmal), screen sharing has been a godsend.

I went from troubleshooting by trying to visualize her Windows screen while looking at my Mac, to just telling her to log into iChat, requesting that she share her screen, then poking around on her machine myself.

For the most part it's just been misunderstandings on her part, and I was able to show her what was going on.

Three weeks ago I showed her how to use Power Point from 1500 miles away.

This weekend I think I'll be tackling the first "real" problem -- her iMac is locking up coming out of sleep. I was there last week but she didn't tell me till the end.

But with screen sharing I'll be able to look at the error logs directly and reinstall software if necessary (right now I suspect a third-party printer driver).

If this doesn't work I'll tell her to take it to the Genius Bar. Either way this is so much better than it used to be.

Anonymous said...

Phdlynn - Sorry I am not a switcher having used Macs for 25 years starting with the thrilling but almost useless 128 K Mac. The greatest thrill I have had in computing was plugging the 128 K Mac in for the first time, turning it on, opening MacPaint, drawing a circle, filling it with a color, duplicating it and now having two filled circles. Boring by todays standards but with a true graphic interface and a mouse in 1984 compared to command line computing of that day, it is still a thrill when I think back to that time 25 years ago. I am on my 10+ Mac and have not looked back!

MaxPug said...

David,

I read your blog and twitter regularly and enjoy the read. I work for a not for profit in Northern, VA and I started working in IT as a Desktop Engineer 12 years ago when a hobby working on computers turned into a full time job in a contract position. Now a sole Microsoft Exchange Administrator (and MCSE) with 10,000 plus e-mail user community the fun ran right out of my hobby. A few months after you switched I switched and found your blog and have not looked back. I enjoy working on my home computers again all MAC’s with a brand new iMac 24in bought two weeks ago. The only PC left in the house is my wife’s and I am looking forward to its death and rebirth as a MACBook.

I have rebuilt more Window’s PC’s for more family and friends and wasted more hours troubleshooting Windows then I care to think about. All except for my Mom who will not install a program without written permission from me and in 5 plus years I have only replaced a power supply for her PC which is running a first generation Pentium processor. Of course besides reading e-mail and the web she only installs Tax software each year and never downloads and install software off the web.

Now I know you are thinking of a MAC mini for you son but my recommendation would be the iMAC. I think the all in one iMac is probably the best desktop PC I have ever owned. Ok, I have to admit my favorite part is the lack of cables. I actually do enjoy the new keyboard that looks like it was scaled to match a laptop keyboard.

But I do have one question and anyone please respond. Not to bash Microsoft because they do have some very good products and I have to admit Exchange has gotten so much better since the days of 5.5. But why can’t they come up with a great program like Time Machine so the home Windows PC world can easily backup there data? When I got the new iMac I restored everything from my MACBook Pro right to the new iMac and all I had to do was install OS patches. All my applications ran without having to reinstall a single one. Even Call for Duty 4 that would never be possible on a Windows PC.

Keep up the great blog and as always write more.

Max

Sesh said...

Congrats on making it to Hacker news.

You almost inspire one to switch to Macs. As good they are, the overall cost of owning a Mac is prohibitive for me:

From backups to upgrades everything has to be brought from Apple only.

Sometimes I think Mac software is stable because they STRICTLY control what hardware it runs on.

Also one can never build their own Mac.

WinMac said...

Hi,

I accept that the "Mac" is a superb platform. But you can't compare it with Windows since, since it is a generic operating system that targets a lot of different hardware (I mean PCs). Here the challenge is much higher than what Apple has. Apple builds software only for their predefined hardware configurations and can come up with high quality software. But on the other hand Microsoft has to test on various hardware combinations and still they are doing a wonderful job. If you want to test the Mac OS, then they should make it open to any hardware, and should just sell it as an OS. But they won’t do that, since the supporting will be tough. And apple won't make it much into the market since they like to have a monopoly. Moreover the stability and performance of Mac OS comes from its UNIX ancestry

David Alison said...

@MaxPug: Thanks for the kind words, I do appreciate it. MS has bundled a basic backup solution in Windows for many, many years but Apple changed the game a bit with Time Machine. Instead of "doing backup" like it's always been done, Apple understood the hassles associated with it and created a solution that addresses the problem from a user's standpoint. I'm pretty confident that MS will "embrace and extend" the Time Machine concept in the next release of Windows. My personal hope is that Apple and Microsoft continue to push each other in an effort to win over users.

@Sesh: If we've all learned anything with the economic crisis lately it's that people shouldn't buy things they cannot afford, whether it's a new car, a house or even a Mac.

The issue is if you ARE going to buy a new computer switching from PCs to Macs will be more expensive but if you reduce the experience of running a computer down to purely one of dollars then it's unlikely ANY argument could be made—even one showing that Macs have a lower TCO—that would convince you to consider a Mac.

Whichever operating system makes you happy and productive is the one you should choose, whether it's Mac, Windows or Linux.

David Alison said...

@WinMac: Can't compare them because they have a different approach? Each company has chosen to provide people with solutions to personal computing. Apple has done it in a completely closed and controlled way, from the hardware and software right through the sales and service experience. Microsoft has done it through the partnership model, with many companies providing the various parts and services.

It's a bit of a cop-out to say you can't compare the two because they try to solve the same problem (personal computing) in different ways. I think it's very important to compare and contrast them; that's how companies are pushed to improve.

WinMac said...

Agreed... I was just pointing out the fact that difference is because Microsoft is targeting a wider range of audience, where as Apple the high-end quality conscious subset. Though they are solving the same purpose, their targets are different. My point is not against a healthy comparison, but about “why the crap” kind of comparison. Remember, sometimes “time” matters more than the “perfect” quality.

Neil Anderson said...

Happy Anniversary!

ps A 24-inch iMac would be great for your son. My iMac makes me smile even when it's not on. :)

aditya said...

Try Windows Server 2008 - great OS! It's windows but stable. I recommend it over OS X as a desktop OS.

OS X definitely wins on the laptop. And Linux rules but not for personal computing.

David Alison said...

@Neil Anderson: Thanks man; I'm actually going to hit up the Apple store and pick up a Mac Mini for him. He's a junior in High School so I figure I'll be buying him a new MacBook in about a year and half and then reposes the Mini and turn it into a media center machine.

Neil Anderson said...

Good idea. A friend just bought her two kids MacBooks. Nice machines with the new graphics card. And easy to swap out the hard drive. Amazing engineering.

Brian M said...

in relation to the iPhoto part:
you can set iPhoto to share your library with other people running iPhoto (it shows up on the left side), so you don't need to have the folder structure available. You can set a password on this so only authorized users can access it.

another option is Aperture or Lightroom which both will use your existing folder structure, although some people find it too complex.

Personally I have grown to love iPhoto, I pretty much forget about how its organized, I add comments, keywords, which allows instant search for specific people/places (now with '09 this has gotten a bit easier even) and by using Smart Albums I have general categories made to find certain types of pictures rather than of specific people or places.

Peedy said...

I was very much in the same boat. Growing tired of spending more time babysitting windows so that it performed normally. Updating AV, Patches, fixing the registry, we've all been there....but 2 years ago I said enough and got a iMac to do video editing and never looked back. I use a mini as a primary machine and iMac for video editing and photoshop....hope to get a mac pro this year.

Chris Howard said...

David, if you want to get a kernel panic, just do an important demo to a client. That's how I got my first one. :)

In comments you said "I was really shocked to see how little 'technical support' I've had to provide"

My brother bought a Mac a few years back. He would ring every month or so with a prob on his PC, so decided to switch to a Mac.

It was Feb. For the next 7 months I didn't hear from him. I thought he must hate it and thrown it in a corner somewhere, I mean, I had even had calls about how to use it. I was afraid to call and ask what had happened, and I would avoid asking him when I saw him.

In Sept he finally rang again. Loved his Mac, just hadn't had any problems. :)

Defeat Globalism said...

Consider using Ubuntu. It just works, and costs nothing, and doesn't require the pomposity that owning a Mac seems to require.

Khumpty said...

The pomposity isn't required. It comes from actually using the hardware and software. Anytime you know you've made a good decision there's an innate sense of pomposity. Just like you seem to have for Linux.

David Alison said...

@Defeat Globalism: I do use Ubuntu; it's the OS I install on older PCs that I keep around. Owning a Mac doesn't require pomposity. As Khumpty points out, anyone can be pompous. Even people that like Ubuntu.

Anil Nair said...

Exactly the reasons why I switched to a Macbook recently. I was tired of being "scared" of coming back from work to find my home PC unusable due to some malware. Tired of watching the processes to see what is taking 100% CPU or memory on my home PC with a decent 1 GB ram.
My Macbook is an entry level white macbook. It has only been a month since I got one. But so far it has been the most amazing experience. Especially after being a windows user for the past 13+ years. I have been a developer on the Windows 3.1 days.
I bumped into your blog while searching for the keyboard shortcuts for pageup pagedown. Thanks for the simple to-the-point information. I am sure to visit again for tips.

the_0ne said...

I was 100% windows desktop in the 90's and up to about 2002. Then used Mandrake linux (before it became that terrible Mandriva) as a desktop at work for several years. Switched to Ubuntu for several years on a laptop here at home up until about 2005. Switched to a mac and will never look back.

Don't get me wrong, Ubuntu was awesome. But I always used the idea of "Could my grandmother use it.". I've had several problems getting lots of things working on this laptop. Upgrading Ubuntu to each version was also usually problematic. I got through it cause I know what I'm doing and loved to hack things. My grandmother, not so much and she shouldn't have to.

Opinions will vary, but Macs seem to be mucher easier to work with that windows/linux ever was. I am trying to get my family to switch to macs in the next few years. I am so sick of spending hours upon hours supporting things like virus's, trojans, spyware. 3 family members have re-installed their Windows OS at least twice this year. ughhh

Speaking of pomposity, there are pompous people on every OS. I've had Planet Ubuntu on my RSS reader for a longgg time. Believe me, there are some pompous people there also. BUT you certainly wouldn't see me coming to a knee-jerk conclusion that running Ubuntu requires any kind of pomposity.

Kevin said...

Macs come with a fairly complete development environment. Using the Aaron Hillegass book, I wrote an application the first week I owned my mini. (Small app that allowed drives to be renamed. It had a GUI w/ a volume picker, and buttons with icons on them. I didn't know that "Get Info" allowed one to do that yet!)
I found developing GUI programs that ran on Windows or X11 much more difficult.

Chris Howard said...

@Defeat Globalism said: "Consider using Ubuntu. It just works"

LOL. I've found Ubuntu a chore to use.

It might work and be reliable, but that's not the same as "it just works".

You can't really explain "It just works". It's a realization you get after some time using a Mac. Usually triggered by encountering a Windows user complaining about something, and you think back over your Mac experience and realise ""it just works". You look back and feel like you've been on cruise control.

Even with 20 years working in IT support, I've always found Linux challenging. Even Ubuntu, which is one of the more friendly Linuxes around.

"It just works" is about the whole experience, not just whether apps work or crash. It's also about how much work the user has to do with their grey matter to use the system.

"It just works" is the whole experience.

Mr. Reeee said...

Great blog. I've read passed it on to quite a few Windows Sufferers I know.

My first Mac was a 512K back in January 1985. Never HAD to switch! I'd switch to cuneiform before going to Windows!

If you use multiple monitors, get a trackball. Trying to traverse that much real estate with a mouse is inefficient and just plain torture! Trackball = fast, efficient, accurate and no hand strain.

Seriously. Once you take a few hours to get used to it, you'll never go back to a mouse full-time.

Get the Kensington Expert Mouse.
http://us.kensington.com/html/2200.html

Fred said...

Happy birthday !

I've been starting reading your blog soon after you started it

Its always very pleasant, and I've been learning many things even if I started working with Macs since ... 1985

All the best and thank you

Digispeak said...

I just had my new iMac delivered today. I am a first time Mac user after having spent 20 years as a PC user. My PC laptop crashed two weeks ago and I felt this was a good time to make the transition. I really didn't want to experience Vista at all and as good as XP has been, paying for a "professional downgrade" seemed counter productive. Also I bought my first Apple product last fall, the iPhone, which I love. Making the iPhone available to the mass market was a genius marketing move for helping people find their way to a Mac. So here I am with my 24 inch iMac and I am psyched!

David Alison said...

@Digispeak: That's great to hear! There are a couple of things that will probably be irritating at first, though they are relatively minor. If you go back through to the start of my blogging you'll see that I document quite a few of the missteps I have. Good luck and enjoy that new Mac!

Anonymous said...

I switched 3 weeks ago to a Mac Pro Dual Quad core for video editing. I am using Bootcamp for my windows apps that I cannot easily replace with mac, specifically Bible study software, I am a minister but also the IT guy at the church.

I got sick of Adobe Premier crashing trying to make this small 50 minute video I was trying to make. I have made longer ones before with no problem. I was using Vista but had no other problems other than Adobe Premiere. I reinstalled Vista. I added more RAM. On reinstall I only put Premiere and the video clips on the system - still would not work.
I gave up and bought my Mac.

Apple is the only real computer store left in our area - funny I live 45 minutes from Silicon Valley in Northern California and no major computer retailer is left - Circuit City and CompUsa are closed. Best Buy and Costco only sell entry to mid-level machines. Dell is okay if you can wait a week or two for a custom build and shipping. But there are no more helpful local retail stores here but Apple.

I am a heavy user as well - especially video and graphics. My Mac Pro kicked out that 50 minute video in iMovie and iDVD without blinking once I converted the MPEG2 files over to .dv files.

I love all the new apps that came with my Mac also. I am still a Windows guy at work; but Mac guy at home; and I would not go back.

Brian, Daly City, California

Chris Boshoff said...

Everybody I know who bought Macs say their computer problems stopped the day they bought their Mac.

I wish I could say the same of my Windows Vista laptop, but that would be a lie.

I believe there is a bit of a learning curve when you buy a Mac, but I am sure it can be overcome.

My next purchase will be a Mac. I have heard the same story from too many different sources now to ignore it any longer.