Monday, June 13, 2011

Mac 1

Back in April I posted a piece about switching from a windows pc to a mac. The key piece pushing the move was that I wanted a laptop with firewire for recording. I couldn't find any windows laptops with firewire and I looked hard. And my laptop was getting more and more unstable and problematic. Well, I did it. I bought a 13.5" Macbook Pro with an I5 chip and 4M of ram. It arrived last Friday and I've begun moving data etc. to the Mac. Here are my first impressions...

1. The Mac is no easier or more intuitive than windows. Indeed, there are lots of things that I could do on the pc much easier and quicker. Now, there are surely some things that I haven't figured out on the Mac... but they are not obvious or simple.

2. The slight differences in the keyboard are frustrating. I really miss the end, page down, etc. keys. The different uses of the control vs. command keys are just a matter of learning and becoming accustomed to the differences.

3. The hardware of the Mac is stellar. The computer is elegant, fast, and seems just really, really, really well designed and outfitted. Of course, for the price, it should be. Did I say fast? I mean really fast.

4. Software remains to be decided... I have been using Open Office on the PC for a while but haven't been completely happy with it. Just out of principle, I have been trying to move away from Microsoft for a while. So... I purchased Iworks... that may have been a mistake. Office may have been a smarter choice to make the transition to the new platform easier. I do need to be aware that we use windows at work.

I HATE Itunes. I don't like the interface. I don't like what it seems to have done with all of my files. Did it actually make additional copies of every music file? It sure looks that way. Safari is eh. I used Firefox on the PC and may try the Mac version.

5. Everything seems more difficult to tweak.

6. It is nice to not have the virus worry... although I have to say that I'm not entirely sure that I trust that.

7. I have a windows smart phone that I still have to figure out how to get it to talk with the mac.

So... what would I say to someone thinking about the switch? Only if there is something that you need to do that you cannot do on your current platform. There are differences but I don't think they are nearly as significant as the Mac true believers would tell you. It is more like learning a different language than moving to a new universe.


Salome Ellen said...

My kids who have Macs recommend Google Chrome as a browser.

Michael Mahoney said...

Have fun!

My daughter has a 13" MBP and has had some issues with it. The hard drive crashed less than a year in (which seems to be common) and the thing freezes up once in a while.

Other than that, it is a pretty thing.

If you still have that old PC around, consider a clean install of Ubuntu Studio. It's a linux distro optimized for audio and video production, with some amazing open source packages (programs) that rival the paid variety. I'd wager if you used it side-by-side with you Mac, you'd be pretty impressed.

And there are Firewire PC cards that will work well in almost any notebook. Besides, most of the HP media PCs have firewire build in. (and run Studio sweetly)

roy said...

I'll take a look at Chrome, Ellen. thanks

Michael, my daughter and son-in-law are big ubuntu fans... I may try that clean install just for the fun of it. But first I need to decide what to do about the software that only runs on Windows...
As for PC cards, none of the current generation of laptops have a PC slot. The previous generation had a PC express slot but it has disappeared as well. I looked at every manufacturer I could think of and none of the current generation of laptops that I saw have firewire or expansion slots.

Michael Mahoney said...

Some of the Sony desktops still have it, but USB 3.0 has pretty much replaced it as an interface.

The beauty of Ubuntu is that you can run it on older hardware with better performance than a current Windows PC. Take a 2 or 3 year old HP Pavilion (with FireWire) with a dual-core AMD and it will blow your mind.

Anyway, I hope you do install Studio on you old PC for kicks...