I have been using computers for about 25 years, and have owned a variety of different platforms. Over the last 15 years I’ve owned nothing but PCs running DOS, then Windows. I had never owned an Apple product (and never thought I would), and really didn’t know much about them. In high school I learned Pascal on an Apple IIe, then wrote for the school paper using one of the very early Macs. Several years ago I worked for a magazine publisher and there were many Macs there that the designers and editors used. I was around Macs then and picked up a little, but was never really that intrigued.
About 2 years ago I saw an iPod and was completely blown away. I had heard about them but never really thought that it was something I would want…. until I held one. So I bought one the next day and have been thrilled with it ever since. After my iPod experience I became interested in Apple and started following Apple news and products. Then I saw a Jobs keynote where he showed the iMac, Front Row and Dashboard and I must say I was more than a bit intrigued. It looked like such a beautiful platform that really focused on style and elegance. For several months to follow I read a lot about Apple and the Mac and listened to the Maccast.
About a year ago I decided I was going to buy an iMac, but already had a desktop PC and didn’t really need to replace it, and didn’t have room for 2 computers on my desk. So I continued to follow the Apple news and wish that my PC had as much style. Then the Intel news dropped followed by BootCamp and knew that I was ready. But knowing that I wasn’t going to get rid of my PC, I still couldn’t really figure out how to accommodate 2 desktops. Then the MacBooks were released, and I knew that would be perfect for me.
One of the first things I noticed when I first saw a MacBook was the keyboard. I worried that the chicklet style keys would feel strange. But after initially visiting the Apple store and trying the keyboard, I found that it was very comfortable, and would not be an issue. Another thing that stood out was the display. I have seen and used lots of laptops, but the MacBook was one of the best I’d seen. Everything was very sharp and clear. Another surprise was the white power adapter and remote that came with the black MacBook. I really wanted black, and felt that if I were to pay extra for black, the parts should all be black as well.
I went to the Apple store in Cleveland with the intentions of buying a MacBook, but unfortunately they didn’t stock the configuration I wanted (1 gig RAM, 120 gig drive black MacBook). I left a little disappointed, but went right home and ordered it from the Apple site. A week later I got the shipment from FedEx and the box was so light I wondered if the computer was actually in there. But I opened it up, and sure enough, there was a beautiful matte black notebook. The box also contained the power adapter, the Front Row remote and box of DVDs.
So I booted up my new Mac and went through the setup. Everything was very simple and straight forward. Within a few minutes I was up and running and on my way to learning the OS. I already had a wireless network in my house so the first thing I wanted to do was try to get on the network and try to surf. Before I even had a chance to find the network setup, I got a dialog that listed 6 wireless networks that I could join! I have used several wireless notebooks in my house before and never saw any other than my own. So I selected my network and was instantly on the Internet with no fuss. Soon I had my calendar set up and imported my contacts so the basics of what I needed was done.
The next step was my iTunes music. I have an external drive that I use for my music on my PC, so I tried plugging it into my MacBook and instantly it recognized the drive and I was able to launch iTunes, select my library and start playing music. After a few moments I was happily browsing my iTunes library, but I was a bit disappointed in the speakers. I don’t expect much from speakers on a notebook, but these are not loud enough and generally don’t sound very good. In the next few days I also found that my MacBook doesn’t always recognize my USB drive when I plug it in. I never had this problem on my PC, but then I never unplugged it from my PC once it was initially set up. I also found that I can’t write to that USB drive. I posted a question about this and someone replied that it might be due to the fact that it’s formatted as NTFS, so I’m going to try reformatting it as FAT32.
The next device I tried was my digital camcorder. I plugged in the USB cable and it was not recognized. I tried a reboot and still nothing. I did a little research and found that I needed the firewire cable instead, so I ordered that and once I plugged it in, it was instantly recognized. I tried importing and editing some video using iMovie and it worked beautifully. But I must say that my problems with the USB drive and the fact that I needed a special cable for my camcorder left me a little frustrated. I’ve also experienced two lockups and get what I’d call the equivalent of a Windows blue screen. I had no devices connected at the time, and I was running only Apple software. I’m very tolerant of computer idiosyncrasies, but I somehow expected that these things would never happen on my Mac because so many profess that “it just works”. In my very limited experience, I’d have to say that it’s on par with a typical Windows PC.
I’ve now imported most of my data with the exception of Quicken. I was ready to buy Quicken for Mac but in reviewing my needs I’m wondering if I really need it. I can do so much with my bank online that I may abandon Quicken altogether. But for web, email, pictures, video and music (which is the core of what I do at home), my MacBook is turning out to be a great machine. I’m booting up my PC less and less and hope to be all Mac very soon. I’m loving the Mac OS and I’m starting to wish we used Macs at work… but that’ll probably never happen. I’m also starting to consider the iMac again and replacing my Dell with a dual boot iMac.