Two weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and move my life from a Windows XP desktop to a 15″ G4 Powerbook. Thanks to all the readers that gave me tips on their favorite apps and utilities.
I thought it would be a big deal. As a long-time Windows user who’s used to all-day rebuilds and migrations, I figured I was in for at least as much work to switch to Mac OS X and a new computer. I was wrong. I’m sure some will disagree with me, but IMHO, it’s easier to move from a PC to a Mac than it is to move from one PC to another. One reason is that when you move from one PC to another — which I’ve done many times — you like to take the opportunity to re-install most of your applications, a time-consuming process. The alternative is to use some utility to replicate everything. But one of the reasons for moving to a new PC is that you don’t want to move everything. In particular, you want to start with a fresh registry, not one filled with all the junk you’ve collected over a period of some years. Mac OS X has no registry, of course, so when you want to remove an application, you just delete it.
In any case, I’m now entirely living on the PowerBook, and here are some of the applications I’m using:
- Outlook2Mac from LittleMachines ($10) is amazing. I used ot to move all of my email, contacts and calendar data to the Mac OS X utilities. The best $10 I ever spent on software.
- NetNewsWire from Ranchero Software is not only a terrific RSS aggregator, as of version 2.0 (beta) it’s also one of the best tools for receiving podcasts. Brent Simmons has always had a great sense of intuitive UIs, and NewNewsWire is in that caegory of ‘it just works’ programs.
- Microsoft Office: Mac — yeah, I broke down to support the old habits.
- Quicksilver from Blacktree, Inc.
- Skype now works pretty well on OS X.
- Stuffit was one program I had to buy (Stuffit 9) because the version that I brought over from my iBook didn’t work on the PowerBook.
- Firefox, which I like better than Safari.
- iSync Palm conduit to synch my Treo 650 to the Mac OS X utils.
- Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, both from Apple, $59 each, are excellent. I just wish the mouse had a way to do window scrolling like you can do by dragging two fingers on the touchpad.
One other thing that blew me away: When you start OS X for the first time, you’re asked if you want to move from another Mac. I’ve been using an iBook — which will now become my wife’s as a replacement for her XP box — so I said yes. One Firewire connection and 20 minutes later, and everything I cared about on the iBook, including all of my personal configurations, was moved to the PowerBook.
And other than a few reboots in order to install applcations, the PowerBook hasn’t been turned off since I bought it. It just works.
[Qualification: I’m still using a few XP boxes as the workhorses in the IT Conversations studio. Mac fans will argue this, but for the type of hard-core post-production audio work I do, fast Pentiums and some of the Windows-based apps are superior to what I have on the Mac. So while I moved my personal stuff to the PowerBook, all of my audio and imaging apps stil reside on XP. I could move Photoshop, etc., to the Mac, of course, but I’d have to buy all-new copies for some big $$, so for now I’m happy keeping those on XP.]
Just two complaints:
- The touchpad ‘click’ bar requires just a bit too much pressure, and I find if I drag/drop something across the full width of the screen, I tend to drop it prematurely. I’ve taken to using two hands, with one finger on the second hand to jold town that bar.
- I haven’t for the life of me figured out how to get to ‘end-of-line’ in most text applications. On most Windows apps, the ‘end’ key does this, but on the PowerBook, most apps interpret this as ‘end-of-page.’ Maybe I’ll figure this one out.