I Switched to an Apple
Well...I switched to an Apple computer.  In fact, I’m writing this article on it.  It’s an iMac 24” (the screen is beautiful).  I’ve been a Microsoft operating system user since DOS 3.0.  Why did a switch to a Mac?  Well, I was really getting tired of Windows.  I’m in the IT industry and I use and support Windows PCs every day of the week and a good percentage of weekends.  I wanted to expand my horizons and learn a little more about what else is available.  I just installed Ubuntu and MythTV on my other computer, so I’m learning Ubuntu as well.  
I figured that I mostly use my home computer for surfing, finances, music, and photos.  I also do some web programming.  When at work, I develop using C# and ASP.NET.  But, at home, I’ve been learning Ruby on Rails.  I can do all of these just as easily on the Mac as I can on a PC.  Worst case, I figured I could even run XP or even Vista on the iMac using Parallels or Bootcamp.  So, I made the purchase.
Now that I’ve had it for a few months, here are my observations.  I turned it on and after answering a few questions, it was up and running and connected to my wireless network.  The screen is big and the quality is outstanding.  OSX is pretty cool too.  The user interface is visually appealing.  It’s a nice design.  I went ahead and purchased MS Office for the Mac, but only because I was able to buy it for very cheap.  Otherwise, I probably would have went with OpenOffice.  I also bought Quicken for the Mac.  I use Firefox for my browser and it works just as well as on Windows.
Up until now, I’ve developed my web site using a raw html editor.  However, it always took me a while to do any updates.  I started playing around with iWeb and it’s actually what I used to redesign this site.  It’s very easy to use.  You can’t get to the html, which is somewhat of a pain, but so far, I haven’t really had to.  It also doesn’t allow you to easily change the templates.  There are a couple of articles that explain how to make some changes though:  here and here.
iPhoto is also a good, easy to use, photo software.  I downloaded Gimp for more heavy duty photo manipulation.
There are a few things that I haven’t been able to get used to yet, probably because I’ve used Windows for so long.  The first is that the Apple key isn’t as conveniently placed as the Ctrl key on a PC.  It’s more difficult for me to do the key combinations that I’m used to on a PC.  Secondly, the Home and End keys work differently.  On the Mac, Home means to go to the start of the document instead of the beginning of the line.  Similarly, the End key means to go to the end of the document instead of the end of the line.  To me, this doesn’t make sense since I rarely want to go to the beginning or end of a document, but I’m always wanting to get to the beginning or the end of a line.  Seems to me that some Apple key combination would be better for the whole document navigation.  I have seen some “fixes” for this issue, but haven’t had a chance to try them yet.  Another difference that is slightly annoying is that the Apple-Tab combination (similar to the Alt-Tab combination on Windows) doesn’t behave exactly like its Windows counterpart.  It does switch between programs, but if you have multiple windows open that are running the same program, Apple-Tab only takes you to one instance of the program.  In Windows, Alt-Tab shows all instances.  A final difference is that the red circle in the top-left corner of every window (similar to the X button on windows in Windows) doesn’t exit the application.  To exit, you have to either go to the Close menu item or use the Apple-Q combination.
Overall, I’m happy with my Mac.  It’s a nice change from Windows and it’s actually fun to use.  There have been a couple of programs that I haven’t been able to run, but nothing I couldn’t live without.  There are some minor annoyances, but nothing worse than the annoyances in Windows.
Sunday, April 15, 2007