Time for a New Computer
As a self-proclaimed geek, I always look forward with hesitation to that time when upgrading my current computer situation becomes a necessity. On one hand, I have my current rig set up exactly as I want it, perhaps after a few years of tweaking settings and customization (and definitely not looking forward to having to reinstall all my stuff on a new computer). On the other hand there’s the excitement of buying or building a new machine and reveling in the capabilities of updated technology.
Five years ago if someone told me that I’d be considering purchasing a Mac as my new system, I would have dismissed them as a crazy know-nothing who probably lived at home with mommy & daddy and could burn money on overpriced hardware because they didn’t have a mortgage or any other bills. Mac computers were for people who didn’t know how to use a real computer and didn’t have a need for real software like Microsoft Office.
It’s All About Exposure
As an IT guy who spends most of his time working with various versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems, it came to a surprise to me when I found out that may of my coworkers used a Mac at home even though they worked on Windows computers all day at work. I was no stranger to the odd love that Mac users tend to have for their machines and how they are quick to defend the Apple brand in the face of scrutiny by people who say that Microsoft’s operating system is superior. So when I had a chance to sit in front of one of the newer iMac computers at a coworker’s house, I was surprised at how much I liked it (even though I really didn’t know much about how to use it). I still wasn’t really considering buying one though.
About 2 years ago, it was time to upgrade to a new smartphone. I’d been using a Blackberry Storm 2, arguably one of the best phones that Blackberry made up until that time and before that phone I owned a Palm Centro (my, how things have changed). I went with an iPhone 4S simply for something different than what I’d been accustomed to using. Some people think iPhones are pieces of junk, and when it comes to their ability to survive a 6-inch drop onto concrete, it’s hard to argue otherwise. However, I immediately understood Apple’s strategy on locking their operating systems to a very specific set of hardware made to exacting specifications. Whereas Android attempts to make itself practical to use on any device which results in widely varied performance from one phone to the next, Apple does just the opposite; they want iOS to only work for their hardware and the operating system has been optimized to run smoothly on that hardware.
I still have that iPhone 4S and it works just fine. I haven’t really outgrown it and it’s been 2 1/2 years. I’m sitting on my upgrade waiting for the iPhone 6 to be released now.
Same Company, Same Philosophy
One thing that struck me with iOS was how similar it felt to my coworker’s iMac. The icons were the same the transition between iOS and OSX was extremely streamlined. I decided that when it was time to upgrade my aging Windows computer, that I’d seriously consider buying an iMac.
I was concerned that switching to a Mac would leave me missing some things that I’d loved about Windows. I knew that for a long time Macs didn’t support full disk encryption but as it turns out, the newer Macs have FileVault 2 which supports 128-bit AES encryption. I also was afraid that I’d be missing my Microsoft Office but as it turns out, Microsoft makes Office for Mac. Right there was two big hurdles out of the way so I dove in and ordered my 27″ iMac from the Apple store.
How to Transition Your Skills
If you’re not familiar with using a Mac, even the smallest tasks can turn out to be a bit frustrating. Thankfully, you can pretty much Google any question you have about how to do something with a Mac and you’ll also find comprehensive answers in Apple’s support forums. One of the things that I did was purchase a program called VMware Fusion so that I could create a virtual machine on my iMac and install Windows 7 on it. I can share files between the Mac OSX and the Windows 7 so that in a pinch if I couldn’t figure out how to do something on my iMac, I could do it on the Windows virtual machine instead. As the months went on, I found myself switching to the Windows VM less and less. Now the only time I use my Windows VM is when I need to use Microsoft Project since they don’t make it for Mac.
I have enjoyed being a Mac owner. The computer takes up much less space than my previous Windows desktops and there’s the added bonus that most of Apple’s devices play very nicely together. I now own 2 AppleTV units and can stream music & videos from my iMac straight to the AppleTVs for my own whole-house audio at much less expense than having an audio system custom built into my house. It also doesn’t hurt that the devices look simple and clean.