So I “caved”. I bought a Mac. I’ve used Windows for years, from our first computer running 95, to the screaming gaming desktop I built by hand and continue to upgrade to the latest and greatest. Windows has always treated me well. As long as you’re semi-competent, it’s easy enough to deal with its occasional quirks (User Account Control, anyone?).
So why did I move to the Mac? Bottom line, they have great hardware. Find me a PC with a 2.26GHz, 2GB DDR3, 9400M graphics, and a 7 Hour battery (no joke) for $1099, not to mention the amazing build quality with the unibody Aluminum casing and glass screen/trackpad, and the awesome support Apple offers.
Of course, every Mac comes with OSX. After a couple weeks of using it, I’m split. As we’ll see, I’ve been able to find most of the software I need on Mac. On the other hand, OSX has some quirks that severely bother me.
As far as program compatibility, it’s half and half. Matlab has a Mac version which works great and there is a version of Spice available (called MacSpice), but it lacks a graphical schematic creator (such as Orcad Capture). Also, the Mac version of Excel lacks Basic and therefore the ability to run linear regressions (or just about any other function) on data. And of course, OSX lacks the ability to play any serious game, even though the hardware on the new MacBook is more than capable for most.
On the downside, I’m starting to get severely frustrated with some quirks in OSX. To start with, why in the world can’t I resize a window from any side – OSX only resizes from the bottom right corner, while Windows will do it on any side. It may not seem like a big deal, but on the other hand, it’s so easy to implement. It should only take a few minutes, and yet it’s been overlooked (copy/paste on the iPhone, anyone?).
Along the same lines, why can’t I fullscreen most programs? Firefox in windows can go fullscreen with the push of a button, but on the Mac I’m wasting an inch or two of screen real estate on the OSX menu bar and the Firefox toolbar. Once again, not a huge deal, but it shouldn’t be hard to do – how can you implement huge pieces of architecture (Time Machine?) and yet leave out these simple details? Apple is all about the details in their hardware; I wish this same level of obsession with usability would reach through to permeate their GUI user experience.
So how did I Un-Mac the Mac?
I boot-camped Windows 7 onto it. Installed an aftermarket 128GB solid-state drive and spun up the Release Candidate for Microsoft’s latest OS. Let’s just say I’m cursing at Windows 7 a lot less than I am at OSX.
Bottom line – excellent hardware, but the OSX user experience could be improved.
And where the hell is my dang middle-click gesture? I need to open links in new tabs with one click!