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.

iphone 4s

iPhone 4s | Image Source: Pixabay

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.

Featured Image Source: Pixabay

Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He’s also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.

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/ ( mm / dd )

Sharif Jameel

Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He’s also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.


Ryan Harris · March 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

I could have written the top 2 paragraps (MCSE, etc). So I feel your pain, but you didn’t really provide a true justification for giving up Windows other than the ocassional O/S upgrade, which is pretty seamless. And if you skip every other O/S (e.g. Vista, Win 10 its a rare event). What I personally don’t care for is Msoft shoving Cortana down my throat, and that they are moving towards forced autoupdates, etc. That started to bug me, so I switched over to a Chromebook. It probably cost 10% of what your Mac costs, and so far I am able to do pretty much everything I need to do.

iPhones are a gateway drug. I won’t touch one of those either. The forced use of iTunes, and the tight control that Apple exercises over what apps are available to me are just 2 reasons that put me firmly in the “never Apple” camp. 🙂

    Sharif Jameel · March 29, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Ryan! When I wrote this back in 2014 I was way more excited about having a new shiny iMac than I am today haha. It’s still my main rig for the most part and it’s served me and my business well. I can honestly so that one of the things I liked about switching though was that I don’t go home and feel the desire to ‘tinker’ – for the first time in my life I have the blissful ignorance of just being a computer USER instead of a tech. I still use an iPhone – I kept the 4s I was talking about in the article right up until a few months ago when I changed up to the iPhone 7.
    I upgraded my Windows 7 VM on Vusion to Windows 10 and I enjoy that (plus that’s what we use at my day job). I’m also enjoying Linux Mint though, it works really well if you just want to have something to stream video to a TV without having to spend extra money on cable boxes.

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