It’s been a journey that many have taken.
Migrating from a Windows operating system to Mac.
The word Mac used to grit through my clenched teeth, I almost spat it out at the thought of using one. What has happened in the mean time has been interesting.
I like to muck around with computers and hardware and have done for many years, I like that side of computers, so to have something that I cannot open up and fiddle with seems quite the opposite of what I would want to do. With a PC you can fiddle to your hearts content and upgrade it whenever you please. Short of putting more RAM in, a Mac is not that easy to fiddle with. Then again, if it just worked, all the time, why would you want to?
It’s like this analogy.
Think of it as an old beat up car that you can open up and fiddle with, change the timing on a whim, replace the coolant by unplugging the rubber stopper, compared to a nice shiny new car that you cannot necessarily do that with, but why would you want to, because it just works. A shiny new car doesn’t have to be restarted while you are using it, just to be secure.
A Windows machine is just like the old beat up car. Gets you ‘from a to b’, it might do it slowly and it might break down along the way, but hey, it’s cheap, who cares!! And it gets you there eventually.
The Mac is like the new shiny car, plenty of speed from the get go, reliable and secure.
But it’s not all Microsoft’s fault, surely. They didn’t design every piece of the million hardware trinkets you can get with a PC, so the slowness, viruses and instability just isn’t their fault! That may very well be the case, but as a customer, that shouldn’t be your problem, you shouldn’t have to suffer!
Several features in using these two operating systems over the past few months have me sticking with Mac for the desktop for the foreseeable future.
As much as Microsoft is slow in catching up with great ideas, even with Windows 7, they haven’t caught up.
Spotlight search is an instant search feature on the Mac, and when I say instant, it’s instant.
You can type anything in the search bar and it will search files, folders, emails, photos, music etc… for that name and display the results in an easy to use, categorised menu.
Even better than this, the search feature is available on every Open dialog box, so if you have to open a file, no more trawling through your file system trying to find it, just type the name in the search box, voila!
The mind boggles as to why Windows 7 still does not have this feature.
Integrated graphical subsystem
Where Windows 7 will need a good graphics card etc to display it’s fancy stuff on screen, the Mac OSX operating system uses vector’s to display graphics, which doesn’t take a hit on the CPU/GPU to display 3D effects, the Windows 7 version is the ‘poor mans graphic effects’ (think of your old car analogy here :)), so the operating system speed doesn’t rely on graphics but only on how it’s designed.
The widgets system is also very handy, if I have to write a note, do a calculation or check the latest dilbert, I can simply press F4 and it all appears on screen, very handy.
Move to trash application feature
In Windows, everyone knows you can never truly get rid of a program, it can leave files, Windows DLL’s, registry entries all behind, ready to turn your sloth into a turtle. The Mac operating system has a neat feature called packages, where all programs are stored in one logical package. So to ‘uninstall’ a program on a Mac, you just drag the thing to trash, and the whole application is gone, no going into a control panel, wait for the Add/Remove programs to load, etc etc….
Yet another mind boggler here.
The Mac OSX has something called Time Machine.
Every thought of what it would be like having a seamless, transparent, automatic backup solution that will, if need be, restore your entire machine from scratch including everything down to icon locations? Well, your thinking of Time Machine.
It’s as easy as plugging in a drive, clicking the icon to use the disk as a Time Machine backup, and your entire computer is backed up, it’s that easy and if you need to go to a previous version of a file, just browse to the directory and click the Time Machine icon.
Something that Windows 7 does not have still and is sorely needed. Having to reinstall a Windows machine from scratch is (as anyone who has done this knows) extremely painful, you’ve got to install virus checker/s, spyware, firefox, winrar, etc etc etc, the Time Machine feature on the Mac means you never have to do that again because it can restore a computer from scratch, with all your data there.
I’ll steal a quote about time machine from http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2354364,00.asp
“4) Time Machine is a core part of the OS, and doesn’t require an end user to shop around for a product that piggy-backs off an already unstable OS architecture (DLL’s, registry, apps with files all over the place, etc). It’s great that Windows users have hundreds/thousands of programs to choose from for backup, unfortunately when you have the best one on your Mac, none of the other choices really matter, not to mention that most ‘non-nerds’ don’t want to shop around for a product like this anyway, cause they got better things to do with their time.”
Well, I’m not sure what I can say in this area, Apple are world class in support, just excellent.
Power usage and Form Factor
Ever wondered if it was really necessary to have a big clunky computer system under your desk, whirring away, and all those cables hanging about everywhere? Well, so did Steve and his team when they designed the iMac.
And on power usage, there isn’t much of a comparison, and similar specced PC would use more than double the power of a Mac.
When using my old Windows machine, it would run at 200 Watts load, the Mac (which is substantially more powerful) runs at just 110 Watts load, and always powers down if the screen saver is on or the screen is off. Windows will just keep thumping away, even if nothing is happening.
Speed and Security
As per my graphics post above, the Mac OS X is slick and fast, very very responsive, no waiting for the graphics card to recover from whatever fancy effect it was just trying to do.
And about security, what can I say, no installing a filesystem hogging virus checker on a Mac, it doesn’t need one! You also won’t come to your computer one day and find it’s been automatically restarted because of some critical security update (boy, does that irk me!!).
Those are my thoughts on moving from a Mac as my main machine to a PC. Mac’s are realiable, they are slick, they stay slick and all of your important files are backed up regularly automatically.