Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Switch. A Boy and a Powerbook.

I remember it pretty clearly. N's windows HP box was having some serious issues. Even a low level reformat couldn't help that thing. She decided she wanted a new computer. She decided she wanted a notebook. We went to Best Buy, we checked out what they had. She liked some of the smaller Sony's. I speced out a few Dell notebooks. Then, after a trip to the bookstore, she decided she wanted a Mac. Why, mostly because she liked the design. She's a girl and she makes purchase decisions based on factors such as cuteness and design not technical specs.

I didn't want her to get a Mac. I didn't know much about them. I didn't want her to shell out that much for a Powerbook not even knowing if she would like it or learn it. She had her heart set on it and eventually ordered a 12 inch 867 Mhz Powerbook. We went to see my family in Washington and when we got back to school, it had arrived. She pretty much loved it immediately.

I did too. Once I figured things out and had some time to play around with it, I began to learn my way around the operating system and get out my my Windows centric paradigm. Months later, I would ask her why she loved her Pbook (our affectionate name) so. Her reply, "It makes sense. I hated my Windows computer, I was always screaming at it, the Pbook just makes sense to me." It was true, other than one incident when we deleted programs out of the dock and off the hard drive (a bug that's been fixed), she never screamed at it. She customized the theme the way she loves to do. We made iMovies, we used iPhoto to easily catalog and edit our digital pictures. No camera drivers needed! It's all so effortless. No searching for good spyware/virus free software. No downloading of crappy buggy software, no missing DLLs.

I've convinced her to upgrade each time to the next OSX. It keeps getting better and more refined from my point of view to her, it just works. When I had the chance, I'd borrow it to take to campus. The twelve inch Pbook is the ultimate portable for both she and I. It's lightweight and small enough to fit in out packs and seem almost as if it isn't there.

Then we got iPods. I was jealous of the seamless integration. iTunes for Windows and my Windows formatted iPod are great but it's not the Mac experience. I would get to borrow the Pbook from N for times here and there but never long enough to really get knee deep into OSX the way I wanted to. She complained when I installed software and I was never able to customize it the way I wanted. I didn't use it enough to warrant a separate user account but I loved each minute that I got to use it.

My motto was, 'I love the Powerbook and I love OSX. I would get one as a second computer or portable but I'm not ready to give up my Windows box. There are some things that I just can't to on a Mac.'

That has changed. I'm ready to dump my dull little box, dutifully performing its dull little tasks for something different, something powerful, something better.

I've spent the last two weeks exclusively on the Powerbook. I've been using it very heavily too since I have nothing else to do. In the last two weeks, there have been few things that I've wanted to do that I have not been able to do. For instance, Blogger's formatting tools aren't available in Safari but I could use Firefox to get to them if I wanted. I've done all the browsing I've wanted. Every website has worked. I've read all my RSS feeds every day, I've blogged. I've pirated music. I've streamed music from my iPod. I've watched videos. You name it, I've done it. I've done everything in the last two weeks that I normally do on my PC at home and never wished I was back on that Windows box. I haven't given a second thought to security, viruses or spyware. I know being on the Powerbook I'm not immune, I am still smart about what I do online, but I don't have to live in constant fear that some Active X control is going to surreptitiously install itself and brick my box.

I read Scoble, he's the Microsoft Blogger who has the title of Technical Evangelist. This is something he notedwhat in a recent post:

"But, go even further. I really don’t want religious customers. I want skeptical, educated, pragmatic customers. This is why I talk about my competitors so much and let you know what they are doing right (just last night I pointed out that the MacBook has a better power cord design than a PC, even if I did it in a snarky way). By the way, business schools teach that you should NEVER talk about your competitors cause your customers might like their products better and leave.

I’d rather have customers who go and seriously consider Linux and Macs first. If I lose them as customers, that’s OK. They weren’t mine to begin with (and they’ll stay my friends). Why? Cause it’s more important to me that they be happy.

But, if they come back and say “you know, that Tablet PC is more useful for me than anything I’ve seen on the other side of the fence” then that customer will be 100x more excited about the products I’m offering than if he or she felt “forced” to use them due to some marketing lockin or scheme or some cultish attitude."

Well Mr. Scoble. I can tell you, I'm a skeptic. I'm pretty damn educated, generally and technically and I like to think I'm pragmatic. When I have sufficient funds, I will be buying a Mac. I can't expect to be handed one from Winer, even on my birthday. I don't know which Mac it will be. It might be an iMac, it might be a 12 inch MacBook Pro but it WILL be a Mac. Call it the 'Halo Effect' call it switching, call it what you will. I believe that now, Apple provides a superior product and experience at a competitive price point and I will no longer support Microsoft when I believe they have been bested.

It hasn't always been this way but, it's the way it is now. I only stared using PCs because that is what was available. It's what was provided for me. OSX is better than Windows now and I believe it for the conceivable future. Go ahead Redmond, let Vista slip again. There will be more to follow me. Steve is on to something. Michael Dell wrote them off in the late nineties and that was a mistake. Steve and his team are proving with each Mac and iPod shipped that they are indeed back and ready to make a real run at market share. For your sake I hope you get your act together. But, I'm not convinced you will.

It wasn't some marketing lockin, scheme or even the RDF that has prompted my decision. It's a long line of frustration. It's late night support calls to India. It's spending hours of my own time 'consulting' for my friends who are less skilled in fixing spyware infestations. It's every new WMF exploit. It's every time Spybot and AdAware are ran and return with infections. It's all those annoying pop ups. It's the insecurity I feel when I have to use IE. It's everything. OSX isn't perfect, no software is. But it's a lot better and a lot further along in most every regard than Windows is.

I've never had to do any of those things on the Pbook, and I'm the maintainer of it. I've spend some time on the phone with AppleCare as you would expect to do with any computer but it's nothing like using a Windows box. Scoble said, "By the way, business schools teach that you should NEVER talk about your competitors cause your customers might like their products better and leave." Not true in my business school experience but you know what is true. The worst kind of advertising and the worst thing that can happen for a company is negative word of mouth.

I'm a leader and influencer in my circle of family and friends when it comes to technology. I'm the one they turn to when they have issues, problems or need advice. My opinion is highly valued. From this day on, I will not ever reccommend a Dell or any other Windows computer over a Mac. Apple has the breadth in their product offerings to satisfy most needs. In fact, my parents will probably be getting a Mac Mini for Christmas from me to replace their aged Dell. I'm not going to bash Microsoft and Windows, but like Mr. Scoble, I've become an evangelist and I'm the best kind, the unpaid kind.


Blogger Joseph Bolus said...

Nice Write-up!!

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Joel said...

A cool, honest, switch story! I've posted your link at our site

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. I switched last September and my 12" PBook is totally awesome.

Windows XP works pretty good, but the overall experience of cocoa apps, and OSX is better.

Cheap Mac apps are also great. I use Audio Hijack for example which is a great little tool, and paid for it, like many mac users.

Can't **wait** for my Mac Book Pro to arrive.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I switched to the same 12" 867mhz pbook 2.5 years ago and i dont regret it one bit. i am a certified Windows/PC technician and make a lot of money from those infected Windows machines. thats why i use a Mac.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Spencer said...

Swimming in a fresh clear pool versus a pond that's a little grungy. You can swim in either, but one just feels better.

11:31 PM  
Blogger jack said...

What is the REAL issue with windows pc's?

ive gotten talked into switching to mac from my dad. he even bought me 2 BRAND NEW MACS like 3 years ago...
a imac, had to return and exchange due to it being way underpowered.
then i got a dual 867 g4

right now i use it as a headless folding computer/web server.

its useless for anything else.
i like the fact that idiots can messup a windows computer. its fun.
mac is WAY to user friendly to be easy to use for a massive control freak like me
i like to mod everything, and with a mac, it aint possible.

all you mac people are being blinded by the flashy ads and ETC that apple puts out there.
just get your self:
windows xp sp2
kaspersky 2006 beta
partition magic
norton ghost

i know that seems like alot.
but i can get by with just the 1st 2 items.

windows computers arnt that hard to manage. they run faster with older hardware. and if you havent ever looked in the process mon app on macosx... osx is BLOATED!!!

i got my windows pc to use up about 40MB total memory on a fresh install with install cd modding.
and it runs great, and stable.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

Found your post via and I have to say, you've hit on a solid point. When the tech-savvy member of a family starts recommending something, one supporter can turn into 20. I bought myself an iBook a few months ago and I couldn't be happier. Every time a family member or friend has asked me what to get, I point them towards Apple.

Word of mouth is all it'll take to get to that point of critical mass.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Pete. said...

Great post.
I did the same myself with a humble ibook. These things just make sense. (Not to mention they're a pleasure on the senses).

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, c'mon. "Steve and his team"? So you're on a fist-name basis, eh?

To be honest, I think it's kinda rediculous that you make your switch into some sort of an epic story, finally ending the horrible turmoil of using windows and PCs.

Let's be honest folks - it's just a computer. If you don't know how to use it, *learn*. I used Windows all the way from DOS/3.11 until now, Linux for more than 10 years, and OSX at least once a month since 10.1 and you know - they're just different.

The problem is when people become zealous - or overzealous. The mac will not cook dinner for you. The mac will not solve your problems. Steve Jobs is not god.

The sooner people stop turning Apple Vs. Microsoft into an epic battle, the better.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Brady Johnson said...

Hey buddy. Digg +

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Mona said...

Your story mimics my story with convincing my husband to 'make the switch'. I am a photography student and need a MAC because it just kicks PC to the curb.

I fought him for a year on this and we bought my G5. Then less than a year later, he made the switch.

When I was at Auburn, I only used the MAC labs once.

War Eagle!
Alumni '98

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a tool. don't be a poser or fanboy.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Joen said...

I started using a Mac at work in September 2004 and haven't looked back since.
In May I bought a 12" iBook. In November, I got a 20" iMac. Both came before their new, better version, but I love them anyway.

I can't see myself buying or building a PC ever again. I've grown too old to do that. What I want is something that just works and let's me do what I want without getting in my way. My Macs do this in such a big way that they have caused a paradigm shift in my life. For any important item, I shall from now on only buy quality. Because, while the Macs--and quality products in general--may be more expensive, you sure get what you pay for.

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is both of the Macs I've owned have given me more problems than my Windows machines have every given me. All of them hardware errors, too. From the motherboard's manufacturing error on my previous iBook to the latest OSX update totally disabling my battery, I don't think I'll ever buy another one.

Oh, and my iPod's hard drive just died. Apple wants close to 300 bucks to repair it.

All my Windows problems are software related. Not all that hard to fix, if you ask me. You just have to know how to treat it.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Steve Jobs said...

Really gay. Macs are gay, Windows is gay, and you are gay. I hope your notebook crashes and catches fire because you are so gay.

New title for this crap: "Buttplug. A boy and his gay Mac." The thrilling story of how a boy gets his Powerbook lodged in his a$$ and how they learned to co-exist. Roger Ebert gives it 2 thumb up...his a$$. Waste $9 and see it today.

12:27 AM  
Blogger .w.h.i.m. said...

Well... I've been thinking about getting myself a Mac for a while now. But again, the limitation is the fact that I'm a .NET developer :(

The upside of using a Mac as I see it would be the productivity, since you spend close to 100% of your time doing what you need to. This is not the case with Windows PCs, with the usual headache of Viruses / Spywares / OS issues!

But again, the sofware alternatives are too broad for Windows. Mac's become impractical when it is not in the context of personal computing or industries related to multimedia (and a few others), just for the fact that some software are made only for Windows.

If you want flexibility, I'd much rather go for Linux distros. The rate at which Linux is becoming user friendly, it won't be long before it catches up with Windows!

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate when Mac-haters say "hey, its just a tool" as if You paying attention to the aesthetics and ease-of-use of OS X means you are not focused on the end product, i.e. getting the job done.
My response is..the computer can be more than a tool, it can be an instrument, like a guitar or a keyboard or any creative device that has a mojo all its own. you want to touch it and use it because it makes you feel good just to use it, like my favorite guitar, sometimes I just hold her and I feel inspired to write and play. when its a joy to use something, when your senses tingle at the touch, it has a tangible effect o your output...your creation.
thatbsaid, I use both os's on a daily basis and i like tem both for diferent reasons-games for PC, Mac for Art

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quality? Don't kid yourself until you look inside the box? you'll see all the same goldstar and nec chips that you'll find in your cheap alarm clock.
Folks apple don't make the stuff - they don't have a secret lab somewhere that makes special apple dvd writers. They don't have a special lab dedicated to makeing hard drives that will never-ever fail. These devices are the same ones in all kinds of computers, apple users just pay more.
Here's an idea. Get a quote on an IDE hard drive from Apple then get a quote on the same IDE hard drive from a PC manufacture - now you can see how you have all been ripped off.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the above anonymous whining about Apples prices vs whitebox. Do the same thing with Dell vs whitebox and you will get the same issue. The fact is these companies buy based on what they can get at volume and also what they can gaurantee for compatibility with their prebuilt machines.

To all haters on both sides:

Stop bashing someones personal preference of OS and Hardware. If you get more done on an x86 with XP than a PPC with OSX then go for it. It doesn't matter what you work in as long as you can work in it. If you want to do all your graphics in deluxe paint on an amiga then do it.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody with any tech-savvy beleives that Apple produces its hardware components themselves , but we understand that quality components married with awesome sofware and unbeatable support makes for a great user experience. its like Dell with style, elegance, and iLife.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Macs are for noobs, you are teh ghey. you lose!

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody with any tech-savvy beleives that Apple produces its hardware components themselves , but we understand that quality components married with awesome sofware and unbeatable support makes for a great user experience. its like Dell with style, elegance, and iLife.

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a note to 'jack'.
Just because you think you can't mod things, and you don't know how to mod things, doesn't mean it can't be done, or is hard.
Don't talk about what you don't know. If you knew macs as well as you know PCs, (which you obviously don't) you would know that macs can be modded, and it isn't as hard as you make it out to be. You can't make an opinionated post like that unless you know both systems equally.

As for bloat, even if there are lots of processes, what matters is what resources they use. If my computer is idling, it uses 0%-3% of the CPU. My moms PC can't get anywhere near that.

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like macs, but i'm not gonna switch to them in the future. Regardless the price macs are good for general usage - photos, music, blogging etc. I have more than 160 apps (including few games) installed on my home PC, and i will hardly find similar funtionality on mac platform.

It is about life attitude i suppose. On mac - if you can't do something, you have to live with it (Though i admit, there are not so many things macs are not apt to). The usability and simple beauty pays off that. And PC offers way many choices (sometimes too many) to do practically anything, but you have to look through a number of programms to find the one, search the web for drivers etc.
The no-mac-viruses thing works untill there are not so many mac users around (compared to windows'). The moment critical mass is reached, you are all burried in disease like we are, guys. BTW, regular automatic updates, good browser (firefox) and a decent firewall - saves you from 99.9% of bad stuff. Yeah, and you have to quit clicking on fake e-mail attachments from Santa, too.
Another thing - games. Mac is no good for that. Go buy xbox or playstation for gaming they say!
Don't feel like it yet - a powerfull PC and tonns of practically free games (i live in Russia, lucky i am) eliminates the need to waste money on specialized devices, when i have one for everything. Macs has a very limited list of titles available and lacks the graphical power of consoles.
Someday... when i give up thinking about being reasonable and retire to a small island to write a book, i'll get myself a mac. Though i will still be starting MSWord under Wine to do my writing. ;)

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sir above are a twat, and I like the story just the same with me I used to hate them then I bought one 4/5 months ago and love it. I find it hard to use windows now :P

1:54 AM  
Anonymous WTL said...

I "switched" to Mac Dec 27th, 2003. I picked up a PowerMac G5 and started to use it alongside my other boxes.

I pretty much stopped using my windows box mid 2004. We exchanged my wife's windows box for a Mini and she loves it.

Everyone I have recommended to get a mac has, or is planning to.

Now, years ago, I was tearing my system apart every other weekend to add a drive, mess with the scsi chain, add ram, change the case etc. Then, suddenly, that just stopped mattering. I just wanted a computer that worked, no messing around required. I tested a friends Matrox non-linear system, and then tested a Mac. The choice was pretty obvious to me.

I started on Final Cut Express, then upgraded to Final Cut Pro, and then to Final Cut Studio as revenue from the video side of my business increased.

It has been two years now, and pretty much everything has been easy. I appreciate how much *less* time I spend fiddling with things and just working, because in the world of the self-employed, an hour spent fixing your computer is a lost billable hour.

I do know some die-hard XP users, and that is all fine and dandy to me. It is a personal choice. Windows users are people too.

1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing how many storys like this I've heard in the last six months. Apple seems to be really picking up pace in a way they havn't done since the early days, before the empire.

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how the poor Windoze users slammed this with comments like I only need XP and you can't mod a Mac, I have a modded Mac in my living room in a unique case. Yep all you need is XP(and about $500 in apps to keep it running). I've used every OS since 1979 and the Mac OS has always been superior, sure I keep a Windowz box in the back room, its too ugly for people to see who visit, it runs 2 little boring jobs well and I kept it(in addition to my 5 Macs) because I hate Virtual PC on older Mac hardware and I have to use it for work sometimes when clients send me files. Once I convert the files and slide them to my OS X server, I don't look back either.

2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A better idea than getting an Apple laptop is to get a cheap Windows XP laptop and put something like OpenSuse on it. Dual boot it if you don't want to leave Windows behind completely.

2:52 AM  
Blogger shadow said...

Sweet write up very simular to my swithc story, OSX is the best!!!

3:08 AM  
Blogger shadow said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to be another "me too", but I bought a Powerbook a few months ago and I am hooked. I used to despise macs (who buys a computer because it comes in a range of colours?), but when the Unix flavoured OS X came out I got interested. Having come in to a little money (an unfortunate necessity; those babies aren't cheap), I jumped. And boy have I been impressed. I think one of the key things for me is the culture; third-party software providers pride themselves on the quality of their product every bit as much as Apple does. Being a developer myself, I believe in an ethos of getting it right for the user. I'm just grateful that I can afford to be an Apple user.

NB: Prior to this I was a Linux user - a much cheaper option, and one I still respect, but it is definately harder work.

3:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So... if you're doing "bigger, better" things with you Godly Mac, why do you need to write such a huge, pointless essay to justify yourself and others of the purchase?

3:37 AM  
Blogger substrom said...

Mac's are great for mums and kids

4:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Macs Suck Dick!

If you know what you're doing Windows is a better OS in general. More software is supported for windows, not to mention drivers. So your Mac has seamless integration, what about Windows Plug 'n Play? It works great.

Yeah so good luck to you with your slow ass Mac

4:15 AM  
Anonymous karol said...

Yeah, it's a tool, but it's a better tool. You could probably buy a Ford that's 30 years old for $100 that'll run most of the time but you're going to have to put some serious work into it, and you'll be reluctant to give it a serious workout because it might die.

The only thing I would use windows for is games, that's it. And soon enough I'll be able to put a small windows partition on my mac of that purpose alone. Happy Days. Plus the mac hardware is nice, it's one of the few laptops you can buy that has both speed and size on its side. The dells seem to be one or the other.

Oh and by the way for you OS X fans out there check out a little app called Butler. Pure cool.

4:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"From this day on, I will not ever reccommend a Dell or any other Windows computer over a Mac."

From this day on? You don't know the future of Windows and how it will compare to Mac. You are a hypocrite to go against a product from "this day on". You open your mind and switch to Mac, then you close your mind back up and have hatred for future products that have potential of being better than Mac. Don't get me wrong, I am a Mac fan too, but that was a little extreme and idiotic.

4:35 AM  
Anonymous tugger said...

My business maintains around 500 PCs and Macs (approx 50/50 split) across the UK. 88% of callouts are for PC related problems.
The company's 34 office staff are trained to support both, and from then onwards they have one of each on their desks.
With no exceptions, all have chosen to use the mac as their main machine, albeit for different reasons..
As a further comment, only one of these has chosen to continue with the apple mouse.

Macs aren't perfect, their OS is simply 5-7 years ahead of windows at the moment.
I think that microsoft suffer from upgrade after upgrade, fix after fix, and simply needs a fresh start, a chance to re-write an OS from the ground-up. Apple had this luxury with OSX, although it was clearly painful for the users initially, the long-term benefits are clear.
Microsoft went through this to drop DOS before, they can do it again.

Perhaps googles rumoured upcoming super-light OS will change all this.
Perhaps someone will modify OSX to run PC Apps, that would be nice but I won't hold my breath.

5:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its just a pc!,why pay twice the price for apple?..spyware and virus aint a problem,if u use firefox and adaware,it aint no big deal..i use a dell laptop,it was cheap its fast,u dont need to be a rocket scientist to work it out,it never crashes..hello..u r soo cool u got a apple...

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a long-term Unix/Linux user but had a look at OSX when my g/f got an ibook. I like the machine, the OS, the GUI, etc but it didn't have virtual dektop switching. I've used fluxbox on Linux for a while and just can't handle one desktop -- so I searched around for an add on which would do it. The only one I could find was $25 shareware. It amazed me that someone would pay for a little app like that.

And that's why I went back to Linux. It's not just the configurability, the security and the choice, its the vast amount of free software produced by an enthusiatic community of developers.

Maybe this will develop around OSX, and then maybe I'll try it again. I sure as hell know I won't buy an OS where people are paying for compression (stuffit style).

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm using WinXP and Linux at the same time, via vmware, and pretty happy. I never ever had any virus on my Windows machines (home network).
I develop software in .NET on Windows platform, in MONO on Linux, and in Ruby/Ruby on Rails in both Windows and Linux.
Mac is switching to Intel X86 processor now, and, it becomes working better and faster.
Mac is not bad, but addition to Mac really weird. It's not much better or worse.
It's based on BSD, some derivative of Unix/Linux, and, actually, Linux is much better, gives you much more choices, totally open and don't treat you as an happy idiot. I'm happy, because my computer does what I want, and I AM ABLE to make it doing MUCH MORE, and Mac user never ever be able to do it. Mac is like virgin and you never slip with her, you can just do some petting. Linux allows you to satisfy the most vild of your desires. And, basically, Linux is a lot of beautiful woman.
Mac's friend looks in this case rather like retired geezer, without stamina, and has just platonic friendship, he never goes under dress of his girlfriend, MacGirl.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous bruceyeah said...

"She's a girl and she makes purchase decisions based on factors such as cuteness and design not technical specs. "

That's a bit sexist .. i factor in design, am I now a girl?

But overall a good write up.. I feel the same in many ways. Vista isn't different enough to make me feel like there's gonna be any real improvement in the overall experience.

I put it down to starting from scratch. Although it killed netscape, the mozilla rewrite has given us Firefox .. which is way cooler than IE which seems so bloated and sick by comparison.

Apple did their own re-write with OSX, and they've got the UI/design skill to really hurt Microsoft's market share.

6:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you got paid well for this advertisement -because in my eyes your integrity is shot!

Your use of the language..your word choice and sentence structure have definelty been through a marketing machine!

6:20 AM  
Anonymous jazz said...

Does your P'bewk vibrate when you plug it in? Do you take it out to dinner? Do you give it massages?

If So. Your in a sexual fantasy with your Pbewk. Just remember the ports arn't that big. (maybe)

6:50 AM  
Blogger Andrew Cartmill said...

First of all, choosing an OS also has to do with what you choose to do with it. I'm an audio engineer and I user protools TDM with a G5. I've use protools on windows. It's just not the same. It's not half as stable. I know 0 professional audio engineers, photographers, or movie/postproduction pro's who use windows computers. If you want to be a 1337 gamer (what I use my pc laptop for) then get a pc. If you want to do high end artsy stuff, use a mac. When a company can release a program like garage band, that anyone can use, and steal a chunk of my business where musicians don't need me to record thier demos, I have to give them props.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can relate. My wife wanted to replace my very antiquated but still functional 80286 PC with a Mac back in 1998. I was going to go with a Windows box because I thought Apple was financially doomed, so for a while we did nothing. That year they introduced the iMac, and my dad had just retired and wanted a PC. I figured an Mac might be a good choice for a novice, so I recommended one to dad after reading many positive reviews. It was just like the ads said: we had him on-line in 15 minutes and he has since learned to do a lot on the computer (digital photography, etc). Dad has since bought himself a 12 inch powerbook (867, just like your article) which he loves.

After seeing how well it went for dad, and after reading that Apple was going to eventually deliver a Unix OS (I detested "cooperative multitasking" a la OS9 and its predecessors) we bought our own iMac in 1999 and then sold it to buy a DV-capable model in 2000. We still have it but are looking forward to upgrading it to either another 15-inch PB or maybe a 20inch iMac.

What I really like about the Mac platform is its ease-of-use combined with the fact that it is a true Unix platform that runs MS Office. For a developer, that is SO handy! You have nice access to OSS tools like gcc, you can download and build tons of code, Ruby is built in, and you can swap documents etc. with MS Office users. That's an awesome combination IMO.

No doubt someone will say "you are so gay/such a n00b/etc you can do that in Windows too." Yeah, you can, but doing gcc-based development in Windows sucks compared to doing it in OSX. And Unix has a lot of powerful commands built in that Windows doesn't, especially for processing raw text files (AWK, or Perl if you're younger than me). The DOS command shell (STILL present in Windows XP! It's like I still have my 80286!!) compared to csh/bash/etc? No comparison.

Of course, if you only develop for MFC/.NET there's no advantage, and I've always heard Macs were inferior for games. I don't play games so I don't care. For the stuff I do care about like photography, video, and sound editing the Apple tools (iLife) and 3rd party packages I have used are great and in many cases totally kick the butt of lousy Windows PC software packages I have seen and/or tried.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love macs as well. I adore the look, the feel, how they work.

What I detest is their service once you've made the purchase. Take for instance my iPod, it went bad about six and a half months after buying it. The scroll wheel wouldn't work and upon calling technical support and attempting to understand the thick accent of the indian based specialist, I was told that I needed to send it back.

All well and good until they ask for a credit card number? Excuse me? I thought I had a warrantee. I did, but according to Erin Knuth (the executive dude I spoke with once my complaint went up the ladder) Apple has such a degree of false-negative issues with its hardware, it charges for shipping. $29.00 - For a college student on a budget. That's food for two weeks. It's not minor chump change.

SO yah, it's all well and good. Apple is great. Products are great. But if you need assistance with a product, be prepared to shell out some money.

My weblog entry on this particular subject can be found at

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use both.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Using a MAC is like counting change while wearing mittens. If your doing graphics, pictures, movies, or other "feel good" tasks - the MAC is fine. But if you're using a computer to do something more serious than "pirating" software (like, say, writing software?) - then Windows/Linux/Unix make MAC look like a Fischer price toy.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very well expressed. windows is for masochistics. I switched last year and it has been the best decision i've ever made. this sounds extreme, but i would have been burned out as a programmer by now had it not been for OSX. Windows... jesus... Windows. I feel like Samuel Jackson in "Changing Lanes"... "I want my TIME BACK MOTHERFUCKER. Do you have my TIME in that BAG?????"... love to say this to Bill Gates.

Well said.

8:05 AM  
Blogger tm said...

Jack, your arguments for Mac OS X being too user-friendly for a control freak are completely bogus. I've got more control over my Macs than I ever did with my PCs.

Nice write up, btw. I'll probably give you a link when I have time to update.


8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in the same situation your in. Friend got a 12" PB and once you touch it and use it you fall in love with it. I haven't switched yet because like you I'm waiting for a small Macbook. I realy need a notebook for school but I dont want some crapy 12' Dell, On my DEll DJ alone i had to send it for repair 3 times and my Axim PDA once. Seing as thats my only encounter with Dell it sucks.

My friend got his powerbook when they were giving out free ipod minis and he let me have it. I actualy use that 4gb mini rather than the pain in the ass DJ from Dell. Its all about ease of use and not having to mess around with poor software (musicmatch).

Good luck on your switch as I am walking the same line.


8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a developer/system admin who has a mixed environment of Apple and PC (desktops and servers), I can guarantee you we spend far more time/money/effort maintaining our the PC's than we do our Macs. There is no comparison - and our Macs are able to do everything the PC does, and more in a lot of cases. The XP has been beaten.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Screw all you people who say the excited Mac users are overzealous or "fanboys". I use Windows 99% of the time, but for the short time that I owned a Mac (I had to sell it for financial reasons) it was a DREAM. I could compile my own linux apps from the command line, my Apple box communicated with my Windows boxes BETTER than my other Windows boxes, and everything just worked. How would you feel if you were driving a broken down economy stationwagen all of your life and then experienced a BMW? (and, yes, it's THAT extreme) You would be excited, tell your friends, family, whoever. That's how I felt with a Mac. So, call me what you will. But it's true. I'm excited about using a computer again, and it's because of Apple. I should mention that I have a degree in Computer Engineering, have held SEVERAL network admin possitions, pc technician possitions, and now I'm a .Net developer. So, stop bashing people for being excited. Or else you hypocrites need to keep your mouth shut the next time you experience something great.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to what Jack said about the PC's sure your pc is stable and you have the utils to keep it running smoothly. But try supporting your non-technicial relative that is not in the same state or city as you are. I have been in to PC's and Windows since the days of the 8088 with no hardrive and the 286, 386-SX-16Mhz and Dos 3.0. I am sick and tired of supporting Windows and Friends and Family with Windows. With all of the Spyware ,Malware and Viruses. I have seen the light. Apple has their stuff together You just plug it in and go. Sure it cost more up front. But you dont need to buy any virus software,anti spyware,etc. Buy the way I have yet to see one single antispyware package that does all of the spyware in one shot. I spoke to geek squad @ best buy and they said they use 12 different programs just to clean infected spyware machines. What kind of crap is that. Its amazing what people put up with from pc's. If you new car started giving you problems the way pc's did you would take it back to the dealer. Bottom line is get a Mac or scrap windows and use linux. Also I bet Mr. Gates is getting a little nervouse about the Mac software running on the intel platform. Because the day is comming with you will be able to run OS X on your beige box.

10:22 AM  
Blogger WB.Stow said...

If you are too stupid to learn how to use Windows properly, then by all means use a Mac.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 7:46 AM:

Stuffit is usually included with the OS X bundle so you shouldn't have to pay for it (I never have), but you can always open up a terminal window and use gzip if you prefer.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Achaiah said...

Nice honest article. I've been using a PowerBook since Summer 2004 and never looked back. Even being this old my PowerBook runs Tiger flawlessly. I've got both, a PC desktop and a Mac laptop and I use both every day. Never had to spend a minute maintaining my mac. As we all know, Windows pretty much demands a fresh reinstall every 6mo. or so to keep it running smoothly (registry gets corrupted, dlls go missing, viruses eat your documents, you name it).

Personally, I love the interface of the OS and the power of the *nix terminal. For a hardcore programmer the environment is definitely a lot more productive than on a PC. I can write php code, click a button and my laptop turns into a *nix server with full sql support. Doesn't get much easier than that. The only regret is that games still suck on the mac. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad machine for games, but the benchmarks are definitely lagging behind competition. I do, however, play a game of WCIII now and again just fine on my PB.

Oh..and one more thing.. (pun intended)

War Damn Eagle!

1:11 PM  
Anonymous J said...

I had a very similar experience. After using a mac I realized that a computer should just work. It is just a tool. However, using a windows computer is not like it should be. Windows requires constant maintenance to the point that you forgot what you were using it for in the first place.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Hjorrdis said...

I’d just like to post a slightly different angle.
The high school I went to was one of the first to completely integrate technology into the classroom. Every student in every high school in the county was given an iBook laptop to use in 2001, and so for three years I had the unfortunate experience of having to struggle with many other students on a Macintosh computer and try to figure out how to get it to be useful. Yes, these were not the high-end machines, and perhaps that’s all the problem was. They used the same external case and some of the same equipment, so the problems with those elements of the iBook had to happen large-scale to other people as well. I would say that within the first year of the program, 50% of the students had at one time had to pay the $100 fee to get the cheap CD-ROM drive replaced because the latch broke. I would say with a number like 50%, it’s no longer user error and abuse. Pixels broke in the screens as well, leading to a larger fee. On top of that, Apple refused to certify any of the high school help-desks as fix points (despite them having hired technicians for the purpose), so the school had to routinely fed-ex our laptops to Texas (from Virginia) so that Apple technicians could either fix them, or break something else and send them back to us. Yes, once I got mine back with a broken CD-ROM drive latch (and it was only sent out for routine updates). Overall, I would say 25% of the students who graduated and then purchased a computer then proceeded to buy their own iBook for college, but the other 75% went on to get PC laptops for their college education (many of us said “good riddance”). As soon as the four year lease on the iBooks was up, the county made the decision to switch to Dells. I left the school system before that, but my mother is still teaching there, and whenever I see her (though she has both the ibook and the Dell), she’s using her Dell. She also says it’s a lower stress environment because nothing locks up anymore so things are done more quickly, software for educators is compatible, and students always have a laptop, instead of some of them not being able to do assigned work because their particular unexplainable problem needed fixing. Perhaps it’s very different on the high end side, but on the low-end, inexpensive computer side, I can tell you honestly Apple had no idea what they’re doing. The Dells the schools have now work more smoothly than those iBooks ever did, and, surprisingly, very rarely getting as full of viruses and bugs as the iBooks did. Yes, viruses on the iBooks. We had so many on one network that all it took was for one to get infected and a pandemic would ensue. Norton Anti-virus for Macs only has a database update every 1-2 months, and usually doesn’t even have all the viruses available to Mac in the database anyway. I had teachers who had the entire contents of folders corrupted, copied elsewhere (one teacher I know had 10,000 copies of a file put on her desktop – that was fun), and deleted, and through it all there was no way to get rid of the viruses because no one does the research to find them and get rid of them since it would be a financial failure to sell anti-virus software to a consumer base that doesn’t believe they need it.

And what do I do in my spare time at school? I help the users of the G5s in the Virginia Tech Architecture building figure out how to get by whatever problem they have. These machines probably cost $5000 and they are about useless because of their stupid simplicity. We want to design, not figure out how to get around a bad design.

Me? I love my Toshiba laptop and custom built desktop which both run Window’s XP. I researched the components in my desktop and haven’t felt the need to upgrade hardware in three years. With anti-virus protection given free by the school, all I need is a monthly scan for adware to keep everything running smoothly, and at least I can happily say that someone out there is watching out for these problems, not just pretending they aren’t there.

Sorry to make this so long, just had a lot to say.

2:56 PM  
Blogger John Leibowitz said...

For what it's worth, here is my two cents. No one will read this anyway

From what I've read of the comments (and not that wasn't too many) there are a lot of people saying that Windows doesn't take too much effort to use, but then they go on to say that you need all these expensive programs. They also say that you need to learn how to use the thing as well.

I fix windows computers for a living, and you can talk all you want about keeping a windows system stable. By at the end of the day, after hours of repairing screwed up Windows computers for other people, and then you have to come home and repair your families windows PC's constantly and your PC and everything that goes along with it, and still try to stay on decent budget so you don't go broke just keeping the computer alive, you pine for a change.

With Macintosh computers, out of the box I already don't have to worry about spyware and viruses. The built in Unix firewall takes care of the rest. It's easy to figure out, even after using Windows for a long time, and it does indeed have very few problems.

Sure I can't configure too much of my GUI, but in all reality, who really cares? I know people that spend most of their time on the computer making graphics and crap to change the look of their Linux install once a week. To me, that's a waste of time, the user interface on the mac (and linux for that matter) is very usable and looks very good how it is.

At work, people that bring their computer to the shop with adware/spyware issues, it ends up costing them about $200 for the labor, and about $70 for Norton Internet Security 2006...of course then you don't have as many problems, but then Norton slows down the computer and you are still left with all the Windows flaws, bugs, and exploits, and anything that wasn't in the last norton update.

Mac isn't "way to user friendly" [sic] to the point where it's unusable. I think your problem is that you are not used to having a computer that not only let's you get your work/play done but also provides you with an easy stable way to do it. The Macintosh does everything I need to do without an issue, and the issues I do run into are easy to fix. I'd like to a few of the Windows zealots on the list actually get down and dirty with a room full of Windows 98 and XP computers loaded with spyware/adware and try to actually clean them up entirely and get them back to their owner in a decent amount of time and guarantee it all under a 30 day warranty on the work...It can be hell.

Of course, it's all your personal choice of what you like to use. I guess it's just fun to attack other's choice of OS :)

4:18 PM  
Blogger John Leibowitz said...

That was very well written, I really like the third from last paragraph and plan to quote you on that one.

and I want to comment on the last paragraph.

I switched my mom to an old iMac running 10.3 a year ago, and had 3 issues with it, two with the printer (though one was my fault and horribly minor) and one with a firefox toolbar (such a minor issue it wouldn't be worth noting if there was even one other more important problem.

My brother bought a Powermac G4 533Mhz (runs Tiger) a few months later and loves it (and I haven't had to fix that one yet).

I just recently bought a Powerbook 15.2" 1.67Ghz because the Powermac G3 (from ebay) wasn't portable and wasn't fast enough for my needs (but very fast no less)

I'll be reccomending Macintosh to anyone that even comes close to sounding like it would work for them.

Really that's all it takes, the tech people to fall in love with the operating system and hardware, it's not too long after that that their friend's, family and families' friends start using it as well.

Sure you can do all the various forms of media design work on a mac, but it's not just for that. It's for the people that use it for email, web browsing, pictures, chat.

Sorry this turned into two long posts but I seem to rant on like that...

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

funny stuff... You write a post about switching then the windoze fan-boys complain or try to downplay the commercial importance of the act.

then its, "it's just a tool don't be a fan-boy" with the unstated thought " i am, but im writing this criticism cuz im scared that there really is something to this OSX thing and i'll really have to get a Mac so im not a glass-room dinosaur java programmer too scared to check anything else out."

then its "macs are ghey", with the unstated thought "...but i really am too cuz i really get that there really is something beautiful about the minimalist aesthetics of an apple store and the apple buying experience (and i know this cuz i bitch about best-buy on other forums) but i don't want to admit it so i'd rather just hate on it cuz its so lame, mmmmkay? and its lame cuz apple stores are lame m'kay? so don't buy an apple cuz their lame, mmkay?'... and don't you get it? apple users don't know anything about their machine. like i know how to swap a proc on my asus mobo and go thru my registry to clean out stuff that just looks like its not supposed to be there. and i know how to ghost my h'drive and keep it up every other day so when i get hit with a virus i can restore that shit and be up and running in a jiffy. so mac users are lame cuz they don't know their machine just like i do. and can you f'king believe the smugness of apple users? their so lame with their art and their cultishness. don't they know how to be a normal person and only hire people that know their machines, and know how to set up a dual boot linux and only go to lunch with people that know their shit? Ughh macs are lame, m'kay?"

5:49 PM  
Blogger grubedoo said...

The "baige-boxers" who nay-say the superior aesthetics of Macs are naive. I suppose they don't consider how a vehicle looks when buying one either, only how it performs. Although performance outways appearance it doesn't hurt to have both and a Mac can go toe-to-toe with any computer out there.

7:20 PM  
Blogger signless said...

As an independent video production professional and college instructor, I've found my mac powerbook to be the simplest and most powerful tool imaginable.
After struggling with buggy PC's for years, and putting up with the problems they caused with non linear editing software - I made the switch to a mac in 2002.
As a result, I will never buy another PC product again. Line up a NLE capable windows machine with a mac, and the mac comes out the winner each and every time.
My 12" powerbook is a dream. The two G5 Power PC's I use at work every day have NEVER had a problem, and the G5 iMac I use to handle audio production has performed equally well.
A new 17" powerbook is on its way to be my field NLE machine, and I can't wait until it arrives.
I'll probably skip the macbook, simply because the apps I use aren't supported for the new dual core intel processors, and I don't want to screw around with patching and upgrading. The G4 powerbooks are simply the best portable computers on the market.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous will said...

very nice. well written. congrats on your new mac when you get it.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog there. People will once again argue about what you have said which brings up something that people should take on board....

Never argue about religion, politics and operating systems.

(Spotted on /.'s comments)

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Jacco said...

I have used pc's for years. 2 years ago I switched to an Apple, why? I installed a fresh copy of win xp while I was connected to the internet. Just after the installation whas finished my pc was already hacked! I was fed up.

My brother is law is a mac user for years, showed me the way and I bought an iBook. Just LOVE it.

Just a thought. I used pc's for years because I didn't know anyone using an Apple. Now I have my brother in law who I can call if I run into trouble with my Mac. Now my friends a switching... they know they can call me if the run into trouble. Last month a friend of a friend bought an iMac! Cool.

2:57 PM  
Blogger schmims said...

I might actually break down and get a computer with my tax return. Marit's been pushing the Mac.

How the hell did you go from my solo comments to 70?

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Macs continue to capture more market share, which seems very likely, more freeware and shareware will become available for them, closing the gap with Windows-based machines. On the other hand, it also seems inevitable that more and more viruses and spyware will be developed to target Macs. The Mac OS may be inherently more secure but where there's a will there's way.

I love the look of Macs. The metallic laptops and sleek desktops are beautifully designed. But how about 10 years ago? Macs looked horrible. If you were a Mac user then you had to grin and bare it because there's never any choice with Apple.

Although I love the look of the Mac laptops now, I'm not going to get one because they don't produce one in the "ultra" portable category. If you want a slimmer and lighter computer there is no option for you except to wait and hope for Apple to widen their product range or choose from the endless variety of non-Mac computers.

When you choose Apple you automatically choose to limit your options which inevitably means you limit your chances of finding bargains too. That will improve somewhat as Macs gain market share but they'll never close the gap as long as they insist on controlling the production of all the hardware.

New Macs can run Windows as well as the Mac OS. If other computer manufacturers could produce computers that could run both the Mac OS and Windows, I'd expect the Mac OS might capture even more market share. I'd certainly give it a try.

7:45 PM  
Blogger optmo said...

A friend just emailed a link of your blog to me to read.
I changed from a windows/linux computer to a macbook last november. I have to say that I will, like your self, never go back.
I too am the one that friends and family turn to when computer issues comes up and I have been shouting about the joy of using a mac.
I think that people have bought into the lie that macs are hard to use and that they are not very good, but when they see my computer and have a go of it they love it.
two of my brothers are talking about getting a mac, a friend has bought one only 2 weeks ago and others are, quietly, asking about the different features.

5:14 PM  

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