I’ve found myself in several Mac vs. Windows discussions this week (and it’s only Tuesday; this does not bode well), so rather than type the same thing all over again, I’m posting it here…
I love Macs because I don’t have to upgrade my hardware every few months just to keep things running. I have three Macs, including the one at my office; in three years, the only piece of hardware I’ve bought was a wireless card for the laptop. I don’t count the keyboard & mice because I already had them, but I too hate the single-button mouse. First order of business with a new Mac: toss the keyboard and mouse, plug in ergo keyboard & wheel mouse. No drivers required; Apple key maps to Windows key, eject key maps to F12. Done. Mac hardware may be more expensive on the whole, and Windows zealots tend to bitch that they can’t upgrade the hardware easily, but it’s my experience that you buy it once and it LASTS. You don’t need to upgrade. How many PCs will run the latest OS updates on 3-year-old hardware with no performance hits? Mine certainly never did.
My Macs crash about once a year apiece. Whole system crashes, that is — individual apps crash occasionally but they don’t take the OS with them. Data loss has been practically nonexistent. And being virus-free is like waking up one morning without the nagging ache that’s been plaguing you for years: you don’t realize how awful you felt until it’s gone.
As a writer, let me just say these words: handwriting recognition built into the OS.
Microsoft Office actually runs better on Macs than on Windows, and has a few tiny extra features. (Screwy but true.) Adobe will let you transfer your licenses from Windows to Mac (or the other way around) once if you call them and ask. The Macromedia discs contain the Mac versions alongside the Windows ones; just copy the license key over and you’re in business. Dreamweaver 7.0 was awful on Macs, but the .0.1 updater fixed that.
I can’t tell you how handy it is to be able to set up your Mac as a development server and have all the basic UNIX tools available on your desktop. It’s just unspeakably cool that Macs are LAMP environments out of the box, even if 90% of users never twig to it. (OK, it’s BSD and not Linux, if you want to pick nits.)
Surfing the web is nicer, too. The anti-aliasing is amazing; ClearType doesn’t come close to matching its beauty. Text — plain old web text — looks almost as good in a browser as it does in Photoshop on the Mac. You have no idea how gorgeous the web is until you see it from a Mac user’s perspective.
Video can be tricky, but the free VLC player will handle most formats if Quicktime chokes. There are a lot of third-party apps like this that make life nice; Google “mac software inventory”– for some reason people like to post lists. I’ll post mine if someone wants it, but I’ve rambled long enough.
On the whole, owning Macs has been so trouble-free that my Windows years seem like a bad joke at my expense.