Ditching the Ball and Chain and Escaping From the Windows™
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I remember when Microsoft's first operating system came out, years before Microsoft® Windows™ appeared. My work at a medical school had me using DOS 1.0 on a first-run honest-to-goodness IBM PC. It was the beefier of the two initial configurations offered by IBM, with a full 64k of memory on the motherboard. I'm sure that my current desktop computer has more memory than all of those sold, ever, combined. The eventual DOS 1.1 update was a big deal: it introduced directories (now commonly called “folders”). Prior to that, all files where in one big flat area with no hierarchy. Except with only a 5¼” floppy disk for storage, there was nothing big about anything.

I also remember while using DOS and directories and such, that wow, much of it was similar to the Unix that I'd been using at the university, or the CP/M on my Dad's computer at home.... except that the Microsoft version of everything was often gratuitously different, and not in a smart way.

I recount all this to illustrate that I have been around Microsoft software for as long as there's been Microsoft software... almost 30 years... and I realized even back then what most everyone knows now: Microsoft technology is kludgey, and limits you to the least-common denominator instead of to your own skills and potential.

So it has been with considerable and constant irritation, like that of a pile of glass shards in one's shoe during a long hike, that I have been using Windows as my desktop at home since moving to Kyoto five years ago. (I needed to run some applications that are not available on any other system.) I helped ease my pain by setting up a Unix-like terminal-based system in which I can do my development (such as my Lightroom plugins), and I do so through a MacBook laptop sitting on my desk next to the PC's keyboard.

Even with those steps to ease my geeky heart, it's been a miserable pain. The real irritant, besides Windows' clunky UI design, is that it seems to be considered normal for Windows to just suddenly stop working smoothly and to require a reboot. I'll be working for a while (a day or a week) and suddenly applications won't be able to paint the screen correctly. About 1 in 10 times I reboot, the graphics driver is gone and I have to reinstall it. Folder settings (such as whether to show thumbnails or lists) revert to a random setting... randomly. It's moronic.

I also administer my wife's computer, and my in-laws' computer, which also had Windows... nothing but pain for years. They would grow slower and slower and slower over time, and no amount of virus scans and disk defragmenting ever seemed to help.

This summer, I moved them both to Apple's OSX, getting a Mac mini for my wife and a 20iMac for my in-laws. Neither are who you would call tech-savvy, but both immediately loved the new systems.

They.   Just.   Worked.   Intuitive, no-fuss tools.

These are the same phrases that the uber-geeky crowd at the 2002 O'Reilly Open Source Convention used to convince me to try a Mac in the first place. I'd been mostly a Linux user and was extremely skeptical, but I gave it a try and have had (and loved) a Mac laptop ever since.

When the non-tech-savvy mother-in-law and the uber-geeky computer crowd both agree that Apple computers are easy and thrilling.... non-sucky... to use, maybe that's saying something important.

So why am I still wasting time being irritated with Windows?

I have no idea, but I aim to fix things.

Apple came out with new models last week, so I've decided to punt my Dell desktop and replace it with a quad-core iMac. It's not the most powerful Apple computer, by far, but it's the most powerful one with a clean-desk one-wire (the power cord) design.

I'll also get a Time Capsule, which provides high-speed wireless internet, wireless printer access, wireless remote-disk access, and wireless backup. The same thing without a built-in disk is called Airport Extreme, and I got one for my in-laws last month. Even though I expected it to do a lot and be easy to set up and use, I was amazed on all levels. I didn't even need to be a geek to set up with dual wireless networks (a secured network for their computer, and an open network for guests, like me with my iPhone) in minutes. It just worked. Wireless printer access just worked, too.

And for my Windows-only applications? I'll use VMware Fusion to run Windows XP in, well, a window on my iMac desktop. With my current Windows box and the two that I replaced this summer, I've got three valid Windows XP licenses at my disposal, so I'll just use one there.

Apples computers are beautiful, but in trying to squeeze so much into such a minimalistic design, they push the boundaries of what's possible, and in my experience, they tend to break the moment the standard warranty expires. It's worth adding 10% to the price to get the 3-year warranty; the computer will still likely break, but now with the warranty they'll fix it really really quickly.

So, before I place my order, does anyone (uber-geeks to non-tech-savvy grandmas) have any words of wisdom to pass along?


All 31 comments so far, oldest first...

This story sounds a lot like mine, only that I have only thought of replacing my parents computer with a Mac, and my own thereafter. I have already told them that when the PC breaks (hopefully soon) I will recommend them to buy a Mac. So will I within a couple of months.

For the record:
I am from Norway.
I was a uber-geek, now only a medium geek.
I work as a system developer in a Windows-company (C#, .Net, WPF).
The only gadget that has improved my life is my iPhone 3GS.
The next gadget to do so is probably also something from Apple 🙂

— comment by Frode on October 28th, 2009 at 1:06am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

You don’t have to get AppleCare right away, you can add it almost one year later. Amazon and eBay will have better price then Apple, especially eBay, but you have to be careful there. My biggest issue with iMac — non user replaceable hard drive (it died on my iMac after two years, but AppleCare came through and replaced drive in one day).

— comment by Slava on October 28th, 2009 at 1:08am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I’m not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned below, and in hindsight most of these tips are pretty obvious. Hopefully they can help someone.

My words of wisdom are to avoid the Apple Store upgrades for the drives and RAM. MacSales.com has the best prices for those parts, by far, and even if you’re not comfortable with doing upgrades (I suspect you are) there are many easy guides online.

When you have the Time Capsule as your router, sleeping machines connected to printers can be automatically woken for print jobs by other machines on the network. Then they go back to sleep when finished.

The current quad core iMac is equivalent in bus speed and RAM capacity to my three year old Mac Pro, but at a far lower price, and with the best LCD Apple has put out to date. The processors are faster now, naturally, as well.

The new VMWare allows for both Boot Camp (traditional boot options at startup) as well as running that Boot Camp partition in a VMWare instance, so you’re free to go fully Windows if need be (this wasn’t the case in my experience in the past).

— comment by Doug on October 28th, 2009 at 1:08am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I also progressively switched from PC to Mac over the last 18 months, (first my laptop, then my wife’s, and finally my desktop computer at work). To be on the safe side with all these, I also got a Time capsule.

When I have to use some Windows-only programs, I run them through “Parallels Desktop”, (on which I have two virtual machines, one XP and one Ubuntu).
Any reason why you plan on using VMware Fusion instead? Is it more efficient for graphics-related applications, or is it just the first one you came across?

Dimitri
(from Dublin, Ireland)

I have the impression that both are comparable, but a new version of Fusion came out this week, so I figure to go with that. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dimitri on October 28th, 2009 at 1:33am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Watch out for the Time Capsule:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/10/time-capsule/

–Bill

— comment by Bill on October 28th, 2009 at 1:36am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I am really happy with VirtualBox for running Windows. It’s super-fast and open source.

— comment by Michael on October 28th, 2009 at 1:43am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I followed a similar path… Started with the Mini as the heart of my entertainment system. I made the switch on my primary machine as soon as the new unibody Macs were released. Got a 15″, but missed the massive resolution, so the Mrs. got the 15″ when the 17″ unibody was released. A few months later I bought my mom a 13″. The hardest part of the transition has been unlearning stupid Windows tricks.

“How do I install?”
“Just drag it into your Applications folder”
“Then what?”
“That’s it”
“No, but I…”
“No, really, that’s it.”

I have a TimeCapsule… If I had a chance to do it over… I might buy an Airport Extreme and just use USB disks instead. I’m just a little worried by some reports that the TimeCapsule isn’t the robust item Apple has made.

— comment by Mark Denovich on October 28th, 2009 at 1:47am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I am a semi-geek. I come from a fine art / design background. I am a web designer / developer by trade.

Bottom line: By all means, switch to Apple/Mac. The more people that do, the better it becomes for all of us. Apple’s success forces, Win/PC to improve/work harder. At the same time, Apple’s competitors want to take a slice [sorry for the pun] of Apple’s success, so they constantly (try to) innovate as well. This in turn causes Apple to never be allowed to be complacent (like Microsoft has been). Ultimately the fierce competition means all of us consumers get the benefit. I’m not sure if I’ll switch to Apple, but I’m definitley not getting Win7… Why bother, when XP is works great, pretty good at least until the next reboot.

— comment by Ron Evans on October 28th, 2009 at 2:30am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I have 2 laptops, 1 for windows (XP) and 1 for Mac OSX. I guess it depends on what applications you use regularly and whether they exist on the Mac (you can always dual boot the mac to run XP)…

I prefer Mac because it is easier to use and crashes less. Not to mention less hassles in terms of surfing the internet (spywares etc etc)

— comment by John on October 28th, 2009 at 2:36am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I made the switch in May. Unfortunately many of the things that are supposed to “just work” on the Mac have been problem areas for me. I routinely have external hard drives, card readers, or other devices that disappear. The Mac either works great or it doesn’t work at all… there’s not much gray area for troubleshooting like there is on Windows.

Looking back, there are some nice things on OS X. Windows 7 has some great features as well. I’m not convinced that either one is better overall.

— comment by Aaron Hockley on October 28th, 2009 at 5:12am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I like OS X but not enough to justify the ridiculous price premium Apple wants for their hardware. Windows has worked well for me over the years. I had a Mac back in the System 7 days. I didn’t miss it.

I had a bit of exposure to Macs from time to time over the years prior to OS X, and I was not impressed. They were toys, as far as I could tell. OS X completely changed the game. —Jeffrey

— comment by Chad on October 28th, 2009 at 7:39am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Wow, lots of comments for a highly divisive topic.

In my own experience, having several Unix, Windows and Mac systems at home and at work, I can say that they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Overall I feel Unix is best suited for servers, thanks to the industry-standard high-quality server applications available. Windows has the best client applications, because it’s used by 90% of the planet, so everybody develops for it. Mac is a bit in-between, it has a nice underlying system thanks to Unix, and some cool apps like Windows, but not as much choice as the latter. Also I feel Mac hardware is too restricted and I’m not able to tinker as much as I do with Unix and Windows hardware.

Windows 7 appears to garner some good feedback, but let’s wait and see. After all, crappy Vista had great feedback at first, too. Also I feel MS really got some good stuff going with their .NET initiative. It’s a huge step forward in object-oriented programming, in my opinion. Like it better than Java. It shows MS has some abilities after all.

I got my mother a MacBook to replace her aging Windows PC and it was a rather rough ride so far. She’s very challenged with technology so it was a good test for Macs, and it didn’t totally pass to me. You still need to be tech-minded and have a lot of support from a family-member. And what’s up with the inability to open a file by pressing Enter in Finder? That annoyed me but it’s just a detail 🙂

Whatever works for you I guess. Personally I prefer Linux for servers and Windows for clients, Macs don’t have that much room in my life.

— comment by rx1337 on October 28th, 2009 at 8:21am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

But if it doesn’t break like Windows, where’s the sense of accomplishment when you fix it? 😉 My office slashed our IT department down to practically zero, figuring it’s cheaper to do everything by phone/remote from a few countries away. I’ve become the go-to guy simply because I, as my supervisor put it many years ago, “know how to turn on a computer, right?”. I’ve been the first-line tech support for nearly every section I’ve been in for the last 15 years.

Played around with a Macbook before I bought my current Dell (Core i7, 8GB RAM etc). I just couldn’t bring myself to do it!

— comment by JasonP on October 28th, 2009 at 8:42am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

In my (not very) humble opinion, there’s not a lot of difference between Parallels and VMWare’s Fusion 2. I have both and alternate between them to keep my options and opinions current. Parallels 4 is a little faster for things like Lightroom and Photoshop. However, I haven’t gotten the latest Fusion yet; but I will get it and run my usual benchmarks.

As for Chad’s comment about the “ridiculous price premium” of Apple hardware, in my experience, that’s applicable only to the initial cost, not the total cost of ownership (TCO). Macs are cheaper if you use TCO to judge, even if your time span is only a year. If you look at the TCO for three years, a Mac wins by a huge margin, even if you value your own time to fix things at $1/minute.

My only complaints with Apple concern their prices for RAM and hard drives. I always buy a minimal configuration and then load it to my tastes/requirements with third-party RAM and HD’s.

Expanded ram and disk aside, I think Apple’s basic hardware is priced pretty reasonably these days. Their markup on extra RAM is very high so I, too, plan to get it elsewhere. My wife’s Mac mini (a powerful computer the size of a short stack of CDs) was something like $650 after I added on the wireless keyboard, and another $120 or so for a small 3rd-party monitor. The quad-core iMac with 27″ monitor, 1TB disk, 4GB ram, DVD burner, wireless keyboard/mouse, and support for an extra high-resolution monitor is less than $2k. A big ugly under-desk Dell with the same specs might cost a bit less, so there’s indeed some cost in the ultra-clean and compact form factor. For me, though, the biggest draw is It Just Works. I don’t want to fiddle. It’s a tool. I want it to work for me. I don’t want to have to own (and be skilled in the use of) an arc welder so that I can repair an always-breaking hammer just to hang a freakin’ picture. —Jeffrey

Update a couple of hours later: I’m going to have to amend my previous comment to add Mac Pro to this list of high-markup items. Its princely price makes the all-in-one iMac, laptops, and mac Mini look all the more reasonable. To mimic the base quad-core iMac in a Mac Pro model costs about double. The one thing I’d like to not give up in the all-in-one package is a bit of expandability (say, to use a solid-state disk as the system disk), so checked out the Mac Pros, and the prices left me gagging. —Jeffrey

— comment by Craig Lewis on October 28th, 2009 at 8:49am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Laguna Hills, CA, USA

I recommend a second monitor. I find Windows as a virtual machine on the second monitor great for testing, better than using separate machines.

Parallels has served me well for three years on Intel iMacs at work and at home.

— comment by Carl Rambert on October 28th, 2009 at 9:45am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

It’s so sad that geeks don’t like windows. After having to hear (from the so called geeks) complain on Microsoft’s Windows through out my short, 10 year career, I tried to figure out the reason, not once, but a number of times ~~~

The business model of Desktop PC is different from that of Apple. Microsoft makes OS *only*, and PC vendors are free to make the hardware. There are a hell a lot of drivers and applications written by Non-MS guys. Despite Microsoft’s efforts, mostly the third party applications fail. And sometimes the system crashes. The BSOD is not seen often these days, but still, it remains ;-).

I had used Mac from ~1999 till ~2004 and it used to crash far more than a normal Windows PC. Probably they fixed most of the issues by now. I am not sure. But, I have always felt, Microsoft’s success lies in the ease with which 3rd party software and hardware developers can write applications and device drivers.

Probably, it lacks the *geeks most loved* ~terminal, or the “vi” editor, etc .. etc .. But for a 3rd party developer there are extensive resources like the MSDN collection.

Mac works, and is probably loved by geeks, back from the olden days. But it sucked when we tried to develop applications and device drivers. And that’s one reason why Windows still rules. And will continue to rule, till such time, Apple becomes a pure unbiased OS company.

So you’re saying that Apple will be better when they open their walled garden to allow buggy third-party device drivers? I’m missing something in that logic. I’m at the age where I don’t care who made what, I just want it to work. —Jeffrey

— comment by Britto on October 28th, 2009 at 9:58am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I spend about 4000+ hrs a year in front of a laptop. I can easily amortize whatever premium is baked into the Apple product, because the user experience is so superior. I can’t tell you how much I value how my MBP is nearly silent. The glass trackpad is brilliant… I’m not going to wear a hole through it. If a computer is important to your life, I think you can easily justify paying the premium for an Apple

I had a NeXT Workstation for a while, and I loved it. It was a serious machine, brilliant design, and a pleasure to use… way way before anything else looked that good. I waited a long time for something to take its place. Snow Leopard + Unibody MBPs however have set the new high watermark.

About the price directly: Is 20% more for an Apple a big deal? 50%? Good… I hope it remains a strong incentive for Apple to continue making the best products they can. If American car companies had just tried that straight-forward plan they would not be bankrupt wards of the state.

I have thought of one problem with the Mom + Mac equation: my mom has no Mac using friends to learn from.

About your mom’s situation: Remote Desktop, or one of the many free remote-desktop apps out there. My sister has been using something like that for ages to help my mom (PC to PC), but what she uses (Marci, chime in here) is also works for Mac and Linux as either side of the endpoint. My problem in this are is timezone: I’m 13 or 14 hours ahead of my folks, a problem that Apple has yet to provide a solution for.—Jeffrey

— comment by Mark Denovich on October 28th, 2009 at 9:58am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I’ve been using XP at work (no choice) and Ubuntu Linux at home (by choice) for many years now. Like many, I’m considering the switch to Mac right now. I’m just tired of spending my time fixing things, and have narrowed down my software requirements to those supported by Mac (and XP via VMWare). The Time Capsule is a significant part of the attraction, so I have been discouraged to read about data losses involving the TC.

i.e. http://www.rowleydownload.co.uk/blog/?p=69

This is causing me some hesitation.

On another note, I love your blog (great photos & technical insight) and have been reading parts of it for some time now. Keep up the great work!
Tyler

It’s discouraging, for sure, but it’s important to realize that without and off-site backup, no number of working (or non-working 🙂 ) at-home backups will help you in event of a local disaster (fire, tornado, flood, etc.). I backup all my photos offsite (by doing an rsync to my server). —Jeffrey

— comment by Tyler on October 28th, 2009 at 12:19pm JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

If you look in the dictionary under geek you will see my picture; I’ve been programming since 1966…got a computer science degree from MIT the very first year one was offered. I’ve been working at the same software company, first as a programmer and now as President, ever since.

Personally, Like you, at home I got fed up with Windows about 18 months ago and switched myself, my wife, and my daughter to OSX. My son, who was a confirmed Linux buff, seems to be in the process of switching as well.

For business reasons my company continues to run on Windows, though even there we are careful to use only the barest minimum of API’s and in particular ones that are pretty much available on other operating systems so we could switch if the market place changed, as I hope it will.

To me it feels like Apple has achieved what has become to be the “holy grail” of Linux: placing a stable, attractive desktop GUI on top of a Unix-like system. At the same time, they are careful to present a standard for program development (Cocoa, Xcode, etc), that all are encouraged to use. And you pretty much have the full power of a command line Unix available if you need it, but non-geeks (e.g. my wife), don’t even have to know it is there.

Two tips:

1) The only thing in the Windows UI that I like better than OSX is the ability to easily expand a window to full screen. I solved this with the utility RightZoom which mostly lets me duplicate this functionality. In addition, Snow Leopard lets me expand the screen by holding the Control key and using the scroll window.

2) Investigate QuickSilver by BlackTree software. It gives you a lot of control over OSX in an extensable paradigm.

I’ll definately look into RightZoom, for the new system and for my laptop, as that’s a big frustration with OSX. I hit the green “expand” button to expand the window, and it never really does. These kind of things stick out like a sore thumb amid such thoughtful design. —Jeffrey

— comment by Howard Messing on October 28th, 2009 at 10:56pm JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I would definitively recommend getting AppleCare (that’s the only “extended warranty”-type thing I would buy), and using VirtualBox, free virtual machine that works great.

Luc

— comment by Luc on October 28th, 2009 at 11:29pm JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Great blog! I’m in the process of switching from a Dell PC running XP to an IMAC. As a photographer, I need speed and space! My PC is choking and has been for a while. I finally decided to bite the bullet and switch to Apple. I’ll be buying the 27″ IMAC. Trying to decide between the Dual Core and Quad core processor. I want the quad core with the i7Core processor, but it adds quite a bit to the price. Just curious if anyone has had experience that would help with this decision. I’m so frustrated with my Dell that I want the biggest, fastest machine I can get, but don’t want to overspend if the dual core would suffice. Any thoughts?

FWIW, I’m going for the quad core if I get an iMac (still considering the outlandish price of the expandable Mac Pro). Note that there are more differences besides the number of cores, such as the graphics card. —Jeffrey

— comment by Virginia on October 28th, 2009 at 11:49pm JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffery,

Re: remote desktop… My mother has been benefiting from that form of IT support for a long time now (using LogMeIn, since it easily deals with firewalls and whatnot.) It is fantastic. What I meant about not being able to learn from friends was: she misses out on the little bits of computer knowledge you get from watching someone else do something at work. Things she doesn’t know to ask. “Oh, I didn’t even know you could do that…” is a common refrain whenever she gets a chance to see me using the machine.

Apps: Google’s QuickSearchBox or Quicksilver are must haves (Launchy is nice for those folks stuck with Windows.) Once you use them you will be hooked.

Re: bad reviews… “You are doing it wrong” is usually what I think when I see people posting a long litany of problems with something that seems to work for me. OSX is hardly idiot-proof (the world keeps making better idiots) but if you know what you are doing, then stuff “just works.” I managed to keep the same install of XP going for 4 years, with no virus issues, and everything working as well as it could… but it was thanks to practicing very good computer hygiene. It required much more active maintenance and an extensive knowledge of “what not to do.”

I don’t know what I might be doing wrong with my XP woes, but it’s not unsafe computing. I’ve never, ever had a virus or the like. Ever. I’ve also never had virus-protection software (Norton or the like), except for Windows Defender which I don’t know what does but figure it shouldn’t hurt. Just today, not having done anything “interesting” to the computer, it started to have screen-repaint issues. I rebooted. The graphics card was no longer recognized, and I had to reinstall its driver. It took 5 reboots. —Jeffrey

— comment by Mark Denovich on October 29th, 2009 at 12:04am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

a couple of notes:

1) until Apple releases a mini display port to dual link DVI adapter that actually works, the mac pro is the only thing that supports a 30″ display. I happen to know that you don’t have a 2560×1600 display, so this probably doesn’t concern you.

2) You might check out EFI-X — I am running OSX 10.5.8 on PC hardware. I pieced together a setup based on a Q6600 (quad 2.4GHz) for less than $1000 including the EFI-X dongle. http://www.efi-x.com. No Snow Leopard support last I looked, but it is promised for owners of v1.1. I have both the EFI-X box and an 8 core early 2008 Mac Pro, and the most of the time the two systems behave similarly.

(yah, their website sucks, but basically the EFI-X is a USB dongle that boots and loads an EFI layer, which then boots vanilla OSX install media or installs)

— comment by Josh on October 29th, 2009 at 2:25am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I converted to a MacBook Pro a little over a year ago. I am now running Snow Leopard almost seamlessly (a couple of glitches yet but sure to be fixed soon). I have run VmWare Fusion for a year totally seamlessly. Windows XP Pro boots up in a fraction of the time and I have almost never had to reboot it. Imagine saying that in any Windows program. I think I will update to the newly released version of VmWare Fusion 3, as it is optimized for Snow Leopard and Windows 7. (I refused to put Vista on the Mac, as Vista was the main reason I switched from PC to the Mac :-).

I am awaiting delivery of 2 Windows 7 laptops, one for my husband and the other for my best friend. I dread the thought of having to configure them but both people are computer luddites and will never convert to the Mac.

I also transferred my Photoshop license to the Mac on a one-time convert basis, and Lightroom allows installation on both Window and Mac computers. The only difference I note is that I am working on a far better screen on the MacBook Pro than any Windows computer I have used. And of course all your Plug-ins are a delight on the Mac Lightroom 🙂

I was originally going to use Entourage on the Mac for my mail, contacts and Calendar, but found Entourage much more crippled than Outlook. Address and Calendar ported easily iCal and Address Book. I found a cheapee converter for my mail messages and have been able to configure all in a manner similar to that I used in Outlook.

Ina

— comment by ina on October 29th, 2009 at 4:24am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I forgot to comment on my backup strategy.

I am paranoid about backups, as I beta test a lot of products and have blowups, along with hard disk failures from time to time.

I have a 2 TB external hard disk backup and have it partitioned for TimeMachine and SuperDuper. I run time machine periodically during the day when I am tethered to the backup disk. SuperDuper runs automatically each night and is bootable.

I aso have a SuperDuper backup on a portable hard disk for on-the-road daily backups. Again, this disk is bootable. I back up this disk each night on the road. When not on travel, I once a week back up this hard disk as well.

Ina

— comment by ina on October 29th, 2009 at 4:34am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Apple products (most of the time) just work right.
And having been in on the ground floor have experienced
the ins and outs of the system.
Now noting the above have also operated a parallel Microslop system as well;
for as Jeff has noted, don’t realize they should really be extinct.
Maybe one day we can all hope. And Linux works equally as well.

So traded my G5 iMac purchased used two years ago in
on a still fresh in the box 24″ iMac some months ago.

First of all it is a step up to an Intel chip, which means many advantages.
I use Airport Extreme with one exception.

Use somebody else’s two terabyte hard drive for backup.
My choice, didn’t know of the problems with the inbuilt system
until after.

And because have had good success with warranty repair
on my still functioning G4 iBook purchased the extended warranty for
a reduced price. Will keep the iBook until it dies, although
pundits tell me that could be the next millenium; the last built
G4 iBooks were built very well.

The Microslop Prehistoric Computer stand alone system has
been consigned to the electronics recycler; purchased a two year old
MS based laptop (for $100.00) which will receive Windoze 7
if and when I get round to it. Some amateur radio
programs require a Microslop based environment, sadly.

And I don’t believe one shold mix operating systems
even if it is possible. One per machine, please.

— comment by Bryce Lee (I am not Asian) on October 29th, 2009 at 7:41am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Fusion and Parallels provide very similar performance for me, running XP atop Snow Leopard; if you find that one of the very few features missing in one is available in the other, it’s relatively painless to migrate XP from one of these very reasonably prices apps to the other , since each can import the other’s VM disk files. I don’t do demanding work in XP (mainly running alternative raw converters and Rawnalyze to get acceptable histograms for raw files) so it’s getting to the stage where, even on a humble dual-core machine, leaving XP running in the background doesn’t drag Mac performance down, given the right virtual machine settings. On your quad-core iMac, it should be essentially unnoticeable unless you’re hammering it.

I initially went with a Boot Camp installation that Fusion 2 then read and made some modifications to (like installing VMWare Tools), just in case I needed to boot natively in XP from time to time. Nice solution but over time, the ability to revert to a version of the Windows installation that worked before some software update (presumably) or other weirdness torpedoed the OS proved irresistible; that easy snapshot feature isn’t possible when Fusion is using your Boot Camp partition so I scrapped BC entirely and went with a regular file-as-hard-drive setup. (Creating and destroying the NTFS Boot Camp partition on the Mac does not destroy data on your HFS+ partition so it’s something you can experiment with; the tedium of installing XP from an SP1-version CD and applying all its updates is beyond my ability to describe but you’ll know all about that side of things already.)

— comment by Bahi on October 29th, 2009 at 2:48pm JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I switched to OS X 1.5 year ago, having used various Windows and Linux versions, as well as IRIX and SunOS. The biggest change after switching to OS X is that I spend no time fiddling with networks, drivers, installation and all the other annoyances that I struggled with on Windows. And I never restart my Mac.

I agree about the TCO comment above: You pay more for a Mac, but you get a fantastic operating system (FreeBSD is a few keys away), and the Macs’ build quality is excellent. Don’t compare a MacBook Pro to a cheap Dell laptop, compare it to a good ThinkPad or similar.

I have to recommend Quicksilver, the best app launcher/etc I’ve seen. The only icons in my dock are the running apps, and I have quick and easy access to everything: Apps, documents, contacts, etc.

— comment by Christian on October 29th, 2009 at 7:39pm JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Oh, and regarding Time Machine, backups, etc: This blog post may be of interest: Backup of images, Lightroom catalog and other things using RAID, rsync, etc.

— comment by Christian on October 29th, 2009 at 7:42pm JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I actually liked Windows XP – it worked very well for me. When my hardware died after a long and useful life, however, my new system had Vista 64. I should have changed to XP right away, because very few things have made me want to go stick my head in the oven like trying to get my old pieces/parts to work with Vista 64. Sigh.

I do love LOGMEIN.COM to help Mom out as needed. It’s free, and absolutely fantastic. Apparently, it will work for both Windows and Mac as well (if we ever upgrade Mom to a MAC).

— comment by Marcina, USA on October 30th, 2009 at 3:54am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Simply because I like bright, shiny things I almost tripped over my jaw when I went into Best Buy the other day and saw the new 27″ iMac!! I had futzed around with the 24″ model and was sold on that cause its just SO sexy, but with the new line, that monitor and 3 more inches has me sold.
My Dell with Vista Home Premium is still chugging along so switching just to switch isn’t in the cards right now…but when the time comes we are going to convert to Mac.
Just my .02 cents.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to try and balance this pitcher of water over my PC tower.

— comment by Ray on November 1st, 2009 at 2:42am JST (8 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink
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