I Switched to Mac After a Lifetime of Windows, and It Doesn't Matter

Illustration for article titled I Switched to Mac After a Lifetime of Windows, and It Doesn't Matter

This weekend, my Dell laptop caught a virus that made it inoperable less than a week after a complete reformat and reinstall. So I bought a Mac laptop.


Yeah, I've used Windows machines for essentially my entire life, but switching turned out to be not that big a deal. Why? Because an OS isn't that important.

What's kept me from switching all these years isn't because I loved Windows or hated Macs. No, it was more a combination of laziness and self-identification. That's to say I didn't want to switch because I didn't want to deal with learning the ins and outs of a new OS, and also I identified myself as a "Windows guy" and didn't want to become a "Mac guy." Both reasons are essentially bullshit.

First, laziness. Switching from Windows to Mac or Mac to Windows or Windows to Ubuntu or whatever is easier than ever. There are differences between the operating systems to be sure, but none of them are that huge and none will have a real, fundamental effect on your experience. These days, most of what you do is online, or at least most of what I do is. When I switched, my feeds were synced online, as was my IM buddy list. Both my work and personal email accounts are online, as is my calendar. All of my files saved on my external hard drive work in, if not the exact same program, one that's very similar on the other OS. So really, it takes about a week of adjustment and then you're fine.

And as for identification, well, that's a pretty dumb reason to make any kind of decision. When it comes down to it, nobody is defined by their OS. Yes, Apple ads would love for you to think of yourself as a cool hipster for owning a Mac and to think of PC users as chubby nerds, but that isn't the case. Operating systems are just tools to get things done, and you can do whatever you want with any OS. It's like a car: No matter what kind of car you buy, you're still going to the same places. Driving a Hummer won't make you a tough guy, and using Windows won't make you a nerd.

I realized both of these things a couple of weeks ago after I bought a Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu Linux. I was worried at first that I'd hate not using Windows, but after about an hour I realized that I was having almost the exact same experience I would be having if it had XP on it. It just didn't matter.

So why switch? Well, having my system taken down twice in a week is not something I can afford to have happen. Macs, as of now, don't really get viruses. And I have a large community of people who can help me out with it if I run into problems. That's it.


So how's switching been? Fine. It's a nice OS with some features I like and some that I find really annoying. It's fun to try something new, but it's not blowing Windows out of the water or making me run to the returns counter. It's a computer. I'd be equally happy with a new Lenovo with similar specs and Windows 7 Beta on it, I'm sure.

The whole experience of using all three major operating systems over the past couple of weeks has been pretty fun, actually. I enjoy using new software and learning these basics again, and all of it feels pretty familiar. I plan on installing Windows 7 on my new Apple laptop so I can access any Windows software I miss and can stay familiar with how that OS is progressing.


And in the end, I'll keep doing what I always do with my laptop: Work on the internet, where what OS you're using matters exactly jack squat.



I've used Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Ubuntu (albeit through a Live USB), and Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard. Personally, while Macs aren't too bad, I simply prefer the UI of Windows more with a taskbar compared to a dock. The dock is, in my opinion, not a very good user interface design, at least how Apple has done it. The taskbar is better, and the Windows 7 taskbar is the best UI design I've seen thus far, combining the good aspects of the dock with the good aspects of the taskbar.

From a switching standpoint, I wouldn't. My main usage of my computer is for gaming, and the fact is that many games aren't supported on OS X, and some of my older games I have here certainly aren't. I could dualboot Windows but from an economical standpoint, it makes no sense. Why should I pay more than $3000 for a Mac ($1000 for 4 GB of RAM more? Seriously, Apple?) whose specs don't exceed my PC, which cost me $2633? My computer has a Core i7 920 processor, dual GTX 280 graphics cards, and 6 GB of RAM. Since Mac's require hardware specially built for them, it makes no sense to switch and dualboot Windows for a much higher price when I can buy a PC for a much lower price, get the same functionality, and have it be far more powerful than the Mac.