I, Switcher

It’s been a few days since I last posted something here. These last weeks have been very fast and full of everything. I got back from the USA on the 14th with a bag full of projects to work on and a backpack with a MacBook Pro. The work and the tools, everything I need to have my days occupied for the next 100 years 😛

But, as the tradition demands, here’re my 2 Euro cents on my switching from Windows / Linux to Mac.

First, let me tell you I’ve been a Windows user since 3.1 and in the last years more inclined to Linux. Though I used more Linux at home as my main PC at my previous job I had to use Windows no matter what. Using a five year old platform like Windows XP really grown bad on me since I’m a geek that likes to test new platforms and craves for innovation.

My contact with Macs was very reduced, I used an iMac only a few days and enjoyed it, the system was different but pleasant to use, everything was located in the most logical places and was very easy to use. That iMac sparked my curiosity about Macs but the professional factors didn’t allow me to switch to Mac by then, Windows was something I really had to use and Linux become the escape from MS’s platform. It was different, more technical, it gave me the technological edge I was looking for besides being a very good platform to work on personal projects.

Enter the Mac

Wanting a Mac was the easy part, I got aware of the majority of the Mac OS X features in the last year, picking the Mac was the hardest part of switching. First I had to think about what were my needs, what I needed in a computer and what tools I was going to need. So far all my home and work computers were desktop PCs so my first option was the iMac or the Mac Pro. The iMac was a good choice, nice price, great screen but it had a great drawback once the iMac gets obsolete you can’t use the screen with another computer. The Mac Pro is a great machine, but I started to crave for some mobility. Some times I have to travel and looking for a computer on the spot is not very handy, this made me look for the MacBook Pro, it has the same processing power the iMac has and it’s portable. I still needed a good screen and 17” is the minimum I could tolerate but the beauty of the MacBook Pro is that the screen resolution is very good and it actually handles Photoshop work very well. There’s always the option to connect another monitor to the MacBook Pro and work with a dual screen setup, which, by the way, is how I have mine.

So after my choice was made there were a few months of torture, thinking about the best time to get it, and that time arrived when I was in the USA. Having an Apple Store near your place is like having a candy store when you’re a kid, you can’t avoid getting in. And so, my first visit to an Apple Store left my eyes glowing, like it was Xmas… A Mac Genius approach and began his sales pitch, demoing some Mac OS X features and Aperture stuff. Trivial stuff but non the less interesting. It’s very sad we don’t have Apple Stores in Portugal, Apple could really benefit from something like this instead of the usual partnering scheme companies use over here… but I digress. A few days after I got my MacBook Pro 17”! A hell of a machine, very fast and sexy. Apple really puts an extra effort on design, everything has a use and is on the right place. The keyboard feels good to the touch, the light and motion sensors provide an extra interaction with the environment, lighting the keyboard and dimming the screen. The wireless MighyMouse feels incredibly ergonomic without the twists and turns we find on another mice in the market. The remote brings FrontRow in a very classy way, fading your desktop and changing your laptop to the perfect media center on the go… details, every detail is taken care of.

After unpacking (yes I took photos too), the setup is fast and easy, all works without fuss. The learning curve takes a day or two, but after that working with the Mac OS X is a natural thing. Being a noob again brought a cool feeling of discovery, like when you got your hands on your first computer… the jolt of curiosity and adrenaline is the same.

I then had to find out the basics, installing and uninstalling apps (it’s very easy and strait forward btw), customizing and knowing about the software that is available for Mac. Some apps are the same I used on Windows, others aren’t but one thing is common to all Mac apps: they are all designed with ease of use in mind and include some very elegant eye candy.

Another useful thing is to have friends or know people who have Macs. They’ll provide you with the best information around for your Mac, they’ll share their experiences and welcome you into the club. Mac owners are, most of the time, creative and open minded persons, they have a bound with their machines and usually see it like it’s more than a machine, more like a friend. It’s not bad, much on the contrary. I feel that way too, my Mac is great 🙂

For a nice kick start I asked some people around, made my first iChat session and got some tips from the pros. There’re plenty of tutorials around for switchers like me, you are welcome to follow them, but in the end it’s better if you explore all the possibilities alone, this will improve the experience of entering the wonderful world of Apple.

Oh and get an iPod too… having the full set is always more fun!

[tags]Apple, Macintosh, Switch, MacBook Pro, Mac OS X, iMac, iPod, iChat, MightyMouse, Windows, Microsoft[/tags]

4 Replies to “I, Switcher”

  1. Thank you all!

    @Rui: Your guide helped me a lot, there’s a few apps I use you could include on your list, I’ll send you an email with them.

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