The Journey from Windows to Apple: Part 1 - Radiant

The Radiant Blog

Posted by Ray Majoran

Windows to MacWell folks, I have done the unthinkable. After spending a good portion of the last five years defending Windows and resisting Apple, I have gone out and bought myself a new Apple MacBook Pro. Many of you might be scratching your head saying, “Wasn’t this the same guy that slammed Apple in two of his previous blog posts (Apple vs. PC: Round 1, Apple vs. PC: Round 2)?” And the answer to that question would indeed be “Yes”.

As I stated in my previous posts, I never disliked Apple; I merely made a case that unless you were looking to specialize in audio or video, PC was the way to go. As a previous Apple advocate for 9 years (before I made the switch to Windows), there were a number of things that bugged me about Apple – many of which still do. But I finally made the decision to return to my roots and decide (again) for myself if Apple is indeed the best way to go for the majority of users. For me, I work on a number of video projects for youth and church events, so it gave me a little bit of an excuse to make the switch.

My hope is that for the next few months, I will be able to provide my unbiased thoughts and experiences for those of you that are considering making the switch from Windows to Apple. Call it a diary if you will.

So without further a due, let me begin.

Journal Entry #1: March 9-20

March 9 – The new Macbook arrived! Packing and delivery was incredible. Very excited to test out the new system!

March 10-13 – First thing I did on the new Apple was installed Parallels and a copy of Windows XP. I figure that if I want to be productive, I am going to need to make this a transition rather that a cold-turkey approach. I spoke with a couple of good friends (Brandon Cotter from ViewZi and Josh Lake from Muskoka Woods) that have made the transition from PC to Mac and they told me to prepare for a very frustrating couple of weeks. (I would soon come to understand what they meant.)

I went out and bought a copy of Office for Mac. I had some basic experience with Entourage (Microsoft’s version of Outlook for Apple) before, so I was generally prepared for what to expect. The reason that I want Entourage is because I have a Blackberry that uses Exchange Server (which was one of the top I/T decisions I ever made), so therefore I needed a mail client that had Exchange Server support. My decision for going with MS Office (rather than OpenOffice or iWork) was merely for the sake of familiarity. I may eventually switch to another Office suite, but for now, I decided to stick with what I know.

March 14-16 – I have never been so frustrated with a computer. Not because it’s not a good machine, but because there are so many things that need to be transitioned to the new Apple environment before I become productive. If I want to do anything that has a deadline attached to it, I quickly switch back over to my Windows box. I can now see what Brandon and Josh meant by the “two weeks of frustration”. Additionally, Entourage is one of the most disappointing mail programs ever invented! (Ironic that it’s a Microsoft product…LOL.) It doesn’t handle forwarding HTML-formatted emails well and it doesn’t have the same flexibility that Outlook does. Therefore, as per Brandon’s recommendation, I am switching back to Outlook (running on Parallels). The touch pad will also take some getting used to; I find myself a little frazzled by it (although I do see the benefits which I will explain at another time). The one thing I do LOVE about the touchpad is the ability to scroll up or down in any browser window (or document for that matter) merely by sliding two of my fingers along the touchpad.

March 17-20 – I decided to take the machine away with me for vacation. Understand that my idea of vacationing includes a proportionate amount of work. :) I figured that by having my Mac with me, and not having the option to switch back to PC, it would be a good (forced) opportunity for me to learn some of the features. Let me stop here and say, “Spaces” (a program that allows you to create multiple virtual desktops on a single Mac) is one of the best programs ever invented. I can literally run all of my graphic design programs in one space, all of my documentation programs in the second space, all of my coding programs is the third space, and so on. You can create as many spaces as you want; it’s brilliant.

I’ll end Part 1 here; stay tuned for Part 2 coming next week! So far I am very impressed with the Apple (Leopard) OS. If you’re thinking of switching from Windows to Apple, make sure you have your Tylenol stash stocked up; the first couple of weeks will give you a lot of headaches. Hopefully in the end, it will be a good transition. Next week I’ll talk about some of the things that I wasn’t able to do before (on Windows) along with a number of things that I still can’t do on Apple (that I can on Windows). Stay tuned!

Oh, one last thing… my computer hasn’t crashed yet!