Cough, cough. Sputter. E-hem. Wow. The last week has been a whirlwind of computer configuration, file copying, and hardware fixing. One disadvantage of being self-employed is dealing with hardware downtime. It's not that I haven't prepared for the possibility. I've backed up my files. I've set aside money for new hardware and software. But it's the lost time that's killing me. From now on, I think I'm going to keep a back-up computer, with all the necessary software loaded on it and ready to go. Because going through the troubleshooting process with any computer vendor is not the quickest thing. It requires a pretty snazzy patience cap. My PC issue is still not completely resolved with HP. I'm close, but now I've got a completely new hard drive, no software installed on it, and the built-in wi-fi card isn't working. And even though my MBP, which finally arrived Monday, is set up and (for the most part) ready to go, it's taking some getting used to.
Which brings me to the topic at hand. Over the past several days, I've noticed there are a lot of blog posts written by people who have switched from PC to Mac and who have written about their 'switching pains.' There seems to be a common thread to all of these posts and I've noticed that PC users seem to go through five distinct stages of transformation when moving from their old PC to their new Mac. I thought I'd document those here, and in the process describe a few of my own personal switching pains.
This is the 'Oh, wow it's so shiny and cewl
- I absolutely love it' stage. It begins when you first take it out of the box and lasts through the initial boot where you check out all the nifty programs and the slick interface. Theoretically, it's possible to remain in this stage indefinitely, making funny faces in front of Photo Booth, laughing hysterically, and wondering why your eyes are all dried out. And while this seemed like a perfectly reasonable option, I'm a long way from college, and there's projects that need doing. I needed to get down to brass tacks. And coming to this realization is probably where Stage 2 begins for most people.
I call this the 'Oh shit, what have done - this was a huge mistake' stage. To hell with the slick interface and shiny exterior! You're quickly discovering things which used to be easy to do on your PC, which are actually harder to do on the Mac. A-ha! The ads lied!
And even though you knew this going into the whole thing, you're now faced with the cold reality that there are certain beloved PC programs you used to have on your PC which are not available for Mac. Two important examples for me: Note Tab Pro
- a great and simple text editor which I used for, among other things, writing blog posts - and Picasa
. And for all you long-time Mac users who go on and on about iPhoto, let me tell you: Just taste of the Picasa goodness and you'll be convinced. A taste is all you need. It's faster, has more functionality, and simply put, it's better. Hopefully a Mac version is coming soon. Google? Mac version of Picasa? Can you get on that please? Snap, snap.
Stage two is also marked by finger cramps and furious cursing at the keyboard. You're constantly doing things like hitting the CTRL key instead of the Command key for functions like copying and pasting. In this way, you begin to understand that the advertising for the Mac was actually spot-on - it really does make you more creative! You know this because you're finding ever more imaginative ways to use the word 'fuck' in a sentence.
This is the 'I'm really enjoying using this here Mac despite the fact that I can't use certain software on it - and, oh, I found out how to do such and such, and even though it's a little convoluted, it's really not that bad' stage. (Pretty catchy, eh?)
One thing I used to do on my PC all the time is alter my 'hosts' file so that I could do development work on a client's server and be able to direct my browser to a domain of my choosing without having to mess with entering any new values into a DNS server. I know there are several of you who read this blog who might not know (or care) what this means, so I'm not going to go into it. But I'll just say this: it was simple to do on WinXP. On Mac OS X, it's a little harder
. (JP, if you know an easier way, which I'm hoping you do, please let me know what it is.) For one thing, it seems you have to learn a little Unix command-line voodoo. And for another, it's more than just a single edit to a single file. I don't really mind learning the Unix stuff. In fact, it's kind of interesting. And eventually this is something that'll be just as easy as what I used to do on WinXP. But it's just an example of how there are some real differences between PC and Mac, and sometimes those differences don't always spell 'e-a-s-y' like the Mac commercials lead you to believe.
This is the 'Okay, I'm getting the hang of this stuff now - I'm learning the shortcuts and the interface - even a few Unix commands - and you know what? I kind of friggin' like it' stage. I'm sure I'll get here soon, but it hasn't happened yet. The most important aspect of this stage is that normal productivity resumes.
Generally referred to as the 'Microsoft who?' stage. Your friends begin to notice that you are dressing cooler, eating healthier, and generally living better. Every morning, your spouse prepares a full breakfast, which is followed up by some toe-curling morning sex. You are never tired. Or bored. You are constantly riding the crest of a morphine high. Your house cleans itself and, amazingly, your shit stops smelling. For some reason, you find yourself putting the letter 'i' in front of everything, most notably, your life. You begin decorating your house in a modern, unornamented style. Lots of whites, blacks, and straight lines. You begin to speak of time in terms of 'pre-Mac' and 'post-Mac.'
Stage Six: (shhhh!)
I know I said there were five stages, but I think there's actually a sixth, which most Mac people don't talk about, mainly out of The Fear (with a capital 'F.') If you ever hear a Mac person say they're getting 'The Fear' don't worry, it's got nothing to do with drug use - at least not the usual drug use we've come to expect. Man, I'm really putting myself out on a limb even talking about it, but here it goes: Stage six has been known to occur after an extended camping trip or some other vacation where you're out in nature and away from civilization for an extended period of time. You come home and look around at all your iCrap and realize that you're still drinking kool aid, only it's a different color (metallic blue) and it doesn't come from Redmond. It's Cupertino's finest blend and it tastes pretty damn good. Here you were thinking you were shunning the corporate monster, only to find he's right here in bed with you, giving you sweet caresses in the middle of the night.
It's a harsh, glaring reality. You feel 'The Fear' begin to set in and you begin to shake. You could probably get help, but you're really not interested in any of that. Instead, you pour yourself a big glass of that yummy blue cocktail, load up iTunes, and watch some iTV. By the time your friend calls you on your iPhone, you've forgotten all about that big corporate giant controlling your thoughts. It's cozy in here. That's all that matters.
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