I’ve been a PC user my whole life. That all changed two weeks ago when I purchased my first Mac. Most of my friends who are software developers had already switched so I figured I’d better go forward with the grand experiment now rather than later. I haven’t looked back since.
The model I purchased was an iMac 20″ with the Intel Core Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM, and the 256 MB Radeon video card. It’s zippy. The UI is quite responsive. I can have dozens of apps open at the same time without an appreciable slowdown, and the video editing capabilities of this little beauty have been quite impressive. The main reason I switched was because my friends were reporting a marked increase in their effeciency while using a Mac. I’m happy to report that they were 100% correct. Here are some of the reasons why I like my Mac:
Everything can be automated. Tasks that used to take several steps in Windows can now be performed with a single click. Apps like Quicksilver make it dead simple to launch an app, perform a numeric calculation, or switch to the next song in my iTunes playlist… all with a couple of keystrokes.
The UNIX command line rocks. The Windows command line is best described as “castrated.” There is just no comparison between it and a standard UNIX command line. Even something as simple as being able to directly execute Ruby scripts without manually calling the interpreter becomes a benefit when it’s repeated dozens of times per day.
Tests run FAST. A typical stack of Rails tests takes about a minute to finish on my Windows box. Under OS X, the same tests take 15 seconds or so, and most of this is startup time.
Editing videos and burning them to DVD actually works. I experimented with several different software packages on my PC and two different DVD burners, none of which gave me the results I wanted. Capturing from my VCR left minor glitches in the video when a background process was running. On my Mac, the screen saver is automatically disabled when capturing video and the Core Duo processor removes the negative effects of background processes.
The Apple Remote. A very clever addition to the iMac is the Apple Remote, which lets me control the system at a distance. I don’t need to head downstairs to use the TV and DVD player anymore. I can just scoot my chair back and bring up a movie in Front Row.
Nice touches. As you’ve undoubtedly heard from other Mac owners, it’s the nice little touches that count. The magnetic holder for the Apple Remote. The blinking white sleep light on the front of the bezel. The built-in mini-DVI port. The simplicity of the System Preferences pane. It all combines to make for a computing experience so much more pleasant than it used to be.
All is not peachy keen, though. I’ve had the iMovie editing software crash on me a couple of times. I’m not sure why this happened, but the good news is it didn’t take down the rest of the system like it might have on Windows. Also, software for the Mac is quite pricey, as is hardware. You’ll definitely pay a premium for an Apple system, but if you stick with craigslist and eBay you might get away with paying much less than retail.
In summary, I feel much more effecient on this Mac and so I think the purchase was well worth the price. This little beauty makes computing FUN again! I really suffered while I was on Thanksgiving vacation since I didn’t have my Mac around. If you’ve been thinking of making the switch to a Mac yourself, I encourage you to give it a try. You can always sell the system if it doesn’t work out for you. My bet is you won’t.