My Switch from PC to Mac

Back in September I wrote about why I was switching from PC to Mac. I got my new MacBook (the newer silver one) in October about a week after they new ones came out. This is a quick and dirty post about the switch, mostly for those who might consider the switch.

Type of user I am: I am just a plain old computer user – I listen to some music on itunes, I email with Thunderbird, use Firefox web browser, download pdfs, watch some streaming video, and type on Microsoft Word. Simple stuff. No gaming. Nothing too fancy. Competent enough, but just enough to get done what I need to get done.

Main point: SO HAPPY WITH THE SWITCH from Windows based PC to Mac. I’ve since convinced my mom to do it and my sister did it on her own after a bad experience with Vista. My partner made the switch three months before me (also due to the hell that is Vista). Everyone is happier. My poor dad didn’t want to switch (understandably, as he is not exactly Mr. Technology), ordered a new computer, and is now stuck with an old clunky Dell computer with Vista. He doesn’t think it is that bad, but the rest of us dread using his computer for anything. It is like going back to the stone age.

Here is why I love the switch.

Computer boots up in about 10 or 20 seconds. Something fast. This is versus minutes (and then more and more minutes as it got older) with my Windows based PCs of which I had five before this Mac. It seems like a small thing but it is so nice for the computer to turn on and work. And, if you close the screen, it goes to sleep and then when you open it, it wakes up. My two previous PCs would never do this or stop doing it soon after I got them. They got confused and would not turn back on, or something would go wrong. I could never shut the cover/screen without turning the whole thing off. It was a hassle.

The computer always works. You turn it on. You do your thing. You turn it off. It just works. Things don’t have to “think” for a long time. They don’t lock up. My screen doesn’t go blank. And it doesn’t seem to me like invisible files are somehow accumulating somewhere that I will have to “clean up” and that slow my computer down. This makes me glad.

I love the integrated camera. Makes skyping so easy and fun.

I had five Windows based PCs before this Mac. Starting in 1997. Two desktops, three laptops. That is a lot of computers and I only replaced when everything got too slow and impossible and unstable that I had to switch. Granted, I use them a lot and lug them around with me everywhere, but if this baby lasts even five years, it is an improvement over my PCs which lasted three years if I was lucky. And they always got so hot. This computer does not get hot when I use it. That is nice.

What can I say. It is just cool. It looks cooler. It feels cooler. I like it.

These don’t seem like huge points, but they really are. You know, especially that the computer consistently works. That is a big one for me.

Slight Things I Don’t Love.

I don’t love the filing system. Maybe it is because I am not very computer literate or there is something I don’t know, but I don’t like how I can’t organize my files like I want and when I put a file in a folder and there is already a file of the same name, it doesn’t tell me the “last modified” date of both files so I know which one I want to keep and which one I want to delete. I just can’t figure out a good way to manage all my files like the explorer thing in Windows did – like where I can put them in order by date modified or date created or alphabetically. There is only the finder thing on my Mac which  doesn’t work nearly as well. But this is a small price to pay. (Quick edit: Is there anyone out there who knows what to do about this? Can’t I download some sort of better filing system?)

I don’t love the mousepad that is both the pad where you move your finger around AND you also click on the whole pad to click. Buttons were better. For one thing, it makes it hard for my dad and mother in law to use the computer because they absolutely cannot figure it out. But, again, small point. (Quick edit, of course you can use a peripheral mouse which might be a good idea anyway if you work at a desk).

I don’t like iphoto. This really refers to point one of what I don’t like because on my old computer I organized my pictures in my file folder system. I liked how that worked – files and folders along the left side, contents of folder on the right side. I could make them thumbnails or bigger pictures so I could see details.

And slight thing which really isn’t the fault of my Mac, but my family tree software doesn’t work on Mac. So I need to buy new family tree software and figure out how to use it on Mac. And import the old stuff from my other software. Which I doubt will be a smooth import. (Quick edit: Any family tree people out there who have good suggestions about family tree software?)

But, don’t let the minor points detract from the main point which is that I love the switch, love my Mac and will never go back to Windows.

And that is the summary.

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12 Responses to My Switch from PC to Mac

  1. Arwyn says:

    Interestingly enough, I’m a born-and-bred Apple/Mac user (my dad bought a Lisa way back when, and we always had two or three Apple/Mac desktops plugged in), and I just bought a new Toshiba laptop running Vista.

    It’s not that I don’t still love Macs: I do. But I was spending someone else’s money, and within budget I could buy a really shiny new fast PC with Vista, or an old, out of date Mac. If I could even find one. I’ve gotten to the point in my computer use where the OS, while it matters, doesn’t matter as much as it once did: I care far more about the browser I’m using (Firefox or bust!), which is available on any platform.

    Anyway, that just amuses me. I’m glad you like it, and I’m only a little chartreuse with envy. ;)

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Yay! I love Firefox too. And I am glad that you got a new computer – I agree, new PC with Windows is better than an older Mac. If I was more reasonable with money, probably we would not have bought two new Macs last year! Glad to have you comment. I love Raising My Boy Chick. :)

  3. Elizabeth — you may be able to “recycle” your older windows-based computers by moving them to one of the user-friendly Linux versions out there.

    This would give you a more functional computer for your use or for use by a needy non-profit church or community group.

    Ubuntu Linux can run and be very useful on very old hardware that is useless for Windows Vista and painful for use with Windows XP.

    http://www.ubuntu.com/

  4. kylydia says:

    I really really really want a new computer. I would love a Mac but I am afraid of them. The file organization thing could be a huge problem for me. What about MS Office applications (although I’m slowly going to Google docs for that, even though I’d rather have Excel)?

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Lydia, don’t be scared. I use MS Office applications very well. And, while the file organization thing is annoying, it is not anywhere close to as annoying as working with Vista. The only learning curve thing I faced was trouble shooting – when something didn’t go right on a Windows computer (for instance, I couldn’t get the wireless internet to work) I knew how to fiddle enough to get things to work, but I don’t know how to fiddle very well with Mac yet. I am also convinced that there is a decent file organization program that mimics Windows file organization systems for Mac. I just need to find someone and ask about it. I’m always scared to ask at the Mac store because I hate to tell them that I think Windows was better at something. Some Mac people are sensitive about that sort of thing!

  6. Charlie Talbert says:

    We’ve been thinking about the switch to a Mac. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts — very helpful!

  7. Jess says:

    The Finder can really do all that you’ve described wanting it to do — you can put your most used folders in the sidebar, and you have three views to choose from (icons in a grid, icons in a list, or a sortable list). And you don’t have to use iPhoto — there are literally hundreds of other programs you could use instead for editing or organizing — or just put your photo files in a regular folder and use Quick Look to see them easily (hit the space bar when a file or files is/are selected and they’ll pop up).

    I highly recommend the O’Reilly “Missing Manual” books on OS X, which you can read for free online — the Leopard version is here:

    http://my.safaribooksonline.com/9780596529529/the_missing_credits

    Lots of great hints and tricks and stuff you wouldn’t even think to ask. :-)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Jess. I don’t think I realized I could put folders in the sidebar. I think I need to get the missing manual…… :) Elizabeth

  8. Stephanie says:

    I just made the switch to a Mac also and I am absolutely in love with this laptop. Some people mentioned the high price of a Mac – which they are. I went on Craig’s List and was able to purchase a 2008 model of a MacBook Pro that had hardly been used for only $1100.00 (15′ 160 gb 2.4 processor)! It is in pristine condition. The only down side is that it is no longer under warranty but I don’t really see that being a problem. It was purchased by a small company as a promo but they never used it afterwards. I highly suggest checking CL to see what you might find. There were quite a few of them being sold.

    In the meantime, I couldn’t be happier!

  9. Arwyn says:

    Update: I hate Vista. Miss my Mac!

  10. Julius says:

    Don’t understand why there is so much excitment about Macs, I’m a IT person doing it for leaving and understand the points from not computer savy people. I read comments, my computer got older and slower and got a new one and new one, well what about little clean up/tune up and bring the speed back to normal, it is really not hard to do. To me Macs are ok, just don’t dig their UI layout just not my cup of tea. Someone wrote Macs last longer than PCs..say what? I have my Dell Dimension from 2000 upgraded RAM, Processor, HD, and guess what it just works, no viruses, malware, spyware. However, talking about reall power, stylish, estetic PC, i just bought Dell Adamo a beautifull craftsmenship as far as casing which is 100% aluminum the same as MacBook Pro, running 256 Solid State drive, 2.1 GHz Processor, 4GB Ram, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and this baby boots in 10-18 seconds, programs run like crazy fast and overall performance at LEAST as fast as Mac but mostly faster. I couldn’t be more happier and yes I run also this on my Dell Adamo:

    Win7
    Win XP
    Linux
    OSX(Snow Leopard)

    Now everybody why should I buy a Mac and pay for the same hardware, processor, motherboard etc much more and relay on nasty agressive Apple genius staff that telling you lies….Macs don’t get Viruses or cannot be compromised? With my Linux running on my Win7 i can easily comprimise, perform remote control of any Mac computer on let’s say a WiFi network….

    And one more thing to mention…i really dislike the most Quicktime and iTunes which sucks big time, i heard this also from Hardcore Apple fanboys.

    Hope this opinion will help decide to some folks there.

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