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.
Hey Chris, you may know my as AYBABTU in the chat. Anyway, I compiled a list of things to do right out of the box when you aquire a new Mac…
Update, Update, Update! One of the best features of the Mac OS X operating system, is that Apple is constantly releasing updates! These can range anywhere from firmware to bug fixes, and many times patch harmful security flaws in the operating system. To find these updates, go to the apple menu, and select “Software Update.” Once you’ve done the first round of updates and restarted your computer, go through the process again, as Software Update has a maximum amount of updates that it can do each time.
Calibrate the display! This is one that a lot of people can forget, as they are already busy glowering in the beauty of their new computer. To access this menu, go to the Apple menu, system preferences, displays, color, and “Calibrate…” Make sure to tick the “Expert Mode” box, as this opens up a whole other section of options. Adjusting the white point correctly is crucial for reducing eye strain. I usually prefer mine a little more towards the blue end of the spectrum.
If it’s a laptop, calibrate the battery! Charge your battery fully (until the charger light turns green), and unplug it. Don’t let the computer go to sleep, and play on your computer until it dies. Make sure to ignore the “Reserve Battery Power” messages. Once your computer has fallen asleep in an effort to maintain your data, let it sit for about 5 hours, until the white light on the front of the computer has stopped pulsating. Finally, plug it into the charger, and don’t unplug it until you are again at 100% charge. Calibrating the battery is critical for having a better battery life.
Repair disk permissions! Unless you have the computer of the gods, odds are that there is some error in your disk permissions. Open the program “Disk Utility,” found in the “Utilities” folder of your applications. Select your drive, and then select “Repair Disk Permissions.” This makes your computer generally less prone to errors. If you’d like to get slightly more advanced with it, and are comfortable at the command line, you can do a full disk verify and repair by restarting your mac into single user mode. You achieve this by holding down the “apple” and “s” keys right after the startup chime. Once you see some scrolling white text, wait until everything has stopped moving. Type: fsck -f (and then press the “Enter”). Make sure to remember the space in between (!). This takes about five minutes, but will repair everything that it sees wrong. Remember this command if ever your computer won’t mount the hard drive, as it has saved me on numerous occasions.
Set up a backup system! I suppose that this goes for all computers, but this is a vital step. Regardless of brand, all computers will have their bad days, which usually occur at the exact moment that you need your files. Apple has already included a great backup utility, Time Machine, which is free, and it’s included with the operating system. If you do not have leopard, but are setting up this system late, apple has another great utility called “Backup.” You can download this off of the Apple website. It isn’t as intuitive as Time Machine, but it gets the job done.
I’m lucky; I still have a working iSight in my home office. I don’t really use it anymore, because newer webcams sport far better resolution, image quality, frame rates, etc. No, it’s not up for sale – it’s a collector’s item.
However, I wanted to let you know that just because a webcam doesn’t say that it’s compatible with Mac OS X… doesn’t mean that it isn’t. Many boxed products on the market today sport Windows-compatible labels, but that never stops me from plugging any USB 2.0 device into a Mac and being pleasantly surprised when it works without hassle.
I remember trying to get the Xbox 360 Vision cam working in Windows Vista – and it was a near impossible feat (you have to uninstall the driver it tries to automatically install, turning around and telling Windows to recognize it as some kind of generic video device before it’ll work properly). To get the Xbox webcam to work on Mac OS X, you merely need to plug it in – that’s it. It’s one of the best webcams out there because of the fantastic image quality, focus ring, and insanely low price.
Same holds true for the new HP webcam I just reviewed last week. Why don’t these device manufacturers put a “compatible” label on the box? I’m not sure how such certification works – if it’s that Microsoft paid them, or Apple didn’t? No matter, if you purchased the device – there should be nothing holding you back from using it on whatever OS will support it.
If you have an older webcam, or a webcam that doesn’t want to plug-and-play, download macam for uber-compatibility on OS X:
macam is a driver for USB webcams on Mac OS X. It allows hundreds of USB webcams to be used by many Mac OS X video-aware applications. The aim is to support as many webcams as possible. In addition, macam also supports downloading of images from some dual-mode cameras. macam especially tries to support those cameras not supported by Apple or by their manufacturers.
With that, I was able to eke a few frames out of my ol’ Intel Pro and 3Com HomeConnect webcams from yesteryear. Oh yes, I’m a webcam addict – I admit it. I decided to post about Mac webcams tonight after watching rizzn’s post on Logitech’s allegedly-new Mac webcam (which isn’t necessarily new). I don’t have the Logitech webcam in question, but just about every newer Logitech webcam I’ve plugged into a Mac has worked without any additional software. Here are Mark’s thoughts:
Krish just so happened to be watching the live video feed the other night. He felt compelled to email me with suggestions, and I felt compelled to respond.
I have just watched your wife Ponzi unwrap her brand new Macbook Air in which you state that she is looking for portability. I find it hard to believe that your wife has searched everywhere because if she had, she may of come across the Toshiba R500. This laptop is a 12 inch, 2.7lb laptop with very good specs. It also comes with extra security with their brand-new finger scanner. Anyway, I have just written to let you know that if you really were choosing for portability, I think you may of rushed in to things a little bit too quickly.
Yeah, but… it can’t run Mac OS X.
Yea but it is more compact, lighter and is much more secure than the Macbook Air. Plus Windows isn’t that bad. I have run Windows all my life so its only my opinion. Also I have actually used two Toshiba R500 laptops and I think they are very lightweight as well as portable. It also runs fairly well.
Doesn’t matter. Still can’t run Mac OS X.
Yea but as far as I know, Ponzi had put Windows Vista on the Macbook Air. I have never used Vista purely because of the fact that most reports show that it crashes. Anyway, I am sure Apple OS X is good but as far as I know Windows Xp and Vista still have a lot of features. Plus I have seen how the new Macbook Air has a lot of extra things you have to carry. Even without those things the Macbook weighs 3lb. However, the Toshiba, in comparison, only weight 2.7lb. Plus, with the Toshiba, you don’t have to carry all these ‘extras’.
What part of “it doesn’t run Mac OS X” are you not understanding? 🙂 It’s not just about the hardware, but the operating system running on top of it – for me, that’s a very important factor.
I love my Xbox 360s; I think Popfly rocks (Silverlight will bring much needed competition to Flash). Plus, I can’t live without Exchange and its server-side rules. I love my Microsoft mouse more than any other mouse in the world. Surface looks totally awesome, too.
Microsoft does some amazing things – very amazing things. My choice, however, for a primary desktop operating system is no longer Windows – it’s Mac OS X. Duh. It’s rather difficult to admit that officially, if only because… well, I think Microsoft does amazing things. They’ve also been quite supportive of my own efforts over the years, if only because they understand the value of one user.
I’m still openly willing to give feedback to Microsoft’s product teams – Windows included.
If you’re also looking to Switch, let me tell you that VMware Fusion signed on as a Video Show sponsor – and would be more than happy to help you with the transition. Realizing that many of you are hooked on Parallels, I’m guessing that VMware would do just about anything to win your attention. I also have great sponsors like Plasq.com (who make Skitch.com and ComicLife.com) and Shinywhitebox.com, who makes iShowU, Stomp, and Chatter. These are independent Mac OS X software developers with widely-accepted products. While I don’t need to justify my actions to anybody, I feel I have 50 strong reasons to finally make the move. This is after posting a list of my favorite Mac apps a few months ago, and inspiring Brian to create Appster (so that you could blog your favorite Mac apps with ease, too).
Anybody in my chat room who watches the live video feed with any regularity knows that I’m a platform neutral geek. Keep that in mind as you read the following list:
Seems that the future of Windows development is happening largely for corporate environments and customers. I don’t take issue with this other than being someone who doesn’t live or work inside a corporate environment at home.
Excellent power management in OS X. When I close the lid to my MacBook Pro, it falls asleep. When I open the lid to my MacBook Pro, it wakes up. Imagine that! Seems to be the case 99% of the time, and it happens quickly.
I’m ready to experience different frustrations. OS X isn’t perfect, certainly – but I already see its noticeably more stable than Windows Vista has been. Kernel Panics at least look prettier than BSODs. 🙂 Seriously, I just find OS X’s update schedule to be more to my liking – instead of waiting for gigantic service packs, I get minor point releases along the way to major revisions to the OS. Bugs are going to happen, but knowing that showstopping / security bugs are likely to be squished quicker gives me amazing peace of mind.
There’s more interesting, useful, beautiful, and affordable software being developed for OS X. If you still believe that there’s no software for “the Mac,” you’re simply a fool who hasn’t done his or her research.
VMware Fusion makes it possible to have every operating system at my fingertips (as well as every app that runs on ’em, FTW). Performance and stability is a reality, not a dream. More importantly, with USB 2.0 support in VMware Fusion, I have near complete compatibility with any external hardware. Parallels is also there, which should keep competition lively.
I believe that the future of Windows (or any OS software layer) will be experienced in a virtual machine of some sort. People have been dual booting for years – now I can triple-task cross-platform in seconds flat.
Not to say that Microsoft or Linux haven’t made great strides in recent years, but… at least Leopard feels like only one team was developing the UI. It’s not quite perfect, but closer to what perfect should be. I’m not a huge fan of iTunes or every other Apple utility – but at least with Leopard, they’re trying to make them look and work the same way.
I love the fact that most programs and their associated libraries are self-contained (apps). There’s no stress in installing / uninstalling most programs, and for true cleanup jobs there’s always AppZapper.
I’m not a huge fan of the Dock for task management, but Quicksilver has virtually no Windows equivalent (in terms of elegance and scriptability, although it’s still completely overwhelming to me right now). The dock isn’t a shining example of where OS X is “better,” but I do appreciate the context menu options for each of the Dock’s icons for “Open at Login” management.
Spotlight is to Windows Desktop Search as a BMW Z4 is to a Ford Pinto (in terms of performance, usability, and UI). No contest. I’m sure some would argue the opposite, but… they’re also probably the extreme developer “but it works if you just learn how to use it right” types. Feh.
The Apple community has been infiltrated by enough people who aren’t smug. You’re not better than me just because you run another OS or support another vendor, nor are you any less of a geek. Not every Windows user is a neanderthal, although some of their dated arguments would make them out to be. I think that most consumers are caught up in the idea that you NEED Windows for everything at home. You don’t.
My iPhone is not going away anytime soon. Would I switch for better compatibility with a communications device? Not necessarily, but if the future of OS X is in the present of the iPhone… they’re going to gain consumer market share at blinding speed. Remember, I wanted to hate this device – after years of being a dyed-in-the-wool Windows Mobile advocate.
The spyware / malware / virus threat is diminished by an extreme degree. Not to say that one should avoid running protective layers of software or hardware, but… I’m just not as nervous when I try a new app on OS X.
Many of my friends are considering making the switch as well. This dovetails nicely with my first point. I can tell you that just by showing off the fun features of CamTwist and Colloquy with my live stream, a few of those community members have already purchased MacBooks – or are strongly considering doing so in the not-too-distant future. Interestingly enough, those are two FREE apps that work amazingly better than most overpriced Windows shareware titles.
Microsoft Windows completely abandoned its power users, period. Where are the Windows Vista “Ultimate” add-ons? Where are the new Power Toys? Why doesn’t Windows Media Player have podcast support yet (despite me telling them to integrate RSS back when WMP9 was in beta, years before podcasting was a buzzword)? I’m not saying that Windows is dead – not by any stretch of the imagination.
Boot Camp, if all else fails.
A single SKU of Leopard is both 32-bit and 64-bit compatible. This, alone, is a fantastic reason to embrace the platform. It’s seamless. Why should a consumer have to come to a decision on which code to run – or understand the differences between them in the first place? Remember, I’m to be considered a “home” user.
Time Machine. Wow. Can it really be this simple? “Simply select your AirPort Disk as the backup disk for each computer and the whole family can enjoy the benefits of Time Machine.” Do you understand what that means? And no, Windows Volume Shadow Copy is not the SAME thing.
Leopard’s Finder will allegedly search networked computers seamlessly, as well as allow you to access those results remotely (through a paid .Mac account, which would totally be worth purchasing at that point).
Java app performance is decent on OS X, and the same code looks infinitely better when it’s not running on Windows. In fact, most third-party apps are very well designed so as to integrate seamlessly with the entire OS. That’s beyond refreshing.
Adium is there – an Instant Messaging client that allows you to use AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk, and other accounts through a single client. It’d be my replacement for Miranda IM. Skype also works on the Mac. I expect to see even more universal IM apps reveal themselves over the coming months.
Bonjour is proving to be quite useful on my home network. Computers with Bonjour-enabled services are automatically discovered with virtually no fuss – even my networked Windows machines have been playing along.
Joining wireless networks in OS X is easier and more refined, easily accessible. The tools for networking don’t seem overly complex, either.
Setting up services such as Windows File Sharing, FTP, and even Web sharing can be done on OS X with just a few clicks. If you’re telling me that I could set up FTP just as easily in Windows, then… it obviously can’t be done as easily.
Almost all of the audio and video formats out there can be played on the Mac with Video LAN Player (VLC). One less barrier to entry.
Great Web browsers that work in Windows also work on the Mac (Firefox, Opera, SeaMonkey, Flock). The only exception here is Internet Explorer, or any third-party overlay to IE (such as Maxthon, which has been taking a slight turn for the worse with 2.0). Of course, there’s always the “invisible” virtual machine possibility (read: VMware Fusion’s Unity mode). Moreover, Safari / WebKit is gaining speed on all platforms.
Erasing deleted files placed in your trash (also known as a Recycle Bin in Windows) can be securely erased in OS X. No need to mess with third-party software.
You can still right-click in OS X – and the way Apple decided to implement it is far more convenient than you’d think. In fact, I find double-tapping the mouse pad far more intuitive than using a second mouse button. Didn’t take long to get used to it at all.
Wanna set up a VNC server on your Mac? No problem, its already apart of the operating system! Moreover, the feature isn’t buried three levels deep. It’s sitting right there in the Finder. Moreover, unlike Windows Remote Desktop, a Screen Sharing session doesn’t lock the remote user out of his / her session – one reason I’ve always loathed RDC.
Microsoft doesn’t have an iLife. Not even close. It has a set of multimedia applications, but they don’t seem to be cohesive in the slightest. Maybe things will get better as Live continues to evolve?
You really don’t get to play the blame game with Apple. They make the hardware AND the operating system, so… they really know what’s going on, and they really know if the problem is widespread.
A Mac costs about the same as a comparable Windows PC – for hardware and (for argument’s sake for those who don’t believe me) bundled software. And for those who still claim that Macs are still more expensive, they obviously have never seen or priced a gaming rig. Price / cost is relative. If you want a cheap machine, that’s your prerogative. The resell value on Macs has always been higher than that of an equivalent “Windows” machine.
You can record audio and video conversations from iChat 4.0 (natively). That’s pretty amazing, as it takes the idea of “video chat” and puts it into a time-shifted space. This isn’t just useful for those of us who conduct guest interviews regularly, but for home users who want to save calls for posterity.
Dashcode appears to take the geekery out of widget-building. Moreover, the new “Web Clippings” widget appears to work better than anything I’ve seen come from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, et al. This is putting the user first…
With a .Mac subscription, you can save common local settings as global ones. You only have to configure your Dock or System Preferences on one machine to have those same changes appear on all machines connected to your .Mac account. Unbelievable.
Unlike Windows font management, you can activate fonts as you need them within Leopard. This translates to less wasted overhead by fonts that remain largely unused in memory. I can only imagine this results in far less resource-intensive sessions. Genius.
Automator now supports UI Recording and Playback, which means you can create “macros” without understanding a lick of logic. The last time I saw a native macro recorder in Windows was… v3.0? You don’t have to be a geek to gain access to geeky-cool features.
Can’t tell you how much I love Spring Loaded folders. Love ’em.
Wikipedia information, while not always accurate, certainly stands to be updated a lot more frequently than documentation that ships with (or from) the operating system designer. That Apple has taken the step to integrate access directly from within the Dictionary tool…? It’s just kinda nice to have there. They’re placing trust in the idea of community rather than trying to hide it from us.
Mail comes with “Data Detectors” which will highlight phone numbers, addresses, etc. You can then choose to do something with that information, like map it or store it as an appointment, contact, etc. This is a feature I had not seen outside of a pricey plugin for Microsoft Outlook. I may not use Mail.app, but at least they’re continuing to improve its functionality – ugly capsule toolbar icons notwithstanding.
The Preview tool ain’t no joke – with annotations, basic image editing, Core Animation zooming and scrolling, GPS Metadata support, batch operations, etc. It’s all at your fingertips.
Expose works. ‘Nuff said. The only thing that surpasses OS X’s open window management is Compiz Fusion. None of this Flip3D nonsense.
Help. No, seriously – Help is the way Help should have always been all along. I related my “Help” experience a few weeks ago, with the system not just finding what I was looking for help on, but taking me directly to the spot where I needed to be. I’m pretty sure the Help system isn’t 100% accurate, but it hasn’t disappointed me yet.
Guest accounts are purged after every session in Leopard. Wow. Guest privileges, on the other hand, seem to be lacking somewhat on the security front (but most of my Guests are computer clueless).
I love the Universal Access zoom feature – and have used it so many times for countless reasons. Really comes in handy when you’re trying to show something to someone from across the room. Never found anything close to its simplicity anywhere else.
Call me crazy, but I love the fact that in OS X, the keyboard shortcut for opening Preferences is always the same (Command + Comma). Convenient. Dependable. Quick.
Device compatibility doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue as it used to be with the Mac. While I couldn’t get my brand new HP LaserJet to work inside of Vista, it works flawlessly inside of OS X 10.4 (despite having to use HP’s scanning software). Still, with any USB hardware hiccups in Leopard, compatibility issues are erased with VMware Fusion until newer software is unleashed.
Thanks to another one of our sponsors, GoToMeeting, I’ve had the opportunity to see quite a few of my friends’ desktops. Quite a few have gone to great lengths to make their installation of Windows look and feel like Mac OS X. At that point, what’s the point of sticking with Windows? Just about the only thing Mac users might want from Windows is the Explorer (FTFF) – and even then, there’s ‘Path Finder.’
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Windows users need Apple’s software more than Mac users need Microsoft’s. That’s just a cold, hard fact. And given my severe disappointment with just about everything in Mac Office 2008, I’m even further driven away from Microsoft’s desktop software.
Please don’t take this post as an all-out lovefest for Apple (and it’s definitely not a hatefest for Microsoft, either). The two can co-exist peacefully if you let them, and if your routine supports it. I wasn’t ready to switch before now for a lot of reasons. This has been a long time coming.
I think it’s lousy that Apple charges for QuickTime Pro and Remote Desktop, I believe iTunes and iPhoto are inelegant management tools (Picasa for OS X would rule). At least Aperture 2.0 looks promising for me. And, for whatever it’s worth, I’ve yet to hear from anybody at Apple in respect to marketing, sponsorship, endorsement, support – or otherwise. I’d imagine they’d be interested in knowing my background, and why this leap is relatively monumental for me – and a sign of things to come for the greater part of our community.
So, let’s say that the next version of Windows is amazing – for argument’s sake. Would I switch back to the “PC” for my primary computing needs? Doubtful, because I’m guessing that virtual machine support will continue to improve in leaps and bounds (with greater hardware support to boot). Microsoft Windows isn’t in trouble, necessarily – but I do believe that it’s better (read: somewhat safer, more affordable) to run Windows in a virtual machine with USB 2.0 hardware support than it is to run it directly on the desktop.
If you’re a gamer, all bets are off – you’re a different kind of user. Gamers are likely the reason Windows is still alive and well at home today. If the gaming industry shifted gears and started to develop OpenGL-based entertainment titles for Linux, you’d see Ubuntu adoption skyrocket. I’m a console player – still in love with my 360, as noted before. I’m a casual gamer, and I can casual game anywhere.
I’ll still have traditional PC hardware around the house – especially since Ponzi may or may not be making this switch with me. We’re still living inside of Outlook, with no other usable PIM in reach (on any platform). I’ve been showing her a few cool things that you can only do with “the Mac,” and she’s certainly seen me try Outlook 2007 in VMware Fusion. I’m also looking forward to tinkering with new systems as they’re released from a variety of OEMs. I couldn’t abandon my beloved HP All-in-One LaserJet!
Point is: I’m not going ‘all’ Apple.
In time, this will all become easier to manage – but there’s no time like the present to shelve the last ten years of Windows enthusiasm and… switch. I’m fine with being a Microsoft enthusiast in other areas, mind you – very much so. They’re doing too many good things for me to ignore, and their community involvement puts Apple to shame. My choice for an operating system is just that – my choice for an OS.
And before anybody jumps in and claims that you can achieve the same level of “happiness” after installing 50+ third-party add-ons, plugins, extensions, and utilities to Windows… you simply don’t get it, and you probably never will. I can’t be alone, and I’m predicting that by the end of next year, even more people will choose (and use) Mac OS X over Windows Vista. I can’t open up the phone lines anymore without being inundated with calls that suggest such a tipping point. Everybody is curious…
…and curiosity is what keeps me going.
As a power user, Mac OS X has far more to offer me in terms of tweak-ability and modularity. I learned that by trying it, not by guessing that it wasn’t possible.
I heart MacOSXHints.com. I heart TUAW.com. I heart DaringFireball.net. I heart TidBits.com. I heart so many Mac software developers (like Steve Green and Wil Shipley and Randy Green and Brian Skrab and others). I heart watching for news of some new application, though I’m not quite on any review lists yet – it seems like a simpler nut to crack than it was in the world of Windows shareware.
It’s fun again.
To end this with a bit of humor, my live stream chatters (largely Windows and PC enthusiasts) gave me other title suggestions for this post:
50 Reasons Why I Left Bill for Steve
Losing My OS Religion
Windows Broke My Heart
Obama Says It’s Time to Change to the Mac
How to Switch to a Mac
The Wow Stops Now
Once You Go Mac, You Never Go Back?
And now, I’d like to challenge any Windows enthusiast to publish 50 Reasons to switch from Mac OS X to Microsoft Windows. 😉
I read your recent post “Time for an Upgrade: PC or Mac?” and I figured that my switching to Mac story might be of some use to Peter. I am a freshman in college, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. During the summer, I began thinking about switching to Mac from PC, in my case an HP Pavilion laptop running Windows XP. During my info search, I discovered your videos. To put it simply, they pushed me over the edge. I purchased a 20″ iMac the day that Leopard was released.
Since it was the middle of the quarter, I was forced to dive into the world of OS X and to start working right away. At the time I had a physics lab class, led by an overzealous lab instructor, who insisted on writing macro after macro for our excel and word lab-report templates. I was concerned that I would have compatibility issues if I used these templates on my Mac. I can’t comment on iWork, since I did not invest the time into learning how to use it, but Microsoft Office 2003 worked flawlessly. I actually preferred using the Mac version to the Windows version. I’ve also found that NeoOffice is superb, and best of all, completely free. Another great thing about OSX is that it has a built in dictionary, which is a very nice touch and useful in many situations.
In regards to web browsing, Safari offers and excellent experience. It is compatible with most sites, but Firefox is still a necessity in this situation. The tech guy at the Apple Store explained Safari’s superiority. I don’t know if any of the things he said were true, but it is definitely easy to use, and I even prefer it to Firefox.
Gaming is an interesting topic when it comes to OS X, and it remains one of the key points in the anti-Mac arsenal. After I set up my Mac, I immediately installed Windows XP (not Vista!) using Bootcamp. Although it is possible to make mistakes, the installation is relatively painless and a lot easier than I thought. While I could not run Steam, an essential program for many gamers, in OS X, it ran perfectly on the XP side of my iMac. While I did have a problem with pixel runs (white dots floating across the screen) for a few days, I was surprised to find that Apple promptly released an update that completely resolved this issue. Funny enough, I have played a lot of CoD2 in Bootcamp, and it runs perfectly on maxed out graphics settings. I would definitely recommend getting the better of the two graphics cards packaged with the new iMacs, because it offers twice the memory and improved performance. While the graphics cards in the new iMacs are not superior, they definitely get the job done. I’m a big World of Warcraft player, and I was surprised to find that it ran natively in OSX, and all of my interface addons worked perfectly. The game runs very smoothly on the highest settings and the graphics are beautiful.
Unfortunately, many of the games that are re-released for Mac are extremely buggy, according to many of the game reviews I have seen; however, game compatibility is really not an issue, considering Windows is very easy to run on the new Apple computers. In a way, you have to look at an Apple computer as a cross operating system computer. It is fair to say that an Apple can run any software. Apple is definitely promoting the growth of virtual machines, with other software available for OSX, such as Parallels. I have found compatibility to be a much smaller issue than I had previously thought.
I’m not sure about Peter’s peripherals, but I have had no problem with using my printer in OS X. I plugged it in and nothing happened. I was expecting an install box to appear, or at least a driver updater, but nothing happened. I tried to print a page and it printed. I didn’t have to install a thing, or search for a single driver.
The iMac altogether is quite an accomplishment. The screen is beautiful, and I’ve come to see the glossy screen as an improvement, rather than a setback. I’ve used the remote far more than I thought I would, and my new iMac has quickly become a media center, more than I could ever say about my old laptop.
Is buying a Mac going to change your life? The answer is, of course, no, but it will make your like a tad bit more enjoyable. It’s hard to look at OS X without looking at the Apple computer altogether; they were built for each other. This cannot be said about other computers, and there is something to be seen in that. I could go more into the features of Leopard, but I’m sure that any review site could offer this information, and I’ve already written far too much. I can definitely say that I understand what all the fuss is about when it comes to Macs and OS X.
So, are you switching soon – if you haven’t already? Or are you playing the part of PC, encouraging friends to stick with what they’ve been used to for all these years?