I’ve been living with my new iMac for about 2 weeks now after 15 years or more in the Windows PC world. I really have to thank Microsoft for the switch. Windows 8 is just so f’d up, that it forced me to reexamine my whole PC world. So thank you Microsoft for making me take another look at Apple.
Now we all know the story of course. Microsoft ripped off the whole “Windows” thing from Apple in the first place. Then they made it affordable to everyone. My first PC was a Packard Bell with Windows 95 that I bought from Walmart. It was that PC that started my business. I learned to handcode on that beast. Of course that was a few years before WYSIWYG editors and you really didn’t have a choice. I also learned a bit about computer graphics back then too. When my business got going, I just stayed with what I knew. Besides, at the time, there was enough difference between Macs & PCs that web development on a Mac, when most of the world used PCs made for more than a little confusion during the design stage. The general idea was that Macs were best suited for print designers.
Things have changed a lot since then, so much so that web developers can easily use Macs without worry. In fact, with the advent of mobile, Macs offer a lot more flexibility.
My work PC was about 5 years old and starting to make some funny noises. I knew it was time to start shopping again. At the same time a client came over to do some work on their website and hauled out his brand new Windows 8 laden laptop. OMG! I won’t even go into what a total pain in rump the new interface is.. I mean, I totally get it on a mobile with a touch screen.. I still don’t like it, but I get it. However on a desktop or laptop without a touch screen the whole thing is just fudged. Oh, there is an old school desktop hidden in there, but it’s not intuitive. Having a few years of computers under my belt I could make it work. I could eventually find my way. I could, in time, set up new shortcuts and get the beast somewhat under control.. but why should I? Rule number one of any user interface or web design for that matter, is that it should be obvious and intuitive. Windows 8 is Windows hidden under a bunch of boxes that autoload crap you don’t want and are often hard to navigate or control with a mouse and keyboard. The client I met with that day was lost and confused coming from his Windows 7 system. As of our last conversation he had moved from confused to frustrated and pissed off. He now formally hates his expensive new Windows 8 Laptop.
Now this is where things get funny. The Mac OS is still Windows for the most part. It’s new and fast, but it’s still “old school” and you know how us old people are, we love the familiar. Having worked on Windows for 15 years, this time around the Mac OS is more familiar than Windows 8. Weird huh? It probably helped too that I have an iPhone and have had an iMac Mini running my entertainment system for a couple years now. My work computer was simply the last bastion of the Windows fortress.
Now, switching your lifeblood, work computer from one OS to the other is not for the faint of heart. It took time and money. All of my major software at to be re-purchased, replaced, or “cross-graded” as they call it when you upgrade, but get the other OS version. Oh, and of course most cheap software is not available for Macs and Open Source software often doesn’t play as well with Macs as PCs either. By the time I was done converting my life over to my new iMac, I probably spent $2500 on software upgrades, cross-grades and replacements… Dear Adobe, I know own at least one chair in your break room! Dear Apple… iMac $1800, DVD $80… ? Really? Well, guess who’s not buying a new kayak this year?
So was it worth it. Allow me to swear… “Fck Yeah!”.. I am not kidding. This is a whole new world. Everything just works. Fast. I swear I cut down my work time by at least 30% just because the new system is so much faster. Especially crunching video and working complex illustrator designs. It’s really amazing how different my work days go now living within the Mac environment. It’s shocking. Really.
Now of course, just between you and me.. the amount of money I laid out on the new gear had me hyperventilating every time I hauled out my check card. I didn’t sleep well either. I can’t say I enjoyed the new beast for some time. I couldn’t get over the cost. I’d just look at it sitting there on my antique desk and think this s*it is way to opulent for me. It’s just wrong. I was riddled with guilt to tell the truth.
Of course then Sue reminded me that this is my work gear, it’s how I pay my bills and I’ve just “made due” for a very long time. She’s right of course. And now that I’ve been working with the Mac a couple of weeks I can see it’s the right tool for my job.