Several of You Have Asked…

…how I’m getting on with the new Mac, having left the Wonderful World o’ Windows behind last Friday night.

In a word, fabulously!

One of my favorite features!

In all honesty, it was a little touchy “the morning after.” I had a brief, “My God what have I done?” moment Saturday afternoon while attempting to do something that was rote, second nature to me on my Windows box and it was causing me no end of frustration. Ben, sensing my mounting aggravation, suggested we go to Borders and see what kind of books might be available to help ease me through the transition.

I picked up Switching to the Mac, and it has been incredibly helpful in navigating the familiar, yet strangely back-assward-to-what-I’m-used-to way of life on the new machine.  I know I have to be patient with myself; I’ve been on Windows for the last 20 years; I’ve been on the Mac only 4 days.

But I have to say, now that I’ve calmed down and have a decent reference book at my fingertips (so I’m not constantly bothering Ben with “How do I…” questions) I’m back to totally loving it. I’m using Entourage for email, and while it was a bit of a pain to bring all my data over from Outlook and its feature set is nowhere near as rich, last night I was doing something on it and caught myself thinking, “Why doesn’t Outlook do this? (Microsoft is supposedly returning Outlook to the Mac platform in their 2010 Office for Mac release.  Go figger.)

It was also a very rude awakening on Monday when i went back to work and had to deal with Dell again. For the first time in my life their construction (which had always impressed me, especially in relation to other manufacturers and the slew of home-brew clones I’d lived with over the last two decades) now really seemed flimsy and hacked together.

Last night I found a free VNC server application for Mac, and while I haven’t had a chance to test it from the office, I have used it successfully on my local home network, so if I can verify that it will allow me to connect to home from work, my old Dell Inspiron can be retired and given a much needed rest. (I’m not going to get rid of it; I bought it from Ben about a year ago and it does have a certain amount of sentimental value.)

The only thing I had been outright missing from my Windows box until this evening was ThumbsPlus, an incredibly full-featured graphics cataloging/editing program that I’ve been using for at least the dozen or so years.  But Adobe’s Bridge comes close, and since I just learned how to change the default image viewer from Photoshop to the built-in Mac Previewer in Bridge, this may not even be an issue any more.

Turning To The Dark Side

No, I’m not becoming a Republican.

Last night, after nearly twenty years of supporting Windows on the PC platform, I finally had a come-to-Jesus moment and bought a Mac: a sleek, sexy MacBook Pro to be exact.

What caused this paradigm shift in my computing universe? To be honest, it was a combination of things. Until about a month or so ago I was extremely excited about the new version of Windows that officially went on sale a few days ago. I’d been running various iterations of it on my Dell Inspiron laptop since the first public beta was available, and my initial reaction was that Microsoft had finally gotten it right. But one Sunday afternoon, all of a sudden it simply stopped displaying my chosen wallpaper. An admittedly small issue, but it was nonetheless profoundly annoying. After extensive troubleshooting and finding no answers through the Google, I wiped the drive, pulled out the RC-1 installation CD and began reinstalling. Immediately after typing in my license number (taken directly from my email from Microsoft) it refused to proceed. “Invalid Registration Key” or some crap. I double-checked the number and typed it in again. Same thing.

Fuck me.

This was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I turned to Ben and said, “This is bullshit. I’ve had enough. I’m getting a Mac!”

“Yay,” he said! “My first convert!” (He’s had a Macbook since 2008.)

My first impulse was to get an iMac to replace my rapidly aging Dell GX270 desktop unit, and after playing with a one of them at the Mac Store, I fell in love. (In the interest of complete disclosure, we were actually in the Mac Store because Ben had to take his MacBook for service because of a power problem.) But as the days drew on, the more I realized how foolish buying a desktop unit would be. 90% of my computing time was now happening wirelessly in the living room, and if I got a Mac desktop unit I’d be glued to it (and away from my Bubba) way more than I think either of us would like. So deciding on a laptop was a no-brainer.

I’m still getting rid of the GX270. It’s way beyond its expiration date, and my laptop is a much better unit to keep around until I can figure out how to remote desktop from my work PC to the new Mac.

So what do I think of the new machine?

Love it. I know that Macs are not trouble-free, and when they crash they tend to crash spectacularly, but it’s worth living with that risk for the sheer joy that has returned to my online life. It’s sort of like how I viewed living in San Francisco near the major fault line in the United States for 16 years. The earth could shake at any moment, but until that time…damn what a ride.