Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update on my MacBook

Just a quick update. I am still very happy with my Mac -- and I will not go back.

The more I use it, the more I like it. Is it perfect? No. In a way, that's sort of comforting. There are still little glitches that show that computers are still in their infancy, in the overall scheme of things.

The areas I have problems with it are areas of overlap with the Windows world. PowerPoint for the Mac is different from the PC version, even though the files are compatible. The key sequences are dfferent, and the layout is different. I have not gone whole-hog Mac -- abandoning PowerPoint for Keynote in iWork, for example -- so perhaps I deserve some issues here and there.

It is funny how my expectations are different, now. Google released Chrome, their new browser, last week, but only for Windows. Windows? Now, considering how all of the demoes Google makes of their software is done on Macs, I have to think that a version of Chrome for the Mac is close at hand, but, I think the Mac should have come first! Sure, from a market point of view, Windows is still the bulk of the PCs out there, but that will change.

Speaking of Chrome, I did download and try it. I like it! I have to say that it is still early, but the idea is good, and I like the interface, and I like the comic book introduction Google put together. The comic book is really techie, but I like that, and it explains why they did what they did. I have been getting used to browser problems over the years, to the point where, like an incessant ear ringing, I just stopped noticing. But, with Chrome, the effect is almost, but not quite yet, like that effect of total silence and relief when the droning suddently stops. The effect will be fully mature, I suspect, when the bugs are ironed out.

So, I have found that I like Safari as a browser. I also use Firefox. I use Firefox alot when I know that a site hates, or doesn't support, Safari.

Entourage, which is (and this is unfair, because it is better) Outlook for the Mac from Microsoft, is okay, but, as I said, better in general than Outlook. Outlook however works better with Exchange. The one way to handle that is to kill Exchange and move to something like Google gmail.

I love MindJet MindManager. I use the Mac version, but I have to say that their PC version is better. Too bad. It is not enough to make me go back to the PC, but it is the one app that comes close.

I find myself going directly to the Mac keyboard shortcuts on my PC, which is interesting, and shows how far I've gone. I have to purposely "remap" my fingers to go back to PC mode.

Also, and amazingly, I don't use a mouse anymore with my MacBook. I love the multi-touch interface. I find myself trying to scroll with two fingers on my PC notebook -- and, it does not work! The multi-touch touch pad is truly incredible, and I found myself reaching less and less for the mouse, and then, whcn I was using the mouse, I would go back to the pad for scrolling and other things -- and I have a nice mouse! Finally, I just stopped using the mouse, and I use it now with the PC notebook (when I rarely use that). The multi-touch pad is awesome.

I find when I go back to a PC notebook, it is like putting back on the old hairshirt. I am glad to get back to the MacBook.

And, it still just works. I close it, and it sleeps. I open it, and it starts right up. I have it near a known WIFI location, and it connects right up. I have it near an unknown WIFI location, and it asks me to connect -- and it connects right up. You see, it is the little things that matter. It is the details that matter. Who cares that Michael Dell has the most awesome supply chain and the (so-called) cheapest PCs on earth, and that Dell is able to efficiently configure PCs to order and get them to you same-day, if the PC is a piece of crap? Who cares that IBM/Lenovo builds onyx-colored bricks that can take the hammerings of plane flights and three-year-olds if their eraserhead mouse is skittish and your finger keeps sliding off? And they all use Windows, which requires a large amount of babysitting no matter what you do, or what version you run. Whatever small problems I have had with the Mac are minuscule compared to the constant tinkering and attention that Windows machines require to maintain decent performance.

Macs are great.