Another PC User Switches to a Mac

I’m a switcher Rick Klau has a post out about recently making the jump from a PC to a Mac. What strikes me about his post is how such a deeply ingrained PC user could make the jump. In Rick’s case his last Apple Computer was an Apple ][+ from 1982. He’s been on PCs for *26 years* and on ThinkPads since 1999.

Why did he make the switch?

“The 11 minute reboot, increasingly sluggish resumes from standby, and overall slow system responsiveness convinced me that it was time to ditch Windows. (A few hours with Vista at the in-laws convinced me that I definitely didn’t want to stick with Windows any longer.) Yesterday I finally bit the bullet – and less than 24 hours, IT had a shiny new MacBook Pro waiting for me. It’s clear I have some learning to do – but already I can tell that this is a long-overdue switch. I will gladly put up with all the abuse that’s sure to follow from my co-workers who I’ve mercilessly teased over the years…”

Now Rick’s experience sounds a lot like mine from almost two years ago. Two years ago, after using PCs exclusively for 15 years, I moved my primary computer from a PC to a MacBook Pro. The same MacBook Pro I’m typing this on right now.

Overall for the past 2 years I’ve been very happy with my MacBook Pro. And my next primary laptop will probably continue to be a Mac. The MacBook Pro is a great machine. Most of all it “just works,” the phrase you continue to hear from Mac user after Mac user over and over again. I’m surprised actually that Apple hasn’t actually adopted this tagline and pumped it out on every single commercial/ad/billboard/etc. advertisement for the Mac.

I will say this though. I have been *incredibly* impressed with Vista. I know that there are a lot of naysayers out there when it comes to Vista, but I’ve found my Vista experience to be remarkably stable and in some ways much better even than my Mac experience.

I still run a Vista PC at home as my primary entertainment PC. This PC is connected via my home network to three XBox 360s and serves up all my TV, photos, music, etc. through Microsoft’s Media Center software.

I think the key with Vista is that you have to run it on a new PC built for Vista rather than an upgrade. My first experiences with Vista (and keep in mind that some of these were with beta Vista software) were not entirely good. I now believe that this was in large part due to the fact that I was upgrading to Vista on an older PC. When I ditched the older PC and bought a cheap new Dell (only about $1,300) with Vista installed I noticed a massive performance improvement.

For me, Vista on my home PC is 1000% better than XP was. It doesn’t crash. It gets very few errors. It’s faster than my 2 year old MacBook Pro. Now bear in mind that I’m not running Leopard on my MacBook Pro, but I *love* Vista for my photos much more than my Mac. All of the different size choices, etc. I also love how when I have a file name problem and am copying files from one folder to another it actually shows me the thumbnails of my photos to see if I want to replace the file or copy it with a (2) as the same name.

Best of all, for me in the home, my Vista PC comes with Microsoft’s Media Center software, including the ability to extend this software to my XBox 360s hooked up to the TVs in my home. My Media Center set up includes a dual HDTV OTA tuner (read, free HDTV), a DVR, a DVD player with all of my XBox 360s, a game player, and all of my music and photos, Flickr faves, etc. This beats AppleTV hands down.

I know a lot of people like to bash Vista, and I love my MacBook Pro as much as the best of them, but I personally think Vista on a new PC is a huge improvement for Microsoft and I think PCs still represent the better approach for home media.

Related: Jeremy Toeman, MacBooks will take 50% of notebook market share within a year

Thanks, Raoul!

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  1. Raoul says:

    You’re welcome, TH.

    While I understand your Vista experience, I disagree. Mine has been ho-hum in terms of performance (on a new Dell nonetheless) and before SP1, filled with bugs. Sure, Vista is stable, and has fewer problems than XP with app stability (provided the apps are compatible with Vista, which is another can of worms), but I like Mac OS X a LOT more.

    There’s an ingrained convenience in the business world to using Windows, especially if you’re a Windows “shop”, with Windows servers and all the goodies that go along with that. Microsoft has paid special attention to that sort of server-client integration, and to the apps that go along with those things, such as the ones for managing servers. So for business, it’s probably better to run Windows if you have Windows servers.

    Otherwise, the advantages quickly disintegrate when you’re talking about consumer-level apps and ease of use.

    For two years, I used a PC laptop side by side with a Mac (iMac), and even though I had plenty of problems with the iMac as anyone can see if they do a quick search for “iMac” on my site, I still went out a bought a MBP after saving up for it.

    As for our media center experience, I have all our videos and movies on a Drobo, connected to our iMac. We watch most movies on our iMac, simply by double-clicking them in the Finder. When we feel like watching stuff anywhere in the home, we grab our laptop, where I’ve got a shortcut to the Drobo share on the iMac right in the Movies folder, start up Front Row (which then sees all of the movies on the Drobo over the network) and watch to our heart’s content.

    Just FYI, Front Row and Apple TV have different streaming algorithms (much better caching) than simply selecting a movie from a network share and playing it in Quicktime. So while a big movie will choke in network playback with Quicktime, it plays beautifully through Front Row or Apple TV.

  2. TranceMist says:

    … and many have.

  3. TranceMist says:

    I have “EOLed” my Friends & Family support for Windows. If they call me for help, my response is to “get a Mac”.

  4. Tim says:

    Mac users tend to rub me the wrong way. They don’t seem to realize that there is a reason why things are the way they are. Macs appear to have fewer problems because they deal with fewer choices of hardware and software. Both environments have their warts.

    If you like one or the other that is fine. Just don’t try to tell me that a Mac is any better. I have heard just as many horror stories about them (ie: Scoble). Windows development happens to pay my bills and there are a lot more applications available. That doesn’t mean it is better or worse, just my choice.

  5. Aaron says:

    I’m a happy Vista user (desktop and a laptop). Both were built or purchased with Vista. I haven’t seen any compelling reason why someone would install Vista on old hardware.

    If someone gave me a Mac, I’d use it happily. Nothing against them. My big beef with Apple’s current line of products would be hardware reliability. I know a ton of people with MacBooks, and a majority of them have had a hardware failure of some sort. I haven’t had hardware problems with my PCs, all of which cost much less than a Macbook. My Blackberry has been rock solid. In the last two weeks I’ve had two friends with touchscreen death on their iPhones.

    If Apple wants me to pay a premium for hardware, it needs to work, not just look pretty.

  6. barrettmanor says:

    Like Aaron, I’m a happy Vista user. I built my system for a few hundred dollars – some of the gear is new and some is used. My biggest frustration turned out to be due to a flaky motherboard. Vista isn’t perfect, but since I’ve replaced the mobo I’ve not seen a single BSOD.

    I’ve nothing against Mac systems, but between the initial outlay required to get something decent and all the software I’d have to re-purchase (even at an upgrade discount for those who offer it), I’d be broke. I’m trying to put a kid through college. That has to come first.

  7. Eric says:

    Vista is better than XP. I’m honestly boggled by the number of people who suddenly found so much love for XP upon Vista’s release. XP didn’t become *remotely* usable until SP2 was released.

    Now, I don’t think that makes Vista objectively good – but it’s an improvement. I’d love to see MS make a more radical improvements to the UI (a la Office 2007), but I doubt I’ll ever see that.

    I also have a Macbook Pro, which I love (though it’s not perfect either). But it’s easily the best laptop I’ve ever owned.

    Thanks to the fact that I make use of cross platform and web software, by Apple laptop and MS desktop play very nice together. It’s a good setup.

    I think there’s a severe weakness Apple has in their lineup though, their lack of a desktop PC. It’s a choice between the underpowered Mac Mini, overpowered Mac Pro, and the all-in-one iMac. Apple has no (affordable) tower in their lineup, and thus has no place on my desktop.

    Mind you, I think it’s still useful to have a Windows box around, so I’m not sure I’d ever totally make the switch. But right now it’d be impossible because of that hole in the lineup.

  8. Shawn Oster says:

    The wonderful Mac experience can always be boiled down to the simple fact that Apple controls the hardware and that most switchers *thought* they were Windows power users when usually they were just a single tier above the average consumer.

    It’s in Apple’s best interest to make sure the out-of-box experience just works and works well, whereas PC vendors really could care less how well everything runs, just as long as they can ship the hardware while Microsoft has to waste money making sure Windows can run on any piece of cobbled together hardware. Personally I wish Microsoft would release a “Microsoft” line of machines, and then I feel there would actually be a fairly level playing field.

    As a software developer another intersting aspect is that it’s much more difficult to write applications for OS X than Windows and so you get people with barely any skill churning out horrible applications that bog down Windows yet you have to be fairly serious about your application on the OS X world.

    If Microsoft ever really wanted to sink Apple all they’d have to do is make a version of Visual Basic for the Mac.

  9. wisher says:

    I’m happy to see that you aren’t a Mac fanatic nor a Vista one. You’re right, we have to choose the product that does what you have to do, not buy because of the brand.

  10. Quikboy says:

    That quote you pulled is pretty interesting. If using Windows on a computer is that bad, couldn’t it possibly be because of bad hardware or a sloppy put together from the company who made it?

    I have a Sony Vaio and have practically had little problems running XP SP2 on it. It’s great to use, and I’m very happy with it.

    If you think the only computer that can run well is a Mac, then I guess those advertisements really did get to you.

    If you buy a crappy cheap computer, or from a company who’s brandname status is low, then you got what you paid for.