Converting from Windows PC to Mac

I became a Mac user in 2004. If you had told me, a few months prior to that, that I would buy a Macintosh, I would have said you are nuts, there’s simply no way. I had been a windows user since Windows 286 (that was even before Windows 3.1) and was quite computer literate. I had no major qualm about my computers, and could always troubleshoot them and maintain them in good shape and safe from viruses or malware. I didn’t adore Microsoft software, but I knew I didn’t have much of a choice and I used them efficiently.

But then I started my PhD program and needed a new laptop to carry around with me to the library and eventually to the archives. I already had a laptop and a desktop but my laptop was rather heavy and I needed something considerably lighter. I had my eye on a Dell Latitude. My basic requirements were size and connectivity:

  • it had to be a 12″ laptop
  • it had to connect to the internet in every way available (built-in wireless, cable, & modem)

And decent speed would help, of course. But it also had to be under a certain amount. At the time (2004), none of Dell’s laptops came standard with wireless internet. It was an extra. Also, the standard configuration left a bit to be desired, so I’d have to add a bit more memory and HD space, which brought the price of its 12″ laptop up considerably. A friend suggested a Mac. I wasn’t sure. I had used a Mac once during my undergrad years and found it clumsy and non-intuitive. The friend insisted that the new operating system was much better. Mac fanatics had always annoyed me and I had refused to get into the whole iPod bandwagon. But I respected this friend’s opinion and decided to at least do some research on compatibility (I’d still have a Windows PC desktop, after all). Most of what I do on the computer is basically limited to the Internet, word processing, some spreadsheets, powerpoint, web & print design, and graphic work. All those things worked well cross-platform. I spent a couple of months visiting a 12″ Powerbook at the UofT Computer shop. It was sleek, small, powerfull, and it had all I wanted. Plus, with a student discount, it would cost me much less than the Dell I had considered previously.

I took the plunge. The first couple of weeks were awkward but then a whole new world opened. I had no idea everything I did on a computer could be THAT much simpler. My experience was pretty similar to that of this guy. Slowly, I stopped using my desktop. It wasn’t much fun anymore to use a system that didn’t have Exposé. So I got rid of it. Alan also enjoyed playing with my computer and as he got more and more involved with music recording, he found out that a lot of people in the music industry relied on Macs. So he too made the switch. Then I slowly got deeper into it as I moved from Mac versions of software developed for Windows (such as MS Office & Endnote/ProCite) to software that were available only for Macs (like Mellel, Pages, Keynote, Bookends, DevonThink Pro, Adium, etc).

That little 12″ Powerbook is still my trusty main computer. After upgrading its memory & HD this past year, it’s back at being as good as new. I usually have about 10-15 programs running and at least 10 tabs open on Firefox at a time. I love the fact that my 4 year-old machine can handle that without noticeably slowing down. I also love that I don’t need an anti-virus. But I won’t bore you with all of the pro-Mac chants…

I don’t really know why I’m saying all of this. I guess after reading he experience of Greg Wilson, the guy cited above, who switched to a Mac after 20 years as a happy Windows PC user, I wanted to share my own conversion story. I was raised as a Catholic after all. Do check the last link; it is worth it.