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10 February 2010

Windows to Mac transition Reassure me[More:] I'm fed up with Windows and getting a Mac mini (the economy model.) My nine-year old PC has been in with virus infestations twice in the last three months, my software is going to be forced obsolescent soon, I'm fed up with Windows. My current machine is old, slow and has 10Gb of storage. Anything will be a step up.

Tell me the transition won't be a horrible experience.

I'm Mac experienced, but work made it more convenient to have a PC. That's no longer true and I decided to switch to a Mac some time ago. Now I'm about to order and I'm nervous. On the other hand, a new PC would mean the newest MS office suite and that's unbearable.

Pre purchase angst....
There are things I miss, such as right click. Oh that's about all I miss.

I wish that I had MS Office but I could buy if it I wanted to. . .OpenOffice works acceptably, and it's free.
posted by danf 10 February | 15:45
A mini sounds perfect for you. I've never, ever had any malware/virus/worm or other serious system problems with OS X. I use Macs for both work (large print publishing projects, mostly) and personal stuff and am happy with the system. Sure, I could buy Adobe's software for Windows, but at this point it would feel like a downgrade.

Plus, if you want/need to, you can always install Windows on that box. (But I'm sure you know that.)

danf, did you know if you use a multi-button mouse you'll have right click? Contextual menus have been been part of the Mac OS since the nineties.
posted by D.C. 10 February | 15:48
D. C. I have a macbook which I love but the glass trackpad has a learning curve that I am not on the other side of yet.
posted by danf 10 February | 15:57
The transition will be a horrible experience - but I'm only saying this because of Mac envy.
posted by Daniel Charms 10 February | 16:04
I love my Mini. I'm totally happy with it.
I sometimes regret my keyboard purchase. Other days I really like the thing. YMMV.
I strongly suggest a multi-button mouse for right-clicking.
I've got iwork 09 and I don't see the point in getting messoffice for any reason other than maybe sending files to people.
Make sure you get an external hard drive for time machine.

Just do it... no looking back now...
posted by disclaimer 10 February | 16:39
Yesterday my SO just retired her 11 year old Win98 PC because of a hardware problem. I've upgraded her to a 2002 era XP machine we had lying around.

My only 2 experiences with Macs were in 1984 and 1993. Neither was a particularly good experience but I'm sure it's a lot better nowadays...
posted by DarkForest 10 February | 16:44
Thanks, I'm feeling better now. And shopping for best price. So far it looks like $600.00 is about the best I can find.

I like the fact I can plug in any keyboard or mouse. Apple keyboards feel a little cramped and my little fingers don't always hit the right keys.
posted by warbaby 10 February | 17:16
I think this is a bad idea and you should stick to Windows. Not because I think Windows is better, but because I can't afford to make the transition myself despite being totally sick and tired of Windows-related crap and I'm jealous.
posted by dg 10 February | 17:26
All transitions are horrible experiences, but they're for your own good!
posted by Obscure Reference 10 February | 17:34
Oooooh baby this is gonna feel soooo goooood.
posted by gomichild 10 February | 18:51
I just started using a Mac, and it's not horrible, but, so far, it's not magically intuitive and perfect. However, I look sexier and people think I'm a lot cooler. So, there's that.
posted by theora55 10 February | 23:52
You'll love it.

That said, the latest MS Office is worse on mac than it is on windows. No VBA, for one thing. Grrrr.
posted by pompomtom 11 February | 00:03
I also want to point out that the "Mac has no/fewer viruses" thing is a canard.
posted by Triode 11 February | 01:15
I went PC-to-Mac for the same reasons back in 2006. Boss just bought an iMac for Xmas.

We've both had about the same learning curve. Things I wish someone had told me right off the bat, that I told him to save him some of the hair-pulling I endured in the first month or so of transition:

- you can drag windows to resize in OSX, but the only drag handle in OSX is on the lower right hand corner, not all 4 sides like in MSWin. No biggie, but that's pretty much the only feature I prefer on the MS side of things. The upside is that resized windows in OSX will STAY resized, exactly as you left them, forever and ever, or until the next time you decide to move them.

- The little "Apple" symbol in the upper left hand corner works similarly to the "Start" button on the lower LH corner of XP/Vista, if you need to do under-the-hood stuff. Otherwise (and typically) I just hit "apple-spacebar" to open Spotlight.

- Installing files is dead easy, a LOT easier than the Windows "OMG INSTALL WIZARD IS SO EASY!!! crowd would make it out to be, but you do have to remember to drag your little installer icon into the Applications folder and drop it. Otherwise you'll go all double-click in frustration and end up with little drive icons scattered about your desktop. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but the native Macuser crowd thinks it's untidy and will tend to point and laugh.

- you can plug in any mouse and have right-click available exactly as it is in MSWin. Or, alternatively, you can use the Apple mouse and just hold the "Ctrl" key whilst one-button clicking to access contextual menus.

- the Delete key is also the Backspace key on Apple keyboards. You merely hold the "Fn" key to backspace.

- the "Command" key (aka "apple key" or "splat key") is God. Learn it, live it, love it. It does TONS more useful stuff than the correlating stupid "windows" key in MS. Lifehacker and the Macforums crowd have scads of tips surrounding this feature.

- If you have all your music ripped to .wma (?) format, then you're probably gonna have to get some sort of third party app to convert it to .mp3s, and the process will lose you some quality. I haven't noticed much, if any quality loss on the tracks I had to do this with, but then I only had an eentsy music collection in '06 when I switched. I re-ripped all my CDs rather than running a conversion. If your stuff's in .mp3 (i.e. you've been using an iPod) then you'll be fine.

-- It could be a non-trivial process (or even impossible) to get a non-Apple .mp3 player to work with a Mac, but I know little to nothing about this subject, having ultimately drunk the Apple kool-aid and switched to an iPod around the time I ditched my old PC.

-- The good news about all this media formatting stuff is that when it comes right down to it, if it's really a big deal you can simply run a dual boot system and install Windows to run in either native (BootCamp) or virtual (Parallels, VMWare) modes. My Macbook pro turned out to be a FAR better, more stable and faster Windows box than any PC I've ever dealt with before or since.

-- IM software: GET. ADIUM. no, seriously. You'll love it. It's hands down the best chat aggregator I've ever used.

Random stuff: I'm "meh" about Safari, although it does load a lot faster than FireFox and the whachamacallit feature where it serves you a matrix view of all your most popular/recent page views upon launch is kind of cool (but gimmicky). Haven't tried Chrome yet. I use Opera occasionally, simply for its fantastic file transfer/download interface (*cough*torrenting*cough*). I rarely use the Finder, since Spotlight just. works. iTunes runs much, much, MUCH faster on a Mac (go figure). I turned off the annoying auto-launch deal for iPhoto for all my photo devices (cameras, USB drives, my iPhone, etc...) because I default to Aperture or Photoshop, but prefer to launch them manually.

Overall I find the OSX experience to be as advertised: stable, reliable, fast, user friendly, hassle-free and devoid of the endless malware / spyware headaches of my former life. With the caveat that what Triode says is true, and I also run FF as my primary "heavy-lifting" browser with Adblock and Noscript installed, so ymmv.
posted by lonefrontranger 11 February | 15:40
I also want to point out that the "Mac has no/fewer viruses" thing is a canard.

That you don't have to worry about viruses on a mac at this point is the truth. That's far more important than your 'canard'.
posted by justgary 11 February | 17:27
If you tend towards avoiding your mouse if at all possible, you will quickly get very irritated at the Mac. It is significantly harder to do some tasks without switching to the mouse on Mac.

However, someone on metafilter recently let me on to the secret that if you dig into the keyboard settings under keyboard shortcuts there is a little radio button that allows you to tab through dialog boxes and buttons and drop down lists the way you would expect to be able to do so.

Why it is under keyboard shortcuts is a mystery to me.

Also, anything will probably be better than a nine-year-old slow Windows computer.
posted by that girl 11 February | 23:27
May I do a little "Yay, me" ? || Hey, Un and Underemployed NYC Bunnies. . .