Mac Eye a for a Windows Guy

Back in May I posted on my old blog, of how I had decided to switch to Mac and OSX from Windows. The urge to switch was mostly due to dis-satisfaction with the state of affairs in the Vista beta (i.e. more or less unusable at that stage), and the urge to try something new.

Since then I have taken delivery of a MacBook and I have now used it as my main machine ever since. So what are my experiences:

  • The MacBook (mine is the white model) is an extremely sexy piece of hardware. That in itself makes the switch worth-wile.
  • OSX is a really nice operating system – but it is just that; an OS. It is not a religion, it does not cure cancer – and I so wish the Mac fan-boys would remember that. Why I bring this up is that when you come in as a new user you tend to trawl the forums/newsgroups etc in search for help, tips and tricks, and so on, and I must say that quite a few Mac users come across as religious zealots, more so than for other OS:es.
  • As I earn my living in the Windows space – doing research and training, quite a few of my colleagues assumed I was going to use BootCamp and dual boot. That is not the case, I am instead using Parallels and I run my Windows machines as VM’s. This works extremely well; when I bought the Mac I upped the memory to 2Gb and switched the hard drive to a faster 7200 rpm drive. This gives me plenty performance, and without having any benchmarks it feels that my VM’s run faster in my Mac than the VM’s I used under VMWare in my ThinkPad.
  • On the host I have made an effort NOT running MS software – or locking myself in with Apple, so I use NeoOffice (based on OpenOffice) for my word-processing and spreadsheet needs, and Firefox and Thunderbird for browsing and email. It goes without saying that I also use Emacs.

So far it seems everything is just bliss, any negative things:

  • Windows users tend to dislike the File Explorer in Windows. Compared to its OSX equivalent, (Finder ), File Explorer is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Finder is absolutely brain dead – for example; if I connect to a share on a remote server by mounting the share from the Terminal, the chances are pretty high that Finder won’t see the new volume (without having to re-launch Finder). Fortunately I have found a Finder replacement in Path Finder, an excellent piece of software.
  • Above I mentioned that if I did it from the Terminal Finder had issues. This is another thing, it seems that when you use OSX you are supposed to do everything from the GUI: drag and drop, point and click. Understandable in one way as Apple was really the first GUI (apart from Xerox Parc), but still. OSX has a great underlying Unix core, but trying to get information how to do things using the Unix core from the Terminal is very hard to come by. Quite often the reply you get is that: “this is not the way you do it in a Mac …”. Well, excuse me but I thought Apple and Mac was all about having a choice.

Anyway, I am a happy camper using OSX, I’m looking forward to the up-coming Leopard release to see what that brings to the table. I haven’t had any chance yet to do any dev-work on OSX, but I’ll try to play around with Objective-C and Mono as well.


8 Responses to “Mac Eye a for a Windows Guy”

  1. astronomy Says:

    what’s a good place to buy the 2Gb upgrade from?

  2. nielsb Says:

    I bought the memory from Crucial (, as I always do.

  3. Joe Says:

    Thanks for this blog posting!

    I’ve been considering switching to the Mac OS for some time now, primarily for the same reasons you’ve stated in your blog. However, I’ve been very reluctant since I make my living in the Windows space – developing SQL Server/.NET applications. Glad to hear of your experiences with it.

    Keep us posted….maybe I’ll find the guts to switch too.


  4. Joe Says:

    Oh yeah…meant to ask about newsreaders. I use Forte’ Agent – anything similar in the Mac world?

  5. Apps for a Windows User on OSX « managed data Says:

    […] No, I have not slipped back into bad old habits and stopped blogging. I’ve been out of the country and have not had access to the ‘Net except from my mobile. That’s how I saw that Joe in a comment to one of my posts, asked me if I knew any news readers for OSX. I thought that would be a good topic to blog about, not news readers per se, but what applications do I use on my MacBook coming from a Windows environment. […]

  6. CrossOver for Mac (or: Run Windows apps Inside OSX) « managed data Says:

    […] In previous posts I have written how I have changed over from Windows to Mac OSX, and how I am running OSX as my main OS. I also wrote that I used Parallels as my virtualization environment, so I can run Windows in a Virtual Machine. That works extremely well and I’m doing all my teaching, playing with research of technologies from the VM. The VM is still a bit of an overkill if you just want to run a particular Windows application – say PowerPoint (it is still miles better than having a dual boot system using BootCamp and dual-booting into XP). […]

  7. Mark Says:

    Thank You

  8. iPhone Hysteria « managed data Says:

    […] Seeing that I am a Mac switcher, you’d have thought that I’d be over the iPhone like a rash. However, I’m not! I […]

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