The Mac Won Me Over

On June 20th, I declared that I was going to try A Month of Mac.  I took my Macbook Pro (an older model from about 18 months ago) up to Alaska, left my Lenovo x300 in Boulder, and went native Mac.

I’m typing this on my brand new spiffy MacBook Pro 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 with 8GB RAM, with a 500GB solid state hard drive.  I can’t figure out why I’ve been so stubborn about really switching to the Mac.  This is a beautiful computer.

The key to this switch was that the native mac apps (Mail, iCal, and Address Book) sync seamlessly with Exchange.  So I don’t have to deal with the abortion that is Entourage but at the same time I don’t have to mess around with our email server and impact everyone else in our organization.  That’s sweet.  I had a feeling this would work this time since it works flawlessly on my iPhone and iPad, and it did.  The only thing missing is Tasks, but I started using Evernote instead which actually worked even better than the Outlook Task manager.

So – no Parallels or Fusion – I don’t even have a Windows image on this machine at this point.  I didn’t use Windows a single time in the last month and now that I’ve rewired my brain for Mac shortcut keys I think it’d be a pretty amusing thing to watch.

I’ve found peace and happiness with iWork as a replacement for Microsoft Office – it’s more than adequate for what I do.  MarsEdit is a spectacular blog post editor, Chrome works happily on the Mac as does Skype and TweetDeck, and Adium replaced Digsby.  Pogoplug works just like it did before – all my files are where I want them to be.  Best of all, my iPhone actually does what it’s supposed to with iTunes.

Did I say that this is a beautiful piece of hardware?  Sleep mode – check.  Flawless super high resolution screen – check.  Super fast everything – check.  Find a piece of software you want to play around with – download and run.

The most remarkable thing was the transfer of all my data, applications, and settings from my old MacBook Pro to my new MacBook Pro.  I connected them by Firewire.  I restarted my old MacBook and held down the T key.  After the transfer started, I went and had a meeting for a hour.  I came back and my new Mac was set up exactly like my old Mac.  Perfect.

Ross – you owe me $100.

  • I made the switch about the same time you did (although I retain MS Office). My concern was also how the Mac native apps would mesh with Exchange. Clearly, I needn't have been concerned. My MacBook Pro (same model as yours) is a delight to use and has become my primary computer. I willed my Sony laptop to my wife and HP desktop to the kids. I'm a believer.

  • Tahir

    The only thing that you will ever miss will be your Microsoft Excel.If not today, one day…Other than that, welcome to world of happy faces…

    • So far for me Numbers and Google Docs Spreadsheet (is that what it's called?) seem to be a great replacement for Excel. The only issues I can see is that GDS seems very "simple" (but it's obviously grown-up a bit since it's launch) and Numbers takes a little getting used to if you're coming from the world of Excel.

    • I totally agree. I switched years ago but still keep a virtual machine around for windows office because mac office is so terrible (crashes, compatibility problems).

  • It's amazing that we PC users are shocked by the idea of transferring data, apps and settings without having to carve out an entire weekend to do so.
    After adopting the iPhone and iPad, I know that my next home PC will be a MBP. Soon the only non-Apple device I'll be using will be the company laptop. I don't see that changing in the near term (though eventually).

  • Jarrett

    I'm with you, Brad… After 20+ years with Microsoft operating systems, I swore that the next company I ran would ban the foul beasts. Switched to a Mac of my own in January and have no regrets!

  • I'm happy to trade off my Outlook shortcuts, tasks, and calendar for stability, speed, and an overall pleasant user experience. Count me as a convert as well.

  • JFR

    I have switched to Mac about a month ago and I feel exactly the same as you do. I expected it to be difficult but I didn't need to come back to my PC at all or even thought about using Parallels.

    @Tahir: I currently use and while there are some differences, I don't feel any urge to go back to Excel…

  • You know I switched in '05. Because of customers w/ Windows-only infrastructure, I've had to use the occasional Windows VM. Other than that – the whole house is Mac-only, inc. my boys (13" MB + 20" iMac).

    I catch myself laughing at Windows users on the plane as they struggle w/ the various issues I left 5 years ago. I see the BSOD so frequently on planes, that I'm convinced it is tightly coupled w/ the sleep/wake function.

  • I'll take a PC running linux with a SSD drive over a mac any day. Have you tried using Linux exclusively for a month Brad? 🙂

    • @steve – I run production servers on a hardened FC & wouldn't consider changing that anytime soon. As a desktop though? No way. I've tried a few times over the years (see… for one story) & each time am frustrated at how poorly adapted the tools are to the way I want to work. And document interchange w/ customers? Nightmare.

      There's no doubt that the Linux desktop has improved since I last tried it, but there's equally little doubt that the core issues I encountered then remain today. I no longer want to tweak shit, find & download drivers, or compile the kernel to get wireless working… I just want it to work.

      I'm inside ssh sessions on the prod boxes for hours each day – happily inside a terminal session on either my MBP or the 27" i7 iMac.

      • Jeremy Dowdall

        Why do you say "there's equally little doubt that the core issues I encountered then remain today"?
        We're a Linux only household and don't have the issues you're talking about…

        • hey jeremy… I say there's little doubt because of my past experience w/ these four pieces of functionality: 1) word processing 2) spreadsheets 3) presentations 4) any graphics at all.

          If there's been improvement (I ack. above there likely has been), fantastic. Enough to make me switch to a Linux desktop? Doubtful, but I'm open-minded & will take another look.

          I'm guessing you're using Ubuntu, yes?

          • and I'll remind myself & others that document interchange remains a key piece of functionality on my desktop. With OSX, I can open & view any doc/spreadsheet/preso sent to me by any client – almost 100% of these are MS Office files.

            I can open any of them in Pages/Numbers/Keynote. Last time I tried OpenOffice (and a handful of others), this was so far from reality that it alone could have been a deal-breaker.

            I'll end this with an observation: I've been inside lots of startups (nearly 30) that were greenfield WRT their systems of choice. No legacy infra – truly greenfield. They consistently – almost w/o exception – choose Linux backends & Mac laptops. That's many, many, by the way.

            If Linux Desktop was ready, I'd see evidence of it in these workplaces. Not a single occurrence of it. Not one.

          • Jeremy Dowdall

            hi john – thanks for the follow up.
            Yes, we're using Ubuntu (since 2006). has been working fine for me, but my doc needs may be less intense than yours – mostly I do software, and my wife does photography and web design.
            And, I'm working on a startup, using Linux – there's your one 🙂

          • Excellent!

            Keep me (us?) posted on the startup. I love hearing from & helping software startup founders; have been doing so for over ten years w/ my co.

          • Jeremy Dowdall

            thanks John – will do!

          • Now I feel like a moron. Just *now* recognized your last name. Duh. Sorry…

            Did you ever talk to Lew or Kord?

          • DKF

            Apples PPC is based on Linux (BSD).

          • dddd

            PPC is a processor — you know, G4 or G5. Apple started with Intel Core chips in 2006, so if you're using PPC, it's as useless as a 2002 Celeron (as useless as a 2010 Celeron :P).

            That said, OS X PRIOR to 10.5 was based on UNIX, not Linux, though some may deem that statement splitting hairs. As of 10.5, OS X is a formal brand of UNIX. You want UNIX– a true UNIX? OS X is just that.

  • john

    My AAPL and I thank you. Please proceed with kitting out your house and converting your co-workers.

  • intrigued you liked iWork – for me its still not up to scratch compared to Microsoft Office – for 2 reasons – the first is compatibility – I couldnt be certain that what I sent others looked the same (it doesnt) and the second was more from my own usage of excel where I am no doubt an edge case. Keynote and Pages shows Apple's creative history with much better layout functionality than the Microsoft equivalents.

  • I have the same machine and I'd add in the boot up time- goes from dead to alive in seconds, launch Office Apps in under 3 seconds.
    How do you sync with Exchange? Entourage is awful.

    • Billrey

      You can use the default Mail, iCal and Address Book apps to sync with Exchange. Works way better than Entourage ever did, which is ironic, Exchange being a Microsoft service and all.

  • Jamie

    I still prefer the BK whopper

    • Jeremy Dowdall

      If you ask me, Muhammad Ali in his prime, was much better than anti-lock brakes

  • A computer and its OS is just a tool. I've always felt that you need to use the best tool for the job, and in my case that is a Mac running OS X. When I'm working on UI for Sharepoint or for NewsGator's Social Sites product, it helps me tremendously to be able to code in BBEdit on the Mac side and test in IE6 and IE7 in WinXP running on a VM on top of Parallels. No need to lug a clunky Windows-only laptop around or have to deal with the amazing number of hardware/.DLL issues that a lot of Windows-only laptops come with. I don't hate Windows; I just don't like dealing with the problems that come with running Windows as my primary OS.

  • Dude, what took you so long?

  • Why do you use Exchange? Exchange is the province of enterprises, not entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and angels.

  • Go introduce yourself to OmniFocus. Seamless integration across iPhone, iPad and Mac. It's awesome.

  • Robin

    Hey if you want to lend me the £3300 to get one the same spec as yours, I'll gladly agree with you, until then, I'm happy with the PC I have which is higher spec than your macbook that cost about £1000 in total.

    • Billrey

      Your machine doesn't have OS X on it though. It doesn't matter if your specs are awesome if your software is terrible.

    • dddd

      We already know that up-front costs are cheaper. However, you will always have to babysit your PC — making sure your anti-malware software is up-to-date and running occasional scans. I deal with that at work, but not at home, thanks!

    • FreeRange

      sorry but I call bullshit – macs are NOT 3x+ more expensive than comparably equipped macs – further, when factoring in total cost of ownership like uptime, less expensive for software (no anti-virus software, no anti-spyware software, etc.) iLife, iWork, no need for tech support, genius bar support, customer service, resale value, etc. etc. etc. you lose!

    • Robin, what you don't seem to get (as others here are similarily stating), is that by the time Brad's enviable new MacBook Pro starts to feel sluggish and outdated, you will have burned through 4 laptops running Windows. Sorry, but I have to agree with FreeRange here: you lose!

  • @finsrud

    Curious as to how you are using Evernote as a task manager. Please share.

    • I also use Evernote as a task manager.

      I've got one note in there that works as my task list. It's broken up into two parts. I have a small section at the top with my daily tasks. These are the ones that I plan to complete in the current day. Below that I have a much larger section that contains all of the tasks that I'm going to need to complete at some point. Each task is entered with a check box – Apple+Shift+T on Mac OS and Ctrl+Shift+C on Windows.

      In the morning I go through my e-mail and make new tasks based on what I've got in there. Items to be completed that day are put in the daily list. Items to be completed in the future are put in the future tasks list. Then I go through my future tasks list and move items into the daily list that need to be completed. And finally I go through the daily stuff to reorder it based on priority.

      As new items come in throughout the day I throw them into one of those two task lists.

      * That's strange, Intense Debate didn't show up when I first tried to comment, so this ended up in the wrong place. Leaving it here again where it makes more sense.

  • 3DS

    I have 3 desktops PCs, and one day my girlfriend brought home a Macbook that the IT guy at her company didn't want anymore. She said I could try it out. I hadn't used a Mac in years, but messed around with it anyways. One day, I was sitting on the couch using the Macbook, and realized that I hadn't turned on any of my PCs in 3 months. I couldn't believe it, but when I sat and thought about it I realized that I hadn't missed using my PCs one bit. I still have my PCs, but 95% of my work is done on a Mac.

    So yeah, just like you, I was amazed that I switched away from my PC, but haven't regretted it one bit.

  • Bill Mosby

    Congratulations on switching. I use most of iWork, but Excel is necessary for my spreadsheeting. I haven't checked Numbers lately, but I doubt it's speedy enough to switch to it yet.

    I switched back when the choices were along the lines of Heath H-8 vs the just released Apple II +, lol!

  • Now the questions is – will you be switching to the Android phone???

  • I am still a sceptic although like you probably just too stubborn for my own good. I have always used PCs and feel I know my way around things, wouldn't really want to start learning a new system no matter how intuitive it may be. I am sure I am wrong and one day I'll switch, but until then I'll stick to my trusted old PC 🙂

    • Billrey

      If you ever do switch, you'll regret you waited so long. Do it now, or you'll be sorry. I know because I felt just like you, but I only realized how awful Windows PC's are the day I switched.

      • dddd

        It's like moving out of Detroid and moving to Beverly Hills. You know, you've *heard* the crime rate is lower, but you just don't believe it. You know all your back alleys and can get to any check-cashing store within minutes. You're not sure you want to use those so-called banks that BH has in its city.

        Sounds silly from a neighborhood perspective, but it's the same thing.

  • Howard

    Fortunately you don't use Quicken.

    • Hakalau Tom

      Agreed. I recently moved toi iBank.

  • ViewRoyal

    Hi Brad,

    You touch on a basic principal that holds back many Windows users from considering switching to a Mac… it needs to be experienced to be appreciated.

    Many users are opposed to Macs (or anything made by Apple for that matter) not because they have used Macs and disliked them, but simply because they are so used to Windows PCs, and it's uncomfortable to "think outside the box".

    This often becomes a form of xenophobia, which is abetted by misinformation about the Mac. For example, many Windows users will say "it's a toy", when in reality Mac OS X is based on UNIX OS and Apple's hardware is engineered to higher standards and with higher quality components than the average Windows PC.

    You, like many other former Windows users, have actually put the Mac platform to the test in comparison to what you had been using previously.

    An undeniable fact is that almost all Windows users who seriously try using a Mac for an extended period of time, stay as Mac users. On the other hand, it is almost unheard of for any long-time Mac user to switch to Windows… and this is not due to never having used Windows, since most Mac users have at least once in their lives been required to use Windows PCs in their school or work environment.

    Brad, I believe (from experience) that the more you use your Mac, the more you will appreciate and enjoy this computing platform.


    • The funny thing is that many of the Windows sheep that cry about the Mac being a toy are the same people who cry that "Mac doesn't have enough games!"

  • I have to say, I am quite surprised that you are praising iWork. I love my Mac and Pages is definitely sufficient for my uses, but Numbers is a different story.

    I am regularly running up against issues in Numbers that prevent me from doing what I need to do. I don’t see a way to reference other documents or even other sheets, I don’t see a way to pull from a remote data source, etc. It is really too bad because I think Numbers could be awesome, but it is no Excel replacement.

    I have ended up moving mostly to Google Docs (my remote data sources can be on the web and not ODBC). I am looking forward to Office 2011 for Mac when Excel gets macro support and a more sane interface. Excel Macros is the only reason I have a Windows VM (and it is for a spreadsheet that comes from another company, so I can’t just redo it without Macros).

    • Leane Wells

      Nothing Microsoft births has a sane interface–not after you've really experienced all things Mac/Apple. Microsoft has, purposely, over the years tried oh, so, hard to not play nice with Macs. Now, as more people experience the promised land — Microsoft will pay for being so difficult all these years. And, I started on a Mac Plus — probably before many here were born!

  • Paul Lightfoot

    I also switched recently to a Mac, and like it in most respects, but (a) Numbers sucks and I need to get Excel on my Mac (I'm waiting for Office for Mac's new version this fall); and (b) Keynote is great, but since most people I send stuff to don't use Macs, the greatness of Keynote is lost when I always convert to PDF.

    • Billrey

      You could just present using Keynote on your Mac. Or, send as a PowerPoint. Or, convince the people you know to switch to Macs too! 😉

    • BenG

      Paul, try for the spreadsheet. I do some very heavy lifting in spreadsheets and find that OO calc can do anything I want (click to go to web, click to call up fields in another spreadsheet, all the math and geometry I could want, etc.)

      Excel is slightly better at formatting, but there are things OO does better, like inserting rows and columns.

  • ha

    Being a linux addict for 10 years now (and using linux/fbsd/windows at work for a few years) I disregard the mac keyboard layout as a dumb proprietary implementation.
    Come on Apple, even linux and windows did agree on that and you thought you’d have to “”invent”” something else to help your users ?

    I know the reasons are historical but wasn’t OSX release the perfect time to make the switch friendler to that whole bunch of users you got ?
    I hope they can throw away their keyboard layout, the awful behavior of the “cut” function (think ctrl + x for those who can’t figure what I mean) and get back ZFS (how awesome!).

    That would certainly help me to stay more than thirty seconds in front of those beautiful laptops* and I’ll be pleased to try OSX for a week or so, just to discover a new OS (for me 🙂 )

    Anyway for those having a great time with their macs, please don’t jump on me as I only tried to give my point on the issue keeping me for using it (keyboard layout first, I’d better change to another completely different layout than this one).

    * too beautiful IMO, think ibm “tank”-pads: give us a more classic and robust (aka “bad” for Apple fans :p) design as an option and up the specs a little bit in exchange, THAT would be great too.

    • I've been a heavy Linux user for 18 years, and just recently started using Macs to see how the other side lives. I have to say, the Mac keyboard layout has grown on me. For once, I can use consistent shortcuts for cut and paste (Cmd-C/V) which don't conflict with sending Ctrl-C/V to terminal sessions. 🙂 I've also somehow managed to get by without having a dedicated SysRq key. 😉

    • Aaron Faby

      I don't get it, Mac and Keyboard keyboards are both qwerty so I don't get your complaint. If you mean using Cmd instead of Control, I find it's easier on my carpal tunnel.

    • Eric

      Hold your horses there hoss. Macs were Command + Copy Command + Paste before there was a Windows or a LInux. Who was copying whom? You got it backwards.

  • The new Mac Office 2011 comes out this fall….may make you want to swap back – especially with Outlook!

  • Just looking at these comments and being a Mac man myself makes you wonder how much longer they'll remain sub 10% market share. I know they don't have an enterprise force like MS but eventually the superior product has to win, right?

    • Aaron Faby

      Don't confuse market share with install base. Mac users upgrade far less often than PC users because they just last a lot longer. I have a 2006 Mac Pro that I don't plan on replacing anytime soon, I can run all the latest game in Boot Camp on max settings. With a 4 year old PC? Forget it!

    • Aaron makes a good point. I have a 4-yr old MacBook that works as well as the day I bought it, unlike my top-of-the-line HP multi-media laptop that lasted about 9 months before I got to the point of having to re-install the uber-substandard OS every 3 months or so to keep it running reasonably.

      I think the other reason is the cost issue. IT guys and CFOs just instantly think that running a larger company on Macs would be insanely expensive– and in the first year, that might be true. But what needs to be done is to study the intangible costs of running windows in the Enterprise. When I had my HP I used to setup at my desk and press the power button, go get a coffee while I waited for Win to fully boot. Then I would launch Outlook, and go get my second coffee while I waited for that to boot and download my mail. 30 minutes later I was ready to work. With my Mac, I only boot / reboot it about a half dozen times a year, since the sleep mode on a Mac book is one of the best parts of owning a Mac. Open laptop and start computing. Solid!!! I imagine running the IT Dept would be similar in terms of intangible cost savings. Besides, MacMinis are realy affordable.

  • Travis

    Do you really need a lightbox-lookalike to block 95% of your page content if I don’t have Javascript enabled? I only enabled it to post about how ridiculous this is. You content can’t be worthwhile if this is your approach.

  • markbrit

    Congratulations on coming out. It's going to be tough, you'll have a lot of arguments and meet a lot of haters, they might even use the 'f' word sometimes ([email protected]) but it's all worth it and there's plenty of others just like you.

  • Billrey

    I think you're confused.

  • Hawkwood

    Hi Brad –
    Some software I don't think others have mentioned:

    Textexpander – a great keystroke utility. You can set up an infinite number of short keystroke sequences that will be instantly be replaced by whatever frequently-used text you want. As a teacher, I use it to type out frequently-used comments for student papers, my email address and phone number, etc.

    Bean – a free word-processor that gives me just about all the features I need and gets out of the way. Fast, clean, elegant, and free. Free is good, even for a VC.

    Screenflow – great for creating screencasts of what you're doing on your computer screen. Very useful for demonstrating software and creating tutorials. Maybe you can tell your IT guy to learn the Mac by creating lots of video tutorials to help people in the company switch over.

    Papers: like iTunes and the iTunes store for academic papers/research. Makes it way easier to find, store, and search pdf's and journal articles.

    MagicDriver – a utility that adds functions to the Magic Mouse: click lock, etc.

    Finally, did you know that the dictionary that comes with the Mac is the Oxford New American Dictionary? It's great!

    Enjoy your Mac!

  • dddd

    I'm not sure I understand the complaint. Is it the command key vs the control key? See, in the new GUI world (1984), it made sense to have a COMMAND key to do a "command line" function. I've never heard anyone praising the "control line."

    Windows twisted everything by making it Control. Sorry, I see things from the original Mac perspective.

  • Derek Scruggs

    I pretty much bypass Office and iWork in favor of Google Docs. The only thing I still use Office is for is marked up legal documents and opening csv files in Excel. We’ve moved most of our internal presentations to Google too, though I would go back to Keynote or PowerPoint if I had to do something complex.

  • Edward Reynolds

    I have to second the OmniFocus comment. Try it. You will be blown away.

  • Great post.
    It took me a couple of years to finally make the decision to switch to mac. When i bought my MacBook Pro and started using it i was so surprised and amazed by the user friendliness and cleverness of it. It was obvious that there was a lot of though put into developing Mac OS to be as easy and user friendly as possible. i was really sorry that it took me so much time to take the step and switch over. Though i love my iPhone as well i am a bit disappointed by some of it's features that don't make things very easy.

    Bluetooth file transfers. I really don't get why Apple is so keen on not making this possible
    Ability to delete music from my iPhone if i decide i don't want a song anymore. I know i can do this through iTunes but still, same goes for photo's i synced with iPhoto.
    Notes, turns out i cannot download my notes from my iPhone to my mac, all i can do is mail them to myself. that is a real bummer. and a few more things.

    Still if my iPhone or MacBook pro would die on me, i would not hassitate to buy a new one at all.

    • Congrats Brad. I'll third OmniFocus, and I'll 1st Notational Velocity (a simple notes app that syncs wirelessly with Simplenote for iPhone).

  • Alex

    My PC (P IV 3.2) just crashed because fo an alectrical failure, working on Windows XP for 7yrs without major problems. Mails, video editing, music all doing great. But now I am contemplating an Apple Mini (I have a 23inch key boards etc). Cons to switch :
    – costs about EUR 200-300 more than a Windows PC.
    – As I put all my e-mail long ago on gmail, no reason to switch.
    – All home movies project in Pinnacle Studio.
    – Ripped all CD to WMA so need to convert them, big big effort
    – Windows7 seems to be very very good.
    – Accesing office environment via Citix is problematic, although using Chrome is a solution
    – great looking machine
    – Small, not many wires,
    – environmently friendly low energy consumption

    Anybody a convincing argument?

    • BenG


      Specs alone don't tell the story. All computers do the same thing more or less. Its HOW they do them that makes the Mac a pleasure. Its also how USEFUL a computer is. Apple a long time ago included all kinds of helper applications that you have to go find on a PC (not up on the latest in Win7). Like burning DVDs, for example – built in. Like making screen shots – built it. Etc, etc.

      You make a good point about the effort to switch all your proprietary file formats to more universal ones, but you are going to do it sooner or later, and you will not regret the effort, expecially when you approach the computer with a smile instead of gritting your teeth.

      You will be amazed at how fewer keystrokes it takes to get things done, and the lack of hangs and crashes and pauses when the register gets a headache.

  • Congratulations and welcome. Let me say that almost 4 years ago, I went through the same experience and can empathize well with your writings about the switch. I also agree with Tahir, nothing can truly replace Excel, although Numbers has some nice features that make a good run at Excel. But on the same note, nothing comes close to Keynote.

    Now, hear me out and let me propose the next step: try one month of GoogleApps via Chrome instead of Apple's Mail, Calendar and Address Book. I can promise you a similar sort of experience and pleasant discoveries and realizations.

    One of the first details I noticed that helped convince me to make the change completely was that it was *much* faster for me to type "mail" in the address bar of Chrome, connecting to GoogleApps and loading the page, than it was to click on Mail in the dock and wait for it to launch, load, sync and display the inbox.

    The next thing is getting used to Conversations and then learning to appreciate them. Though Google has announced that they are releasing a version of Gmail with the option of disabling the conversations format (for those hard to convert MS Outlook users), once the mental adjustment is made, it really does seem more efficient and an overall more pleasant user experience.

    Beware though, once you make this switch, you will have the difficult task of convincing your organization to ditch Exchange and switch to GoogleApps. That might be a bit tougher as it sounds like it likely includes windows users and its always tougher to convince numerous people of a radical change and to take a jump than just convincing oneself.

    MacBook + gApps + NexusOne (rooted + WiFi Tether)

    • SteveP

      It appears with your comment re mail that you're comparing something already 'open' (Chrome) with something you have apparently closed. (Mail) IF you leave mail open there is no issue of it having to launch load and sync. I just click on the icon and am taken to the mail app with all new mail loaded and ready.

  • If you are a member of a tightly-coupled team, switching to a Mac is simply silly. The server matters as much as the client. Microsoft has a comprehensive set of server software that works reasonably well with the Windows client. On the server side, Apple has essentially nothing.

    Microsoft DirectAccess, for example, is the next generation VPN. It simply works, even when you are not connected with the Internet. It is hugely valuable having people around the work being able to access the same file folder structure without all of the overhead of groupware programs such as SharePoint.

    And there is nothing like Microsoft Access as a front end to a RDBMS. No other program comes close, and Access is not available for the Mac.

    James Mitchell

  • Leane Wells

    Well, I guess if connectivity is your goal that's great — however, there is a ton of individual work/stations being done on the archaic user interface known as Windows– so much wasted time and effort with an interface that is multiple times harder and slower than what a Mac interface offers. I've waited years to see the converts. It is an experience sort of thing– no amount of talking/describing can capture the ease of use of a Mac!

  • Yep, connectivity is my goal. I always want to work on teams rather than alone, so I can focus on what I am good at and others can do the other tasks. Brad is obviously working on teams and that is why I am surprised he made the move, it just seems so childish in so many ways.

    "Multiple times harder" — Would you be willing to put money behind that statement? How much money? How about half of your net worth? Design can be emperically tested. Take two guys of equal intelligence, one knows Windows really well and one knows OS X really well. (I will volunteer to be the Windows guy.) For a week, give each of them dozens of different tasks to do. I would be very surprised if there was any difference at all between the two, if for no other reason than Microsoft has done a good job of copying the Mac interface. When I showed a Mac friend of mine Windows Seven, his first comment was, "This is such a ripoff of OS X!" As Picasso, said, good artists copy, great artists steal.

    I expect for the next fifty years I will be dealing with relational DBMS and I would sell my grandmother into slavery before I gave up Microsoft Access.

    If you are an individual user who does not work in teams, and does not need Access, and can live with the vastly more limited choices of software for the Mac, then sure, Mac could make a lot of sense.

    I did get an iPhone a few months ago and it clearly blows every other phone out of the market. AT&T totally sucks so I am thinking of switching to a Droid so I can go back to Verizon Wireless. But the iPhone is amazing. (I bought a Micro Cell and spent a day on the phone with AT&T trying to get it work. If it did, at least I could use my iPhone in my apartment. So far AT&T has been useless.)

    Apps matter a lot. That's one reason why the iPhone is such a great phone, it has far more apps than the other phones.

  • David Milliken

    How much do you want for your old mac? I've been thinking about switching and I am looking for a good entry level mac machine. I enjoy your website. Cheers

  • @finsrud

    I’ve been using Evernote as a task manager for the last year or so. Here’s how I do it.

    I’ve got one note in there that works as my task list. It’s broken up into two parts. I have a small section at the top with my daily tasks. These are the ones that I plan to complete in the current day. Below that I have a much larger section that contains all of the tasks that I’m going to need to complete at some point. Each task is entered with a check box – Apple+Shift+T on Mac OS and Ctrl+Shift+C on Windows.

    In the morning I go through my e-mail and make new tasks based on what I’ve got in there. Items to be completed that day are put in the daily list. Items to be completed in the future are put in the future tasks list. Then I go through my future tasks list and move items into the daily list that need to be completed. And finally I go through the daily stuff to reorder it based on priority.

    As new items come in throughout the day I throw them into one of those two task lists.

    I normally try to keep the daily list pretty short. No more than five items or so. Finishing the day with a bunch of incomplete items is never fun, and this usually gives me time to address all the extra things come up during the day and can’t wait.

    By the way, what happened to IntenseDebate? The comments are much harder to follow without it.

  • James_Mitchell

    Almost all cloud applications are simple, unsophisticated apps that will need several years to come close to the functionality offered by client apps. ( being the most obvious exception.) Gmail is probably the best cloud e-mail offering but using Outlook is a lot easier than Gmail, and I can use Outlook even when I do not have connection to the Internet.

    Are you using Skype for phone calls? I would never do that for U.S. calls, since long distance is essentially free in the U.S. Skype is fine for international calls.

    It's apparent you spend your day differently than I do. I supervise about eight developers. For internal apps, we use Access. It would take about 5 to 10 times longer to develop in any other tool. I have a smart assistant who can write her own queries and reports and even forms without having to interrupt the developers. So tell me, what tool comes close to Access for queries, reports, forms, for slicing and data quickly and easily?

    There is nothing like DirectAccess. All of us work remotely, we can simply open a file (Word, Excel), make changes to it, and everyone else has access to the file minutes later, without any need to worry about synchronization. It is a lot easier to simply go to our file system, find the right folder, click the file to open it, work on it and close it than to deal with an UI like SharePoint (which totally sucks in my opinion). I have tried about a dozen groupware offerings and it's like having sex with a condom, it's just not the same thing as just opening a file on my file system. I can find a file and open it in about five seconds.

    When you have reasonably sophisticated information systems, you are going to be someone's slave. I am a slave to Microsoft and for our WordPress sites, to WP and LAMP. People bitch about Microsoft but I think their prices are reasonable given the functionality they offer. (And with Bizspark, I don't pay anything at all.) These are stacks that are durable and I feel pretty certain they will be around 30 years from now, so I don't mind investing a lot of time and energy learning them and maintaining them. With cloud, I will be a slave to API, UI and protocols that I have no idea if they will be around 2 years from now. With Microsoft and LAMP, there are hundreds of good technical books, basically unlimited technical resources.

    I have a ActionPak subscription that allows me UNLIMITED technical support calls from Microsoft. Yes, I could spend five hours researching an issue through Google, and maybe I will find an answer, but it's a lot easier just to call. The Premiere support people are usually quite good, none of this "I am from India and I am going to read from a script" nonsense.

    Cloud makes sense:

    1. If you need to edit a file at the same time, a totally cool feature with Google Docs

    2. If you want the infrastructure taken care of for you, because you don't have the resources to do it yourself

    3. If you can live with simple apps that are equivalent to version 1.0 apps introduced in the DOS world in the early to mid 1990s. (With some exceptions, obviously.) Why do I want to go back to the Stone Age? Some cloud offerings will evolve over time to match the power and sophistication currently offered by Windows apps, but in the meantime one would have to put up with a lot of pain and most of these companies will not evolve, and many will go out of business. Why do I want to take the technological risk if I have a safe choice that has all of the power I need?

    I think you are obsessed with new for new sake, which is probably what a VC should be. I am not a VC, I am just someone who wants to get a lot of work done while taking little technological risk and I really don't want to learn new software packages unless there is a compelling reason to do so. I have seen few cloud apps that draw me in. (No doubt you learn software apps much faster than I do, it takes me a few years to really know a package.) Even the better ones (such as Gmail) just short when compared with Windows apps. I hope this will change in the future; Microsoft does best when it has serious competition.

    • Enjoy the coolaid James. I don't agree with many of your blanket assertions below (especially with regard to the quality of many web apps) but I don't feel like arguing about them. And – well – Skype works a lot better for me when I'm traveling in the US then my AT&T cell service does.

  • Bought a MBP >1 year ago and have never looked back. They don't slow with age as PCs do. I use Office for Mac, Chrome, Echofon, and Evernote as my primary applications (oh, and Skype as well). Syncs perfectly with my iPhone & iPod. iPhoto is a nice app as well. I also really like Spaces. I arrange my programs the same way every day (i..e, Echofon in #4, Mail in #1, etc.) and it just works really well.

  • Amit T.

    Welcome, Brad. I did the switch myself about a couple of years ago. Previously I had 4 vista machines running at home (1 general use desktop that also acted as my photo and music server, 2 HTPC boxes, and a laptop). The laptop fried (3 laptops later, I've realized that HP is a disaster of a company on anything consumer-related). I wanted to get a Mac to see what the fuss was all about and bought one of those black macbooks. At first I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to get it to play nice with all my windows machines at home. I took a chance anyway, brought it home, booted it up, joined my network and voila… all my windows shares showed up in finder (with a BSOD icon, mind you, for giggles). easy as pie. everything just worked so well.

    Since then, I've replaced all but one system (the HTPC – I'm still waiting for a compelling Apple TV solution to work as a DVR ) with Macs and I've never looked back. Recently got the 27" iMac, which is a thing of beauty.

  • Knute

    Compatibility will always be Microsoft’s ace in the hole. Sad to think people are trapped because of the complexity that MS itself created – forgahdsake, these are just spreadsheets and word processing docs. Why should it be so hard to make them format to different apps and platforms?

    Me, I’ve found simple Numbers files transfer perfectly well, and when I want to make sure a file goes over looking right, I print to PDF and send that.

    Who the hell wants people editing your spreadsheets anyway!

  • I saw that happy mac icon smile at me at startup on Mac Plus and I haven't looked back since. Welcome to the fold, feld. 🙂

  • Asdaqworld

    I still love my iMac:p