Making the switch
Macs have always struck me as more of a religion than an operating system. A family friend and I have a long history of a friendly Mac vs Windows rivalry. He’s the Mac evangelist and I was, well, I wasn’t a Windows evangelist but I guess I played the part of a disbeliever.
At some point in 2004 he finally won the argument and I promised my next computer would be a Mac. But then I got cold feet and I signed up for a course that required I have a Windows machine and I bought a some assembly required Windows box from one of those cheep no name computer stores that come and go over night. This particular store had been recommended to me a couple times and had stuck around for 5 or 6 years so I figured it was fairly reputable.
A year later the Windows box self destructed. First I bought a new power supply, then a new fan, then new memory, then a new mother board and finally I stopped short of replacing the hard drive and just pronounced the damn thing dead.
Out of excuses to not buy a Mac and very mad at my last Windows machine. I rented a Mac one for a week to see if I could live with it and decided, at the very lest, the whole command vs control thing would not drive me crazy. Once I discovered I got educational pricing (the job would suck if it wasn’t for the benefits!) I couldn’t even argue with the price. At the very worst I could wipe the hard drive, install Windows, and pretend I never bought a Mac. Apple also has a very articulate environmental policy which doesn’t hurt at all.
I bought a 15" Mac Book Pro.
The first week I had it there were a couple times I desperately wanted my money back but after two and a half weeks these are my thoughts:
As screen technology evolves I’m sure it won’t matter but right now with this screen on this computer I miss the way Windows renders text.
Work flow is the thing that has bothered me the most about switching. I find I lose windows other other windows and occasionally have to minimize things to the dock one at a time to find them again. Then I have to un-minimize them because you can’t alt-tab to things minimized to the dock.
I really can’t make effective use of dual monitors any more because the menu bar stays on the main screen no matter what and tool bars and pallets have to be moved individually.
I also dislike the way applications just pile up. Every now and then I go to click on a pallet or a scroll bar and suddenly I’m an another application.
Learning an new operating system
Switching from Windows XP to OS X was as easy as switching from Windows 98 to Windows XP. And, lets face it, even Windows users are going have to learn a new operating system when they buy their next computer and just cuz it’s pretty doesn’t mean Vista is going to be easy to use.
Running windows hasn’t been a problem. I’m playing with Parallels and I’m going to give VM Ware a go before I decide on which to use but I’ll be happy with Parallels.
Buying new everything
When I bought the Adobe creative suite for Windows apparently it came with licenses for Mac versions as well. Suite. Unfortunately I can’t seem to locate CS2 versions of any of the Adobe stuff but I’m happily running all the Macromedia stuff in OS X and the Adobe stuff in Windows for now.
As for other software, hurray for educational pricing.
Damn this is sheer dumb fun.
Quicksilver looks like it could be the coolest thing ever, but it needs to be customized to be used to it’s full potential and I’ve found the basic documentation to be kind of sparse. The basic idea of being able to do any task ever with a keyboard short cut is very appealing. I am all about not having to use the mouse.
When I told my Mum that I was buying a Mac the first thing she did was seek assurances that I wouldn’t become an Mac evangelist like our family friend. I don’t want my money back but I don’t think Mum has anything to worry about just yet.