Switching To a Mac Isn’t For Everyone
Ever think about dumping your Windows-based PC and buying a Mac … Perhaps one of those gorgeous-looking G4 PowerBooks …
I know I have, usually at times when some inexplicable problem happens with some app on my primary Windows PC, a customized Toshiba Satellite laptop. While that machine’s getting a bit long in the tooth now, it will still do until something completely irresistible turns up. Something a bit like a Voodoo Envy m:790, perhaps…
But I’ve always resisted the urge and I’m happy to stay with my Tosh (and IBM Thinkpad T30 laptop), no matter how tempting the grass on the other side of the hill looks.
I did succumb to Apple’s charms last month, though, and bought an iPod Mini, my first Apple purchase. Delightful machine, superb design and functionality. Great for listening to podcasts. Not bad for music, either 😉 But I digress!
In the Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg writes with some keen advice that is worth reading if you’re thinking about switching:
[…] As I have noted in the past, switching to the Mac has downsides, and it isn’t the best course for some groups of Windows users.
Even if you aren’t happy with Windows, don’t consider switching to the Mac if you are resistant to learning new ways of doing things. The Mac and Windows are close cousins, but there is a learning curve that comes with switching.
Don’t consider switching if your budget covers only the cost of the Mac itself. There will usually be extra costs. To maintain compatibility with the Windows world, you will probably want a copy of the Mac version of Microsoft Office, which isn’t included by Apple. And you may want a standard two-button, Windows-style mouse, which works fine on the Mac but isn’t included.
Instead of buying Office, you could try Open Office, the open source-developed (and free) application suite that is broadly compatible with Office. There is a Mac version. I’ve been trying out the Windows version for the past few months and have yet to encounter any issues in opening Office docs with it or saving files in it that open fine in Office applications.
People who depend on their company’s IT department to manage and support their home computers may find themselves locked into Windows. Most corporate computer staffs support only Windows and know little or nothing about Macs.
Similarly, if the principal use of your home computer is to remotely link up to your company’s Windows network, stay with Windows. The Mac has gotten much better at doing these remote linkups, but they are still easier on Windows.
The bottom line is that the Mac is a great alternative for mainstream consumers doing mainstream tasks who are sick and tired of the Windows security crisis. But it isn’t for everybody.
If you just want your Windows desktop to look like a Mac’s, then get hold of WindowBlinds 4.5 from Stardock. Then, go to Wincustomize and download Mac OS X Tiger, an excellent new skin by Steve Grenier.
This may be the closest you’ll get to a Mac!
Neville Hobson is the author of the popular NevilleHobson.com blog which focuses on business communication and technology.