More Q&A on my New MacBook Pro

Well I didn’t quite expect 30 plus comments on my post about switching from PC to Mac, but it probably shouldn’t surprise me. Mac vs. PC is always a controversial subject I suppose and certainly people who love their Macs feel very strongly about it.

I thought I’d use this new post to answer some of the comments on the original.

Scott Williams and the monk (along with others) suggest that maybe my problem really isn’t a Mac vs. PC one but is more a problem with Dell PCs specifically. He notes, “I’ve built many PC’s over the years and have rarely had problems with them.”

I’d like to say that my bad PC experiences were limited to Dell but this is not the case. In addition to my primary machine that I used (my Dell notebook) I also have another Dell desktop at home, an HP Media Center PC at home and my primary at home PC a custom built ACMA machine. I have to say that I’ve had problems with all four of the machines. A while back I wrote a post called Tech Support With Thomas Hawk that I was going to keep up on. In it I was going to try and document every problem that I had with my PCs going forward to see if people could help me fix them. But there were too many and the post got unwieldy.

My custom built ACMA machine for instance sometimes just won’t boot up. I have no idea why. I have to begin unplugging all of my USB devices until eventually it boots up. Then I can replug in the USB devices and use them again. That’s a pain. I could go on and on but there’s no point. Universally over the past 15 years my experience with PCs have been bad. Different brands, Sony, HP, Dell, Toshiba, custom built, etc.

Maybe with Vista this will change. Maybe not.

A lot of people wrote comments saying that they had had similar conversions with regards to moving from a PC to a Mac. I think that a big part of my move was feeling comfortable with the unknown. That’s really hard to do. Having Kristopher there as a resource should things go wrong gave me a lot more confidence. I’m not sure if I’d done the switch over without feeling like I had the support I’d need. But my fear was irrational. And it should serve as a reminder that things oftentimes are easier than you’d think and innovation should be pursued even when you fear change.

An anonymous user asked “what’s the EVDO device?” I had problems and had tried three different cards with Verizon for my PC, none of which would work. Finally I concluded that my card slot on my laptop was bad. I called Dell for support on this but they would only authorize my shipping it back to them for repair if I completely reformated my PC and started over. I didn’t want to lose all my email (figure out how to move it to another PC etc.) and I didn’t want to be without my laptop for a few weeks while they looked at it so I abandoned it. I went to the same Verizon store (yes, ironic that I was railing against Verizon as pigs for trying to charge you $15 a month for YouTube videos) with my Mac, bought a card on the spot, plugged it in and had it working within 10 minutes. I’ll have a whole other post on that later. EVDO rocks.

Shawn Oster
asks me how I’m liking the OS on the Mac. It’s great. It takes a little getting used to but I find it very similar to windows actually. I’ve had to get used to using the command key instead of the control key but once you learn the basic shortcuts (command N for new window, command + shift N for new folder) I’m able to get around on it pretty easily. Forcing myself to learn and use the various keyboard commands helps. Right click works and even with the touchpad if you hold down the control key you get right click.

Smiley tells me that all Macs are female. I didn’t know that actually but I like the way that sounds. Interesting.

Matt Large
asks my opinion about iPhoto and Aperture. While I haven’t used iPhoto yet I did try out Aperture. I like Aperture a lot. It’s super easy to use. It’s also super fast. I found though that I couldn’t figure out how to do some of the things I do in my post processing in Photoshop though. For instance, in Photoshop I can alter the vignette on my photos. I couldn’t figure out how to to do that with Aperture. As smooth as Aperture felt, I think that because I’m more familiar with Bridge and Photoshop right now I’ll probably stick to them for now. Aperture seems like it does 95% of the stuff that you need to do with photo post processing though. It handles temperature for RAW files well. But there are little things like the spot healing brush, vignette, etc. that I still prefer Photoshop for. By the way to see how I process my photos and get lots of great Photoshop tips check out Episode Three of Photowalking on Scoble Show. Jan Kabili, a Photoshop author and Pro, walks me through my workflow and gives me some fantastic tips (Part I, Part II).

Mero and some others ask if now that I’ve bought a Mac if they can expect me to be one of the first to try out the new iDongle (Apple’s announced TV extension thingy that I’ve been critical of in the past). Ha! Well, I doubt it, but you never know. My principal objection to the iDongle (my name for it not Apple’s) is that I don’t think that it will offer premium HDTV support. Unless the iDongle offers support for a dual tunner premium cable/satellite HDTV PVR package then I have no interest in it. If Apple does plan on offering premium HDTV support through the iDongle then I think it’s a marketing mistake not to announce this now. $300 for a plug in to move standard definition TV to your hot new 43″ HDTV plasma does not excite me at all.

Shinypenny asks what model Dell that I had. I had the Inspiron 630m. It was less than a year old.

Andrew Denny says he was the only guy commenting who bought a Mac and actually regretted it. Certainly I am not under the impression that the Mac is a miracle machine. It is at the end of the day a computer and all computers can have problems. Even Kristopher Tate who largely pushed me towards the Mac just recently had a problem with the battery on his and just earlier this week had to send it back to Texas for repair. But at the same time, I will say that fundamentally, it just works. And that counts for so much. Certainly you will always find a few bad apples in a bunch, but in general I think that Mac “just works” much better than the PC.

tmv32 asks, “Do you know what program or how Kristopher transferred your mail and contacts to the Mac?”

Actually I don’t but I’ll ask him. I used Thunderbird for email on my old machine because Microsoft kept rejecting my valid and legal authentication code for my legal copy of Outlook. Kristopher just does magic with computers. It’s really pretty crazy watching him work. He just kind of hooked it all up and started typing and doing all these things to it and in about 30 minutes the machine was all tricked out and all my old stuff (email, contacts, Flock and Firefox settings, etc.) was just seamlessly moved over. I’m using Thunderbird still on the Mac (it works great and is free) so I think it was just a matter of exporting some file from my Dell and reimporting it on the PC. He just connected my Dell into his network at home
and did his usual magic. I’m lucky having a friend to help me out like that.