Well, I've been thinking about it for a while now, but we're finally taking the plunge. We are selling off our Windows computers and converting to Macintosh. I've put a lot of thought into it, and these are the factors that pushed me over:
1) Risk-free. Now that Macs run on Intel processors, it is no longer necessary to choose between Windows and Mac. Macs can run Windows in two different ways. The first is "dual boot", meaning you choose when you boot up whether to load OS-X (Mac's operating system) or Windows. This allows Windows to run at the same speed it would if you were on a normal Windows computer, and Apple provides Windows drivers for its hardware (mouse, camera, etc). The second way to run Windows is through "virtualization", which takes advantage of some nifty new technology in the more recent Intel processors to be able to run Windows from inside OS-X, in its own Window. There is a performance penalty to this, so you can't use it for 3-D games or anything really intensive, but for typical applications, it apparently works pretty well. But the general idea is that moving to a Mac doesn't entail the risk it once did, or require you to abandon all your old software.
2) Best for what I do. The consensus seems to be that for what we use a computer for, Macs are a much more pleasant, stress-free experience. Before, I was reluctant to go to a Mac because I played a lot of computer games in Windows. But I rarely play games anymore. Instead, I use office software (Word, Excel, etc), Internet & communications software, and media editing and management (music, photos, and videos). That is pretty much it. I went through my Start menu, looking at all the software I use, and discovered that there is only one program that I currently use that isn't available on the Mac: Picasa, Google's photo management software. But Apple has their own well-reviewed photo management software, so I don't think I'll be unhappy with the switch.
3) Stability. Windows XP has been crashing on my computer recently. It's frustrating. My normal solution to this is to make a fresh start on my computer, reinstalling Windows. I figured, if I'm going to make a fresh start, why not do it on a computer that doesn't crash like Windows does?
4) My iPod. Analysts and reporters love to debate whether there is an "iPod Halo" for Apple. What that means is, does Apple sell more Mac computers thanks to the success of the iPod? Well, I don't know how significant it is, but there is an iPod Halo. I would not be buying a Mac if it weren't for the fact that I have owned a second-generation iPod for more than four years now. iPods are reliable, well-designed, and above all, extremely easy to use, both the device itself and the iTunes software that works with it on my computer. I have great confidence in Apple's ability to make well-designed, reliable, and above all, easy-to-use products.
So, how will our grand Mac experiment work? We'll see. But I have little doubt I'll be happier. When we were trying to decide whether to move to Houston or Dallas after business school, we decided on Dallas because we realized that everyone we had ever met who had lived in both places preferred Dallas. The only people who preferred Houston were people who had never actually lived in Dallas.
Well, the PC vs. Mac debate isn't quite as lopsided, but I can say that most people who don't like Macs are people who have never tried them because of compatibility concerns, etc. When I talk with people who have owned both, the vast majority prefer the Mac for their home computing needs. I think we'll love Macs just like we loved Dallas.
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And to think I once thought of you as a brother!
I must take the solemn vow....from now on you are no longer an elephant.
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