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Summary:

In my last post I provided some background on my decision to move to Mac after 20 years using PCs. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, with three major areas of concern that I needed to address before considering the switch: Support, software and usability.

In my last post I gave you some background on my decision to move to Mac after 20 years using PCs. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, with three major areas of concern that I needed to address before I could feel comfortable considering the switch: support, software and usability.

Support

I’m a naturally inquisitive person; this is especially true when it comes to computers and technology. Over the course of my PC lifetime, I’ve been fine-tuning my knowledge, learning how to take advantage of everything that a PC can offer. While I thought it likely that some of this knowledge would be transferable to Mac it was a concern of mine that, as a new Mac user, I would be starting over from scratch. I’ve always been the support person; rarely have I needed one.

I wanted to make sure that I had a support system in case I needed it. Fortunately, my new employer has a team consisting almost entirely of Mac users, so I knew those folks were only a Skype call away. As I’ve started working more with other independent folks, the number of my colleagues who use Mac has also increased. With Twitter, Google and other resources also available, I felt confident that I could find answers to my questions.

Software

I started out by making a list of all the programs that I most rely on and made sure that there were either Mac versions available or suitable replacements. The fact that a lot of my work is done in my browser means that the software issue was much less of a barrier than it might have been in the past.

The software choices are overwhelming. Even in instances where there are cross-platform versions available, often times there are also Mac-specific options that I’ve never been able to evaluate. Finding the right software is going to be an ongoing process, but I needed to be sure that I had an viable option in each category from day one.

Usability

To persuade me that this could be resolved, I took advantage of the personal shopping experience that Apple offers and made an appointment to meet with an Apple Expert who could answer all my questions and address my concerns. I had a very specific list of topics I needed to address. I didn’t want a canned demo of how cool iPhoto is — I wanted to know how the touchpad works, how the menus work, and the differences between Ctrl and Cmd. I wanted to make sure that I could replicate all the processes that I was used to on the PC. Magali from my local Orland Square store did a wonderful job of answering all of my questions and demonstrating what I needed to see. She was also able to show me some of the benefits that the Mac platform could bring me when I described my workflow.

I’m still early in my transition, but following a clear and logical process of defining my requirements made me feel confident that I would have the support I need, access to all of the right tool, and the ability retrain myself to make the necessary adjustments. When it was time to really pull the trigger, I found that the Mac wasn’t nearly as scary a choice as it had been in the past.

What made it possible for you to switch? What is holding you back?

Photo by Flickr user sciondriver, licensed under CC


  1. I love using my MacBook, although by now it is over 4 years old and it has a bunch of problems. It’s a first generation Intel MacBook, which means it has a 32-bit Core Duo, not a 64-bit Core Duo 2. As a result, there’s no Apple support for Java 6. The plastic has cracked in a few places.

    But nonetheless, I love using my MacBook much more than I enjoy using my Linux and Windows desktops or (much worse) a Windows laptop.

    Now that I’m considering getting a replacement, though, I really want to get a MacBook Pro, but I’m not sure if I can justify spending $1000 more to get a notebook with a weaker CPU. And the new MacBook Pro notebooks also have their problems: heat, problems switching GPUs, sharp edges.

    sigh

    But when it comes to pleasure of use, it’s hard to beat my MacBook. I can understand your move.

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    1. The sharp edges on the front really surprised and bugged me. I bought a shell case just to soften them.

      thanks
      sb

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      1. There’s actually a post somewhere by a guy who filed the edges off his. Ah, here it is: http://onemansblog.com/2010/03/11/video-rant-taking-the-sharp-edge-off-the-macbook-pro/filing-the-edge-off-a-macbook-pro/

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  2. Anonynous Backstabber Monday, May 10, 2010

    Welcome to the world of speak-n’-spell-meets-etch-a-sketch computing. Make sure to get the lightest, most expensive version of the latest gear: it’s always great for starting fires.

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    1. Thanks ;-)

      sb

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  3. Welcome to the world of Mac. I made the transition from Windows after being a developer for 25 years on the platform. You will be amazed at the difference in everything, hardware, software and quality. Incredible.
    I have not had to reboot my Mac since I owned it! I would never consider going back to the world of Windows, ever! Unfortunately I still have to keep a Windows session available so I can modify and maintain previous projects, I use VMWare for that, works fantastic – better the Parallels IMO. There are some things that will frustrate you fr a time, at least until you get use to it.
    Good luck and welcome to the world of a solid, truly user friendly computer – that just works!

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    1. I’ve had 3 crashes in under two weeks but generally find that things are working well.

      Trying to find suitable software replacements still but I knew it was going to be an ongoing process.

      I never really found my Windows PCs to not be solid or user friendly honestly – but am enjoying the change in scenery.

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      1. I’m curious as to what is crashing on you. I have a newer MacBook Pro and have never crashed (Other than bad flash/scripts in the web browser)

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    2. “I have not had to reboot my Mac since I owned it!”

      Bullshit. OS X requires a reboot after updating Safari. At least try and make yourself sound vaguely believable.

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      1. y, I’ve had a couple of required reboots after updates as well.

        sb

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      2. You do realize OS X doesn’t force you to update Safari, right? It’s completely plausible to go quite some time without rebooting.

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      3. It depends on how long he’s owned his Mac. I’ve gone over a hundred days on several occasions between reboots and could have gone longer if I hadn’t updated system software.

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      4. Wow/Neil:

        Right. Just as you could with a Windows or Linux box.

        And seriously, are you recommending that people don’t install updates?

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  4. Stephen Coombs Monday, May 10, 2010

    I just recently made the same move. I went through the same process as you did. In addition, I made a few extra trips to my local Apple Store to ‘test’/’play’ with the Macs on display, just to get a very basic feel for things.

    Now after making the switch and becoming a Mac person for the last 5 months, I’m kicking myself why I didn’t do this much earlier.

    Good luck with your venture!

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    1. Yes – the time at the Apple store was crucial to just be sure that I thought I could get comfortable. I had tremendous concerns about the keyboard – especially when compared to the wonderful IBM keyboards that I’ve gotten used to.

      The lack of end / home / and a distinction between delete and backspace has probably led to the most frustration.

      thanks
      sb

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      1. If your keyboard is USB, then just plug it into your Mac.

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  5. With Intel processors on board and the ability to easily run Windows apps if needed via Boot Camp or virtualization (Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion), moving to a Mac is a no-brainer. You’re giving nothing up but gaining a whole new computing platform. The only downside? A few hundred more bucks up front for the hardware. Negligible in the grand scheme of things.

    My bet is, like most of us, once you move to Mac you’ll never look back.

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    1. Right now I’m looking back at Excel – and it’s mocking me ;-)

      but otherwise I’m having fun with all of this.

      thanks
      sb

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  6. I was a Mac Fan and I switched to PC. My GF is still on Mac (Home + work).

    When I see the situation at her work, the major issue with Mac environnement is :
    - to find a company reliable enough and with a top notch expertise to manage your Mac infrastructure (soft/hard and system). Most companies seems to be “converted artists”.
    - (depending of your business) you will still have to use VMWARE (slow) because some companies (Fortune 500) only support IE (web) or windows environnments (binaries) for their products (Asset management, banking, finance, insurance, etc.).

    To be noticed:
    - Apple glossy screens have to be avoided for work
    - the hardware quality is not perfect
    - the OS stability is no more an exclusive advantage compared to Windows.

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    1. Er. what? I’ve yet to run across a site that will not work in Firefox or Chrome. I don’t have to use VMware or any other Windows environment. If you DO have a requirement for something that only runs in Windows then you should consider whether Mac is the right OS for you – if you’re spending 90% of your time using that program, perhaps it isn’t. If you use it once a week for an hour, it may well be.

      I’m not sure of your point about support – I don’t see a lot of need for actual support with Macs but this too will depends on specifics. For example if you need to us Exchange under Mac you’ll have issues that those of us who don’t will not. In general, though, I never shut my Mac down and have had a handful of kernel panics in 4 years (the Mac equivalent of the Windows BSOD). I sleep my Macbook and, as of this moment, it’s been 20 days, 18 hours since I rebooted. That’s typical. One thing I do like is that I don’t need to run virus scanners and malware scanners – for whatever reason there’s simply not those in the wild for Mac OS (they CAN be done, they just aren’t).

      In short, the OS is a tool – If you require a specific tool, use that. If you don’t, I think the Mac is an excellent choice of OS.

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      1. Actually I was speaking about the situation of a small company (+10 employees): you need support for hardware/software/network/security/etc.

        About the web: I am more speaking about a web access to some “partner” application/intranet. My GF is always complaining about the compatibility issues (Applets/javascripts/css). Safari/chrome is never supported. FF is ok but buggy. IE is 100% supported.

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    2. I agree – as a small business it’s much easier to find folks who can support your PC environment, at least in my experience.

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  7. Scott, your readers will be happy to offer suggestions for some of those obscure-but-insanely-great applications that may suit some of your more specialized needs. The myth of the Macintosh software deficit has never been less true…. the range and quality of software for the platform is astounding. I practically live at VersionTracker.com (which also has Windows and other software listings).

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    1. I’m hoping to get suggestions from everyone once I dig in to the actual review articles (coming soon – I promise)

      The only app that I can’t really find a decent number of choices for is music management.

      sb

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  8. I myself just switched (yesterday!) from PC to Mac after fourteen years as a PC user. My husband has always been a Mac guy and had been talking to me about it for YEARS. My concerns were (at that time) there wasn’t a version of ACT on the Mac, and that I would have to invest in a Mac version of Quickbooks.

    Well my ACT died and I went to Outlook, (which I can get for Mac if I have to), and I began producing and editing more video for my business, so I finally switched to Mac. (iMovie is amazing!) So far so good. I’m sure I’ll spend the next year really settling into the interface — the learning curve feels substantial in some ways (like no delete key!) but in time I’m sure I’ll figure out all the little things that Mac users are so smug about. ;-)

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    1. folks here make the point that there is a delete key – it just doesn’t work like we think it is supposed to.

      Semantics for sure – but it’s just something we have to get used to I guess.

      I haven’t even opened iMovie or iPhoto yet – maybe someday.

      thanks
      sb

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  9. I don’t notice the “sharp edges” everyone keeps mentioning (this isn’t the first place I’ve read that) but maybe I have thick skin. :)

    Anyway, I’ve used both PC and Mac desktops and laptops over the years depending on the work environment I was in and I’ve never been happier than with my Mac Book Pro. This is my second actually and since my wife and I were in a small apartment when I bought my first, it was a desktop replacement and I stuck with the MBP for my 2-3 yearly “upgrade”.

    My only complaint is I went from a 15″ to a 17″ and even with the aluminum construction, it is still fairly heavy. Not as heavy as some laptops out there of course but heavy enough that lugging it around when I’m running around all day gets tiring. Since I mostly am doing web-based work currently am getting an iPad for daily use when out of the house (I work from home) but will still have the MBP for “heavy-duty” work, client demos and games.

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    1. I think the edges depend on how you sit and hold the machine. I noticed them the first day – not really sharp like a razor but a bit of rounding on that front edge would make me a lot more comfortable.

      I can’t really speak for the weight of the others but I’m perfectly happy with the 13 in both size and weight. I was shopping the same size in the PC as well.

      thanks
      sb

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  10. Scott – I’m still curious as to WHY you switched. I’m a Mac fan, but given the positive reception Windows 7 has gotten I’m surprised you didn’t simply grab a new laptop with that loaded.

    BTW, you mention elsewhere you’ve seen three crashes. If you mean kernel panics, you should NOT be seeing that. If you are, take the thing back to the Apple store and make them run a hardware test. The one time I got kernel panics was when I added new RAM… it was bad and caused them. Crucial replaced the memory and they went away. In any event, kernel panics should be VERY rare, especially on a new machine so if you’re seeing them, something’s wrong.

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    1. Thanks Rick,

      Yes, I seem to have not been as clear on that as I had hoped. Essentially, all of the barriers that have been keeping me from trying a Mac have been lessened to the point where I felt comfortable that I could still be productive.

      Really – it wasn’t a question of why – but really more of why not?

      The crashes weren’t total – one was an endless beachball (or pizza, or pinwheel – or whatever) and the other 2 seemed to be just Finder. I hadn’t considered a hardware issue though – thanks for the tip.

      sb

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      1. Did you use “Force Quit” to get rid of the offending beach ball?

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      2. Hi Neil,

        None of the force quit options I tried would work, I had to hard cycle the power down and restart.

        sb

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      3. Most of us call it: SBOD, aka the Spinning Beachball of Death.

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