Switch to Apple?

Wed, 2007-10-10 16:19 by admin · Forum/category:

A friend of mine asked me whether he should switch from a Windows computer to an Apple iMac. Here's what he wrote and what I replied:

[...] but it ran well, faster if anything on my big Toshiba laptop, which admittedly is full of stuff I probably don't need. That in fact is my main decision point to go for a Mac as my desk top: the new iMac is so stunningly gorgeous, with a dazzling 20" screen and a keyboard from the Enterprise, that I just have to get one! It's also not so expensive, particularly with [software thrown in ...]. Can you see any huge downsides to my infatuation?

Hmm, huge downsides? Perhaps that the Apples are computers for grandma and grandpa. Actually, a few graphics designers use them too, probably those who fear real computers. (:-)

I've worked on an Apple MacBook recently for a while and had the big Apple 23 inch screen that looked very good. Then I tried to connect that screen to a Windows computer that I had built as a replacement for the MacBook, and the screen crashed every time I booted the computer. Had to boot the computer blindly, then connect or switch on the screen later to have it work.

I had never seen a computer monitor crash before (needed to be rebooted), so that didn't exactly instill trust in Apple products in me. Needless to say, every other computer monitor worked just fine on that computer, which had a standard nVidia graphics adapter of a similar kind used in Apple computers too. I must admit though that that monitor looked very good on my desk, when it was switched off.

I ended up with the same ViewSonic VP2130b I'm using now, which is the best computer monitor I have ever seen. Not cheap though, but Apple is never cheap either.

I ran Windows on Parallels (the Russians again), and I was actually continuously surprised that it worked at all, and even relatively well. But it was somewhat slow and had some peculiar limitations for a developer. Would be a reasonable workaround for some smaller software that doesn't run on an Apple, so if you decide to go Apple, get Parallels as well.

The MacBook lacked several important keys on its built-in keyboard. I think it had either a backspace or a Del key, but not both. Since one obviously needs both, that alone was a constant hindrance to fast work. You can simulate the missing key by pressing a key combination, but it (a) slowed me down and (b) didn't work in Parallels, if my memory serves me well. Some other things didn't work in Parallels either, or generally not on the Apple. It was a nightmare to have to enter a backslash, for example. You had to type a little story to get one.

One day I tried to install Bootcamp. That almost killed everything on the hard disk, and several Apple aficionados tried to help me, but couldn't do it either. So much for the reliable Apple software.

The really serious problem with Apple computers is that perhaps less than 20% of all software is made for them, while 80% is made only for Windows. That's surely not fair, but I can't help it. There are a few nice little programs that run only on an Apple though.

Another interesting observation when I was sitting in the middle of an Apple-equipped office was that every Windows problem (of which there weren't many on my computer) was proof of Microsoft's evil doings and Windows' total lack of function, while the not so rare Apple problems, crashes, etc., were always the rare exception, minor irritations, and never serious. I slowly got the impression that these people were in the grip of an ideology, rather than seeing things as they were.

If I wanted to get away from Windows, I wouldn't spend a second thinking about Apple—I would go straight to Linux, probably Ubuntu or one of its cousins. But currently I think sticking with Windows is best for me.

In short, Apple is not for me. I guess my mother would love one though.

Well, you asked. What did you expect? (:-)

Greetings—Hans