Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm a Mac?

I'm trying an experiment.  For the first time in longer than I can remember (probably the first time since the Mac II (series) in the very early 90s,  I'm trying switching to a Macintosh as my main desktop system at home.

I've had a Macbook Pro of some flavor or another from work for five years now, so the Mac OS X environment is no stranger.  Also, everyone else in the household has a Macbook.

But, for almost 10 years, when I sit down at my desk to do something serious, it's been the old Dell running Windows XP.  Now, mainly pushed by the growing Gmail app, I'm faced with needing to add more memory to the old Dell but I'm tempted to make the jump to a more modern OS.

Around 2007 I made a solid decision.  I'd never move to Windows Vista.  In the same way that Windows 95 was a clear win and I abandoned the Mac interface, thinking it was for good (note that I had been a Windows user simultaneously all along and was using various UNIX workstations as well), it was just as clear that Vista was as horrible a mistake.

To be fair, Windows 7 seems to have redeemed the design and Windows 8 looks very interesting but the jury is still out.  However, for now, I still have no intention of using a Windows machine, at least as my main workspace, every again.  I still reserve the right to later change my mind, just like I did with the return to the Mac world, when a new boss suggested I really use a Macbook.

So, I finally decided to take the plunge that I've been considering for a while.  I'm using my daughter's abandoned white 2007 Macbook as a desktop machine, plugged into my LCD monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers.

Parents of college students and high school seniors take note.  I wondered if the Macbooks would last a full four years, including the battery remaining functional enough, etc.  The answer for us is Yes!  The Macbooks can easily hold solid for a full four years of use.  I think the aluminum Macbooks even more so.  

This is in contrast to my observations of other laptops.  Their batteries seem to barely work for more than a year or two and I usually see the whole laptop being replaced in from one to three years, i.e., you'll be buying two traditional Windows laptops for a four+ year undergraduate degree run.  Factor that into the price/cost/value comparisons:  A Macbook for school is worth two non-Mac laptops.

I should also point out that I always have an Ubuntu Linux workstation nearby including on my desk and I still find them extremely functional and sometimes even delightful to use.   If I had to use Ubuntu for my daily environment, I think I could.

Also, rest assured, the old XP machine is still humming away right here, still plugged into the same monitor.  I still miss the nicer looking, more pleasing fonts of the Windows XP GUI compared to the slightly too-weighty sans serif fonts of the Mac.  But, I'm making that compromise to move on.

Next on the radar:  Upgrading from Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.7 OS Lion.  Do I make that plunge?  I'm intrigued by this new OS.