Are You Scared to Make the Mac Move?

Geek!This is Ollie Mallard’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

1. Does it crash?

Many people ask me this question, especially when they see our Mac lab at school. They always take one look at them and want one. The answer to this question is: YES. Unfortunately, they do crash, but no way as regularly as a Windows machine might. I mean this in the way that OS X is a lot more stable these days, and works well with supported hardware. When it does crash, you will either get the endlessly Spinning Beachball Of Death, or it’ll will sort itself out in a few seconds. Or, you might (on very rare occasions) get a “kernel panic” with a message in the center of the screen suggesting you need to restart. Kernel panic = equivalent of a BSOD on Windows.

2. I can’t do my work as well on it!

This is a large concern because people have been sucked into Microsoft Office. The truth is a Mac OS X is just as good, if not better, at “office” tasks as Windows is. This is, again, primarily due to the stability and user friendliness of a Mac. Not to mention, you can actually get Microsoft Office for Mac or use Apple’s own iWork (and we all know that iWork is Chris Pirillo’s choice, if he doesn’t recommend Google Docs or OpenOffice.org). iWork is a suite of utilities that includes a word processor, a presentation tool, and a spreadsheet application. All of these iWork applications work well and are largely Microsoft Office document-compatible.

3. OS X is not as powerful as Windows.

Windows a few years ago, may have been more customizable than OS X, but things have changed, tables have turned. OS X features many power user-friendly features including Quartz 2D Extreme, a powerful 2D rendering tool. And if you’re a tweaker, you’ll love to have Secrets installed. Chris did a video on Secrets one time – it lets you fine tune your Mac down to every last detail. He’s talked about tweaking OS X at length.

4. Are programs difficult to install on OS X?

Apps are far, far easier to install and uninstall than programs are on Windows. You merely drag and drop. It is as easy as that, believe it or not, in Mac OS X. Typically, there are no complicated installers to mess with. Uninstalling is just as easy. Drag the App you do not want into the trash. True.

5. Is it hard to find things?

Good heavens, no! If you can find stuff easily in Windows, then you can definitely find something in OS X. In your Dock at the far left, there is a happy little icon called Finder. He is happy to help you find anything. Whether it is an app or a document, he is willing to help. Just click the Finder icon, and up will pop a window with all the places down the left hand side. There are places like: your hard drives and USB drives. These are generally at the top under the Devices section. Underneath them is your network devices and below that, you will see folder shortcuts for Documents. Applications, Videos, etc. Another easy way to find things is Spotlight. In the Menu Bar at the top right of your Mac desktop is a little magnifying glass icon. Click it, and you will see a search field. Spotlight will find apps, documents and e-mails – just about anything on your hard drive(s). So, if someone asks you if it is hard to find things on a Mac, you can say it’s far easier to do than it is on Windows.

I hope this guide has nudged you a little bit more, pushing you toward getting your first Mac. Good luck to all who has entered the HP Magic competition, and if you haven’t: DO! I enjoyed writing this very much, and it did not take that long – so why not submit your own article to Chris, too? Thanks again for reading.

13 thoughts on “Are You Scared to Make the Mac Move?”

  1. Very nice post. I have been using leopard since it came out, and have never had a “kernel panic” crash on my laptop! (i got it alot with an old iMac running panther)

  2. That is a very good article, and having recently won a bid on a early 2007 MacBook Core 2 Duo machine, I am looking forward to trying Secrets! Also, I loved the description of the Finder as a “happy little icon” it cute. And I like cute. (=] x 9999999)

  3. I made the switch as soon as Apple started using the intel chip. I figured if OSX wasn’t living up to my standards I’d still have a nice laptop and load windows in boot camp and never look back.

    OSX won me over right away – for my PC needs I use Parallels in coherence mode, basically this allows me to run windows apps in a VM, but in coherence mode each app is in it’s own window, just like on a PC. I use outlook daily for work and it runs great, along with office 03 and my VPN client for work.

    Making the switch to mac was a great move for me – just remember, Mac, PC or some form of UNIX/LINUX a computer is a computer – it’s not 100% nor 100% secure.

  4. Mac OS X is stable. I have 24 Grade 4 students using iBooks with Mac OS X 10.4.11 pounding on applications such as iMovie, iPhoto, iWeb, Keynote, Pages, and GarageBand for approximately three hours a day. I booted the computers in September, gave them to the students and haven’t rebooted since … they’re in the 90+ days range now without a restart.

  5. “they do crash, but no way as regularly as a Windows machine might”
    Why can’t people shake Window’s BSOD image? I have been running Vista as my main OS for over a year now, and have not had a single crash. This may be because I’m not using any old/unsupported peripherals, but regardless I’ve personally had nothing but good experiences with Vista. It certainly doesn’t regularly crash!

  6. I have been a long-time Windows user, and in fact, a power user of MS Word. I recently took on a contract at Apple, and started using the Mac versions of MS apps. At this point, I have to say that the keyboard acceleration facilities of Windows enables me to be 25% more productive on that platform than on the Mac.

    The Mac versions of the MS apps have a few keyboard shortcuts built in, plus the Mac Ctrl-F2 accelerator that lets you maneuver clumsily about the app. menus. Windows, by contrast, lets you activate a menu in any app. by pressing Alt+. The next Alt+ combination executes a menu command (shown as an underlined letter in the menu choice) or opens a daughter menu. Therefore, all commands are *easily* accessible from the keyboard within 1-2 seconds, usually without having to take one’s hands off of the “home” row.

    I could, in theory, build my own keyboard shortcuts for the Mac versions of the MS apps, if the Mac MS version of the macro recorder recorded mouse actions in menus, like its Windows counterpart. Sadly, however, it doesn’t. Moreover, I don’t want to waste my time building custom key commands when the OS should provide a generic mechanism for such operations.

    I would be open to changing my mind if I could find a utility that provides a global menu access keyboard acceleration method. Until then, I remain a fan of Windows.

  7. Earlier his week, I sent this e-mail to a friend of mine:

    Subject: Seriously. Buy a Mac, already.
    Body: I know you need a car. I know you need the lower half of your body replaced. I know that you have to eat.
    But, seriously… buy a Mac mini. You won’t regret it. Food and the ability to walk are overrated.

    The learning curve is tolerable, the support system is grand, and the platform is crazy-full of photographer’s goodies.

    Screw Photoshop and Lightroom. Use Graphics Converter and iPhoto, or Gimp and Picasa,
    or PixelMator (http://www.pixelmator.com/) and Shoebox (http://www.kavasoft.com/Shoebox/)…

    Buy the base model mini and upgrade it later with parts from http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/mac-mini/

    It’s worth the $600. It’s not a speed demon, and it’s no gamer’s box – but it will do everything you want it to do.

    You don’t even have to switch to the Mac full time with a Mac mini. It can be your photo and music center (I’m sure you’ll be syncing your iPhone pictures to it, so it may as well house your paltry music collection as well), available at the turn of a knob on a cheap Keyboard/Video/Mouse switch.

    There is no need to step out of your comfort zone for “everything else” while you find a home for all your pictures.

    …you know you wanna….

    Who needs hips anyway?

    – NN

    Last night I got the call…. she got the mini.

  8. @jake3_14 – The crux of your complaint is:
    It’s not how I’m used to doing it.

    Well, your three choices are:
    1. Adapt
    2. Go back to your old way.
    3. Change your computer.

    You’ve mentioned a very complex (and MS-think way) of accomplishing #3.

    I suggest you look into Quicksilver before you hurt yourself or your machine.

  9. The blog software deleted a key part of my post. Where there appears Alt+, it should say Alt+[letter].

    The reason I use keyboard shortcuts so much, BTW is RSI injury. The less I use a mouse, the better.

  10. This is a great Top 5 List. This is what people need to hear when there thinking about making the switch. When people start talking about the price they need to put good thought into what they’re buying, A great computer with a Great OS that Are made to work perfectly with each other. OS X is great for “Office” Work with it’s great organization and stability. 2 things that you really need with office work. Also as you mentioned it is easy to install and uninstall software. The only problem with that is that removed apps will leave junk behind that can cause your computer to run slower than usual. Thats why its a good idea to get a app like App Zapper or free equivalent to get rid of the left behind junk.
    Overall great list. Good Job.

  11. I am a Mac based Virtual Assistant and help clients make the switch to Mac from PC. This article is a great resource to have in hand to present to them when they are on the fence about switching. Thanks!

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