Friday, May 19, 2006

The Big Switch (or not so big)

As usual, we're in the midst of transitions. There's one transition in particular that I've decided to blog about, mainly because I expect it'll be of interest to lots of people on the web. There will be at least a few posts here before I exhaust the subject. So, here's the change:

We've switched to Mac OS X from Windows XP. Well, switched isn't quite correct. We got a new Mac Mini, and hooked it up to a 4-way KVM switch, so we can use one monitor for the Mac Mini and the old eMachine XP. It's been a week or two now, so how's it going?

Well, we don't switch to XP much. Of course, I also have a work laptop running XP, so I use that all day. But when I come upstairs, if I need something on our personal computer I mostly use the Mac. Of course, being a tech guy I switch over and check settings or mess around with the different setups, but to do anything I mainly use the Mac Mini.

During the first week, after I did the initial setup, I was getting the Mac Mini on our wireless network. Easy, by the way. Easier than XP. Then I got it to talk to the XP computer. As I was doing this, I noticed that I was feeling a little more out of control than on Windows.

Now I've used Windows for years now, pretty much all the way back to DOS (I remember the monochrome computer in my room with Monopoly and a spreadsheet program!) And though I "used" Macs in high school, the class was fairly lame (my football coach taught the computer class). So I don't think I got a good introduction to Macs.

Back to my narrative: So I noticed that I just didn't know how to do things, even "simple" things, that I knew on Windows. Even though there's tons of help, and I've since discovered most things I was trying to do are easier / better on the Mac, they were different. So all of a sudden I wasn't the power user I had felt like on XP.

Now my wife's been slightly skeptical of the whole thing, and likes to poke fun at my "obsession" with Apple and how I regard Microsoft as "the devil". So I was trying to acknowledge that the transition might not be the easiest thing in the world, and mentioned that it was a little harder than I thought. She didn't sympathize at all, so I asked if she was finding it difficult. Her answer caught me by surprise:

"No, not really."

My wife, surprisingly, doesn't switch to XP hardly at all! The one program she switches back over for is Paint Shop Pro, which is a windows-only program that we paid for and use to edit our photos. But for her, once I got Firefox on the Mac and our photos copied over to iPhoto, she was good to go.

So here's the deal: for someone who just wants to get some stuff done on their computer, and isn't a "power user" (read: geek), it's no harder learning to get around OS X than it is trying to get around XP. In fact, because things happen faster and the same way every time, it's actually easier even to someone who knows XP!

Now me, I'm still trying to find out how I can control the Mac's subnet masking.....


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