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Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Mac Education


I've been a PC user all my life.  At various sporadic times I have delved into the world of Apple just enough to become familiar with the most basic fundamentals of operating a Mac.  These times included high school photography classes, one summer job, using friend's Macbooks, and the rare usage of the Mac computer labs on campus.

There are those who have very adamant opinions about the superiority of one platform over the other, but I think these debates are silly, so I don't take sides.  As far as I can tell, it really just comes down to personal preference, and I have just stuck with PCs because that's what I have always been most familiar with.

When I transfered to Weber State, I was surprised to find that almost all of the computers on campus were Macs.  The only PC computer labs I have used are in the engineering building, and in the Non-Trad Student Center.

Because of the abundance of Macs at school, I am using them now more than ever before!  Most of them have a dual-boot mode where you can select to use either MacOS or Windows XP.  Call me crazy but I think it is strange to use a Mac that is running Windows.  I guess I'm just a purist.  So even though I'm less familiar with Mac OS, I usually selected that boot option.  At first I was content to limp along with my limited knowledge, capable of performing only the most basic tasks.

Recently I decided that if I was going to be spending more time with the sleek and stylish iMac, I should probably figure out how to use it properly.

As with all Apple related inquiries, I headed over to www.apple.com.  There, I found a library of extremely useful tutorials specifically designed for users, like me, who are coming from a PC background.  They were really informative, easy to follow, and fun.  I really enjoyed watching the videos, following along, and then exploring the features on one of the school Macs.

In one afternoon I became a competent MacOS user, but more than that...I love it!

I've never been much of a Microsoft fanboy anyway, but lately Windows has been irritating me quite a lot.  Perhaps it is just me, but Windows seems to get worse with each new incarnation. Windows 7 is supposed to be quite good, but I've only used it a few times.  Regardless of how good Windows 7 turns out to be, I think I might prefer MacOS anyway.  Reliability aside, I really like the interface, and it seems to come pre-loaded with software that is actually really useful, and not just for advertising purposes.  Safari is so much better than Internet Explorer that it isn't even funny!  Though I still prefer Google Chrome for surfing the internet.  Anyway, the software on Macs is excellent.

Now before any PC fans start calling me a heretic, I haven't totally converted just yet.  There are still things I don't like about Apple products.  Ergonomics? Forget about it.  Apple has never had a decent mouse that actually felt good in the hand.  The new Magic Mouse is so bad it is laughable.  Luckily you can use any USB mouse with a Mac.  Logitech FTW!  I also don't like Apple's new standard keyboard.  It is the same keyboard that comes on their Macbooks, but is a slim stand-alone unit.  If I wanted to use a laptop keyboard I would just use a laptop.  Desktops should have a better, more substantial keyboard, with actual buttons, not the "Chiclet" style keys.  I guess the same USB peripheral rule applies here as with the mouse.
The price difference is debatable, but Macs are generally quite a bit more expensive than a comparable PC.

The purpose of this post isn't to say that I have finally taken a side in the Mac vs PC debate...because I haven't.  I'm just saying that I have a newfound appreciation for Macs and I actually enjoy using them now.  I like using PCs too, so I suppose it is good to be familiar with both platforms.

I think my next challenge will be to become an adept Linux user!

1 comment:

Emmy said...

Personally, I'm a PC user. And yeah, I understand the frustrations of the newer versions of Windows, but the more I use it, the easier it is. I've almost never used a Mac before, and when I do, its embarrassing to see how crippled I am by it :P So, for me nothing against Mac, but its just not my style.