Over the last few months I’ve seen my trusty IBM ThinkPad start to deteriorate. We’ve been through a lot, this laptop and I, as it’s been a faithful companion for nearly five years now. It’s been tweaked and configured just perfectly for me, with software and utilities perfectly chosen to fit my needs. Its screen is fading, its battery life is down to under an hour, and the entire right-hand side is held together with electrical tape. The performance is also starting to be an issue. I attend weekly team meetings via Skype; even a basic video chat was bringing the machine to its knees.
Obviously it was time for a replacement, but the adventure I took to get there has been a wild one. You see, for the first time in my life, not only did I consider a Mac as a viable option, but I’ve gone ahead and made the switch.
I guess you would say that I’m a PC. I’ve been using PCs since I purchased my first one nearly 20 years ago. From DOS to Windows 3.0 to Vista, it’s been my world. I’ve learned the ins and outs of using and managing the various OS flavors. I’m comfortable with shortcut keys, have compiled thousands of tips and tricks for hundreds of software packages for Windows. I’m not an evangelist or a fanboy, but I’ve been quite productive using my PC and really haven’t been affected by virus, spyware or the “typical” issues that are used to describe a bad PC experience.
On the other hand, Macs have been a mostly unknown entity. Although those who know me will speak of my legendary disdain for iTunes, I’ve never really been “anti-Mac.” I’ve helped friends and clients purchase and set them up so, it isn’t that I had no exposure to them, it was just that the time I had spent with them didn’t really do anything to convince me that there was a compelling reason to convert.
This time, I guess it was peer pressure more than anything that even got me thinking about the switch. Co-workers and friends have been raving about them, and whenever the discussion changed to my laptop replacement, the “get a Mac” proclamations became too much for me to dismiss. So I started to seriously consider it. I researched models, made lists of software, thought about pros and cons, chatted with friends and did my normal over-analysis. It’s an important decision though — my computer is so closely tied to my livelihood that it isn’t something I could take lightly. I found that my primary concerns were tied to three major areas — support, software and overall usability.
In my upcoming posts I’ll be outlining not only my pre-purchase thought process and evaluation experience but I’ll also be documenting the transition, my retraining, software changes and choices, usability challenges, and some great surprises that I’ve discovered in the process — about Windows, about Mac and about me.
If you’ve made the switch from PC to Mac, or vice versa, let us know how it went for you in the comments.
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Enabling the Web Work Revolution