The Mac Switch Six Months In

It’s been about six months now since I made the switch over to a Mac.  The honeymoon period is over and I’m happy to say that I’m still very, very pleased with my purchase.

One of the things I really like about it is that it’s so well-designed.  I’ve really gotten on board with the integration that Apple has provided between the Apple-developed apps.  In fact, some of the other apps have hooks into OSX for various functionality.  I even switched over to Safari about a month ago.  The switch from Firefox to Safari wasn’t because I didn’t like Firefox; it was mainly to capitalize on the integration with OSX and also with the iPhone I plan to buy soon.  Safari is good; I really didn’t feel any pain from the switch.

Another aspect of the design that I really appreciate is the all-in-one nature of the iMac.  There are really not any user-serviceable parts (aside from memory) with the iMac but the compact design means that my office is free and clear of clutter.  I have a single machine sitting on a small desk in a small room.  Nothing on the floor and minimal wires and cords snaking down the back of the desk.  What’s even better is that this machine is powerful enough to run both Windows and Linux in as virtual machines.  In the past I had multiple boxes sitting on the floor of my office taking up space and making an awful racket.  Now I have a single, silent machine running OSX for my day-to-day work and running Windows and Linux as if they were just applications.  Zero physical footprint in my office for both of these operating systems.  I’m smitten with the concept.

The other thing I really like are the Mac apps.  Mac Mail, Address Book, and iCal are so much better than Outlook.  They’re leaner, faster, simpler, and more reliable.  Outlook crashed at least every other day and took forever to load.  Still, even in 2009, Outlook’s IMAP mail support sucks.  Mac Mail is clean and simple and never crashes.  iCal is the same way.  They all sync with my Palm (and eventually with my future iPhone).  And almost every app I used to use on Windows has a Mac version or a Mac equivalent.

I also love the Mac Dock.  It’s not that I hate the Windows taskbar but the Dock is so much more versatile.  It takes up some screen real estate though, but that’s not a show-stopper.  Next time I’ll buy an iMac with the gigantic screen; the size of the Dock won’t matter then.  Even with the smaller screen it’s still not too bad.

I did have a problem with the mouse on the Mac because the acceleration curve is different and Windows/Linux.  That was a frustration (and still is) but I fixed it.  I’d like to see Apple address this and just simply provide the ability to control the acceleration curve.  It wouldn’t be that hard for them to do I think.

Occasionally I’ve had to reboot it, probably four or five times; over the course of six months that’s not too bad.  My work laptop (Windows XP) has to be rebooted two to four times a month.  It just seems to get “stuck” and nothing will bring it back to life (except a reboot).  So far I haven’t had any situation where the Mac just stops responding altogether; sometimes it just gets a little screwy and has to be rebooted.  It’s rare though.

As a side note I downloaded the Windows 7 beta, the one with Microsoft’s Dock knock-off, and realized it’s basically just Vista all over again.  Makes me glad I decided to switch to the Mac.  The thought of having to endure yet another release of Vista gives me great pain.  🙁

So in the end the decision to switch was a good one.  I’m very pleased with the design and the performance of the Mac, and I’ve found an application for just about anything I need.  There’s no shortage of software for the Mac, much of it open source and free.  I’ll definitely buy another one when this one gets too old.  Right now I’m planning on upgrading after my car is paid off, in about 3 1/2 to 4 years.  I think I’m going big then, top of the line, gigantic screen and all.

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