Making the Mac Plunge
Hey all. I'm contemplating a very big change in 2007...ridding Microsoft from my life. I have nothing against MS (and personally think Bill Gates might be the most heroic man on the planet) but I'm getting tired of bloated software and the continuing performance degradation I'm getting from my PC. I'm contemplating making the switch to a MacBook Pro and eliminating Office and IE from my life. With Google docs, GMail and Firefox, this doesn't seem all that difficult.
I'd love to hear from anyone who has made this switch recently and how it went. I'm pretty nervous about dropping Outlook most of all because I tend to be a pack-rat and have all my old e-mails archived, etc. I'm also concerned about the lack of offline capabilities as I like to use my offline time (e.g., on a plane) to catch up on e-mail.
If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts on this I'd love to hear them. I'm not quite ready to make the move yet but at this point with a little prodding I just might be. :)
Well, Gmail can forward email as POP, and Apple's Mail.app is really nice n' functional n' whatnot. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with a way to import Outlook email into Mail (Mail's own help says you can't). Still, I guess you could forward it all into Gmail and then download it later into Mail.
Incidentally, if you do pop forward your Gmail account, the mail will be archived on the server end. It'll even take a copy of any emails you send through Mail.app and keep a copy in Gmail, so you always have two mirrored versions of your email offline and online.
Anyways, It's an awesome little operating system and I thoroughly recommend it. Having said that, not everyone seems to 'gel' with the system, and I'd suggest you have a good long go with it for a few weeks before buying - say, borrowing an old machine off a friend if possible.
Also, as soon as you get a mac, install Quicksilver and play around with the tutorials provided at places like 43folders.com. It's an incredible application that has completely changed the way I use a computer to such an extent that I can't use a computer that doesn't have it installed. any more. It's simply revolutionary.
I'm an Ubuntu Linux person, but if the Free(dom) software movement wasn't around I would be on a mac.
Go ahead and switch without fear. The mac has almost everything you can want and for what it does not have I hear that you can buy a windows "emulator" for a few dollars to run the rest
Hadn't heard of Quicksilver so excited to look at that. I'm using David Allen's GTD plug-in for Outlook and since you referenced 43Folders.com I'm guessing there might be a correlation here. Will definitely check that out!
Ubuntu Linux is interesting as well. I've heard rumors of a Google "OS" this year which would be a variant of Ubuntu most likely. That could do more for the Linux on the Desktop movement than anything to date.
Thanks for the feedback and feel free to keep it coming!
I've never used Mac OS X so I can't say much about it, but I have been using Ubuntu Linux and SuSE Linux for a short while. Ubuntu is very suitable for home use, and SuSE is more suitable for a business environment (which is exactly what their targets are). SuSE is quite a bit more bloated than Ubuntu and a bit more difficult to use.
I've made a switch away from most MS software a long time ago, and it's certainly much easier to switch today. Right now I'm in the final stages -- after many years of using Windows 2000, I'm in the process of switching to Ubuntu as my primary OS. You already know that you can use Firefox instead of IE, but you can also use Thunderbird or a whole bunch of other programs instead of Outlook. You should be able to export your contact list and emails to files which another mail program can import. I don't know the details though; it's been a long time since I've used Outlook.
A great alternative to MS Office is OpenOffice, initially developed by Sun Microsystems as StarOffice. The first version had some problems but the current one works very well. OpenOffice is also compatible with most (or all) MS Office documents.
Chalk up another Mac user. My migration path went from Windows to Linux (various flavors, but ultimately I settled on Ubuntu) to OS X. The tipping point for me in moving to the mac was that I wanted a laptop, didn't want to run Windows, and didn't want to fight with drivers (granted, it's getting better, but I've had a few too many run-ins with oddball laptop hardware drivers for Linux). I use Pages and/or Latex for my documents, OpenOffice (well, the Mac port, NeoOffice) when I need to open MS files and various other combinations of free and non-free software. If there's anything specific you have questions about, let me know. My only problem with running the Mac is that I'm a webdesigner, and checking sites for IE compatibility is awkward at best. Other than that, the MacBook Pro is a great machine. I might recommend waiting until Spring if you can, since that's when OS 10.5 (Leopard) is scheduled to ship on new macs. If you can't, 10.4 (Tiger) is still a great OS.
Merlin, I'd suggest waiting for MacWorld to be over in about 2 weeks' time and see what new toys Steve (the Jobs, not the Pav ;)) unveils, then make your purchase.
Chalk up another happy Mac switcher. Several weeks ago my main PC died, and I look around and realised that I had 5 PCs in various states of disrepair. Decided to take the opportunity to switch to a shiny new MacBook Pro, and grabbed a copy of Parallels so I could run some of the old XP apps.
I set up the MacBook Pro, realised that the the bundled apps covered the majority of the things I needed, and haven't used Parallels at all (other than installing it). I'm amazed I didn't make the switch sooner.
I've never seen any of the newer Macs in real life, only ads and websites etc about them. The last Mac I actually saw "in the flesh" was a ][e - one of them came in to my shop with a blown power supply. Couldn't get parts for it. As I recall, Apple wanted more for the power supply than you could buy a whole PC for.
Still, I'm optimistic :D - this year is going to be GREAT for me ;) - once I've got my house, my Mercedes van and my BMW motorbike, I'll look at finding a Mac shop and see one of the new ones...
Macs are very good these days, and the built in features such as the isight camara and the various software packages for recording video and audio are all very useful for anyone who does blogging and the like. You'd be surprised how much you can do with the bundled apps that come with the system, especially if you compare this to what you can do with the bundled apps in windows (not much). If you are a casual user you can download a copy of open office (or neo office, the aqua version), and never have to buy any other software.
While the system is expensive to buy at first, you save money in the software department.
Moving beyond Microsoft
I left MS for Linux some time ago and recently purchased a Mac. For those who are interested in making the Mac plunge:
Quicksilver - ultimate app launcher and productivity tool. (Mentioned above)
TextMate - well-featured text editor and development environment. You can edit text files, post to your blog and program in any of a host of different languages. (unlike the rest of the list, this costs money)
I use Thunderbird and Firefox for email and browsing, but the Mac-default Mail.app and Safari are both highly capable
Aurora - iTunes-linked alarm clock with tons of cool options
NeoOffice - Free, Mac version of OpenOffice. Handles .doc, .xls files from MS Office.
VLC - universal media player
Kinkless GTD - a well-supported GTD setup for Mac. I actually wrote my own GTD app that's highly customized to my needs (I'm a software developer), but I've tried Kinkless and it seems quite capable.
Google apps - All of the Google stuff (Gmail, News Reader, Spreadsheets, Docs, etc) is of course still available on a Mac. Their stuff is handy since you can even use it from someone else's computer in a pinch.
I've found the Mac to be a well-engineered machine. I'm able to run Linux programs with the included X11 support, and I have a suitable command line for advanced tweaks, yet the overall user experience is very polished and accessible for beginners. The folks at Apple really understand user-oriented design.
Let me start off by saying I know nothing about computers except how to use them. Now that we have that out of the way...we've always had a pc, but my husband uses a mac at work. Because he is in an artistic field (graphic design and video editing) and Macs are better for such things apparently and he is starting to do more from home, he decided we needed a Mac at home. But I'm anti-Mac (for silly reasons), so I wanted a pc. So...we got one of the new Macs (released in early Fall) that runs both OS10 and Windows and we've both been very pleased. I can't think of any problems we've had with either side running "normally". Perhaps this is something you might consider? It really has been the best of both worlds. Now, you mentioned a Mac Book, so I'm assuming you're talking about a laptop?? I don't know if they have them that can run both programs or not, but it might be worth checking on.
Good luck on your decision! :)
Macs are the way to go!
I switched to macs several years ago after being introduced to them at work and then having multiple issues with our PC's at home. At one time Macs were shunned because software was limited, but these days are long gone. You can get almost any software used on a PC for a Mac. You also don't need to worry about viruses since 99% of viruses are PC based and apple has some great anti-virus protection. We just upgraded our eMac to the latest OS X Tiger operating software. I use MS Office, Explorer and other "PC" software on a daily basis with no problems. Several good sites to buy Macs from are:
www.smalldog.com (an authorized apple seller/reseller)
www.apple.com Check out their section on "refurbished" computers. They come with fill warrantys for good prices. They have refurbished 30GB iPods for $179, which is a great price (they are $249 full price).
You can also check their site to see if there is an Apple store located in your area where you could check out their products in person if you are new to them.
Also check their site for educational discounts on certain products if you are a student. We got the Tiger software for half the normal price since I am attending one of the listed schools.
Hope this helps. Thanks.
Lifehacker just posted a great intro article on making the Mac plunge:
Hack Attack: A guide for switching to a Mac - Lifehacker
I just wanted to say about using Outlook Express that you can use another offline mail reader on a Mac, my husband loves the Mail program that comes with the Mac, I love Microsoft Entourage (yes, it's microsoft, but still). I love my MacBook Pro ;).
I recently switched from Windows and got a MacBook Pro. I love it, the Mail.app program comes with it free and has worked great so far. After I got adjusted to the Mac OS X I realize what I was missing. Now I hate using my PC at work. Go go for it! Macs are so cool.
I don't like the pricy-ness of macs and the other thing that POs me is that you can run note.pad or a .txt document from a windows 95 computer on your windows xp dual core processor...while mac has undergone three major software/hardware shifts that rendors all your old apps and files obselete. I just got an IMAc two years ago its obsolete machinary - since steve jobs switched to an intel processor (i also wonder if this will make macs more vurnerable)
okay, on the up side:
ease of use -bottom line it's much easier to be productive
killer apps like final cut
less security risk (though with increased ownership this is changing)
I would say macs are better if you're specfically in graphics or making small films to medium budget films...
Although Macs have gone through significant software and hardware shifts, it shouldn't affect file formats too much unless you're using something proprietary - .docs, .txts, .rtfs, .jpgs and all other file formats should open fine regardless of your OS version.
All of the new apps that have been released since the switch to Intel have been 'Universal Binaries', which means they have all the coding necessary to run either under a PowerPC processor or on an Intel.
Likewise, your 2 year old iMac isn't obsolete, it's just not top of the line - every modern program should run just as well on a PowerPC as an Intel Mac, with the exception of some of the more hack-y things that go into the system (like CoreDuoTemp, which gives the temperature of the Mac's chips).
As for security, the security isn't dependent on the chip type but rather how the OS handles itself - there have been UNIX boxes with decent security running on Intel platforms for years. And Apple have, according to Steve Jobs at a keynote when he announced Intel, had Intel versions of the Operating Systems ever since OS 10.1.
Are there any specific problems you're having with your mac? If so, let me know and I might be able to help.
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