Archive for the ‘Tech Awesomeness’ Category

Things I miss about OSX when using Windows

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

A couple days ago, I wrote about all the things I missed about MS Windows since switching to Mac OSX.
Now that it is all said and done, I am glad I switched. I still work a lot in Windows helping fix peoples computer, Windows servers and so on, so it is still a big part of my life. So, I thought I would share some of what I miss about OSX when I am using Windows. Basically, a list of my favorite parts of Mac that make me glad I made the switch.
As always, keep in mind I am a very technical user, so many people might not care about some of this stuff; however, I made sure to include positives for a more standard user as well. At the time of this writing, I have had my Macbook Pro for 8 months.

• It works. My Macbook Pro works. OSX works. I cannot state how amazing it is to work on a machine that has never crashed. I have never gotten a blue screen or red ring or any other color screen of death. It has never had to be hard rebooted (where you hold the power button down for a few seconds to turn it off) or rebooted for odd behavior.

• A couple days ago, I had my first experience where my Macbook did something odd. It had a very strong red hue to it. I moved the monitor back and forth, and the screen corrected itself. When it did it again, I took out my camera and made a video of it. I did a quick Google search, and it appeared to be a cable issue. This morning, I went online to apple, made an appointment for an hour later, and showed up for my appointment time. They were running a bit late. My appointment was for 11:15 and I ended up getting helped at about 11:30. I showed the video to the genius bar guys. He immediately said it looked like a cable issue and he would reseat the cable and see if that fixes the problem. He also ordered a replacement part just in case this did not solve the problem. He took my phone number so he could call me when the part comes in and see if I still needed it to be replaced. He gave me a receipt showing what he ordered, reseated the cable, and let me go on my way. It did not cost anything because it is still within warranty I was there for about 45 minutes. So far the issue has not come back, however, it has only been a few hours. Also, the people there were really nice. At no time did they try to make me feel rushed or that I was a bother and they rather be focusing on sales.

• Update from the bullet above: Apple called me on Saturday. They had over nighted the part to be delivered on a Saturday, so it could be fixed as soon as possible. I took my computer back in on Tuesday. They did not have enough people there at the time to fix it while I waited. So I left it with them from 10:30 until 12:45. It is now working perfectly again. That is great service. The problem is not even that severe. I was told this part they replaced was $600 and it was covered under the standard 1 year warranty. This had made me really consider getting the extra 350 dollar warranty to extend the warranty for a total of 3 years (an extra 2 pass the 1 year included warranty). Also the problem really appears to be fixed.

• There are apple stores all over. It is so incredibly nice to just be able to walk into one with a question. They can fix a lot on site while you wait. No sending you parts for you to install or asking you to do a bunch of diagnostics to figure out the problem.

• The sales experience was great. I have bought and helped people buy 100s of computers. I have gone with people to Best Buy and Fry‘s, ordered online with dell and other manufactures, online at merchants like tiger direct, and been called with someone in tears at trying to set a computer up. So many places focus on up selling and don’t really understand what they are selling. I mean seriously 500 dollar laptops with 2GB of memory to run Vista???? That is just not powerful enough to fun Vista the way it is meant to be run. It is no wonder so many people hated Vista, they were sold computers that really had no business running Vista. I went to the Mac store and talked to multiple sales people for hours before I bought asking 100s of questions. I actually stumped even their most technical people and we all got online and started and they worked and researched until they found the answer. They never rushed me. Never tried to sell me another device (ipod, a new monitor for my laptop to plug into, etc). They did offer me a free printer (with rebate). When I asked about software such as Parallels, Office for Mac, iLife, and iWork, they were knowledgeable. They did not take that opportunity to try to sell me software I never asked about. I cannot express how nice it was to not feel like I was just a dollar sign. Not once did I feel they were trying to snow me into doing what they wanted that was not in my best interest. And now that I have a lot more experience, I know they didn’t.

• OK, I said it once, but really, it bears repeating, my Macbook works.. It really just works.

• I only turn it off for the night about once every 2 or 3 weeks. It is so nice to leave open everything I am working on, so I don’t have to take the 10 minutes to close everything down and shut it off, and start everything back up and open every doc and every program again every day. I just put the computer to sleep at night and wake it up in the morning.

• Not a single OS update, or upgrading my OS from leopard to snow leopard has caused a problem. Not even a little problem.

• No application update (example iphoto or itunes) has caused any problems with the system or the data.

• Time machine.. an awesome backup utility. MS backup and restore programs are a joke at best.

• Built in programming languages. It is great to have at my finger tips the ability to program in perl, php, ruby, python, shell script, and many others. No extra programs to load and having to worry about nonnative platform issues. This comes in handy for me all the time.

• A shell with root access. Seriously, this is one of the most awesome creations ever. Sliced bread has nothing on this. For those of you who are not Linux users, a shell is a very powerful tool that can make life so much easier for computer savvy people.

• Apple’s website has all sorts of web videos on how to do things if you are new to them.

Full screen view in journal programs (many programs have this, Mac journal for one). Literally, my whole screen right now is black with bright green letters – no dock, no menu bar, nothing. Great to just sit and write without being distracted by chat, email, stumble, and other activities. This is something I don’t think I could ever live without again.

• So much is already integrated into the OS. The average user has a lot less they need to download and buy. It has itunes for music, preview to see docs, garage band, iphoto, time machine to do backups, and a whole host of other apps. If I were to set this up for one of my non technical family members or friends they would only need a couple other applications for their daily work (MS office being the main one).

• MS office is cheaper for Mac at about $100. I bought iWork when I bought the computer and it was only $49. Both of those are full versions, not upgrade prices. Typical MS Office with all the trimmings can be over $700.

• Spotlight is awesome. Hit command space bar and start typing. You can look up a work in the dictionary, open a file, or do a math problem. I use this mostly to open programs and docs. There is also Quicksilver, a free small program that is much more powerful but does similar things such as open programs but also has the ability to run commands.

• The dashboard appears and disappears with a quick hit to F3. It tells me the time, date, weather, the song that is playing on itunes, and a host of other information. I use this most for the temperature and the date.

Growl notifications

• Built in ISO burning. No more 3rd party programs like Nero for that.

• My keyboard auto brightens and dims when as the light conditions change in the room.

• OSX is very user friendly. Insanely user friendly. I think puppies could use it to find other puppy play mates. :D Some friends of mine bought 2 new Macs and one new PC – all laptops. They had never used a Mac before and were PC users. They are power users compared to most but not tech geeks or programers. Both Macs they get setup and working within a few minutes. Even got them on the wireless network I set up for them. The PC no such luck. I ended up on the phone for over an hour helping just get it online. When I changed some minor settings on my local network, it took me an hour per PC to get them back on correctly, and less then a minute on my Mac. I put a friend on front of my computer who never used Mac before and they were up and running in no time. This same person has cried in front of their computer.

• Mutitouch scrolling. Being able to sit with my laptop and scroll down a webpage just by brushing 2 fingers down the pad. With Windows I have to use a mouse or I am just frustrated by the amount of time it takes. I still like my mouse at my desk, but it is not as big of a deal to be without it.

• My laptop is just plain sexy. Thin, sleek, and eye candy. It is at least 3 or 4 pounds lighter then my superpowered dell laptop, but it is heaver then it looks.

• The little things Mac has that just make it easier to use. For example, the power plug into the computer is magnetized so it clicks into place and stays in place. It has a dot that glows green when it is charged and orange when it is charging.

• I used to start my windows PC, walk away and wash my breakfast dishes, and it would be finished booting when I came back. To shut down and reboot takes about 2 minutes. What takes me longer is closing everything and opening everything back up. I keep a lot of things open. Since I usual just put my Mac to sleep, it is under 3 seconds from sitting at my desk to being able to work.

• Programs load much faster compared to XP and Vista.

• 8 months later, my computer boots and loads programs just as fast as it did on day one. I will be very interested to see if this keep up as time goes on since this is a huge issue with windows.

• All the ports on the side so they are easy to get to. No having to put the monitor down (close the computer) to easily reach behind the computer to plug and unplug. Of course this machine has fewer ports then my Dell.

• Owning a Mac is like owning a Prius or an Amazon Kindle, everywhere I go that people see it, they want to talk about it. It is kinda fun usual since I love my toys! :) Today at the Apple store, I had 3 people stop to talk to me about my kindle. I was reading while they reseated the cable.

• Mac is less customizable then Windows, but it has most of the important things like being able to customize the desktop, screensaver, what programs boot when you login, time, date, etc. These options flow a lot better and are much easier to find. I have never had to hunt through the system preferences to change things. There are also quite a few free programs to add more system preferences if it does not do something you want. For me, it works just fine the way it is.

If I had to pick my top 3 awesome things they would be:
• It works. How easy it just works and does not crash, and help is close if needed.I

• Build in programming languages and shell.

• Speed of how fast programs load, and how fast I get to start working in the morning.

My top 3 cons of my Mac are:
• No built in autocorrect. That fact I had to buy a 40 dollar program (Spell Catcher) to not drive myself nuts. I got spoiled writing long docs in The Journal, Word, and Outlook. The good news is, if you write mostly in MS Office for Mac, then you will have MS autocorrect in those programs. I suspect as I get Spell Catcher working the way I want I will soon forget how annoying this was.

• The battery life is just so little compared to what I am used to and it charges so slow. However, I hear that people who had cheaper laptops before switching to Mac, think this battery life is on par with what they had. (Update: I asked apple to run a test on the battery to see it if was still running OK. The test was covered under warranty. They said nothing was wrong. However, after this test, my battery is working much better.)

• Not being able to switch between different windows of the same program with a universal short cut key. However, I think I found a program that might fix this. So this might stop being an issue. The program is called Witch. So if that is taken out of the running, it is that my phone, the palm pre, does not sync with Mac without a 3rd party program that does not work very well. I realize this is not the OS’s fault, but it is still a drawback.

Regardless of what OS you end up choosing, the real goal is to make it work for you. Find the programs, the settings, and support structure that make it work the way you need it to.
In the end, for me, OSX pros far outweigh the cons. Most of the issues I have with OSX can be fixed with programs. Most of the problems I had with Windows were with the OS itself that no program could fix. So for right now, Mac for me is where it is at. I do however reserve the right to change my mind :D

Adrienne :)

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