It’s been a long ten years, and oh how you have grown…
A few days ago, I welcomed back into my life the Mac. It was time for a laptop upgrade (what does it say when you have worn half the lettering off your keyboard?) and I was ready for a change. Like most, I wasn’t that excited about a laptop with Vista on it. And my existing laptop–an IBM ThinkPad which I absolutely admire–was starting to show it’s processor age as well as strange OS level behavior (like at times it wouldn’t be able to resolve DNS names which essentially made it useless online…after hours of trying to fix that, I finally just gave up and rebooted it when it occurred!). It was time to make a change for the better…for the betterment of my productivity. I bought a new PowerBook Pro.
Since I had it customized (maxed out the memory and added the larger/faster hard drive), I had to wait a few weeks for the computer to arrive. That wouldn’t have been so hard if it wasn’t for the fact that the software I ordered with the Mac (Parallels and MS Office) kept arriving at my door in separate boxes. Finally, I got an email saying that my new laptop had left the factory. Like a kid waiting for Christmas Eve, I kept checking back to the FedEx tracking website to keep tabs on my Mac. There is something perverse about watching the delivery progress of something built half way around the world:
Then, the same day I’m to leave for a business trip, I see that my Mac has been loaded on the truck. Oh, the pressure! I don’t have to leave for the airport until Noon, if the laptop arrives at 10am, do I have time to get it functional so I can take it on my trip? I sure was going to try!
So after about an hour and half (I had a half hour interuption to deal with a work issue), I had the Mac booted up for the first time, configured, installed my needed software, and connected to my mail account to start syncing my mail. I don’t think I would have been able to do that with a PC. In the end, I wanted time to get re-aquanted with my old friend (my first laptop was a PowerBook 510 which I bought 12 years ago and replaced 10 years ago). And what better time than on a 4 hour plane ride? So I ended up packing up both laptops and headed off to the airport. So, seven hours after it left FedEx’s Oakland facility, the MacBook Pro was back within sight of it’s arrival point.
I brought the ThinkPad along as a backup and to transfer over my work documents. That night at my hotel, I set up a peer to peer wireless network between the two machines, connected the Mac to my shared documents folder on the ThinkPad, and copied over all my files in an hour. I have tried many times to get a peer to peer wireless network to work between two Windows laptops and was never successful. Worked first time with the Mac.
I plan on documenting my experiences transition from the PC back to the Mac over the course of the next few weeks. And I’ll start off by stating a few of my first impressions:
- Apple definitely has the entire user experience down! From unpacking the laptop from it’s briefcase like box, to the bare essentials presented to you when you remove the styrofoam. The laptop itself even came in a nice protective sleeve. It is quite an experience.
- The small usability things that Apple focuses on do make a huge difference. Something as simple as a well designed power supply seems so trivial, until you have one. I was expecting to have to buy a second power supply–I have 5 for my ThinkPad and they are strategically placed around my entire house–but the design with the unfolding prongs which can be replaced with a longer power cable is ideal. I leave the power cable plugged in at my desk at home, and just take the brick and the unfolding prongs on the road.
- The lack of the Intel Inside sticker was something that I completely overlook until I saw this article today.
- The fact that the machine comes out of sleep mode in under 5 seconds is amazing. I was getting jealous stares from other windows users on the plane tonight as I opened the laptop and started typing within 5 seconds! It’s shocking how much time you loose waiting for the windows machines to come back to life. I does take longer for the Mac to go to sleep, about 20 seconds. I think that is due to the 4 Gigs of RAM in my machine that have to be written to disk (I used a 2 Gig model that did go to sleep faster). Regardless, this is still about half the time or less that it took my Windows XP machine to go to sleep…and about 20-30x faster than waking an XP machine up!
- So far, I have not encountered any issues with any of my documents from the PC. Since I have office installed (needed that so I could connect to my companies exchange server for email), all the docs that I have needed opened right up. I’ll be watching this closely over the next few days.
- It has taken a few extra moments here and there to figure out how to do something that was second nature to me on a PC…like right clicking on a mis-spelled word to fix it! But, after a few seconds of experimenting with the FN, CTRL, and OPTION keys on the keyboard, I figured out the right combination to replace the right click action on the PC. There are a few things that I already think will take me time to get used to, like the lack of a dedicated page up, page down, and backspace key.
All in all, I’m glad I spent the extra money and moved back to a Mac. Cool factor aside, I can tell already that I am able to be more productive with this machine. The learning curve isn’t that great. And I doubt my previous experience has much to do with that since a lot has changed in the past 10 years. I’ll continue documenting my experiences here on the blog over the next few weeks.
I used to roll my eyes back a bit when I heard other people say it, but it’s true.. the Mac OS just works. What a novel thought!