Well just before Christmas I took the plunge and got myself my first mac a macbookpro, it’s now been just over a month since I’ve had it and Inow a lot of the switchers articles were pretty helpfull to me in making my decision and also what the hell to do with it once I got it out the box.
Well lets start with what I had before and why I chose to switch before I get into what I think and what I installed. For a start my old computer was a pile of crap. It was a Packard Bell video dream machine I bought in ex-display at PC world at the begining of 2001 and I was very excited as it had this brand new technology called a DVD Burner. Yup it was that long ago. It came with Windows ME which was a nightmare constantly getting the blue screen of death. After an upgrade to 2000 a Ram upgrade to 384mb and a 64mb Graphics card I was ready to roll and it lasted me well.
Why am I going on about how bad my PC was and the problems I had with it? Not for sympathy but to get across the point that this is not a mac is better than PC article, quite frankly there are calculators with more power than that thing anything would be a huge improvement no matter what I bought. So as you can see it was time to upgrade (did I mention the brightness dial stopped working on the monitor and certain websites were impossible to see?).
So why did I choose a mac.
1.) I was sick of Windows and viruses, I use Windows XP at work and it’s frustrating as hell it just feels sticky, before upgrading I did try and install linux but my modem just wasn’t compatable with anything and the command line and reading the forum problems are intimidating.
2.) I’ve always loved the design of macs and other apple products and OSX looks better (well maybe Vista has the edge now).
3.) Intel macs can run windows, I don’t like the idea of paying a lot money for a computer and being locked into a system that isn’t the mainstream. Although I haven’t installed windows on my mac and I have no intention of I like having the security that I could if I needed to.
4.) My job is a promo director, EVERYONE in the media industry seems to have a mac and the zealots had converted me a long time ago but this goes back to style, it’s cool. The most important reason though and the one that justifies all the frivoulous reasons is Final Cut Pro. The media industry is changing. My wife works for the BBC and the last two series she worked on were cut on Final Cut Pro, and it’s hapening more and more it’s just a damn site cheaper than a pro avid suite, and budgets are getting cut and cut and cut. It’s becoming the norm now, we’re getting about six suites where I work, ITV promos are completely Final cut pro. I see it not as something necessary to my job at the moment, but it will be soon and if I want to go freelance it’s something I’m going to have to learn.
So that’s why I wanted a mac and I went for the macbook pro as I needed something small, I have a tiny flat and another of my justifications was to save space and get a laptop. I also didn’t like the idea of something without dedicated graphics, as soon as the core 2 duo machines came out it make up my mind especially as they’d bumped the standard configuration up.
Out of the box
Well setting it up was very easy though there was some confusion in the initial set up recognising my WEP key for my wireless network, too many digits so I had to do it once the setup was complete but it worked first time. Once I was up and running I soon found out how to hide the dock and customise my desk top, though expose and the function key took a while to get my head around (all the help guides tell you to just to hit F9 but I need to hit the function key as well, must be because it’s a laptop). Transferring files was very easy reading my NTFS formatted external hard drive, which I didn’t expect. Didn’t take long to get used to the keyboard and the track pad with the two finger scrolling is very nice.
So what were the first things I installed
Firefox – yeah I know Safari is good but I like the flexibility firefox offers.
Adium – All my instant messaging in one client
Skype – My wife isn’t from this country and has lots of friends all over the world. Skype lets her call them for free
Neo Office – Very dissapointed that Pages isn’t incuded as standard and as a user of open office this free alternative does the job.
Quick Silver – a launcher
Mac The Ripper – DVD Ripping (I often take clips of commercial movies to use in presentations and pitches). Very dissapointed that it’s not a multi-region drive but I knew this before hand. Programme itself asgood as DVD Decrypter on the PC
DVD2One – DVD Shrinking (Only a free trial and haven’t what I want yet, I may bute the bullet and buy Toast).
Azureus / Zudeo – Bit Torrent client and HD trailers
Limewire – File sharing
Handbrake and FFMPEGX are two very usefull tools for converting video and can convert to formats suitable for ipod or PSP
So after downloading a few free applications I’m ready to go and everything is how I want it and I’m loving things like Frontrow and the remote. Suprisingly there isn’t realy that much difference the way files are organised viewing with the Finder is different, but it doesn’t really matter as the search function Spotlight is so fast I can find anything with that or quicksilver. The biggest differenceI’ve had is that everything runs faster and smoother and I haven’t had 1 crash or virus.
So all in all it’s been a very easy transition, having an external hard drive makes things very simple, and if you plan on doing any video or if you have a huge MP3 collection it’s something you’re going to need. Of course I’ve not used Vista yet and I’m wondering how this experience stacks up to that, but compared to Windows XP it’s a much nicer interface and far more responsive. In a few months time we’ll be seeing countless articles comparing Vista and Leopard the new OS X, If Apple want to be the OS with the best eyecandy and historically they like the machines to look nice on the outside and on the screen, they’re gonna have to pul out all the stops and the winners have to be all the users regardless of what they are using.