Convince me to get a Mac

My main issue with switching to Mac has always been cost. I don’t like laptops to work on all day, the iMacs are funny looking and the towers complete overkill for most of what I do – which is essentially to edit text files all day. However the Mac Mini is a great price and could nicely replace my Windows desktop for work.

The main reason that I haven’t pulled out my credit card already is that at the moment I currently work across two desktops. On my desk in front of me are two screens – one of which is my Linux desktop (Debian/KDE) the other is my Windows desktop. I’ve never managed to switch completely to Linux due to needing various applications for work. I know there are perfectly good replacements – and I’ve been using Linux on the desktop for 5 years – however for compatibility I need to be able to open things in Freehand or Photoshop and other applications and I write about Dreamweaver, so until these can run under Linux I’m going to need another OS. Mac OS X could be that OS instead of Windows but my main fear is that all I am going to do is end up with yet another desktop OS that I am working in, making my daily work spread over three operating systems thus making it even harder to leave the office – at the moment I achieve some portability with a laptop installed with XP, VMWare and Debian running as a virtual machine.

I’m going to need a Windows box for the foreseeable future – I need to test work on Windows. The other application which is non-negotiable and I already know there is no OS X UK version is Quickbooks, I need Quickbooks. I can live with having my Windows box on a KVM switch and switching to it to write invoices or check sites. I know that I can get OS X versions of Macromedia products, MS Office and Adobe software but what about the other applications I use on Windows? I believe there is a version of Eclipse for OS X – it’s a bit slow on Windows, does it work well on the Mac? What about FTP, I use WS-FTP on Windows; and CSS editing – to replace Topstyle.

When I’m writing I currently use SnagIt for taking screenshots – it’s great as I can set it up to take the captures and save them as the correct resolution so I don’t need to go fiddle with them in a graphics application afterwards, what can I use to replace this if I move to OS X?

If I have any spare time I research my family history, I use two applications on Windows “Family Tree Maker” and “Family Historian”, the latter allows me to store records properly along with their sources and also to query the records – the first draws pretty charts which please the relatives, any suggestions for OS X products?

The second reason I hesitate to move to OS X, and one that will probably see me flambéed by Mac users, is that I dislike the way it looks. How much can you customise the interface? Can I stop things bouncing and zooming? If you are familiar with Windows classic themes think about the Rainy Day theme, that’s what I like my desktop to look like … I’m not really into ‘pretty’ where computers are concerned. That said, the way it looks is not particularly high priority, the most important thing is that it more or less replaces my Windows desktop, if I can hack at the interface that’s a bonus.

So Mac users, convince me that I should switch, I don’t like Windows and am fully aware of its problems – I’d be a fulltime Linux user if I could – so you don’t need to tell me why Windows is lousy, I know! I just need to be sure that I can do this relatively quickly and easily, and that the applications are out there that will enable to me to switch, as otherwise I will end up with the three desktop operating systems problem already described, and this would make me more grumpy than the minor issue of things bouncing in the dock.


Oleg Contrano January 15, 2005 Reply

Well, you can get Virtual PC 7.0 (XP on a virtual machine) for a few hundred dollars, and that would run your critical windows apps on the Mac. The only one I would wonder about would be WS-FTP and SnagIT, but there are many FTP clients and screen capture packages available for Mac that are easy to learn and use.

Many of the software packagaes you mentioned come with the Mac version on the same disk, so you can save money that way, too.

The underlying operating system for OS X is BSD, so you can get most of the applications you find for Linux for BSD, too.

As for positive reasons to buy, you can always use it as a Mac testing machine.

Colin D. Devroe January 16, 2005 Reply

I was linked to this site via someone’s “side links”, and so I’ve decided to give you my reason to switch to Mac without actually reading your entry. I will read your entry after I post this comment.

Get a Mac because Macs are bliss. Really, try one. Try a friend’s, go to an Apple store and try one.

I’m not going to tell you the benefits when compared to Windows, because one shouldn’t think that Windows is the only choice. You could just as easily switch to Linux.

Is switching a good idea for you? No idea – because I’ve not read your post. But I can tell you that moving away from Windows (at this time) is an extremely good idea.

If you do switch, I promise you that you will not want to go back to Windows. And, if you do get one, I’ll put my money where my mouth is. I’ll bet you $20.00USD that you will not want to switch back. Extreme? Nope. If you can give me a few legitimate reasons, after using a Mac for a time, that you would rather use Windows – I’ll give ya 20 bucks.

What more reason do you need? Macs are bliss inside of an elegantly designed and brilliantly engineered machine.

Alex Kadis January 17, 2005 Reply

Don’t bother with Virtual PC, its slow, and an overall waste of money, just use your current computer for any pc stuff you might need.

I think you might have a problem switching/buying a mac if you don’t like its interface. Most mac users (myself included) are drawn to Mac because of its interface. Nevertheless these are the applications I suggest for you:

Quickbooks = I’m not quite sure but check out MacUpdate for some suggestions.

Eclipse = I’m sorry, I must be honest, I have absolutly no idea what Eclipse is, can you give some more information? Then maybe I can tell you of a replacement?

FTP = Panic’s wonderful Transmit 2 (There should even be a new version, Transmit 3 by mid-year)

CSS = For CSS only I suggest CSSEdit, for CSS/HTML/whatever coding I suggest SubEthaEdit (Free for non-comercial use.)

SnagIt = Apple’s built in Grab works fine for me, but if you need more, there are other programs out there

Family Tree = All new macs (I believe all…) are packaged with a program called OmniGraffle. According to MacUpdate it is great for family trees, I do not use it myself, but its there if you need it. Also look at MacUpdate’s listing.

As I said, I love the interface. But if you want to change it look into ShapeShifter, it has LOTS of themes for it, and Ashen seems to be what you’re looking for. And you can stop some of the zooming, etc… Try it out a little bit like Colin said. Go to an Apple store, or a friend’s house, and see if you truly like it (I’ll be honest, they’re expensive, buy it only if you think you’ll be happy!)

If you have any other programs you are looking for, check out MacUpdate and VersionTracker.
I hope this helps!

Dustin Diaz January 18, 2005 Reply

sorry to say that I won’t be convincing you to buy a mac. From what I read it seems like it would just complicate your life even more. Most of your work is already on two OS’s at the moment, why add a third to the mix…that is unless that’s just your thing and you enjoy that kind of mess. Of course mac folks will simply argue that the OSx is better than it’s competition. That statement may or may not be true. But something about the way you even wrote about all those programs that you have already been using. I, like you, have relied on such simple progs like WS_FTP and Top Style. Sure there are equivelant progs, but you know exactly what to do with the one’s you have. Besides, that, how much more efficient can you make Top Style? That’s like the one program in in the history of dev tools that does exactly what it’s suppose to do, and it does it well.

Also, why buy more? I’m not saying that a Mac is a waste of money, but in your case it’s a waste of resources. If you had no computer because your other two had been wiped and caught on fire, then sure, take a chance and check it out. We’re not OS ignoramuses. I’m sure we’d figure it out. Just don’t turn into one of those Mac elitists. I read your recently published book and it sounds like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders ( look at me, mister advise :p ). Never once did you really dog on internet explorer like these Firefox jockeys. Your a standards advocate, not necessarily a Firefox gal. (At least that was the impression that I got). If internet explorer adhered to standards better than firefox, you’d probably be telling people to “getIE” instead, right?

I’d say for the kind of work that designers and developers do, there is no real reason to convert. And who’s to say, even if you do get a new Macintosh computer, that you’ve been “converted.”

Hope that helps a bit. Good luck with your decision.

James Stewart January 19, 2005 Reply

I tried out Eclipse on the mac for a couple of weeks recently but gave up on it fairly quickly. Not only was it slow (I was using it on a 1.5GHz powerbook G4, with phpEclipse, and some perl and python modules too) but after crashing it would never start again. I cleaned out the memory, I rebooted, but it just refused to fully open. So for now I’m using a mixture of XCode and SubEthaEdit for pretty much everything till I find an IDE which fits my needs better.

Mike January 19, 2005 Reply

So far the other comments that have been made raise some valid points. The guy who didn’t read your post first should be kicking himself after reading it though, he did exactly what you didn’t ask for.

Obviously all the big programs are available on the Mac. As far as the others there is Transmit and Fetch. As far as CSS editing there are way to many to mention (SubEthaEdit, TextMate, CSSEdit, skEdit, jEdit, and Smultron to name a few).

For taking screenshots there is Apple’s Grab but I use SnapzPro. There are some family tree and Geneology apps out there too, just check VersionTracker or MacUpdate.

There was a good suggestion to get ShapeShifter. That let’s you play around with the GUI a lot and there are loads of themes out there. As far as the zooming and all that you can change some of the settings in the OS preferences.

I’m split on Virtual PC. Right now that’s what I use to test my stuff in a Windows environment. It’s a little slow but it gets the job done. As far as basic programs it works pretty well.

Obviously the final decision is yours but there is enough information out there to answer any of your questions. A good place to find new software is the Apple download site. They have loads of free and pay software for all types of applications.

Those are my 2 cents and if you have any other questions feel free to contact me, maybe I can help you find an answer.

Tim January 19, 2005 Reply


I use Linux at work, and Mac with a bit of Windows 2000 at home.

I love being able to ssh into linux/unix boxes from OS X and have X apps display on my desktop.

The missing piece in the Mac puzzle for me, though, is a decent personal finance app. I need one that not only imports from Quicken/MS Money (which I’ve been using for about 6 years) but functions in a similar way.

Textwrangler is a free text editor from Barebones, maker of the seminal BBEdit, and it’s been getting good reactions from the community by all accounts.

All the best with your decision!

Jules January 19, 2005 Reply

As a DW author myself, I too toyed with the idea of buying a Mac as a second computer because I have not been happy with my tech editors (sorry guys) and their response to whether or not features work on a Mac the same as they do on a PC. If it had sufficient power, a Mac Mini probably would do the job for me.

Can a person use a KVM switch for both a PC and a Mac? That would be ideal.

Edd Hale January 20, 2005 Reply

I understand your concern with not having another platform to deal with but as a Mac user of over 15 years, I would be hardpressed to switch to anything else.
First: Simplicity—you control the computer, it doesn’t control you.
Don’t like the zooms, etc. Fine, just turn them off, one click. Set your own background, make your own icons, etc etc.
Second: Bill Gates has to learn that we all don’t want to march to his drum. IE is terrible (Safari is OK). Why do people attack Windows with viruses and not Mac? You rarely will find a Mac virus interrupting your work.
Third: It works. I rarely ever freeze or crash—its not perfect but the problems are definitely fewer.
Fourth: Cost is definitely a factor—Macs cost more BUT balance that with time lost on Windows and its myriad of problems. (Plus constant downloads of patches, fixes and hacks).
There are other reasons to switch but those are the ones that touch me the most.
As for a CSS app—I recently purchased Style Master from WestCiv and it is a very nice program.
As far as HTML text editors, I don’t think anything beats BBEdit and it is only for Macs.

P.S. I just finished your CSS Anthology—great job! It was excellent; thorough and easy to read and follow.

Dipesh Solanki January 20, 2005 Reply

Have a look at WINE
It’s an open source program that allows windows programs to run on linux without having to install the window OS.

Matthew Ritecliff January 20, 2005 Reply

I’m in the same situation as your Rachel. My xp laptop is running just fine, but I sure am tempted by the new mini mac. Only a few problems for me: having a laptop, I have no spare keyboard nor monitor.
I also like the right-click in windows, which I see macs lack.
Sure, I could get a laptop mac, but then here comes the final problem hitting me (as a student): applications prices. I have full versions of ms office, DW, topstyle, photoshop and a few other apps. Talking to the guys in the Apple store in London i found out that I would have to re-purchase all of my applications again, Photoshop CS and all. Great. Having just upgraded, I’m in now way able to afford to repurchase all of my software just to use it on another OS. I know thats my problem for being poor and a student, but thats my main roadblock to macland at the moment.
As i would love to be using macs, though, I have slightly prepared myself to the change. Im using AquaDock instead of the start button; although one major difference i found was the taskbar. In windows, you want to switch back to firefox from word. Easy, you click on Word. On a mac, you select some text in the corner, revealing a list of open apps, and move down to Word, then select that. Why the hastle!

Anyway, hope it all works out well in the end for you. Sorry for the slightly off-topic rant 🙂

Tim January 20, 2005 Reply


You were told wrong: you can cross-grade your Photoshop license from Windows to Mac.

Brad Choate did this, as described here.

Robert Stulle January 20, 2005 Reply

Dear Rachel,
Dear Matthew,

Let’s get rid of that old fairytale of the missing right click. Just hook up any PC two-button scroll wheel (or whatever) USB mouse and work with it. Right click, scroll, it all works like a charm immediately and out of the box with a Mac. No drivers required.

Another thing: I use a PC for work (IBM) and a Mac at home. Switching and exchanging documents between the two is EASY! For example I start working on a Word or PowerPoint document on the PC, send it to my Mac at home, do some more work on the Mac, then send it back to my PC. No problem at all.

Bottom line: Colin is right. Just get your hands on a Mac. Use it for a day or two and you will never want to go back again. I promise!
I would never use a PC at home even if they gave me money for it. 😉
For good arguments you can also check out:

Kind regards, Robert

Gabriel January 21, 2005 Reply

Hi Rachel,
No need to switch.
Horses for courses.
Get a Mac for fun, have a play with it. Did you try AppleScript?
Don’t get too excited about OS holy wars, I use OS/2, Windows, Linux, OS-X, whatever. It all adds variety 🙂 There is no holy grail system, and having a mac around can only add to your professional repertoire. You should buy one out of sheer indulgement rather than waiting for a convincing argument.
Who knows, you may love it and start writing books about it too!

Miraz Jordan January 24, 2005 Reply

Macs are highly customisable – there’s a lot you can do to make them look and behave the way you want.

Snapz Pro is superb for screenshots.

Westciv’s Stylemaster is excellent for writing CSS. They have a new version in beta and it brings some extremely user-friendly advances.

For FTP I’m a great fan of Interarchy.

I can’t comment on Quickbooks or genealogy software but you can find listings of Mac software in many places including VersionTracker at

Do remember that at the moment Macs don’t suffer from spyware or viruses (though Word and Excel have some cross-platform viruses).

Isis January 24, 2005 Reply


The GUI is highly customizable. Even if you don’t spring for Shapeshifter, you can make a lot of the bouncing/zooming go away in basic System Prefs. You can make the Dock vanish. You can shrink your icons and set your background to a boring, basic grey if you like. 🙂

One of the things that always made me resistant to switching was the misapprehension that I’d be a slave to my mouse. Simply not true. Probably the number one thing you’ll want to learn on OS X are the myriad keyboard shortcuts that make day-to-day life on a Mac so much easier. Some are self-explanatory and similar to their Windows counterparts — Command-S for Save, Command-Q for Quit, Command-Tab to switch between apps, etc. — but some need a little more digging (and are far more useful).

FTP – Transmit, hands-down. Can’t beat the Synchronize feature.

Family Trees – This is something I’m just stepping into, and I’ve found TreeTracker to be a decent, if somewhat flawed solution. There are probably more expensive solutions out there that I’m too cheap to explore.

CSS – I use BBEdit, which is basically just a syntax-colored text editor (I’m old-school). I’ve also heard good things about skEdit, CSSEdit and Tag.

Finance – Never having used Quickbooks, I can’t make a specific recommendation, but I’ve found a combination of Studiometry (for business finance) and iBank (for personal finance) to serve my needs well.

OS X has a very active application development community. There are countless other tiny apps I use in various forms to make my day easier — too many to mention, but there’s one OS X app iin particular that absolutely rocks my world…

Quicksilver (free). It’s difficult to explain what Quicksilver does, except that it keeps most of the contents of your computer within reach of a few keystrokes. It has done more to vastly increase my speed and productivity than any application on any platform.

There’s many better explanations on Quicksilver’s amazing wonders from MamaMusings and 43 Folders.

Erwin Heiser January 31, 2005 Reply

Rachel, may I suggest you read this article on Anandtech:
It might give you an idea or two 😉
Also read some of the comments, I especially like the comment of this one support tech who wrote that people whine for 3 weeks after they switch from a PC to a Mac, after that you have to pry the Mac from their hands…
There’s also a interesting thread on Whitespace
who only recently switched to a Mac.
I concur with most of what’s been said by oyher posters. I’d just like to add if you’re buying a Mini spring for at least 512mb of RAM, 256 just won’t cut it.

Trevor Ochocki February 4, 2005 Reply


Just get one. Really, do it. Doooooooo it. Hold on…wait until Tiger is released. As for myself I switched back in 2002 and went from a Mac critic (due to ignorance) to a Mac zealot. It really is something you have to experience and for longer than a couple days because there will be some adjustments.

I second what Alex (post #3) has commented on. All good stuff. I use them myself (but who am I, really?). Maybe these articles from other Linux users will give you a little more insight:

A Linux Geek Embraces Mac OS X
Macs Are More Expensive, Right?
But Macs Are Slower, Right?

By the way, I know you said the iMac is funny looking but it is better than a neon light glowing tower. Right? Besides, the iMac has a G5.

Windows is the anti-christ. There, I said it.

DJ February 5, 2005 Reply


yes do it. Macs are great. Very highly supremly customizable. I like my eyecandy on my desktop how I want it, and the mac does this with no purchasing other apps. Real easy to use. You can put on a two button mouse with scroll wheel, no problemo. Most of the Mac users I know of use one.
I bought an eMac back last June, and now I am saving for a G5 for my media work. I love it that much.


nicholas February 7, 2005 Reply

Dear Rachel,

Nearly all the posts here do make sense. You should buy a Mac for the additional diversity and experience. There are no cross platform issues I have run across since OSX arrived but the old “Classic” well it was a different world.
Using Linux you will understand the basic principles of OSX already relating to the kernel and the stability and security of the systems. They do what root tells them to do su-
Now my instinct tells me (partly as OSX grew from nExt OS) that OSXI the next leap will in as much support X11 instead of the frakenstein way it does now (but it does work). Pixar run rendering farms on Linux workstations but their Renderman runs on OSX.
Tiger will have some very neat innovations like XGrid (but you will have 1 machine so it won’t help you much) it is also fully 64 bit compliant and if you want to fill up your machine with RAM for modelling or other intensive processes very nice.

Get one, Apple support is good if your hardware fails and the culture of the computer they have is that they should help you.

Just don’t wait too long……..

nicholas February 7, 2005 Reply

Dear Rachel,

Nearly all the posts here do make sense. You should buy a Mac for the additional diversity and experience. There are no cross platform issues I have run across since OSX arrived but the old “Classic” well it was a different world.
Using Linux you will understand the basic principles of OSX already relating to the kernel and the stability and security of the systems. They do what root tells them to do su-
Now my instinct tells me (partly as OSX grew from nExt OS) that OSXI the next leap will in as much support X11 instead of the frakenstein way it does now (but it does work). Pixar run rendering farms on Linux workstations but their Renderman runs on OSX.
Tiger will have some very neat innovations like XGrid (but you will have 1 machine so it won’t help you much) it is also fully 64 bit compliant and if you want to fill up your machine with RAM for modelling or other intensive processes very nice.

Get one, Apple support is good if your hardware fails and the culture of the computer they have is that they should help you.

Just don’t wait too long……..

Stephanie February 7, 2005 Reply

You can download themes if you hate the interface, and you can tweak the defaults.

Aside from all the points made above, I love Macs because I don’t have to upgrade my hardware every few months just to keep things running. I have three Macs, including the one at my office; in three years, the only piece of hardware I’ve bought was a wireless card for the laptop. (I don’t count the keyboard & mice because I already had them, but I too hate the single-button mouse. First order of business with a new Mac: toss the keyboard and mouse, plug in ergo keyboard & wheel mouse. No drivers required; Apple key maps to Windows key, eject key maps to F12. Done.) Mac hardware may be more expensive on the whole, and Windows zealots tend to bitch that they can’t upgrade the hardware easily, but it’s my experience that you buy it once and it LASTS. You don’t need to upgrade. How many PCs will run the latest OS updates on 3-year-old hardware with no performance hits? Mine certainly never did.

My Macs crash about once a year apiece. Whole system crashes, that is — individual apps crash occasionally but they don’t take the OS with them. Data loss has been practically nonexistent. And being virus-free is like waking up one morning without the nagging ache that’s been plaguing you for years; you don’t realize how awful you felt until it’s gone.

Microsoft Office actually runs better on Macs than on Windows, and has a few tiny extra features. (Screwy but true.) Someone already mentioned the Adobe license switch program, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that the Macromedia discs contain the Mac versions alongside the Windows ones; just copy the license key over and you’re in business. Dreamweaver 7.0 was awful on Macs, but the .0.1 updater fixed that.

I can’t tell you how handy it is to be able to set up your Mac as a development server and have all the basic UNIX tools available on your desktop. It’s just unspeakably cool that Macs are LAMP environments out of the box, even if 90% of users never twig to it.

Video on the web can be tricky, but the free VLC player will handle most formats if Quicktime chokes.

On the whole, owning Macs has been so trouble-free that my Windows years seem like a bad joke at my expense.

gv February 9, 2005 Reply

This thread may be of interest.
Best wishes. -CF

Tony February 11, 2005 Reply

I know this post is somewhat old now, but for quickbooks, you could look at Intuits Quickbooks online service. Then you could do your invoices from any machine with internet access, I believe.

Amit Karmakar February 15, 2005 Reply

One simple answer, go Mac. Once you start you will know the difference. Much has been said about the different OS’ over many blogs. You would rarely find people leaving mac OS although the reverse happens all the time. That should answer you. And don’t miss the Essential Mac Applications at

Mary Cook February 16, 2005 Reply

For Mac FTP, use Interarchy ( It’s bascially the standard Mac FTP program, and is so beautifully integrated with the OS, it’s almost like it’s part of it.

For screenshots, use Snapz Pro X (, again, basically the standard screenshot utility on the Mac. It can captures shots of ANYTHING – even DVD playback which is specifically designed to prevent this.

Hope this helps,


praetorian February 20, 2005 Reply

i don’t know why people say virtual pc 7 is slow… xp (under vp7) runs faster on my dual g5 than it does on a 3 ghz wintel machine… anyway, i used wintels exclusively for 15 yrs… i tried my g/f’s mac for one week… married the g/f… bought a mac… life is great

Andy Budd February 24, 2005 Reply

I used to be a die hard PC user (no, really I did) and would get annoyed when people mentioned Macs. “They’re just for designers” I thought, “with more money than sense”.

However when I moved to a new job the studio was all Mac, so I reluctantly started using them. I have to say that switching to Apple was probably the smartest move I ever made.

After a month of getting my feet wet I could do everything I did on my PC, but faster. Using PC’s I’d probably spend about 5% of my time installing apps and keeping the system running. Admitidly it’s not a lot, but if you’re using a computer 12 hours a day it can add up. By comparison I probably spend less than 0.1% of my time administering my Mac, making me a lot more productive.

With regards to needing a windows box to test on, unless you are doing things like ASP development locally, I don’t think it’s that big a deal. As a few people have mentioned, Virtual PC is a good thing to get for testing, especially as you can run different OS’s (e.g. 98 and XP) on the same machine. However these days I just use browsercam and VNC in if I need to do anything that involves behaviours.

I don’t know anything about Quickbooks, but there are various business apps on OS X including MYOB. Most other things like SFTP, CSS editors etc people have already been dealt with by other comments.

Small Paul March 4, 2005 Reply

Should have realised and posted this ages ago, but about FTP

Your GUI tools are all well and good, but if you get down onto the command line, you’ll find that FTP comes free with the Mac.

Yes, it’s command line. But that allows you to use shell scripts for common stuff. And means it’s pretty fast.

I can understand it not being for everyone. But it is free. So if you don’t want to pony up for any of the (very good) Mac FTP clients (although I’m not keen on Fetch), it’s an option.

Aaron Boswell March 5, 2005 Reply


I don’t know if I can say much more than has already been said. But here goes…

Save your money on the KVM thing. Microsoft has RDC (Remote Desktop Connection) for the mac and it works FLAWLESSLY with my XP Pro machine at work. I can access it from home as well. Yes, there are some times that I need to access it directly, but that is 1/100 times and I can switch a cord 1 out of 100 times.

Also, our office manager uses QuickBooks Pro (a version not available on mac). She uses RDC and her mini to get everything going. She shares the printer attached to her mac with the pc. You can also copy and paste and mount your mac drives in RDC so she can get ALL her info in the same place. The only goofy part is remembering to switch from cmd+c (mac copy) to ctrl+v (pc paste).

Giving you a bit of background on me. I am a graphic designer (so am biased towards mac) who was raised with a computer programmer father who alpha tested dos and win 3.0 (so am biased towards pc). I am strongly torn in both directions. I will say this, though. With the mini being so cheap, just do it. It isn’t the fastest machine in the world, but it is fun.

The bottom line is…

Do it. Do it for fun. Do it for love. Do it for hate. Do it for any reason. Just do it.

Bruce Collier March 14, 2005 Reply

Don’t do it. I’ve been using a mac all day at work for 5 months now, and am fairly at home with it, but I’d still go back to a PC if I could.

Things that mac lovers don’t tell you:

– macromedia software is quite buggy on the mac. Dreamweaver/Flash/Fireworks MX 2004 all crash on me at least once every two days, while they are rock solid on my Windows XP box.

– freeware/shareware apps are few and far between. I love the fact that on Windows if you’re doing something only once, there’s generally a little app out there you can grab to do it.

– keyboard/mouse inconsistencies. Everyone says “just get a two button mouse and it just works” That’s sort of true, but Mac apps aren’t really designed for 2 button mice, so if you right click in different applications you’ll get a bunch of different behaviours that aren’t consistent. I live and die by home/end keys for coding, but they act differently all the time making me much less efficient.

– the finder is slow. At first it drove me mental, but now I’m tolerant of the 4/5 second delay when I scroll down network folders with many files. (I’m using a G5 btw) If you save a file to your desktop, expect to wait 10 seconds for it to appear. I hope they fix these speed issues in the next osx update, becuase it really makes the whole experience feel ‘clunky’.

(btw. Small Paul, command line FTP comes free with Windows XP too. No big deal.)

Kristen March 20, 2005 Reply

Shapeshifter is an amazing little app that skins the Mac OS. I know the Rainy Day theme from Windows which you speak of, and I can think of at least one Mac theme off the top of my head that is along the same lines as far as colour and simplicity.

Get a Mac. Just do it. Have fun.

Ben March 22, 2005 Reply

Hi Rachel.
I bought a mini a month ago, and recieved it last week (if you do order one, order the keyboard and computer separately it speeds things up). My first impressions were that the mini was small, and it is… its basically a laptop squeezed into a desktop machine.

OSX is easy to use, although im still a little befuddled with it all. I have always used Windows, and a little Linux, but I really did like TopStyle and Wise FTP, they’re great programmes, but im sure their are some great mac replacements. Transmit is supposed to be very very good.
One thing that is vastly different is the mouse reaction speed, but a quick visit to the Microsoft site to download drivers sorted it! 🙂

Its a great adventure, Im sure you could replace both machines. Let us know what you decide to do, and good luck! 🙂

Vincent April 28, 2005 Reply

We sell a lot of macs, and when people ask us about accounting software we point them in the direction of MYOB (Mind Your Own Business), you can see it here

fii May 7, 2005 Reply

Late to the game here, but in addition to the others’ comments, I’ll add the following (as a Mac user for 20 years and a PC user for 10):

The mini is great ONLY if you want a small, attractive form factor. It is not as inexpensive as its base price would lead you to believe after you add the necessary RAM (512 MINIMAL, 1GB much better). You might also want to add a faster hard drive (it comes with a 4200rpm version… slows the system down significantly). To add these items, you need to open the machine, which is somewhat tricky (instructions and video can be found on the web). After adding them, along with a wireless card (if needed… should be added when purchased), the price will climb to $800-$900. All for a system that’s slow-ish (although, to be fair, it’s about the speed of my current personal system).

The Powerbooks might make more sense if you need portability. The iMac definitely makes more sense for power and value. Apple’s tying their system more tightly to the hardware these days, using the GPU to speed the interface, etc. The mini just doesn’t have the chops to give you a great experience, IMHO. If you’re only using it in a limited manner (web work, writing, e-mail, music, etc.) then it’s okay, but any significant Photoshop, video or animation work will leave you wanting more speed eventually.

But a Mac is definitely worth the investment. The system organization really has become more like Windows if you look beneath the GUI skin. After you see the similarities, it’s much easier to find your way around. Easier and better, I might add.

All the app questions seem to have been answered as well as possible. I’ll vouch for MYOB for books, although it’s not really a replacement for QuickBooks. It has a QuickBook import helper (as useful as these types of things normally are), but I have yet to find an accountant that takes MYOB files. My recommendation would be to either continue using your PC or use VirtualPC, which would probably be fast enough for Quickbooks (still irritatingly slow at most things).

SnapzPro is great (fantastic, even), but doesn’t automatically resize. It does do great movies, though.

A KVM works fine with a Mac and PC… at least the Belkin models do. Make sure you get one that uses USB and DVI (and audio is a help as well).

PC mice work fine. Absolutely. I’m not sure what the previous poster found objectionable, but I guess there might be a bit more variability in the right-click mode, due only to individual programs, not the OS. And there’s a program called USB overdrive that will allow you to reprogram any button on any USB device.

That brings us to individual utilities and freeware/shareware. I think there’s a healthy amount out there, and it’s usually much more polished and well-thought-out than on the PC side. is a great source. The good news is that grassroots development is on a huge upswing with OS X. It started with Next, Unix and Linux developers migrating over, but now is in full force. It reminds me of the early 90s, when small, clever apps were always cropping up.

Finally, you should know that it won’t be easy, quick or cheap to incorporate any of this stuff. And if you’re even mildly happy with your current setup, it probably won’t make sense. Unless you’re after a system that has the overall stability of Linux with the consumer apps of Windows (most of them, anyway). And is more flexible than either. And just does what a computer is supposed to do – turn on and get to work. I migrated to Windows 10 years ago and came back about 3 years ago (with OS X… I knew some Next developers). I still own and maintain more PCs (6) than Macs (2), but I only boot my PCs up when necessary (3D work and occasional financial software).

theboth May 17, 2005 Reply

Speaking from the point of view of a very recent convert I can say this: I will never go back!

I just recently purchased a G4 iBook and over the past month and a bit I still cannot say enough about it and am still on a daily basis surprised by the time it saves me.

I was a hardcore redhat user for the past 6 years or so. I only used windows to validate my web design in IE. Since I have bought the mac I find simple things that I found so tedious in windows and even linux are made easy. The alternate take on directory browsing, software installation, and system scripting.

To date I have yet to find an application that cannot run on the mac that I had on windows. The one or two that I have found to be of lesser quality on the mac I have found different programs which I have now converted to which do much better jobs.

For CSS editing and even text editing in general I was a die-hard VIM user. Now I use BBedit and the difference has been like night and day.

For documents and such I still use MS Word when required.

As for the other applications other than the finance software I have found the default apps that come packaged with the mac more than useful but were nessisary have found no lack of options as substitutes.

In then end I have come to truely enjoy working on the mac. I hope that you do to.

duce June 13, 2005 Reply

Just curious if there is an update to this. What did you decide to do? Anybody changing their minds with the release of Tiger? I’m interested in getting a Mini to get into MacLand, then upgrading to a laptop down the road and handing over the Mini to my kids.

Any thoughts?

Lynden August 4, 2005 Reply

Rachel, don’t bother to get a mac. I recently tried one out and have now sold it, after using windows for many years.
Why have I gone back to windows? Macs are lovely to look at and use and do seem to be more stable. However, there is nothing a mac can do that a pc can’t but plenty the other way around.
Everything which Mac people rave on about to me just seem like gimics and not useful features. That is how macs came across to me; as primarily very gimicky computers rather than useful tools.
You are quite right in thinking there is a lack of software for the mac. Aside from the ‘big ones’ like microsoft and macromedia, for all the other little things we do, without exception, I found the windows programs far superior to the mac ones.
Very annoyingly, if you are plugging any external drives into macs and windows, the mac leaves lots of little files and folders lying around which you cannot delete unless you never ever ever plug it into a mac again! Very annoying.
And besides, now Mac are going to intel, I wouldn’t bother buying a mac for another 5 years; 2 to let them change over and another 3 to get the teething problems over.
So, stay in the windows world. You are much better off. 🙂

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