Monday, May 23, 2011

The dark side

I just bought a MacBook Pro. Believe me, this is Breaking News. I have been a PC person for more than 20 years. Or I should say a PC owner. The first computer I worked with was actually a Mac, and over the years I had to use them for a number of applications in Flow Cytometry or in labs where that was the standard. So I know how to use them, and have consistently appreciated how everything artsy seems to be better for Macs than for PCs.  And they are cool and sleek.
So why did I not buy one before?
Two simple reasons: the cost and the fear of incompatibility.
The first is rather self-explanatory. Say what you want, but Apple computers are more expensive than PCs. Until the last minute before I hit the Checkout button, every comparison, feature by feature, was cheaper for PCs. My baby here is in fact refurbished, which made it less outrageous. But still.
The other comes with my experiences in the past. I still remember when working in groups where some people were PC and others Mac, the nightmare it was to make all documents and pictures visible to all and look alike. To the day of today, some students will send their projects in certain formats that I cannot open, and they turn to be Mac formats. 
Last but not least, I dislike Apple's proprietary policies and closed systems. 
So why did I do it now?
My main reason is the need for a robust small but powerful travel laptop. I spend a lot of time on the road and on flights, and just got tired of either hauling my 17'' Dell around or using the old 15'' Fujitsu whose battery lasted only a couple of hours. The latter's display finally died, which prompted my quest.
Second, I have several friends who have switched to Macs and plainly drool about them. Most of those tend also to like photography, and Apple seems to be the standard among photographers and graphic artists. While I am not a photographer, I do like tinkering with Photoshop. I also do some simple podcasting and video editing, and was bummed by how few PC programs are available in comparison with Mac ones. The podcasting software I use, Profcast, has a minimalistic interphase for PC compared to the full-blown sophistication of the Apple version. 
Third, I realize that the compatibility issues are not as bad as before. I am still considering if I want to install BootCamp to use Windows 7 in parallel. So far all the programs that I use have their Apple versions. My trusty old Dell has been promoted to home computer in case I get an acute case of PCitis. 
My final reason was my growing reliance on working in the cloud. I have started to write my new documents as google documents instead of Office. That way I keep them online, I may download a version just in case, but can work anywhere from any computer. I use Dropbox to keep my most important files synched to both computers and my Droid. I do not feel encased in the Apple or any other system.
For the record, I had a hard look at iPads and Chromebooks before the decision. I have been wooed by the esthetics of the iPad, but I realized that they lacked many of the functions I needed, not to mention it seems to be a much more closed system. As for Chromebooks, I do need a hard drive as there are programs that I cannot run in the cloud, and some of my files are just too big. 
My new toy, a 13'' MPB with 4 Gb RAM and an i7 processor arrived 2 days ago. I connected to the internet within 5 minutes. I installed Chrome and visited my websites. Then I downloaded a trial for Adobe CS5 and copied my files to the computer. Also downloaded Office and a bunch of other programs that I use, installed Skype, Dropbox, Profcast, and Evernote. As for tonight, I am perfectly set within the boundaries of my computer. Next week, before I leave for a conference, I need to figure out printing and what I need to connect to projectors and the like. 
I hope everything works as well as my wireless keyboard. When I connected the USB gizmo, a message popped up "your device needs to be identified." I sighed, readying myself for a long session of reading instructions and searching for drivers. Instead, I was instructed to press down 2 keys on the keyboard and that was enough to identify it. I sat wide eyed for a while. This was just too easy.
So far so good. 
Update one day later: I connected to the printer...and it printed. Just like that. OMG.


  1. Hi, Jenny here. I just saw this info-graph by Jess3 "PC people and MAC people". here is the link:

    ENJOY! :-))

  2. That's funny- well I seem like a hybrid- food-wise I go Mac, drink-wise PC, prefer Harleys to Vespas...
    I think it is all stereotypes at the end :)
    But yes, I am having fun :)