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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Yet another switcher story


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djmitch
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This will be a VERY long post, but my intention is to leave no doubt to potential switchers that getting a Mac is well worth every cent, and to inspire and encourage Mac owners to keep spreading the word about these excellent computers in the face of Windows-user ignorance and even insults. Here goes …

I started 2005 thinking about a new computer for sometime in the fall. So being totally ignorant about Macs, it was obvious that a Windows XP machine was my only choice – in my mind, what else was there? However I wasn’t really excited about it because I had always used Windows and had learned how to get around its many quirks and annoyances – continual anti-virus and anti ad-ware updates and scans, freeze-ups and crashes, problems attaching peripherals, etc. So a new computer would be just the ‘same old same old’, or so I thought.

A seminar at a teachers’ convention at the end of February began to change all this. The presenter had shown us iLife, but I like most there needed to know a Windows equivalent if we wished to do similar things in our homes and schools.

As I waited to ask him about this, there he was singing the praises of Macs to others he was speaking with (although in an intriguing and not annoying fashion): iLife comes bundled with Macs but Windows computers require you to purchase similar software, OS X is more stable than Windows, etc. But what grabbed my attention most was this preposterous claim (at the time) that “Macs don’t get viruses”. In my Windows ignorance I didn’t think such a thing was possible for any computer owner! He clarified that Macs can actually “get” them, but how the virus can’t do anything once it’s on the Mac. (I’ve since learned that there has never been a successful virus intrusion on an OS X computer – please correct me if I’m wrong.) Little did I know that the switching seed had been planted.

Next I argued the age-old ‘file incompatibility’ myth between the two systems; I thought that a Word document created on a Windows computer, for example, would not work on a Mac and vice-versa. But then he simply told me about how a .doc file on one system is the same as a .doc file on the other (and an .xls file, a .jpg file, a .tiff file, etc.).

Then I hit him with the whole price thing, about how Macs cost too much compared to similarly-equipped Windows systems. He replied by again telling me about the great bundled software (which I’ve learned goes FAR beyond just iLife apps!), the fact you aren’t fooling around with (and paying for) virus and ad-ware protection, the built-in firewall, the rock-solid OS stability, the ease of use, etc. He argued that these things made Macs the better buy when you really start to analyze and compare things.

It wasn’t long after arriving home from the teachers’ convention that I started researching Macs in depth. I remember at first cringing at the prices listed on the Apple Store site and lamenting at how I wouldn’t be able to play my beloved Windows-only games (Combat Flight Simulator, Motocross Madness, etc.) on a Mac system. But I pressed on, ever more fascinated about this new computing world that I knew nothing about but that might offer me a fresh computing experience apart from boring ol’ Windows. When I discovered mac-forums.com I began to ask hard questions about the remaining issues and doubts I had about Macs, and without exception those were all resolved or put in their proper perspective (thanks everyone!).

So after much debate (for 2 weeks I was on the verge of getting a 1.8GHz single-processor Power Mac), I finally settled on a fully-loaded Mini. I ordered it April 22nd (after 2 months of intense research!) and received it about a month later. It came with OS X Tiger, plus I ordered an Apple keyboard (which is so well built!) and a Belkin 7-port USB 2.0 hub to go along with it. I later bought Plasticsmith’s Mini Tower for extra protection. I had a non-Mac monitor and mouse already but they connected to the Mini and worked without any problems whatsoever – same with my Lacie 80GB USB 2.0 external hard drive. I was thankful that Apple has free shipping; to order a “Smell” (Dell) computer on-line, for example, I learned that you have to pay $99 – not worth it for any Windows computer in my opinion.

I’ve had over 3 weeks now to play with and explore my system, but I’ll admit it was frustrating at times over the first few days. However, this was in no way due to anything about the Mini or the software, but rather some issues I had trying to install some third-party software, especially that which required OS 9 to run (which, by the way, also comes with any new Mac). But concerning these things, you guys at mac-forums.com came to the rescue! There was also a program not yet compatible with Tiger, but this is understandable given its newness.

After these issues were resolved or put on hold, I had the chance to finally try to enjoy my Mac. Although there are a couple of settings in Safari and Mail that I really miss from their Windows counterparts Internet Explorer and Outlook, I’ve really grown to enjoy my Mac computing experience to date. Actually, each new day has brought cool new discoveries and several “Wow” moments!

What do I like about best about Mac versus Windows computers? The degree and ease of customizing system and program settings. The many, many bundled software applications. How I connected my non-Mac monitor and mouse (and all other peripherals) with zero problems. Not screwing around with updating virus definitions and scanning for viruses. No ad-ware or spy-ware that I’m aware of. The built-in firewall that also doesn’t affect system performance (unlike “Snorton’s” [Norton’s] Firewall, which is a TOTAL piece of crap program). How my dial-up somehow runs faster than it did on my Windows 98 machine. Not having to manually choose to optimize (defragment) my hard drive because Macs do this automatically. The look and feel of Tiger and its totally cool Widgets and absolutely amazing Spotlight feature (and I haven’t even played much with the other Tiger features yet!). How system preferences are all accessible from one window instead of having to search around on Windows machines. The “About This Mac” feature – all hardware, software, and network info in detail and on one window. “Expose” is absolutely awesome, so simple and yet so practical – no Windows equivalent exists that I’ve found. The overall more intuitive and user-friendly nature of Macs. I could go on and on, because these are just the tip of the iceberg.

What did I do with my Windows computer? My Windows 98SE Hewlett Packard 850MHz Athlon with 256MB RAM and 40GB hard drive has gathered dust since the day I transferred my last files from it to my Mini. I have only kept it there as a sort of ‘switcher security blanket’: it has my favorite games on it, but these don’t seem so important anymore as I come across Mac equivalents and alternatives. (Actually, I don’t know just who to give/sell it to at the moment!)

Are Macs for everyone? If you’re an intense gamer, a Mac won’t work for you because so many games aren’t Mac-compatible. If you have specialized software that your company or school uses, it is usually only made for Windows, in which case a Mac won’t work for you unless you buy the lethargic “Virtual PC” program made by Micro$oft. If you don’t have enough money up front then obviously a Mac won’t work for you, although I’d have to say that I don’t regret a dime I’ve spent on my system despite initially grumbling about the higher price!

Otherwise, I’d have to unashamedly say that you’ll be missing out by not making a Mac your next computer. If this sounds too biased then you must remember that I knew nothing about Macs less than 4 months ago: I’ve now lived both sides of the computing ‘fence’ and can attest that the Mac experience has been FAR superior to date. By continuing to line Mr. Gates’ pockets you are supporting, in my not so humble opinion, non-stop OS instability and security vulnerabilities, lack of innovation (I’ve learned that Windows overall has ALWAYS been the follower, not the leader), and a better marketing campaign as opposed to a better product. And Microsoft’s Longhorn OS next year will likely be a rip-off of many of Tiger’s features, at least according to what I’ve read about it to this point.

Quite simply, you get what you pay for: I’ve learned the hard way (along with many others that I know) that a better bargain is NOT a better product when it comes to computers.

So anyhow, there’s my switcher story to date. I apologize for it’s length, but hopefully it’s been of benefit and/or inspiration to somebody.
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zap2
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YA !!! another mac user, ur now someone who helps to fight the demon that is MS.Good call on the mini, there so tiny and do so much( do all the things i would need) WHen i bought my mac the mini was a not even out( i think it was a rumor, not sure though)
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iWhat

 
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Wow, I really enjoyed reading your switcher experience story. Thank you for taking the time to type that out. Hopefully, that should pull some of the guests and some members who visit the site to really consider your words and finally take that venture into the macworld.

I'm the only one in my family to use macs, everyone shook their heads in disgust, wondering as to why I would even consider such a prospect, when I did bring about the fact that I was switching at the time. I was even told that I shouldn't bother, because Apple was going to fold soon. After using my iPod after a while, I had an intuition that there was something special about Apple and the Macintosh. I knew the mac would be right for me, even without weighing my options at first. Then I couldn't stop learning everything and anything about Apple and macs until I finally got my own.
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BrianH
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great post. I love my mac!
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Ex_PC_Puke
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Welcome - glad to hear your analysis led you to mac -- in reality (all factors included) a mac is competively priced. The PC centric folks like to over look the details in comparisons


For example when comparing the mini to low end PCs its common to over look that the mini is not using integrated graphics which actually consumes a 1/4 of your usable memory and sucks up those vaunted GHz on the Intel box --- the mini has a gfx chip and 32MB video ram
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BurntSmore

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmitch
... especially that which required OS 9 to run (which, by the way, also comes with any new Mac) ...
?? Then why doesn't mine have OS 9?
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Benjamindaines

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BurntSmore
?? Then why doesn't mine have OS 9?
you install it from the restore disk one put it in open software restore (Applications > Utilities) and uncheck everything except Classic just recently they pulled it off the PowerMacs, apple is trying to phase it out

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Benjamindaines

 
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djmitch: here's another cool trick for you open up Terminal and type say then what ever you want it you computer will talk to you. very useful for death threats on the boss

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sarahsboy18

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benjamindaines
djmitch: here's another cool trick for you open up Terminal and type say then what ever you want it you computer will talk to you. very useful for death threats on the boss

Holy stink!!!! that is hilarious.... I've never done that before.

"If you had a friend who was a tightrope walker, and you were walking down a sidewalk, and he fell, that would be completely unacceptable." -Mitch Hedberg
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scooter

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmitch
My Windows 98SE Hewlett Packard 850MHz Athlon with 256MB RAM and 40GB hard drive
lol! I would hate Windows too if I only had an old 98SE machine running! All of the features you love are available on XP!! (waiting for the PC haters now......)

congrats on the Mini though!

From a G4 400MHz to an Intel Mac Mini to iMac Core Duo to a Macbook Pro 2.6GHz.............gotta love Apple!
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rs2sensen

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iWhat
I'm the only one in my family to use macs, everyone shook their heads in disgust, wondering as to why I would even consider such a prospect, when I did bring about the fact that I was switching at the time. I was even told that I shouldn't bother, because Apple was going to fold soon.
Same thing happened to me, kinda. My mom was a designer, so liked macs. She was the only one in my family who had ever used them except for my stepmom in college. However, two months after getting mine, my mom got A dual 2.7 Powermac, my dad switched companies and they gave him a 500Mhz 15" Ti Powerbook. Four of my friends have now bought minis, another three are considering the switch.
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Aarow
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Whoa, that was great! I have one question though. Whats expose?
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rs2sensen

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aarow
Whoa, that was great! I have one question though. Whats expose?
Expose is the OS X task switcher that lets you do this!:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Expose1.jpg (434.1 KB, 62 views)
File Type: jpg Expose2.jpg (194.2 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Expose3.jpg (307.2 KB, 37 views)
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Acill

 
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Thats a great switch story! You should send that to Apple mate!
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djmitch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter
All of the features you love are available on XP!! (waiting for the PC haters now......)
Ummm ... you're kidding, right? I've used XP at work for 2 years now (98SE was on my home computer) - I'm well aware that nearly all of the things I listed about OS X that I love are either not an XP feature or, if they are, they're not as good or not as user-friendly. I absolutely honestly can't think of anything about XP that I like better than OS X.
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