Monday, October 22, 2007

So....I bought a Mac - Confessions of a new Mac Zealot

Forgive me Gates for I have sinned.....It's been almost 3 months since I fully became a switcher. And let me tell you...

I'm lovin' it.

In one sentence this is how I would express owning a new Mac.

It's the cheapest computer I have ever bought and it's the most productive I have ever been.

I purchased a lil white MacBook in August I was pining after the more expensive, by almost a grand, MacBook Pro, but my lil budget said, are you crazy?!! So I bought the lowly MacBook. Well after a few weeks I realized that this 15" inch screen pip squeak of a machine had a few power cards up it sleeve. It just runs. Mind you it has crashed a few times (5 or 6) but that was when I know I've been maxing out the memory and whipping the dual Intel processors with heavy multi media work, that is it's weak point. Weak point because it's memory card uses the RAM from the machine.

So there you go, due disclosure of the cons of this specific model, up front. Now for the pros. I've been a designer for over 10 years and I did not start using my own Mac until about a year ago. I managed to acquire a G5 on a barter from a client. It worked well but it had issues that were becoming harder and harder to bear, it being a second hand un-refurbished machine and all. But I was still impressed with the Mac platform. As the Mac became less reliable, I grudgingly shifted work to my HP Pavilion laptop. Plugged away at it until the chance to purchase new machine came along. I jumped at the opportunity to buy my first brand new Mac.

It's been a great 3 months and I think the only side effect to owning a Mac is I have become "one of them". Yup a Mac zealot. When I start waxing romantic about my new purchase I sometimes see the look that you give a person that is trying like the dickens to get you to try a new religion or to purchase that exercise machine you KNOW you don't need. But still I wax on, why, I simply love this machine. I do not say that lightly, now for the why's and the wherefores.

Although it's are a bit limited on this model due to shared memory, the dual processor architecture makes up quite a bit. Photoshop on this machine handles HUGE files much better than my $2,200 HP Pavilion laptop. Running multiple programs with the 1 gig of RAM is for the most part pretty smooth.

More than just pretty
The UI, goodness gracious, what can I say, it's pretty, it's smooth, it's pure eye-candy delicious-goodness. This may sound strange but look forward to looking at the machine, everyday. Jumping from program to program using Expose has improved my productivity incredibly. One thing that has helped in this is my Logitech mouse. With just a flick of the mouse wheel I see all my programs, pick one and I jump into another app. Flick,copy....flick,paste.....flick view new feeds in rss reader.....flick,send invoice in browser.....flick,copy image from web....flick,paste into Photoshop. I'm in multi-tasking heaven. Also the convenience of the dashboard and the fluidity of the interface makes personal computing....personal. Also, for me it's not just about, oh the Mac is so pretty and all the eye candy. If the beauty and fluidity of the interface can elevate my user-experience on a day to day basis, then form and function are become one. For me design isn't just about making things pretty it's about elevating the user experience, and cloud nine is feelin' fine. Warm fuzzy feelings when things just beautifully, I get those everyday.

Apps and Productivity
There are a ton of lil 3rd party worker bee programs/apps that make using the Mac a more productive experience. The main one being of course Quicksilver. To put it plainly it's like an assistant that never needs a raise, is always on time, put's what I need at my finger tips and delivers everything but a steamin' cup a joe. Quicksilver increases my productivity by making things easier to reach without going too far from your immediate think-space. It's that simple. I won't go into a review of the app here but let me say this. Nothing comes close to how smoothly this app helps me to; open a new program, send an email to someone by just a quick keystroke. But I will leave it there :)

The other side of productivity are the apps that come with the Mac. The iLife suite of programs, iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, iWeb and Garage Band are a joy to use and makes digitizing memories quite easy.

Wanna do a podcast and mix in some cool loops or that cool new song you have on your iPod, Garage band.

Want to whip up a beautiful, functional (Youtube videos, Google Maps, forms) site in less than 30 minutes, iWeb is King!

Just got those lovely pictures of your granddaughter, whip up a coffee table book to show off her baby-blues in iPhoto.

The list goes on.

How about, serious work. The new iWork '08 apps are incredibly good. I do not miss all! And yes there is a new app for working spreadsheets called Numbers who's beauty belies it's power. You have got to try it out. Keynote will do wonders for your presentations, literally. The cinematic nature of the final production is nothing short of awe-inspring. You could actually do an entire 30 second ad in this thing, ready for HD or broadcast TV, sayonara Flash. There are caveats mind you, but few and far between they are. And then there's Pages, layout and word-processing genie. Whip up spanking new and crisp newsletters in no time flat. Do up some new business cards for that meeting tomorrow if you just ran out. And a host of other cool functions are built into this solid app.

There is just too much to write about the design of the machine. Although there is just so much you can do with a laptop's design. Just go by an Apple store and get a feel for it. I'll let the merchandise speak for it self.

So at the very high expense of being labeled a Mac Zealot/Believer/Evangelist I will still say it.... Being on the Mac has renewed my joy in daily work, it really has, and this MacBook will be the single reason for saying, "This is the cheapest machine I have ever used and the most productive I have ever being."


p.s. Along comes a Leopard, ladies and gentlemen. With a major OS release with two major halo products (iPhone and iPod), Apple is officially at a significant tipping point.


Lalita said...

What a great article! I, too, am trying to step back from the "Dark Side of the Force" and switch from an HP Pavilion to an Apple. Too many times, when I've gone into the Apple Store, the clerks looked at me with complete confusion when I asked about making the switch. They were Applers from the get-go and had no idea what I was concerned about "You just turn it on and go."

Your article answered the questions I had on switching--how it would effect my work and the applications I so love.

Yorkali said...

You know what Lalita, that's exactly why I wrote it!