I hate my Mac!

I was chatting with some friends yesterday, some folks I hadn't seen in a while. As they were getting ready to leave Donna looked over at my MacBook, propped open and sitting on a table.

Donna: "Ugh. Macs."

She had a disgusted look on her face, as though something unpleasant had just been released into the air. This caught me a bit by surprise. You see, Donna had called me earlier in the year because she wanted to replace an aging XP based laptop and knew I was a happy Mac convert. I talked with her for a while about the benefits of a Mac, telling her about why I liked it and what she could look forward to.

Since switching over to Macs I'm very careful about promoting them to others and my description of them to Donna fell right along those lines. I don't get irrationally exuberant; when switching to Macs from long time Windows use I recognize that attitude and approach is critical to being happy with a new personal computer. I'd rather people be happy using their computer, whatever it happens to be.

Donna: "I hate my Mac! I wanted to take it back it's so hard to use!"
David: (shocked look on face)
Donna: "Nothing works the way I expect it to!"

I couldn't just leave it there so I started to probe a bit. What didn't work the way she expected? Was there something specific? Have you never read my blog?!?

Donna: "When I try to open files from work they simply don't... work. And if I make changes I need to convert my files so that people back at the office can use them!"

This sounded bizarre. Well it turns out when she bought her Mac the sales person at the Apple store talked her into getting iWork. He told her she could open and use all of her MS Office related files with iWork so that's what she went with. Though they sell Microsoft Office for Mac at the Apple store, this particular representative apparently wanted to push iWork.

iWork is not MS Office
Since I run my own company I get to define the standards and I'm using iWork. It's a nice, elegant suite with a great word processing application (Pages), innovative presentation software (Keynote) and a barely serviceable spreadsheet (Numbers). As long as you're not doing anything too complicated with Numbers it's fine, though it's still a pretty rough application. Don't believe me? Try building up a fairly complex formula and using help to determine what certain functions do. It's a major stumbling block.

If Apple is serious about making iWork a contender against MS Office one of the things they will need to do is some usability testing on recent switchers using Numbers. If your knowledge of spreadsheets was built up or refined using Excel then you're in for a rude awakening when you try to be productive with Numbers. More than any application I've used on my Macs, Numbers requires huge pauses when I'm trying to create new spreadsheets that are more than simple ledgers.

While word processing interfaces are pretty well standardized there are a number of interface "innovations" that have made their way along from the ancient days of spreadsheets that have been ingrained into the way people work. In Excel on Windows if you want to copy and paste a series of cells you select them, Control-C (Copy), then move to the cell you want them inserted and press Enter. I personally hate that Excel has modified one of the most common behaviors of the operating system user interface (Copy and Paste), yet that's what people use. It's also something Donna stumbled on.

Donna: "Copying on the Mac doesn't work right. I can't copy and paste like I used to!"

As our discussion carried on it was becoming increasingly clear that Donna didn't hate her Mac, she hated iWork and the empty promises that it would work with her existing files.

Donna: "When I get a file from work I open it and then I have to "share" it back to a DOC file or Excel spreadsheet. I can't just save it like I used to. If I forget then people at work complain to me that they can't open my files."

It was then that it started to become clear that she had transferred her frustration with iWork over to her entire Mac experience, painting it all with the same brush. When I tried to steer the conversation away into other areas she grudgingly acknowledged that photo management, web browsing, e-mail, etc were easy, though it was clear her frustrations with key work related tasks had poisoned her approach.

I suggested that she go out and get a copy of MS Office for her Mac. This is actually the approach I had to take with my wife when I switched her over from Windows. Her school uses MS Office and while I tried to get her to use iWork she just didn't feel comfortable with it; too much change at once. I also told her about the One to One classes that Apple offers through the Apple stores; hopefully she can sit down in that environment and get answers to her questions.

My parting thought with Donna was that attitude was everything when changing to something different, whether it's a computer, a job or a relationship. If you find yourself looking for everything that's wrong you will doom that change to failure. It's OK to be skeptical and question things but when it switches over to a "this sucks" it may just be time to move on.

Hopefully Donna will be able to enjoy her Mac the way I and my family have enjoyed ours.


the_0ne said...

I'm completely happy with Neooffice. ONLY Problem is it's very slow to open up.

I work for a very small company and we switched to mac's about 4 years ago. Of course before that we were Windows 2000 (still the best version of windows to this day, IMO) and MS Office. Going to iWork would have killed the staff, so we tried neooffice. Openoffice at that time was not ready for a mac OS at that time, which is the reason we chose neooffice over openoffice.

Disclaimer: I would actually switch to OpenOffice, now that it's been tailored to mac os x. Much, much more improved and much faster than Neooffice. However, there is a bug in the current version that only allows the (Apple - ~) key combination to cycle through your open windows once. Then you have to go back to the beginning window by way of mouse to cycle through again. Clearly a bug, waiting for the fix

Jeff said...

One wish (among several) for iWork would be the ability to default the save format of my files. Would be great if I could tell Pages 'save my files as .doc by default'. I believe you can do this with OpenOffice.

Unfortunately, my guess/assumption is that the absence of this feature was a conscious decision on Apple's part.

Anonymous said...


I ran into the same problem when switching over to a Mac. My wife also needs to use Microsoft Office for work. I use iWork & love it but having that copy of office made the change over a lot better. Having switched over a year ago I finally switched all my computers over & am one happy person. Although after a year I am still learning!!!

John said...

the_0ne: Perhaps it was intended as a feature. Generally on the Mac, you can reverse cycle through your documents using Command-Shift-~ I can see where one might think that would be better way to cycle through your documents (cycle forward, then cycle reverse) so that you never get lost in the loop of which document you began with. That being said, Command-Shift-~ is not very easy to press.

pmf said...

As a long-time mac user (20 years), I find iWork to weird. It's too different. It's trying to be different for the sake of being different. And Office for Mac 2008 isn't all that great (compared to the PC version of Office 2003).

I'll just stick with MS Office 2003 on my PC laptop. And Open Office on the Mac.


the_0ne said...

John: Interesting, never thought of it that way. However, I don't think I know one other application that works that way though. But then again, I use a lot of "generic" apps. Firefox, Thunderbird, Neooffice. I hardly use anything that's just Mac-centric.

qka said...

Point of trivia: Excel originated on the Mac. At that time, MS' spreadsheet for their platform was Multiplan.

Which is why I've always found Excel to be "un-Windows like" on Windows boxes.

Although, recent versions haven't felt very "Mac-like" on Macs either.

Keleko said...

When saving an iWork document, the save dialog has a checkbox for "save Word/Excel format" so it isn't too difficult to save for MS Office. I would like it if iWork would automatically save back to the format of the file opened instead of forcing iWork format.

I actually switched from OpenOffice to iWork because iWork was easier for my kids to use to do their school projects. When we bought my wife her Mac mini we took advantage of the discount on iWork with a new computer and got it then.

Anonymous said...

Well, as such even with MS-Office 2008, we have issues on compatibility. iWork ? it is for a different purpose that can also open MS Office files - do not use it as a replacement folks.
Also, the MS Office is available for 100 bucks on occasions (thanksgiving, christmas sale etc.) and less than 200 bucks -
For work, I am sure you may find it in you to shell out the extra 200 bucks. It saves many hassels if not all.
While I am no Apple fanboy, I am definitely a Mac fan - it has helped me immensely since I switched in 2003. Be it sound, photos, videos, songs, docs, notes, ... Simply a very reliable solution - compared to the constant reinstalls I have been subjected to with Windoze.
I am no microsoft hater either. Just that I hate reinstalling the OS and paraphrenalia several times a year.

Paul Russo said...

I am amazed that Apple markets iWork as a perfect replacement for Microsoft Word.

iWork is a beautiful program. Many of my clients love its capabilities and how it doesn't fight you the way Microsoft Word does.

However, I always make it clear to them that iWork is the wrong solution if you're sharing files with other people because it almost always means sharing Microsoft Word files.

justelise said...

Anyone who listens to a sales person instead of doing their own research, and creating a list of their specific requirements, is bound to have a similar negative experience. This person clearly didn't do their homework before switching, and can't take the blame for it, so they blame the Mac.

Rick Baskett said...

Yeah I enjoy Open Office also, does everything I need it to and is perfectly compatible with MS Office.

Robert said...

When I bought my 1st Mac 2 months ago, this was one of my biggest complaints also. Numbers as a replacement for Excel is beyond laughable.

Another big gripe is everything having to do with Boot Camp. Apple markets it like it somehow makes the transition easier. When you try to use Boot Camp, there are very small number of real and very essential steps but they are hidden in a 40+ page How To. It was a very Microsoft-esque experience and did not in any way "just work" as Apple's marketing trumpets. It took a lot of fiddling and research.

After my 1st failed attempt at installing XP in Boot Camp, the computer kept rebooting to the XP CD and failing to recognize the disc -- with no option for how to eject the disc and no physical override to eject (on a MacBook Pro). I had to get on another computer to find out that you have to hold down the eject button while rebooting. Seriously? Similarly, I couldn't figure out how to boot into other OSs. Apparently you hold down Alt while rebooting. This is also mentioned nowhere easily findable.

I do like my MacBook Pro and love a lot of aspects of OS X, but do NOT believe the "it just works" hype. It's still a computer and some things will still frustrate you to physical tears while you're learning them.

David Alison said...

@all: Thanks for some great comments. I may have to revisit OpenOffice to see if that's a good solution for my wife. While she is functional on Word on her Mac it's got some serious little challenges of it's own.

@Robert: Yeah, I was fortunate (?) to avoid all of the bootcamp issues because I dove immediately into VMware Fusion. It really made the Mac / Windows running side by side ridiculously easy. I highly recommend it. I've also heard good things about Parallels.

As for the "it just works", I've found that for the vast majority of things it really does. It's also why when I do come across problems they seem to be pretty glaring. I believe that long time Mac users—those that aren't coming to Mac with a Windows background—have a much easier time.

David Alison said...

@Keleko: Couldn't agree more. The "I'm going to turn this into a different kind of file by default" behavior is just wrong.

Rick Baskett said...

@Robert @David: You guys should look into Sun's VirtualBox, much easier than Boot Camp. I haven't tried Parallels, but it's the same thing in that it runs right there within OS X, instead of booting into it.

Robert said...

@David: I got Parallels but the cheapest copy of XP that I could find was OEM which required me to install physically. I then had Parallels convert it to a VM, but this means I got to experience the joys of Boot Camp installing 1st.

Keleko said...

If you're going to try OpenOffice, I'd also suggest you try Lotus Symphony - IBM's version of the same software. I've heard that the interface for it is better done than OpenOffice itself. Since they're both free it wouldn't hurt to do so.

Sim said...

How are things with Shared Status? I haven't seen an update in a while.

Rick Baskett said...

@Keleko Thanks! Im trying it out now, I hated the download process and it's really slow starting up and creating a new document, but man, it does look a lot nicer than OO3. Ill have to continue playing around with it and see what I think. I didn't even know about Symphony, very cool, thanks!

Tom said...

I use the latest Office in Windows using VMWare Fusion. Office for mac might be good, but it's not as good as the native Windows version. Add the unity-feature and you've got a very pleasant way to work imo.

David Alison said...

@Sim: Thanks for asking about SharedStatus. We've been pretty quiet lately because we have a massive update coming in September. The development team (myself included of course) have been working to get a whole range of new features in and the web site is up for a complete redo. The cool part is I ended up contracting with one of my blog readers (and Twitter followers) to rebuild the entire web site. He's been doing a fantastic job and I'm excited to show it off next month.

Anonymous said...

justelise: "This person clearly didn't do their homework before switching, and can't take the blame for it, so they blame the Mac."

Well, I wouldn't blame Donna. Switching operating systems present major hurdles to a regular person, all change is intimidating and there is a lot of information to gather, etc. I think most people try to figure it out along the way. So sue them! :-)

Neil Anderson said...

What did a recent switcher friend say?

It's like being in a foreign country. Everything looks beautiful but I can't understand what anyone is saying!

Anonymous said...

I switched to Mac and was very happy with the operating system and the hardware. The productivity suite was always the weak link - Mac Office isn't even close in polish or features to Office for Windows. Windows 7 has changed the equation for me and I recently switched back to Windows. Windows 7 is just a great operating system. Windows 7 + Office + all the games my kids love is the best solution for us. -Solly

brichpmr said...

I was just over to my local Apple section within a BestBuy, and the sales guy was pushing iWork to a young lady who was weighing her PC and Mac choices for entering college. I gently chimed in that iWork is a swell application, but that it might be 'safer' to load MS Office 2008, especially if planning to trade or share Word, Excel or Powerpoint docs with Windows users. I'd like to see Apple enhance iWork to make it seamlessly compatible with MS Office while maintaining its aesthetic qualities.

Anonymous said...

I am Mac thru and thru ... but I am also honest. Nothing changes really ... does it?

Life is just the same when all Apple had was Clarisworks ... Apple is still stuck in the same mindset and we, as Mac users, are still unwanted second class citizens when it comes to the downgraded Mac MS Office. There is, of course, no question that Microsoft has also deliberate cripple the Apple version of Office.

Mac ... safe, pretty but retarded.

Why Apple does not weigh in and fix the Open Offices is another unanswered question.

After 14 years of this, I am getting pretty sick of being a second class citizen.

La♥Incognita said...

I just want to say, you have a great blog. i'll be back to read often.

Anonymous said...


Great post. I love Numbers. A very simple program for doing simple tasks for simple folks like me:-)

Here's what I mean. I open a csv file in Numbers which opens the file waaay faster than Excell. Then when I want to arrange a column to ascend or descend it will do it for the whole table. Nice. Especially when I'm trying to do research on finding keywords.

Next, I can quick like a bunny add a text box and put in my Keywords under the table. I don't have distracting 'table lines' in the background.

I did all this without having to read a manual or go to help. Like I said. For simple folks like me I love the simplicity of Numbers.

I'm also a CEO of my company. The CEO of ME :-)

Anyhow, as my Mom used to say, "To each their own as the old maid kissed the cow".

Christine-Megan said...

I have iWork and NeoOffice installed on my computer. It's the perfect solution for me. I use iWork for home projects and NeoOffice for most of my grad school stuff. My sister is in college and just bought a Macbook. She uses her computer almost exclusively for school (while mine is more a part of my everyday life). She wanted to use iWork exclusively. Due to the frustrations I knew it would cause her if her professors required a digital copy of an assignment or she wanted to print at school, I strongly discouraged this. I do wish she would have listened to me. I suspect she'll learn the hard way.

Chris Howard said...

Dave, she also did something else that I hope you gently discouraged her from.

That is, she didn't come back to you sooner with her problems. Why do people do this? If I was her you'd be the first person I'd be on the phone and straight away. I'd be like: "Allison! What's this crap you sold me on?"

But instead people just stew on it. Is that something they learn to do using Windows? Do they get into the mindset that there are problems and you just have to put up with them?

Regards OpenOffice. Another app full of promise on compatibility but falls short.

Mac MS Office is not 100% compatible with Windows MS Office, so what hope has OpenOffice got?

I installed it and it was fine until my kids started bringing files home from school. A couple of days of incompatibility later I gave up and installed MS Office.

If you aren't going to be document sharing with Windows MS Office, the OpenOffice is fine (if you can endure its ugliness).

But if Windows MS Office is important, don't get anything except Mac MS Office.

Chris Howard said...

Oops. Last line should have read:

But if Windows MS Office compatibility is important, don't get anything except Mac MS Office.

David Alison said...

@Chris: You know, I wondered that same thing. I asked her up front why she didn't contact me when she started having problems, even though I had offered to help her out. In the end I think she regretted the purchase immediately after setting up her Mac.

Since she got her advice from a store clerk (not sure if it was an Apple store or a Best Buy), I have a feeling they did some "selling" beyond setting reasonable expectations. Once it didn't meet those expectations she just made up her mind and from there it was "nothing works".

Anonymous said...

I'm a store clerk, and I've never pushed anyone to buy iWork. If they need to get Office to stay in PCland I suggest they do so. It's just a big selling point for people that iWork is $100 less with your computer.

So, you think you're going to update to Snow Leopard?

David Alison said...

@Anon: Yep, I'll be upgrading to Snow Leopard not long after it arrives from Amazon today. Blog post to follow shortly.

Neomusashi said...

I had no problems opening up office documents with IWorks 09. Seems to do the trick for mee. I can even save as .doc file. But i do indeed have office for mac as a "joker".

Abe said...

I have been using Macs for 3 years and when I first move to the Mac I too was having problems, it is hard to switch overnight, you are so used to commands and those tricks that you do to make windows work in order to actually make it work.

I now use Snow Leopard have an iMac at home and 2 imacs at my office, and since I am my own boss I have imac and iWork an all Macs and I ditch Office just over a year.

One of my employees just bought his own mac (MacBook Air) and he is a happy camper!!

I believe that you have to make your switch slowly and I am guessing she did it on a rush, when I was moving to mac I too got upset because I couldn't do stuff THE WAY I HAD USED TO and occasionally i went back just to get work done faster; and slowly i got over not I am 100% Mac for over 2 years my 5-year-old daughter is about to her her first Mac this Christmas :)

Anonymous said...

For sharing documents in "Office" centric apps, no doubt having the MSOffice suite is the best choice. As a close second, my experience with MSOffice<->NeoOffice translation has generally been quite good, especially considering NeoOffice is free.

As to problem that Christine-Megan points out (about her sister in submitting assignments), remember that Mac can create PDF files directly from any app that prints, and it is always better for a host of reasons to submit that format as a completed work!


Anonymous said...

I love my iMac when it works... I will NEVER purchase another one!!!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely hate my Mac, not the software, but the beautiful desk ornament itself. Thank god, it is my wife's computer and I don't have to use it on a regular basis. The remaining issue though is that when something does go wrong I have to fix it for her. I always remember a comment from my brother when I told him I was taking my wife's iMac in for the third time in less than four months. Something came up about the warranty, and I mentioned that I NEVER buy extended warranties. My brother, a HUGE MAC FANATIC, (who wait-lists himself for every new OS release, every new iPhone release, etc.) gasped, "but you ALWAYS have to buy the extended warranties, Apple is notorious for hardware issues on all of their new products." I purchased the extended warranty that very day. And a good thing I did. That first iMac was replaced after I believe the fourth time into service repair (even though I live in a big city, and drove it to an authorised repair centre, I lost use of the beast for 4-7 days, during each visit). I bought a replacement beast, and foolishly paid another $500 to upgrade to a larger screen (this is what is the definition of throwing good money after bad). All went well for awhile, maybe a year, and then the DVD failed to write (fine, I'll bypass the beast and use an external DVD writer), but now, the internal ethernet port has failed. Mac support has put me through hours of troubleshooting, including an upgrade to Snow Leopard OS (will I NEVER learn?), and yet they still want to blame this on the Belkin router (which works the charm for my netbook and laptop). I'm on hold now twenty minutes so far, after what I'm told is the final test (didn't work), so now Apple may just decide I'll be lucky enough to send off this beast one more time. Well there is a silver lining here. I'm anticipating a lovely week of not having to look at the iMac. BTW, the kids have iMac G3s and they love them. They are really dinosaurs, but great for eight year-olds. I was buying them used, and because of my experience with Apple's newest I saw the writing on the wall, and picked up four G3s for my two kids. As luck would have it they have never failed. I have orange, pink, turquoise and indigo, anyone in Sydney want one?

OK I have vented. I feel purged. For the life of me though, I have no idea what is in this Mac Koolaid, that makes folks so love their Apple products, when most admit Macs are truly dogs when it comes to performance. Can the cute design really be worth the pain?

iPhone -- NEVER, EVER, EVER, even if it is the last mobile on the planet. I'd sooner give up telecommunications than buy one from Apple!

Have a Mac-alicious Day!

Cheers, Pj

AliBali said...

PJ, I am an Apple fan, but have had a lot of problems with hardware quality since they switched to Intel. G3s and G4s seem bomb proof.

Pre 2008, I only ever had a problem with third party RAM. However on my iMac, a HD failed (down to overheating), a keyboard and a mouse. My Macbook has had the cracking palm-rest thing and my Time Capsule has died. I'm not out of pocket and Apple support has been superb, I usually just go straight to my Apple Store (10 minutes away by train).

This level of design and h/w failure is unacceptable. Apple need to crank up the fans in the iMac/ Macbook lines - smcFanControl is useful here and fix the Time Capsule. Essentially overheating seems to be a major problem with the current lines.

Anonymous said...

I HATE my new Mac! I've given it a good test drive (6 months) and still can't stand it. It's driving me nuts. I'm goin' back to PC.....bummed that I can't return this piece of crap.

Anonymous said...

I hate my Mac too. I wish I had never bought it. It's good looking but is not compatible with work, purchasing anything online, etc. etc.

David Alison said...

@Anon: Some people are better served with Windows. I understand some people can't / don't want to learn different technologies, however saying you can't purchase things online is ridiculous (unless of course you're just trolling—good luck with that).

Anonymous said...

I bought an iMac in May, and I have to say I hate it. It is the only machine I have ever physically hit in frustration. I'm a longtime, intensive user on PC who regularly uses Excel and Word. The transition has not been easy, and I now run my iMac as a Windows machine through Bootcamp. Here are the problems I encountered:

-No good manual to explain the differences and how to use the Mac that I've found. Certainly none came with my iMac.

-No intermediate level of icons between the menu and hotkeys to close/open programs such as Windows has. Why doesn't the red button close a program instead of just minimize it? The yellow button does almost the same thing as the red.

-The Mac and Windows versions of MS Office are different enough that you must basically learn a completely new program to use Word and Excel on Mac. I have spent hours figuring out how to do things in Mac Office until I just gave up and went back to my Windows laptop.

-Realplayer files from PC won't play on Realplayer for Mac.

-iPhoto automates too many things and is awful to use. While I can use Finder to create folders for my photos, it is not as easy to use as Windows. I have yet to find out how to sort by file type for a column in Finder.

-The Mac mouse is so small it caused my hand to cramp. I had to buy a new one.

-The USB ports for memory sticks are all inconveniently on the back of the iMac instead of on the side of the monitor.

Perhaps Mac Office 2011 will address some of these issues. It is a pretty machine, but trying to use it has been month after month of frustration. I usually just return to my laptop if I have work to do and don't have time or patience to sift through Mac's differences.

It's just not the machine for me. It may be for others. I sadly cannot return it.


Anonymous said...

Wow, there sure are a lot of fucking morons who comment on why they hate their Mac. Go buy a $200 piece of shit PC then asshats, nobody here will miss you. If you are too fucking stupid to read a manual or spend a few minutes brushing up on what is different between OS X and Windows, then you fail at life, period. Fucking idiots.

Anonymous said...


Bert in Pittsburgh said...

Well, I bought a MacBook Pro, converted from from my windows machine and gave it to my niece (mistake). With my windows machine, I could plug any card reader into it (mostly video) and could easily find it. Believe me, I have been searching for how to manage files. I have no manual, and bought the macbook brand new from the store. I'm thinking of taking classes (which is pathetic) but I want to adopt the technology cause it must be better since all of these mac users love it so much. I'm just exhausted trying to figure it out on my own. I'm nearly ready to just dump it on craigslist but hate to do that. I was able to create a video, don't know how I got the file though. frustrated and happy with the performance, but would't recommend one to a non mac user. Is there somewhere i can go online to teach and help me with this stuff. Like a "macbook for dummies" kind of site?????

David Alison said...

@Bert: Moving to a Mac can be frustrating - it's one of the reasons I wrote this particular blog post. I have a few options for you:

Read through this blog! One of the things I did when I switched from Windows to Mac was start this blog. I wrote down everything I encountered, where I got tripped up, etc. Just click on the Blog Archive on the lower left of this page. You can start off from February 2008 and move forward if you like.

If you are the book type, I highly recommend you get David Pouge's Book Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Snow Leopard Edition. It will help you make the adjustment from Windows to Mac.

Finally, if you are a hands on person and you are fairly close to an Apple store, try buying the Apple One to One service. They can walk you through anything you need to do.

If it gets too frustrating and you don't want to spend the time adjusting to the Mac way of doing things, you can always list the Mac on Craigslist and likely get pretty close to what you paid for it. Another alternative is to return it to Apple and just pay the restocking fee.

Good luck Bert!

Baskettcase said...

@Bert Also you can try Apple's switcher information: you can also join a forum like which is geared for switchers. There are quite a few resources out there.

Bert in Pittsburgh said...

@David, thanks for your response. I just ordered the book from Amazon. @ Basketcase, thanks for the link. I really want to learn this. I was messing around one night and was able to put up youbube videos (just search for bbankovic on youtube. My daughter (who is 8) did most of the work since she uses macs at her school. I never could have done it without her...yes, and 8 year old. Maybe that's why I'm frustrated. I can run circles on a windows machine, but my 8 year old and I messed around with iphoto and imovie and there's no application for icantdoitwithoutmy8yearold. So, I'm going to learn it even if I have to start taking classes at the 3 Apple stores in Pittsburgh (and more to come I hear).

Anonymous said...

I have had my expensive iMac for over a year now, and I sadly use it only to read email. It is a pretty toy and I revert back to my laptop or PC in my office to do any work.

This is my second attempt at switching to Mac and in both cases Macs have proven a beautiful machine that does not work well with the PC-dominated work/academic world.

For me, this attempt has been nothing but a series of frustrations. The people at the Apple store told me the machine could run the Windows programs I need for work. They failed to mention it required a tricky partitioning of the hard drive followed by buying and installing Windows at a separate cost.

There also are no manuals. Apple's Switch 101 is basically useless and more propaganda about how good the Mac is rather than how to address fixes for the ways Mac doesn't work with PC programs. David Alison's blog is very helpful, but as you can see from the comments, asking for help and voicing your frustrations in Mac forums often elicits Mac zealots who call you an idiot rather than offering help.

I have grown tired of people telling me Mac can do all the things PCs can...if you only do 20 extra steps and install several new programs. I have a great deal of work to do. I didn't understand the steep learning curve required and the many hours you have to invest in installing new programs, tweaking things to work, etc. If you read this blog and others, you quickly see how much time and effort people must invest to switch and love their Macs if you are seeking a workhorse computer to replace a PC. If you are looking for a machine to read emails, make videos, etc. Macs work fine.

My iMac is a beautiful machine. I like the keyboard, but it is not suitable for anyone in a business or academic setting requiring intensive use of MS Office, statistical programs, GIS, etc. The Word 2011 is an improvement but still is not the same program as PC's Word. When I last checked EndNotes did not work on Word 2011, so I could not use it to do my work.

I've talked three people out of buying Macs thus far. Why pay more for a machine that can not do what a cheaper PC can? Apple has done a magnificent job marketing Macs. Many friends love their machines, but when I've asked them how to do something I need to do, they grow puzzled and eventually admit they either don't know or the Mac cannot do it.

Anyhow, I remain frustrated. I now need a working desktop computer for home. I'm going to try to convert my pretty toy to a Windows machine and see how that works. If I cannot, I'm going to have to admit I made a big mistake and go buy a $700 PC to do the work my $2000 iMac cannot. Buyer beware.


David Alison said...

@Alan: It sounds like you're happy with your PCs. Why even bother getting a Mac? If it does everything you need to do, I'd recommend you simply sell your iMac (fortunately resale on them is very good) and just get a high-end PC to replace it. Windows 7 on a powerful desktop or laptop machine is a decent operating system, assuming you wipe out all of the extra bundled software most manufacturers preload on the machine.

If you decide to keep your iMac, you may want to consider installing and using virtualization software like VMWare Fusion or VirtualBox (it's free). It allows you to run Windows inside of a virtual machine on your Mac so you don't have to reboot.

Unknown said...

I wish I had found this post before I bought my MBP. Absolutely HATE IT. 4 computer frieds recommended it and 1 said I'd hate it even though he found his pretty ok. Should have listened to the one. The apple experience is like a baskin robins with only vanilla ice cream because the almight SJ said so.
I hate the way Finder works and it's view. I hate iWork. With more knowledge in office than most programers and VBA skill set, my $2200 laptop is a beautiful piece of hardware with software that is mediocre at best. You'd think an i7 quad core with 8gb ram and 500gb HD it would screen compared to my dual core, self built home PC. Nope, the laptop barely beats it. I average 1 crash/lock up per month with a hard reboot. If I was stuck between Windows ME or OSx, i'd pick OSx, but Windows 7 and office on screeming machine will cost about $500 less than this MBP that I mostly boot into Windows 7 now. And don't get me started on the SNAFU of iPhoto or iTunes (losing meta tags, and duplicate music all over the place) Anyone want to buy my custom ordered MBP from April 2011?

Anonymous said...

The only problem I see is you making someone happy with Windows use Macs. Just because you like them, doesn't mean everyone will.

MacHater said...

Anyone want to buy a nearly-new MacBook Pro (15")? I absolutely hate this piece of garbage. I use it only like a toy, to surf a bit and watch videos. It's useless for most everything else I want to do. It was a case where I listened to some Mac people when I needed to buy a replacement for a 4 year old PC laptop. Big mistake!! I'm going to scrap it, take my loss, and move on to a Windows 8 machine very soon.

P.Tang said...

I use an iMac and MacBookPro as well as several PCs. I have had much more frustrating experience dealing with Mac mostly because information is not forthcoming for fixes. I wished I had never updated any of the operating systems, but I did. First, my Point of Sale software Lightspeed would not work properly with Yosemite. Then, my Superdirve (I would call it something else but super, superbaddrive) started making coasters burning CDs. It started doing it after upgrading to El Capitan, so don't tell me its the drive itself. As for Windows? Since I upgraded to Windows 10, no problem for 3 PCs running on Windows 10. Would I buy an Apple computer again? Not until hell freezes over.