My Switch from PC to Mac

June 2, 2009

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.

Why I am switching to Mac.

September 20, 2008

My friend and the beloved benefactor of this blog said to me, “E, you know what is so great about Mac now that I have switched? It is just that it works. Like, all the time.”

Brilliant! Being a Windows user reminds me a little bit of being chronically ill. You just gradually don’t feel well, and you lose track of what it even means to feel well. Until Vista, it was just like it was normal for your new computer to take weeks of call to support centers and searching on forums to try to get it to work. And, you just got used to the fact that it took ten minutes to start up. And shut down. It would lock up here and there. But you just tried to save often, and hope for the best.

And then Vista came along, and it was like that step in chronic illness before you finally realize that it is the last straw and you start making the rounds to specialists – ten minutes becomes a 20 minute start up. You start to wonder if you really need your computer to consistently connect to the internet – maybe you can write emails off line and send them when things finally connect. And it does cut down on procrastinating on facebook if you can’t get on the internet….

But, in the end, you realize the time has come. To say goodbye to your old life. Your old ways.

Mac rumors tells me that the new Mac Book Air will come out October 14. Until then, it i just me and my little Dell chugging along with Windows, hoping that things work, that my computer will connect to the internet, that I can toggle two windows at once without everything freezing.

Microsoft is apparently spending millions of dollars in a rebranding campaign, but I wonder if maybe they should have spent that hiring computer programmers that could, you know, make an operating system that allows people like me who mostly listen to music, use an internet browser, type papers, and use email to be able to do that on their new operating system without misery and pain. You know, build something that just works.

Here I come Steve Jobs.