Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Being a Mac Guy: The 1-year Review

So about a year ago I ordered a Mac. I've always been a PC guy, from my first 8088-based machine in collge up through the HP notebook I carried around last year. And as a "techie" I think there's still a certain expectation that you're supposed to be a PC guy - after all don't techies enjoy showing off all the obscure Windows commands that other folks complain about? (And, in fairness, I did teach a friend how to Alt-Tab for the first time yesterday, and it was a huge benefit for him).

But I'd heard good things about Mac and wanted to "play with" it, so I bought a used Macbook Pro on Ebay and started playing. A month later it had become my primary work machine, and a few weeks later I was blogging about my experiences as a new convert to the cult of Mac. Still, some of my PC friends were telling me things like "Yeah, yeah, you like it now because it's new and shiny, talk to me 6 months from now and you'll be back to a PC."

Well, it's been a year, and my regular computer HAS in fact changed again - to a brand new MacBook Pro (15", 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM). I think at this point it's official - I'm a Mac guy. I still use VMWare Fusion every day to run my Microsoft Outlook (can't wait for the Mac version of Outlook due next year).

Why the switch? The main reason is that I'm a really busy guy, and using the MacBook Pro saves me at least 15 to 30 minutes every day. On my old Windows notebooks they would always take too long to "wake up" when I move from home to the office, or when I'm trying to get some quick work done in an airport or on a plane. Plus I'd get that frustrating "pause-for-no-apparent-reason" at least a few times a day, interrupting my workflow and just generally bugging the heck out of me. The Mac wakes up in seconds, and mostly very reliably (sometimes Outlook running in the virtual environment can't find the Exchange Server when it wakes up, but I've found an easy workaround). When I'm done I just close the lid and it sleeps - no waiting indefinitely while Windows tries to suspend it's programs. I reboot once a week or so, and in over a year of use I've had maybe 3 system "freezes" that required a shutdown & restart to correct. On my Windows machine that seemed like a daily occurance!

Now not all is perfect in the world of Mac. Apple software in particular has some wonderful features which are often missing from their Microsoft counterparts, like the ability to record a slideshow (Powerpoint) presentation with narration. But some of those features don't work (the audio narration invariably gets out of sync with the slides very quickly), and others only work if you are using only Apple software (like Apple's iMovie only being able to import pictures from iPhoto - which makes it almost unusable for me). Say what you will about Microsoft's Powerpoint and Movie Maker, but at least the features they do have actually work and don't require you to use other Microsoft products!

Still, the pros outweigh the cons, and I find I'm MUCH more productive now on my Mac. Looking at Apple's sales figures I'm obviously not the only one who thinks so, and in fact here at Computer Troubleshooters we've started doing some limited tech training on Mac Support as well (starting with a workshop last February where two Mac-certified trainers showed us the ins and outs of the Mac OS).

So for all my techie friends who still haven't tried the Mac, I'd say this: Try the koolaid, it's better than you might think!

1 comment:

Berkshire Graphic Design said...

I like the way you presented your review. using the item first for 1 year.