Tuesday, August 9, 2011

As the Saying Goes, Once you Go Mac.....

Let me start out by just cutting to the chase...I'll never go back to Windows again!

Those that know me know that I've been weaning myself slowly off of Microsoft-based technologies.  It started off with moving off of MS Exchange, then Outlook, then Office...the last holdout being Windows itself.  But after my recent job switch I decided I needed to finally bite the bullet...plus I was envious of seeing all the "cool and hip" people toting their Macbooks around from place to place while I was still lugging my uncool and unhip Thinkpad.  I was told by several friends that the switch from Windows to Mac was going to be initially painful - one buddy of mine told me that "you will hate the damn thing for the first two weeks".  Plus, every time I would walk into an Apple store and start playing around with a Mac it would last less than 5 minutes, as I would get so frustrated not being able to right-click,  not figuring out how to resize a window, looking for the "file" menu, etc.  The other complication is the fact that for the life of me I could never get used to touchpad-style pointing devices - I was a firm believer of the Trackpoint and even preferred it over a regular mouse.    Anyway, I definitely had my work cut out for me.

However, I was very pleasantly surprised by the fact that I was only completely frustrated on the first day, and after the second day I already knew I had made the right decision and knew that I would never go back to a PC again.  I think there were a few reasons why the transition was not as painful as I had anticipated.  First off, the fact that I've owned an iPad for awhile has conditioned me to "think like a Mac user"...if that makes any sense. There are a number of similarities between Mac OS and iOS, and with the recent Lion release the two operating systems are even more alike than ever.  Secondly, I don't use a ton of keyboard macros, and the ones I do use are all the basic ones and so it's simply a matter of remembering to use the "command" key instead of "ctrl"...so I had a much easier time of it when compared to the MS Office super-user types who get thrown off by all the keyboard macro differences between PC and Mac.  And lastly, though I still miss the Trackpoint I've come to appreciate some of the benefits of the touchpad, particularly some of the multi-touch gestures that Mac OS provides.

Compared to Windows, Mac OS does seem to be a lot more stable and efficient in its use of system resources, and I've rarely run into issues that have caused me to reboot the machine, let alone encounter a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) equivalent.  With Windows I would periodically need to do a "therapeutic reboot" in order to free up system resources, or Windows itself would do that for me by blue-screening on me every once in awhile. And the hardware design of the Macbook Pro is so well thought out and the build quality is second to none.  I can't even hear my hard disk spinning unless I press my ear against its surface - you would think there was an SSD inside of the machine.  And all the little touches, such as the magnetically attached AC adapter and the little clips attached to the adapter that you wrap the cord around.  It's no wonder Apple has won all those awards for design excellence.

But despite all of the improvements, far and away the best thing about my Mac is the fact that I now have suspend/resume that actually works!  With Windows this has always been a crapshoot.  I've had so many occasions in the past where I shut the lid on my laptop, commute home or to the office, get there and discover my laptop is still burning hot because it never went into suspend mode.  Equally frustrating are the frequent occasions where you open the lid and wait for 10-15 minutes until you finally see the screen, all the while your hard disk is spinning away like crazy.  I remember at one of my startups when we were fundraising and seeing VC's on a regular basis.  We would go through this routine where we would open the lid on one of our laptops while parking the car,  and carry it with the lid still open while walking into the VC reception area.  We must have looked a bit silly, but we wanted to ensure our presentation/demo went without a hitch and didn't want to take a chance on the laptop screen staying blank.  It's so comforting now to be able to just shut/open the lid freely anytime I need to and know that my machine will just work.

Is the Mac perfect?  Heck no...there are a number of little things that still annoy me today.  Why Steve Jobs doesn't allow you to cut-and-paste files is beyond me.  And the fact that you can only see the "file" menu for the foreground app is a real pain in the butt. But overall it's been a great move for me, one that's been a long time coming.  I'm also relieved that my multi-year quest to divorce myself of all things Microsoft has finally come to end...well, at least until the Skype acquisition is complete.  I guess I still have a few months of freedom before needing to tackle this again!