Monday, January 15, 2007

18 months with a Mac ...

It is now 18 months since I bought an Apple Mac , a 12" iBook to be precise. At the time it had been a little under a year since making the move to Linux, but that had not turned out how I had hoped. No regrets though, despite the investment in a new PC and a copy of Suse, I am still glad that I gave it a go so that I know that Linux isn't the desktop OS for me.

Looking back on that period it was definitely more of a move "from Microsoft" than towards anything specific at first, and I had long held reservations about Apple and their OS, actually OS 9 and before. The ideals of Open Source attracted me, but in the end the pain of managing my computer more than using it just proved too much, and through all my learning of Linux I kept coming across people saying wonderful things about Apple.

In June of 2005 I caved, and on a bit of a whim one evening after work I went to the Apple Store in Regents Street and plunked down the cash. Not too much though, this was an exercise in toe dipping after all. So I went for the most basic, and therefore cheap, model I could. The 12" iBook, with no extras.

In some ways it was the perfect decision. It is still the only laptop I have ever owned (not counting the one my current work make me lug around), and being the 12" model it is suitably tiny. It now sits in the lounge, somewhere near the sofa, in sleep mode so that when I want to get online I simply reach down to grab it and flip open the lid. Immediately it wakes up and connects to the wireless network and is ready to go, something that I still find fascinating coming from the sleep-mode-hobbled Windows world.

The one thing that I would have done differently, given the chance, would have been to add a little more memory when getting it. 256MB is simply not enough for me, too many apps open at any one time. But now it never quite seems worth adding more because this machine should be relegated to simple browsing once I finally get a new iMac.

Ah yes, the iMac. As you can see I am now completely sold on Apple Macs. Toes have been sufficiently dipped and the waters found to be lovely. Much as I would like to own a super-duper Mac Pro with 32" CinemaHD monitors there is no way I could ever afford such a luxury. For a time this was the cause of some dilemma for me as the original Intel iMac just did not seem like enough. Dutifully Apple read my mind and released the wonderful 24" iMac which nicely occupies the middle ground between the base iMacs and the Mac Pro machines. My purchase is now only on hold for bonus time, the inclusion of Leopard and any possible announcements of new hardware in the coming weeks/months.

My conversion is very much complete, I know this because I find myself being a Mac evangelist to everyone who engages me in any form of computer related discussion, much to the annoyance of my co-workers. This did not start as a conscious thing either, I just found myself espousing the wonders of Mac again and again. Not the rabid, foaming at the mouth faithful, sort of rant that some people do, just simply recounting anecdotes of how much easier my dealings are with my Mac above any PC I have ever owned (and there have been quite a few).

I think part of this sense of a need to convert others comes from being in a minority. The innate understanding in the human mind, the animal instinct, that safety comes from numbers and that by converting more people to Macs we will ensure that they continue. That more users means more and better software that again pushes the hardware that again attracts more users. It is exciting to be involved in something near the start of this virtuous circle. At least I hope that is where we are at.

Looking back it is hard to believe that it has only been 18 months. In that time I can say I have only begun to appreciate the change. There are far more changes to come for my relationship with Macs. I am already behind the curve (in fact two curves) by having a G4 powered Mac. The move to an Intel powered iMac will be a major change in power, performance and therefore experience. By the time I do get an iMac it will probably be delivered with, or shortly have loaded on it, OS X Leopard, a change I cannot yet fully comprehend given how little we know about it. All in all I think the next 18 months will be even more exciting and fun. I will, of course, keep you well informed.


Biko said...

How excited you must be. I've got a 24" Intel iMac in my office at the moment and it is wonderful.

I totally agree about having to move away from Windows. Vista is frankly ridiculous when it comes to use of computer resources. OS X is so much better and at the same time much faster.

Matt Large said...

Remember the days when I was the most pro Microsoft person this side of Redmond? They worked damn hard to make me re-think.

It's quite sad really. Windows 2000 was a really amazing OS and in certain ways (normally on the second release) so were Win95 and 98.

I was facinated be a recent Gartner opinion that Vista would be the last release of Windows, in its current monolithic form. What struck me was that this would at least change things, would differentiate Windows from other offerings.

But the reality could be that Microsoft don't even get that far. Vista could be the OS that breaks them.

I realise that right now that seems like a far off notion, but their position has seriously declined since XP launched. If they take as long as this to transition to their next major OS release (whatever format that takes) they could be in a very sticky situation.