As some have noticed, and others have gloated about :-), I’ve been using a Mac (specifically a Macbook Pro) as my primary machine for about a month now. I’ve been a died-in-the-wool Windows guy every since Windows 3.0, and scoffed at all of the people playing with their silly Macs. Well, I guess they showed me, because now I’m using one. I’m even writing this post in MarsEdit.
Don’t get me wrong – I still like my friends in Redmond…but this experience has opened my eyes to some extent to how the “other half” lives.
I thought as a Windows user for so long, I might have a different perspective on the Mac…so I’m going to write a few posts (well, at least one – lol) talking about the whys and hows of my experience. So let’s get to it…and this post will be about “why oh why did I switch to the Mac?”
It all started with Windows Vista, actually. As a Windows guy, I was all excited when it was released, and installed it on my work laptop as soon as I could. Hmm…didn’t seem to get much faster, and I didn’t have a cool enough video card to run Aero, but hey, it was shiny and new. And the power management worked way better than XP ever did.
But then I got home, shrink-wrapped copies of Vista Ultimate in hand, and contemplated upgrading my home machine (which was running XP). This machine was the one I use for my photography, and it’s running Lightroom, Photoshop, and some other apps. Vista wasn’t such an obvious choice here, specifically for three reasons:
1. There were no Vista drivers yet for my Epson R2400, which I use for proofing and some print jobs. Eh? When is the last time a currently-available Epson printer didn’t have drivers for the latest version of Windows? Hmm.
2. The Spyder color calibration device I was using didn’t have Vista drivers either, and the manufacturer wasn’t planning to support it. I was less upset about this, because I was thinking about replacing this device anyway.
3. Color management on Vista – and this is the biggie – is apparently totally broken. From an article on Digital Outback Photo:
As you use Vista, you are occasionally interrupted by the OS as it confirms you have the admin-level privileges required or confirms certain actions. As a user-interface effect, Vista dims the screen slightly while offering the user a password dialog. Unfortunately, this dimming of the display clobbers the calibration curves in the graphics card and they are not replaced.
Are you kidding me? This is a total show-stopper. Combine this with the fact that it’s never 100% clear in Windows if your display profiles have been loaded (since only color-aware apps use them), and it seems it’s a total crapshoot.
Hmm. My photographer friends with Macs never seem to complain about their color management. Something about “I don’t know, I calibrate it and it just works.”
So I filed that away, and decided I’d just live with XP for a while.
But then I found myself with a shiny new iPhone, which I got for free at the Office 2.0 conference (and subsequently fell in love with, much to my surprise). Suddenly I started seeing Macs everywhere – conferences, coffee shops, you name it. I’d ask people about them – and every person I can remember said they loved it. I’d turn on my Vaio, and wait a couple of minutes for Vista to boot, and all the while admire their fancy Macbook Pro awaking nearly instantly from sleep (because I’ve rarely seen anyone actually turn off their Mac).
Then I stumbled across the page on the Apple web site where they have all of the Mac vs. PC ads, and (I can’t believe I actually did this) I watched the whole series of them. And you know what? They were fun. And Mac is clearly much cooler than PC.
So I thought, what the heck, and pulled the trigger. I knew lots of people who could help me if need be, and I figured worst case, we’ll use the machine for testing and such at NewsGator. So the evening Leopard was released, I cruised over to my local Apple store, and went home with a shiny new Macbook Pro, and a Leopard t-shirt.
And the moment I was sure I made the right decision? Right after I calibrated my monitor, created a profile, and selected it in OS X – and the whole screen updated immediately to reflect the new profile. Ahh…confidence.
Since then, I’ve observed a great many things…and I’ve got a few blog posts in the back of my mind about these:
- Macs sell themselves, and Mac users sell even more
- It’s totally possible (even advantageous) to use a Mac at work
- Mac apps are different
- Apple stores are different
I’m writing this in MarsEdit. I’ll preview it on the web in Safari. I’ll then get back to my email in Apple Mail. And you know what? I don’t miss Windows. At least not yet.