I’d Rather Switch Than Fight!

I’ve been a Windows user since the very first release. I remember seeing a Macintosh computer and thinking “How cute. But for real work, there’s the PC.” Twenty six years later, I’m singing a different tune.

In the beginning Windows was truly a poor imitation of the Macintosh operating system. By the time Windows was at its 3.0 release, it appeared to all of us in the industry that it was a viable, robust computer operating system that made PC’s much easier to use than just plain old DOS.

When Windows 3.1 was released, many of us were ecstatic. Here was something we could really use and had potential to be accepted by the home PC user. Then Windows started to evolve. As with any genetic experiment, there can be hideous results. Dare I say Windows 98 or Windows Me? Insiders at Microsoft told me that the latter should have never left the loading dock. Just ask anyone who owned a copy.

At the same time, a new path was under development called Windows NT. This was a completely new version of the operating system that was supposed to be faster, better at multi-tasking and “crash proof.” It was also more expensive and targeted at the business user, not the home user. At least until Windows XP hit the market.

Windows XP has been quite a hit with many business and home users. Except when it comes to a few minor, silly details. If it gets broken, good luck to the average home user in fixing it. The Plug and Play that was supposed to make it easier to add hardware became jokingly referred to as “Plug ‘n Pray.” Many folks like myself are frequently called on the phone by panic-stricken friends and friends crying “My computer crashed. Help! I don’t know what to do.”

Often, many home users will turn to Restore CD’s that totally wipe out their existing system, not to mention their data. For many users, backing up seems to be a low-priority concern. Big mistake! But that’s a topic for another article.

Okay, that brings me to the title of this article. After all, I am a self-identified geek. Interestingly, when I am working at home on finances, graphic design or whatever, I just want my computer to work. I don’t want to fight with it. I don’t want to troubleshoot hardware and software drivers. I don’t want to have to perform invasive surgery on my registry to try and excise offending configuration or software entries that were left there by sloppy program installation and uninstallation routines. I just want it to work!

Yes, folks, I too am an everyday user when it comes to computing. Oh I love to tinker, build systems, program and develop. But when I’m trying to do real everyday people work, like pay my bills or edit photos so I can make a slideshow of my granddaughters, I have no desire to fight or give the computer the three-finger salute (read between the lines) when I lose all the work I did for the last two hours.

So I have done the unthinkable. I have switched to a Mac. GASP! Now I know many Windows zealots think that I have gone off the deep-end for sure. Actually, I am a recovering Windows zealot myself. When my brother, AJ, first starting talking my ear off about Mac’s, I told him “Yeah, yeah. Whatever.”

But then nearly two years ago while I was visiting AJ, I picked up his iBook and started to tinker. Like any other Windows addict, I tried to use it like it was Windows. I found this frustrating the first and second time. But as I continue to use it to check my e-mail and just peruse its features, I started to fall in love. By the time I left, I had bought a PowerBook G4 (I am a power user, after all!) and headed home with it to further unlock the wonder of using a Mac.

I am still in wonder every day. I now also own a PowerMac G5 Dual that I use for my everyday work and development. I’ve had it for over 6 months. The only time I restart my Macs is when software updates require it. This is rare and only involves operating system updates. Most every other update does not require a restart.

In addition, I have NEVER lost any work. Let me repeat. I have NEVER lost any work. That in itself thrills me to no end.

I’m going to talk more about Macs and how they excel at what they do, as well as share software discoveries I have found that you may find useful with your Mac.

Am I being presumptious that you will consider going out and buying a Mac of your very own? Nope. I gave a Mac mini to my stepdaughter last Christmas and she has gleefully informed me that she will never go back to Windows.

I got tired of fighting with my computer. I switched. And I haven’t looked back.

Give a Mac a chance. You’ll be glad you did.

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