My adventure into Mac land

I've always seen PCs and Macs as being different approaches to getting the same problems solved – albeit with Macs generally being more expensive. I've used Macs in the past (mainly in elementary and middle school), but never had any real reason to use them for an extended period of time.

And in fact, three weeks ago I did the unthinkable for a self-proclaimed "PC Guy" -- I bought a Mac. Yes, after 15+ years of owning PCs I finally decided to give Macs a try. I bought a shiny new 13" MacBook Pro at retail price from Amazon, but thankfully it also came with a free 8GB iPod touch (no rebate required) – otherwise I would have never paid MSRP.

I had been looking for a replacement for my Lenovo ThinkPad X300 for quite some time. I wanted something with a lot more firepower and better battery life. The MacBook Pro seemed like the perfect fit and I loved the sleek aluminum exterior. After selling both the 8GB iPod touch and the ThinkPad X300 on eBay, I came out about even.

I had originally planned to dual boot with both OS X and Windows 7 RC, but after the first day with my new Mac, I found that such a solution would not be necessary. I transferred over all of my documents and music files with no incident, and my iTunes profile/library carried over flawlessly (which was a big concern for me because I have an iPhone 3G S and didn't want to loose any data in the transfer process). I even managed to find OS X equivalents to the software that I used on my PC. Office 2010 Beta, Trillian Astra, and gave way to OpenOffice, Adium, and Gimp. The other programs I often use -- Thunderbird 3.0, Firefox 3.5, uTorrent, and NVU all have OS X equivalents.

Even when it comes to hardware, everything worked as expected. My external hard drive was picked up instantly, and my two network printers (an HP LaserJet 2015dn and an HP Photosmart 3310) were picked up by default in OS X. My other gadgets all sync properly including my Logitech Harmony One remote and my TomTom GPS.

My biggest fear when going to OS X -- having had no previous extended time with the OS -- was the thought of it taking me days or weeks to learn the ins and outs of the operating system. Instead, I was able to get the basics down in minutes and was really getting the hang of the OS within a few hours.

This all brings me to this point -- has the MacBook really changed anything about my life or the way I compute? Not really. I can perform all of my everyday tasks just as I did on my Windows 7-based laptop and all of my peripherals operate exactly the same. Everyday OS navigation speed is about the same (1.2GHz + SSD vs 2.26GHz + HDD), but things like video encoding are absolutely killer on the MacBook Pro.

Would I do it again? Probably. I wasn't really out any money by going to the MacBook Pro and it gives me a chance to become stronger in my understanding of OS X. And if I need to use Windows, I'll just grab my wife's laptop.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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