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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?" :)

Reality check: Reflections on switching


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Demapples

 
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Three weeks into switching to my new Mac from PC, after 20 years of Windows and several years of thinking about switching.
  • Was the switch worth it for me? Bottom line: yes.
  • On scale of 1 to 10, how good is my feeling at this point? I'd say 8, with caveats.
  • Would I have stayed with Windows if I could do it over? No, I don't think so.
  • Would I encourage everyone I know to switch? No.

Out of the box experience. Wonderful, as usual for Apple. Hardest part was getting this 27" iMac out of the box and onto the desk. Once there it was a piece of cake to turn it on and connect it to the Airport network I had already set up to router our network. Much easier than setting up a new PC.

Porting from PC. My 20 years of personal computing experience set up me up to deal with the complexities of switching very nicely, but a new computer user likely would get stumped at several steps. It's not turn-key, and requires a lot of moving parts to work right. I wouldn't encourage my mother to switch now that she knows how to do email with the family.

Learning Mac OS. It really is quite disconcerting at times. I thought I had lost the menu bar on the Outlook window, but after an hour of google it finally clicked that the menu bar for all open programs is always top left of the screen. But after a couple of weeks I'm rapidly getting more comfortable in Mac, and delighting in the little ease of use things I find every now and again.

iTunes transfer. That certainly was not drop dead simple, but I finally got it done right without losing all my playlists and stuff. Phew.

Windows on the Mac. I could not leave some Windows programs behind, like Quicken, but Windows 7 is coexisting beautifully with Snow Leopard under Parallels. Very seamless and simple. This was the easiest part of the switch, actually.

MS Office. I've got MS Office for Mac running fine, and I can work on my Word, PowerPoint and Excel files fine, but I did have some hangs in PowerPoint, and syncing Outlook is not a breeze. Outlook is running fine, but syncing to my BlackBerry and iPad has not been a piece of cake. The Blackberry is doing better than the iPad, which won't sync Calendar suddenly (I'll end up using Applecare to sort that one out), but after syncing the BlackBerry can't find PIN numbers in my address book (they vanished). And all my pre-switch research did not turn up the fact that I would be dealing with a 3-way switch: mobile device to Apple native app to Outlook function (eg Blackberry calendar to iCal to Outlook Calendar). No wonder it's not settled down yet. I do like Outlook better than the native Apple apps, so far.

Apps issues. All my research did not turn up the fact that although some of my favourite Windows apps have been ported to Mac OS, they are not nearly as feature-rich as in Windows. I'll end up syncing the BB to Mac for some, and to Windows for others, for example. I hope third party apps that don't use the App Store continue to find support.

Crashes and hangs. Guess what? An iMac is a computer. It can hang. Probably due to non-Apple apps, but they're necessary. But Mac OS has neat ways of dealing with hangs and I've sorted most of them out.

Ease of use. The Mac OS is rapidly growing on me, and I think I do like it better than Windows. There really are some things I can do under Mac that I had wished I could do under Windows. Hard to give specific examples,, but the feeling is more personal and flexible under Mac OS, I think. Pathfinder is a great double pane alternative to single pane Finder, and I was never satisfied with alternatives to Windows Explorer. The trackpad is great for some jobs, but I've drifted back to using a spare mouse to use for most of my work.

Cost. An iMac is more expensive than a PC. I had to buy a copy of Parallels, a new copy of Windows (PC was messy install of Vista), and a new copies or upgrades of other Windows or Mac apps.

Feeling about the future? Good that I've made the switch, but I hope Apple continues to keep it trim and simple, and the quality high. Big organizations have a way of making life difficult over time, and success can lead to bloat.

I'll drop back and update this as time goes by.
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MYmacROX

 
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Welcome to Mac!

Care to offer an abbreviated version of that wall of text?

16GB iPhone 5, 64GB Wi-Fi only iPad 1st Gen.

Reminder: Please include your Mac's specs. This will make it much easier for the other members to assist you.
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Demapples

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MYmacROX View Post
Welcome to Mac! Care to offer an abbreviated version of that wall of text?
As I summarized at the top:
  • Was the switch worth it for me? Bottom line: yes.
  • On scale of 1 to 10, how good is my feeling at this point? I'd say 8, with caveats.
  • Would I have stayed with Windows if I could do it over? No, I don't think so.
  • Would I encourage everyone I know to switch? No.
The rest might be of value to someone else on the other side of switching, like I was. Some stuff there I had not anticipated in spite of all my reading.
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BrianLachoreVPI

 
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I think it's a good and fair post - everyone's experiences will be different. I would grade differently than you did but that doesn't make your opinion wrong. Look forward to seeing your opinions and perspective develop over time. I plan on making a similar post at my 1 year mark - so standby MYmacROX - it will probably be longer than Demapples' was. I'll do my best to include an executive summary. Maybe I'll do a 6 month version...
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qwagmire

 
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Welcome!

Had my iMac 9 months, just ordered a 15" MBP. I had similar issues after 20 years of building PC's.

iTunes was a PITA.

Most of my hangs are MS Outlook. Using the stock mail program for now until I see what Lion has. Seriously thinking of iWork for the MBP.

Snow Leopard OS took some getting used to, and I'm still learning.

Needless to say with my MBP order, I'm hooked.
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newscribe

 
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Welcome also,

And a very good informative post, although my experience again differed greatly from yours. Had no issues moving music photos etc onto new Mac, and as I defiantly do not want to run any windows related software my most difficult task thinking back was in choosing the best Mac software my pocket could afford to do the jobs I wanted.

But like you I will not return to the PC arena, the Mac is just a joy to use.
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Deckyon

 
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I went with the Bootcamp route for Windows 7 (it was the final factor in my purchasing my MBP) for the software I had for Windows and did not want to buy for Mac. In fact, some of it there is no Mac version anyway (Sony Vegas Pro and others.) Since rendering video is something I do a lot of, it was necessary for me to be able to get going as fast as possible and Bootcamp let me do that without slowing down the machine. I love it. I use OSX for 70-80% of my computing on my MBP. I only use Win7 for CS3 (lost install disks as I have the full suite copied to a network drive), Sony Vegas and Rifts.

I won't get into my iTunes experience, but most of the issue was my cat's fault. I literally had a "cat"astrophic drive failure.

Will I always buy a Mac from this point on? I have no idea, but for now, as long as I can Bootcamp, I will have a Mac. Besides, I have at least 3 years to go before I look at getting a new computer. I just got my MBP.

MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Gen3 32GB WiFi, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2
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Demapples

 
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Still no regrets, but a computer is a computer: they all hiccup from time to time and need a little TLC. It's not Nirvana though. Switching has eaten up a lot of my spare time in the past month, and I'm still trying to figure out a workflow for my photos. I think there is less fussiness in Mac than Windows though, especially as the weeks go by and I get used to the Mac's ways. Overall happier in the Mac OS so far, but in truth I could do all this in Windows too. It just feels cooler.
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RavingMac

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demapples View Post
Still no regrets, but a computer is a computer: they all hiccup from time to time and need a little TLC. It's not Nirvana though. Switching has eaten up a lot of my spare time in the past month, and I'm still trying to figure out a workflow for my photos. I think there is less fussiness in Mac than Windows though, especially as the weeks go by and I get used to the Mac's ways. Overall happier in the Mac OS so far, but in truth I could do all this in Windows too. It just feels cooler.
Three years into my switch and I would echo and agree with what you said. I use windows at work and I could at home but I prefer my Mac (OSX).

I'm still trying to get a photo workflow that I'm really happy with, but this isn't an OS issue but a 'me' issue. I need to get better at sorting and pitching upfront rather than just downloading and figuring I'll catch up later.

Later never seems to come.

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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PatM

 
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Very good post and thread Demapples. I too am a recent convert with just a couple months in. I feel much the same way. I actually use my Mac at work even though the whole company is Windows based. I too use Parallels to connect to our business system and for Quicken. I am using the Quicken version for Mac as well but it seems to be a cheap imitation of the real thing.

I do think I will enjoy this more as I learn more about "Workflows" and how they can help my everyday computing experience.

I look forward to further feedback as you get along in your new experience.

Regards,

Pat

15 " 2013 MBP OS X Ver. 10.9.1 16 GB Memory, 500 GB SSD, Retina, 2.3 Ghz I7, 30GB IPhone 5, 2012 Mini Cooper JCW Coupe, 2014 Toyota Corolla, 2007 Trailblazer, 2 RC Planes, 1 fantastic wife who puts up with my toys. Still Married After 30 Years.
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psaxena

 
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A very fair post.

I switched around 2 years ago and would probably never go back to Windows. But even back then, I worked on Linux most of the time and used Windows only for watching movies and other junk stuff.

Best thing about a Mac, I would say, is the quality hardware. OS is definitely better than Windows, but if you can tweak Linux a little bit, you can get similar functionality free of cost.

iTunes has been nice to me, but I'm not at all comfortable with iPhoto. I use Google's Picasa instead. I still use Firefox and can't get similar functionality in Safari.
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PatM

 
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psaxena,
I'm with you on iPhoto and Firefox. I use the same in lieu of the Apple programs. I lose too much to use the Apple version. I hope Apple improves these two pieces of software. I prefer to use Apple.

Regards,

Pat

15 " 2013 MBP OS X Ver. 10.9.1 16 GB Memory, 500 GB SSD, Retina, 2.3 Ghz I7, 30GB IPhone 5, 2012 Mini Cooper JCW Coupe, 2014 Toyota Corolla, 2007 Trailblazer, 2 RC Planes, 1 fantastic wife who puts up with my toys. Still Married After 30 Years.
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Great to hear; I don't have any experience with desktops as my only mac was is a MacBook; it's great to see that you got a new machine though. As you use it you'll get used to the OS and find out what works best/better than Windows and what you would also like to change.

If you want, give TotalFinder a try; it incorporates into Finder and gives you native functionality like Cut/Paste (for all items) and tabbed finder windows. If you do a lot of work, don't forget to check out Expose and Spaces, both of which come with the Mac.
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Well I wish I could be more positive, but I've had my 15" MBP for a little over 4 months now and I've been frustrated a lot more than I've happy with my Mac.
I wanted to learn more about Mac's which is why I bought one.
What I have learned in these 4 months is I don't need a Mac to do what I want to do on a computer. And I have yet to see where a Mac does what I do better. Just because it is different does not make it better.
iTunes and iPhoto have been a real pita. Windows does it much better and faster.
I have had no luck trying to sell my Mac so I'm trying to make the best of the situation by being patient and trying to learn as much as I can about my Mac. Usually once a week I go to a 1 on 1 class and I always manage to learn something. But I still don't need a Mac to do what I do on a computer. A Mac is just another computer that is different than a pc. But as I said "Being different does not mean being better."
This computer is awesome! But it's about 90% more computer than what I need.
I have a $400. Dell that does what I want to do on a computer just as well, if not easier than this Mac. So yes, if I get the chance to sell this Mac I'll take it and stick with my little Dell.
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Demapples

 
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Update 3:
Glad three times now that my iPad was handy when I ran into sticky problems with my iMac. Like last night when I ran a verify on the hard drive and the utility reported that the drive was corrupt. I followed the directions to repair the drive using my Mac OS installation disc, but that was hardly intuitive. I managed to boot from the disc, then needed the iPad to go online to figure out how to do the repair, then how to reboot from the hard drive and get out of the installation disc.

Of course I could have fired up my Windows laptop, but the iPad was faster.

The corrupt hard drive thing turned out to be a minor difference in file counts.

I learned the hard way not to reboot the iMac if I got into a weird situation, like when I imported all my Windows folders of photos into iPhoto. Next morning it looked like the iMac was locked up so did a hard reboot. Then iPhoto could no longer open it's library, possibly because I prevented iPhoto from finishing some writes. Took an AppleCare call to fix that one. I should have gone online with the iPad (or the Windows laptop) first, to find the right way out of that apparent lockup.
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