A few weeks ago I dived back into the Macintosh world, after a long dry spell wandering in the Windows wilderness. I started with Apple back in the way old II+ days, but got tired of not being in the computer mainstream.
Below the video I'll expand upon my reasons for loving MacBook more than ThinkPad, and clarify some remarks I made in my unrehearsed (a.k.a. "semi-coherent") computer comparison.
This is the biggest change I found with moving to a Mac: now your computer is a friend, rather than a challenge.
From the moment I turned on the MacBook for the first time, I felt like it was trying to anticipate my needs and make whatever I wanted to do go as smoothly as possible. With a PC, no matter what version of Windows you use (I'm very familiar with XP and mildly acquainted with Vista), it's like handling a stick of dynamite.
Useful stuff, but always capable of unexpectedly blowing up.
About a year ago I seriously thought of getting a Mac. I didn't, because I felt that I'd worked out ways of dealing with the vagaries of Windows and was afraid of being thrown into a unknown operating system that wouldn't be compatible with what I needed to do everyday.
I knew that Macs were for creative types. But I wasn't planning to make an indie movie. I email; I surf the Internet; I blog; I write; I take photos and simple videos.
I've found out that my worry was unfounded. It didn't take long to be up and running on the MacBook, doing almost everything I did on my PC laptop. Here's a few tips for those thinking of making a similar switch:
-- Don't buy the Macintosh version of Office. The reviews on Amazon are terrible, and my Apple store salesman told me that people are unhappy with Word 08 for the Mac. I got the iWork package for $79. The word processor, Pages, meets my needs and reads PC Word files fine (most of the time).
-- If you're using Outlook on a PC, invest $10 in a terrific program from Little Machines that handles moving emails, contacts, and calendar entries to a Macintosh. You can try exporting the files on your own, but it seemed rather complex when I Googled the subject. This program worked like a charm.
-- One drawback of Apple's Safari web browser, which otherwise is terrific (better and faster than Firefox or Explorer in my opinion), is the lack of protection for saved passwords. I'd been using RoboForm on my PC and liked it a lot. A Mac program, 1Password, is just about as good.
And if you're using a Flip Video camera and find that it won't work with the marvelous iMovie program that comes with your Mac, check out these tips from the Flip folks. I had problems at first, but managed to use iMovie to edit and upload my You Tube video.
Where I may have left some wrong impressions, which I'll clear up here.
(1) I really like the MacBook touchpad. It's the first one that I've felt comfortable using. But it takes some getting used to. You can do quite a few different things with your fingers, depending on how you use them: one, two, three, or four finger touch; direction you move your fingers; and such.
I had some trouble getting text size to change on web pages. Usually I don't. Video finger performance anxiety, I guess. Pressure on the key pad has to be just right to adjust the text size with a finger flick.
(2) I emphasized how much I like the quick start-up on my MacBook compared to my PC. I mentioned the many programs I had on the PC that were part of the reason it takes Windows ages to get going in the morning.
What I was referring to were the essential add-ons to keep a Windows PC running halfway smoothly. A virus checker. Anti-spyware program. Google Desktop to find stuff quickly. A better firewall than XP provides.
All of this starting up makes an already cumbersome Windows even more sluggish. Since the Macintosh operating system (Leopard) is much cleaner and more tightly integrated, it does things more quickly and smoothly (plus, the MacBook hardware is more powerful than my ThinkPad).
I could go on about how much happier I am with my Mac than I was with my PC. But that'll wait for another day.
Bottom line: you'll spend more for a Mac, but it's worth it. If you're a Windows user who's wondering why all the cool people (like me now!) use Macs, head on down to an Apple store and experience a soft sell.
My sales guy just pointed me toward the new MacBook and let me play with it for as long as I wanted. When he wandered back to me after a while, my main questions were "How much is it and when can I get one?"
Falling in love doesn't take long.