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Friday, February 29, 2008

Switching to Mac

Right - that's it. I've had enough. It's time to say goodbye.

I'm fed up of hourglasses, crappy modal dialog boxes, ugly UI and an OS that reboots itself without bothering to ask first. After 15 years of suffering its time to move on. I've decided to buy a Mac.

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Don't get me wrong, while there's a lot wrong with Windows, there's also quite a lot of things that are right. Its much more stable and secure than it's generally given credit for, and it's popularity gives it a steam roller advantage when it comes to choice of applications and the level of third party support. However, its time for me to upgrade my laptop, and I have a simple choice to make - do I change to Vista, or do I change to Mac OS.

By a slim margin the Mac wins. There are a number of reasons:
  • The Macbook Pro is the best designed heavyweight notebook. The 17" model is as light as my current 15" Samsung X60, and is even a bit thinner.
  • I'm no longer worried about leaving applications behind. I can get Office for the Mac, and virtually everything else I use is an internet application (Google Maps, Wikipedia, Digg, Blogger, etc.). Microsoft beware - internet apps may not compete with your applications directly (well, not much), but they remove a huge incentive to stay with windows. You can now move and still stick with what you know.
  • I'm ready for a different set of quibbles. I'm not expecting the Mac to be perfect, but at least it will be irritating in a different kind of way. I'm red raw with Windows, and want to scratch somewhere else :-/
  • The unknown Vista. Windows Vista looks pretty, but probably sucks. I know that's not a scientific appraisal, but if I'm going to spend the effort learning the ins and out of a new OS, I might as well change to Mac OS now.
  • The Boot camp safety net. As a fallback I think that the Macbook Pro running Vista might actually be the best Windows notebook, so in the worse case scenario I can just switch to that.
  • A wave of techie defections. This is really obvious to me because I work in a Computer Science research lab and do a circuit of computer-oriented conferences, but may be a bit invisible to those working in less geek-centic circles. The fact is that the Mac is gaining a big geek market share. The popular share is thought to be around 7%, but I would say that it is at least triple that with technical folk, maybe higher. There is a mass defection - which seems a weird trend, as technical folk typically shun out-of-the-box solutions, and software that is perceived as being noddy, but it seems like Mac OS has avoided this by being solid and flexible. One of my worries over the years was that the Mac was a simple computer for simple users - but the evidence is overwhelmingly contrary. If it's good enough for them, its good enough for me.
The Macbooks have just received a bump, and although the high end Sony Vaios are better on paper, I suspect that it might be another case of monkeys driving Ferraris.

The time is right and my first Mac is on order. I promise not to buy any black polo necks, or to get obsessive about white peripherals.

Let's see how I get on...

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