When I decided to switch to the Mac one of the first things I did was create an application to application comparison matrix in order to ensure I could find an comparable Mac replacement for all my important Windows applications. I found some great articles written by others who’d made the switch and that really helped in that process. Now that I’ve had my Mac for a year and a half or so I’ve found replacements for virtually everything I had on Windows. In order to help others who are making the switch to a Mac or maybe just looking for a Mac replacement for a Windows application they can’t seem to shake, I thought I’d put my cross-reference list here, albeit it in a very informal, unstructured manner (trying to avoid a boring list). I’ve included links where possible.
My hope was that most of the apps I used on Windows would have a Mac port. That way I wouldn’t have to learn something new and the learning curve would be shortened. I’m not opposed to learning something new but switching everything over at once and having to relearn everything is a tall order and I wanted to be productive as quickly as possible. Luckily many of the apps I used on Windows had Mac ports. Firefox, for instance, is available for both (as well as Linux). I used Safari for a while but ended up going back to the comfort and familiarity of Firefox. Unfortunately the default theme for Mac Firefox is kinda ugly, in my opinion. I use the Silvermel theme and it both looks and works great. There’s also Opera and Camino, as well as a slew of other, more obscure browsers to choose from. Most recently though I’ve been using Google Chrome; it’s been lightening fast, incredibly stable, and has a great bookmark syncing feature. It’s also available not only for the Mac but for Windows and Linux as well. No matter which browser you go with giving up Internet Explorer will be incredibly satisfying. Continue reading
I finally pulled the trigger; I’m now a Mac user. About a year ago Traci’s laptop’s video card mysteriously died so we bought her a replacement desktop computer. We were tight on cash so we bought a low-end Dell running Vista. I’ve lamented since then on my frustrations and disappointments with Vista and Traci absolutely despised it. It was then I began to think once again seriously of moving to Linux and avoiding an upgrade to Vista, but I found that Linux still just wasn’t quite there on the desktop yet. It was closer than it had been in the past but still not what I needed.
As a result I decided to take another look at the Mac. It had been a few years and since then OSX had been released and the prices had dropped some. Long story short, I began to think seriously about a Mac and began researching what it would take to switch from Windows. I found that it was easier than ever to make the switch.
So after about a year of Vista Traci finally had had enough. We decided to pull the trigger about two weeks ago on a new iMac for her. We received it on a Friday and had her completely moved over to the Mac by Sunday morning. After spending the weekend with her Mac I decided it was time to make the switch myself and ordered mine. Continue reading
So, why a Mac? Well, I’ve done a fair amount of thinking about this decision and have come to a few conclusions. I need to upgrade within the next two years. My current box, although still quite snappy, will continually become slower and slower as software and operating systems (Vista, in particular) become more processor and memory intensive.
First of all, I had to consider my options. I have three options really; Windows, Mac, or Linux. I know there are other operating systems out there but for my personal machine at home none of the other options make sense. Given these three options I first needed to identify what I really wanted. Part of me, at least the non-conformist in me, wants to buck Microsoft completely. Sorry to disappoint all you Linux apologists out there but Microsoft is and will continue to be a major force in the computing world for some time to come. There is no escaping Microsoft completely, especially if you’re coming from a Windows world and have already come to use some Windows-only software. Continue reading
For the past 8 years I’ve been toying with the notion of switching from Windows to either Linux or Apple. I consistently dismissed the idea either because Linux wasn’t quite capable of supporting the switch or because Apples were just too damn expensive. Granted, Microsoft has made significant improvements in Windows stability (and even security) over the past several years so the impetus to switch isn’t quite what it was in the Windows 98/Me days. Windows XP was actually a pretty decent attempt at Unix by Microsoft, all things considered, but it’s still Microsoft at its base. Security sucked in XP and doesn’t seem to have improved drastically in Vista, unless you call nagging the end user to death security.
Speaking of Vista, that’s really what’s sparked this whole thing…again. My wife’s laptop decided to burn out its video card so rather than fixing it immediately we came across a good deal on a new Vista desktop for her. After we got it home we ended up replacing the printer (incompatible with Vista) and bought two new copies of Outlook. My scanner won’t work with Vista either, but that’s a bridge we’ll cross another day.
After spending some time getting her machine set up I realized one major thing: I’m really not that impressed with Vista. I really expected something big for an OS five years in the making and I was, well, underwhelmed by the whole thing. It’s slow as hell, at least on her system, and the interface just isn’t what I thought it would be. I expected something revolutionary and it just appeared that it got a decent facelift. Continue reading