I Made The Switch From Windows to Mac, Part 2 The Things I Like About The Mac

This post continues to describe my experience of becoming a Mac user.  I covered the conversion process in a previous post.  In this post I’ll discuss what I like about being a Mac user.  In my next post, I’ll cover what I dislike about the Mac.

So now that I’ve used the Mac for about 2 months, what do I like about it?

  • Leopard is a really elegant, polished, pleasing interface.  It’s mostly very intuitive and user friendly especially when it comes to customization and configuration.
  • Docking station and stacks – it’s the equivalent of the Windows start menu, and it’s way better, a much more usable implementation for selecting programs to run and documents to open.
  • Finder – the Mac equivalent of Windows Explorer.  It beats the pants of explorer in terms of UI and customization capabilities.
  • Time Machine – this Leopard feature allows for a brain-dead easy way to back up and recover your files, love it.
  • Spotlight – this is the Mac equivalent of Google desktop search.  Except that it’s overall integration with the core platform is much better than the Google add on toolbar / application you need to use on the Windows XP platform.  It’s much faster, less intrusive, and works great.  I use it constantly, in many instances as a simple mechanism for opening documents that I use frequently.
  • Parallels – this software allows me to run XP in a window on the Mac.  Once the window is active, I can launch Microsoft applications on the Mac (IE, Visio, Project, etc.).  Its very cool and the most recent build runs well on Leopard (although be warned, it seems that it will hang if you try to use spaces and parallels at the same time).
  • Multiple monitor support – just works, did not need to be configured, and never gets confused (like multiple monitor support does in Windows).
  • Multimedia applications – I have not had much time to experiment with iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, etc. but from what I have seen these applications are much, much better than the Windows equivalents.

I’ve managed to say goodbye to many of the Windows features and utilities that I believe were the source of most of my Windows performance and stability problems:

  • HP all in one printer software.  The Mac’s Bonjour device discovery feature found my network printer and installed the appropriate driver – 100% automatically.  Now the plague that is HP printer application software is not loaded on my laptop.
  • Adobe Reader and .pdf Writer.  Mac comes with a much leaner utility called Preview that is fast as lightning and clean (I will miss Adobe patiently displaying for my benefit the 1000+ patents it has on it’s reader EVERY time it launches slowly and excruciatingly).   I will especially miss Adobe’s reader fighting with its in-browser cousin that runs in IE.  And speaking of IE…
  • Internet Explorer – Safari and Firefox are simply way, way faster than IE.  For example, when you open a new tab in IE 7, why does it take so long to display a new blank browser window effectively making you wait 7 seconds to type in the URL?  The same operation in Safari or Firefox takes a pico-second.  The UIs are also cleaner and more modern.
  • Dell Wireless Connectivity Software – My old laptop was a Dell Latitude D610.  Dell had layered its wireless connectivity wizard on top of the standard windows functionality.  The combination was dumb and dumber, simply fundamentally flawed from an implementation standpoint along with a dose of bad engineering, capped of by an absolutely stupid UI.  With my Mac I can now enter a hot spot that gave the Dell fits, and I’m on line without a hitch instantly.
  • The Daily Crash Down – no more 13-step shut down processes.  You know the drill, drivers croaking, applications hanging (HP – stop making your printer software), answering 7 questions as your machine grinds to a halt.  OK, I know, I could have figured out at least a few of these, but who has the time?  The Mac starts up and shuts down super fast, much faster than Windows.  In fact, I shut down and restart my Mac Book in much less time than it takes to just shut down my Dell XP laptop.

I welcome your comments.
Mike Brannan