Menu Home

I’m Not a Mac #2–I Am a Future PC: Why I’m Dumping Apple after 15 Years

(Graphic: Not your father’s Apple Macintosh. Daring desktop image included with Microsoft’s new Windows 7.)

This post is part of my “I’m Not a Mac” series, chronicling my controversial migration away from Apple Computer after 15 years as a Mac user. Find other entries in the “I’m Not a Mac” series archive.

[Welcome to my readers from MacSurfer’s Headline News,, and Low End Mac. Don’t hate–trust me, I’m as surprised at my decision as you are…]

I am a future Windows PC user and that is that. After a 15-year relationship with all things Apple, I’ve finally had it with the Steve Jobs “you’ll use your computer they way we tell you to use your computer” method of customer relations.

In June, I blogged about my effort to pare down my electronic lifestyle. In a bid to make it easier for my ADHD self to manage the sea of information in which I swim–or sink–on a daily basis, over the summer I did what most mere mortals dream of doing: I migrated to a single email address and telephone number. I dumped my Vonage number, along with Apple’s Mail and iCal programs. In their stead, I routed all my calls to my iPhone and let myself succumb to life in the Google cloud.

My past four months of being a Gmail and Google Calendar user have been transformational. The ability to manage my mail, appointments, and address book seamlessly whether on my laptop or mobile phone and sync most of those items in real-time made life a lot easier for me. It also made me wonder at length why I had to use third-party solutions to do so.

Sure, I could have paid an annual subscription fee to use Apple’s MobileMe syncing service. But that wouldn’t have changed the fact that Google’s web apps are more robust than Apple’s desktop counterparts–not to mention free. That got me thinking about all the times in the recent past I’ve felt hampered by Mac software.

Having owned about a dozen Macs in the past 15 years, I long considered myself a staunch Apple evangelist. But being a Mac user was a lot more fun before the platform became mainstream. Back in the days when the media was still placing bets on when Apple would finally keel over and die, there was a sense of camaraderie between computer company and user. Right up until Steve Jobs made silver the new beige, the almost holy triumvirate of Apple, Macworld magazine, and a largely professional user community vibrated with the sense that if we all stayed on each other’s side, computer miracles would happen.

What seems to have happened, instead, is that Steve Jobs decided to make the needs of occasional home users more important than the needs of savvier, longtime Apple adherents. Since the company began concentrating so wholly on attracting PC converts, Mac software solutions have turned into what in August Wired magazine termed good-enough tech. As long as college users could figure out how to play mp3s, soccer moms how to schedule car-pool days, and grandparents how to use email, Apple could garner more market share.

Apple’s solution to accomplish all this: creating a suite of closely interlinked programs that met the basic needs of average users–and not much more. Sure, those users might end up so deeply enmeshed in an Apple-only universe that they might never again consider living life without an “i” in front of it. But how else to keep them buying expensive, Apple-branded hardware?

Although I have long been a power user, relying on my Mac to work, play, and manage most aspects of my life, the above paragraph described me for years. Especially after the even more hermetically sealed iPhone hit the market. Sure, I wanted real-time, platform-agnostic control over my email, the ability to manage my own photo folders, and access to “un-approved” software on my mobile phone. But once you’ve drunk the Apple Kool-Aid, it’s really hard to yank the computer company’s weedy tendrils out of the firmament of your daily life.

Much as Apple likes to market itself as the answer to allegedly closed-minded Microsoft, to a regular Mac user, when it comes to using your computer it can often feel like it’s either Apple’s way or the highway. It’s one thing to regularly ignore the needs of users by releasing software and system updates that just as regularly break popular third-party applications and add-ons (back in the days of camaraderie–when Macs were still fun–this didn’t happen with such regular frequency.)

It’s quite another to tell users that if they try to put unapproved software on their $400 cell phones (via iPhone OS jailbreaking), you may render their phones permanently inoperable. For what reason? Spite? Control?

More likely, for the mere whim of it all. Earlier this year, the Times of London ran a rare exposé on the highly secretive Steve Jobs. After recounting that Apple tried to get the story killed twice, the article referenced multiple sources familiar with Jobs to come to one conclusion about him: that he’s a raging narcissist. The paper noted that Job’s likely personality disorder could be what makes him such a strong industry leader. Yet it could also explain why any use of Apple hardware or software not personally touted by Jobs or his lackeys at a press event ends up impossible to pull off without putting your warranty–or purchase price–at risk.

I’m glad Jobs finds using Macs exclusively in his approved, cripple-ware ways so fulfilling. I, however, don’t. The ease of use I felt with Google’s software solutions motivated me to perform an ongoing audit of all the Apple software I regularly use. I wanted to determine whether third-party applications might better suit my needs.

As it turned out, in almost all cases the answer was a resounding yes. Since June, I’ve dumped the hard-to-customize Safari and its overly-simplistic RSS reader for the highly extendable Firefox browser and the equally robust NetNewsWire. I replaced Pages (and Word) with GoogleDocs. I ditched the standard Mac application launcher and switcher, the Dock, for the infinitely more useful DragThing. And at long last, I retrieved my 15,000 photos out of iPhoto’s sealed library and put them back where they belong–in a hierarchical folder archive categorized by me and now ably browsed with Picasa.

I deferred to the ease and utility of iTunes. But that’s about it. I now have the most platform-agnostic software suite I’ve ever used on a Macintosh. And that got me thinking even further. If my electronic life has been rendered easier by such a significant shift away from Apple software, what would happen if I made the ultimate switch of all? But it’s not like I’m foolish enough to go near the universally panned Vista or the by-now aged Windows XP.

And then surprise of surprises, last month Windows 7 was released to rave reviews, including Wall Street Journal Mac fanboy Walt Mossberg calling it as good as Mac OS X. That pretty much sealed the deal for me. I loved being a Mac user when it felt like Apple loved me back. But if there’s one thing I hate, it’s feeling like I’m being used. In this case, I feel used by Steve Jobs who must assume that no matter how marginalized he makes longtime users feel in his cripple-ware quest to increase market share, they’ll always stick around.

Sorry, Steve. I’m out of the magic Kool-Aid. I no longer feel compelled by your patented reality distortion field to make your company any additional profit at the expense of the daily ease of use of my own computers. You know, the ones I paid for, own, and frankly have a right to use however I see fit?

In the near future I’ll install Windows 7 on my Macbook in a virtual environment to get up to speed on how the modern PC platform works today (after all, it’s been a long time.) Then, thanks to Apple’s 2005 shift to Intel chips, Windows 7 will become my main Macbook operating system. And if you hadn’t guessed by now, after that my next computer will be a PC.

My iPhone isn’t left out of my back-migration, either. Apple’s heavy-handed control of the applications I’m “allowed” to use on the device–not to mention two years of frustrating-to-nonexistent AT&T signals in major cities across America–won no points with me, either. I’m shifting my calls to a nifty, new, platform- and device-agnostic Google Voice number. That way, when I break my AT&T contract and buy a new open-source Verizon Droid, my callers won’t notice a difference.

But I sure will.

Categories: "I'm Not a Mac" Series Best Of Chicago Carless

Tagged as:

Mike Doyle

I’m an #OpenlyAutistic gay, Hispanic, urbanist, Disney World fan, New York native, politically independent, Jewish blogger in Chicago. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I write words and raise money for nonprofits. I’ve written this blog since 2005. And counting...

My Bio | My Conversion | My Family Reunion

Follow My Socials:

Contact Me:

106 replies

  1. Sorry, but did I miss something? I don’t see a single reason that you prefer Windows over OS X, yet you want to switch to it? /scratch_head

    I have my gripes with Apple, but I think you need to evaluate what they are and react proportionately rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water. If you don’t like Mail/iPhoto/whatever, then don’t use them!

    I’ve also clearly missed the point of the power user angle. What power user requirements do you have exactly that OS X (the OS, *not* the bundled apps) doesn’t fulfil, I didn’t notice any mentioned? Most power users I know value the Unix base and scriptable environment more than what’s on offer in the Windows world.

    Fundamentally, imho you’re conflating two different issues: (1) whether you like the bundled simple apps or third party apps; and (2) whether you like OS X or Windows. I completely understand your gripe with the first, but it is independent of the second if the apps that address the issue run on OS X.

    Remember, if you were going to evaluate Windows on the basis you appear to be doing so with OS X (griping about free included apps being limited for your purposes), you’d be having to use Outlook Express and Windows Media Player. No Windows user I know uses them much!

    So, I think the OS issue is separate and if you have your reasons (not listed here that I could see) then fair-play to you: I wish you well on your voyage to tech lands new. If that’s so, I’d welcome an expanded article focusing on your reasons surrounding issue (2).

    Anyhow, I hope I’ve elucidated myself well enough. Good job for having the guts to express an opinion because you will doubtless be bashed by some fanboys, but I do personally think the point-of-view you’re trying to put over is incompletely argued and risks looking entirely reactionary.


  2. I feel like such a PC since after drinking the Snow Leopard kool-aid. I rebuilt my MAC twice in the past two months just to get out from under the MAC-CONTROL programming. But, because I purchased 3 iPhones, I’m stuck with MACPC, what a disappointment! Steve, get a job and quit messing with us. Is iTunes really that important? What a deal breaker for your loyal MAC fans.

  3. Kasey F. turned me on to your “not-a-Mac” thread. I was kinda surprised at what he was telling me. I’m surprised that you feel locked in to any products from any of the iApple suite.

    For example, iPhoto… you can go to the advanced setting and choose not to copy the photos into the library and leave them in a disk directory structure, and have the best of both worlds. While directory structures might be good for you, I think you’re missing the point about moving away from file based data storage to meta-tagged information that lives “where-ever”. Good logical folder structures are NOT a natural talent for most people, Mactards OR Wintards. But Apple in this example gives you the option.

    Having to deal with both platforms all the time, what I found refreshing about Apple and it’s OSX iApps was the support of standards. The annoyingly named uses ical standard files, standard .ics (?) files for data interchange.

    You can subscribe to your wonderful gCal in iCal as read only pre-snow-leopard, and now with SL it is fully read writable. But the fact that they both used industry standards allowed for some folks to do some really neat stuff (BusySync for example.)

    Addressbook can query LDAPs and trades information nicely using vCards.

    You dumped Safari, and decided on another webkit based browser. Apple has been supplying a standards compliant browser for years. Microsoft: not so much. On both systems you have always been able to have a choice to opt into something different.

    My brother has begone his migration back to PC after I turned him to Mac 5 years ago. Maybe you guys can enjoy commiserating and collaborating, and show us iFanboys the light.

    AND he’s a fello ‘mo. 😉

  4. Interesting, I’ve been going the other way. I have a busy life with little time to worry about customization, etc. The fact that Apple chooses the most popular options for me, rather than google, which requires time and effort customizing, has led me back to the mac platform, and now I use mobile me.

  5. Man, it didn’t take long for all the mac fanboys to jump up to the attack and defend their “precious” to the death, did it now?

    Someone doesn’t share the same view as you, “oh noes, get him fellas! We don’t like your kind around these parts”. LOL. Settle down and accept the fact someone doesn’t view things the same way you do. Just because he hasn’t given reasons you agree with does not make them invalid, it just means you don’t agree with them. Now get the hell over yourselves, and get on with your lives. You know, the actually important shit. Whining that someone else’s opinion is not good enough for you just makes you look like children arguing in a school yard. Grow the hell up.

  6. Jamie, thanks for the kind words. I’m with you–I miss the good old days before OS X…when Apple acted suitably grateful that its customers were customers.

    Nowadays, Steve Jobs tries to make you feel like you should be grateful to be able to use Apple products. Hello? Cupertino? You do remember it’s my money, right?

  7. You. Are. Awesome!

    I recently went through a lot of the same things you did. I was a Mac die-hard for YEARS. I kept my trusty dual 500 G4 running until 10.5 came out but believed that I really needed the new OS. I couldn’t afford a new Mac, so I bought Leopard and proceeded to build a Hackintosh.

    But there’s just one thing… no, lots of things…

    Leopard just isn’t the same. The Mac magic is NOT there. Reading your words above, I quote you in saying,

    “… Steve Jobs decided to make the needs of occasional home users more important than the needs of savvier, longtime Apple adherents.”

    It resounded and honestly is the same feeling as to why I did something else lately. I took that shiny new Hackintosh off my desk and installed Mac OS 9.2.2 on my trusty G4.

    It was all over. I don’t have a need to have current software to do things. MS Office 2001, Photoshop 6, Dreamweaver 4. I bought all those things way back in 2000 or so. Why not use them?

    So I did. I now have three wonderful, perfectly useful computers that don’t give me the headaches of Steve’s magical junk in 2009.

    My G4, my snazzy blue G3, and my old Powerbook 3400.

    I also still have my Power Mac 6500, but I miss my Powerbook 1400. 🙁

    Rest in peace old friend.

    My links to the modern world are a Dell Latitude D600 Hackintosh for Mac stuff, and my Asus Eee PC 1000H with Vista, which isn’t actually as bad as people whined about. It was just that. Whining.

    I even came to respect Windows XP somehow for all the software it’ll run that Vista can’t.

    Mike, you rule. I hope more people realize what’s true and follow you in using what really makes them happy. If anybody is interested in how to do what I’m doing, see my friends at these websites…

    We’re still out here. Come find us.

  8. The news since Windows 7 came out is that it didn’t have an impact on sails or Apple converts what so ever. My opinion Apple Hardware can’t really argue that it’s better than PC hardware because they use the same chipsets now. And you don’t BUY the machine to run the OS. The OS is just means to an end. Back in the Intel vs PowerPC days there was something to debate, but now, it’s an Apple Branded PC. As far as the OS is concerned, iTunes ,iThis , iThat has nothing what so ever to do with the OS. Most the stuff your complain about is FREE userland applications. The only Microsoft product I’ve have on my own PC is the OS, and it’s Pissed me off with every version since and including Win 3.11. But I’m too cheap to buy a Mac, so I settle for the lowest common denominator. Not because better, but because it’s cheaper (the hardware come with the OS for $300-$400). I know that OS X is based on BSD Unix which IS and always has been superior to anything ever produced by Microsoft. But all the development tools I use at work run under Windows so I’m not going to use it there. OS X might be nice, but why should I pay 3 times the cost to buy a Macine I use for 1-2 hours a day if I don’t go out for dinner? No one buys a home PC/Mac for the OS, they buy it to browse the web and do the nonsence stuff they aren’t allowed to do at the office. OS X vs Windoze is a non issue for home use. And if you can’t use OS X at the office, you’re going to run Windows.

  9. Mike my man, I’ve got to say, you’re one ballsy guy for taking a leap into the PC world.

    As a Windows/Ubuntu user, I say welcome my friend! It seems from what I gleaned from your article is that you want customization in your OS and IMO Windows OS’s have always been able to deliver. XP user’s wanted Vista’s interface, not a problem, there’s an app for that (see what I did thur?). Want a MAC style dock, RocketDock my friend, RocketDock, heck it looks just like MAC’s and it’s a lot better. Why still stick with Itunes? Amazon is way better at that not to mention no strange updates to all of your Ipod’s and stuff. Although the whole sync thing, I’ll admit is still better in Itunes, However Sharepod, a free app for the iphone, easily let’s you install any mp3’s you have onto your Ipod without the ITunes bloat. If you need a Media Player that can handle all sorts of types of AVI’s MKV’s and HD stuff, check out the CCCP codec pack, it’s free and run’s all my blu rays flawlessly. As for the whole oh noes VIRUS a thing in windows, I never had one single virus in Vista, ever, I didn’t even have Virus software on it, just what Vista came with! Seriously who gets viruses these days, how MAC users seem to tout this is strange. What are you doing watching Porn all the time or something? Jeez.

    If you want an easy PC experience consider purchasing a Dell or HP, especially dell. Their customer service and virtual MAC-like landholding trough everything makes newbie users enjoy their PC experience.

    Want some Text editing, OpenOffice delivers, handles all of words formats flawlessly not to mention text rendering in other languages besides English is by far superior in Windows environments. Trying to type Japanese or Korean can be a literal pain in MAC.

    At the end of the day, it’s all about what you enjoy, if Windows delivers what you want, there’s no need to consider, just do what makes you happy!

    Not to mention my friend, all the $$ you will be saving without having to spend all sorts of money for something that is x10 cheaper on a PC!

    (sorry for my English grammar as it is not my primary language 俺の英語をお詫び致します!)

  10. I don’t know how I didn’t see this yet. Here is an apparently par retweet from a member of Mac online news media, Shawn King of the Your Mac Life podcast, lampooning my disillusionment with Apple. There’s objectivity for you.

    The most amazing thing about all of this has been the friendly reaction I’ve gotten–primarily from Windows users. Imagine that…

  11. It’s amazing how many dozens of people in this comment thread actually believe I owe them a reason for having a new OS preference. The fact that my fellow Mac users take my decision so personally–and are so pissy about it–really makes me reconsider why I would want to remain in the community–irrespective of the software. The whole, “you’re either with us or your against us,” thing is, frankly, frightening. Even if I stayed a Mac user at this point, I wouldn’t be sticking around as an OS evangelist. I wouldn’t wish the judgmental segment of the Mac user community evidenced in this comment thread on anyone.

  12. As long as bash is my default shell in MacOS, I will keep using it. Sure I can load it on a PC, my the CORE OS of the Mac is Unix, and i just like that better. Terminal is your friend.

  13. You complain about how OS-X has put you in the equivalent of a digital straightjacket and how, to escape this straightjacket, you have migrated to non-Apple software on your OS-X machine. Well then my logic-impaired friend, it’s not a straightjacket if it allows you to install alternative apps from competing vendors, is it?

    It’s like saying “I so hated being put in this jail so I opened the cell door and walked out.”

    Also, Windows 7 still has a registry, you know.

  14. What a joke. Most of what you said is either wrong, not relevant, or you are jumping to a worse or more restrictive choice. Were you just desperate to fill some space or get some attention or are you really this uninformed?

  15. Google Apps work perfectly even in OSX. All you have to dump are the Applications. If you have a Macbook already, I don’t see the practicality of shelling extra to buy Windows 7 when you already have OSX installed by default on your Macbook.

  16. I understand your frustration with SJ’s influence on how you use your Mac. I switched to Mac in ’96, and am still very happy with it. I just finished several weeks of de-virusing (or helping do so) three XP machines, and installed Windows several times (twice on one machine in less than a month).

    Despite the occasional problems in OS X, I’d sooner give up computing than become a Windows user. Linux/UNIX is better, but I enjoy my MacBook (late 2006 Core Duo) better than any PC desktop or laptop I’ve used or played with. I’ve used Vista and played with Windows 7, and while there are improvements, both just suck. As in the happiness out.

  17. Mike- use what works for you. If you prefer to use Windows 7 and that does all you need, then great. The one thing that always kills me about platform wars is the fact that people always base their choices on what others think. Personally, I wouldn’t have written a whole article about why I’m switching, but that’s just me. I prefer to keep those sorts of choices to myself. To hell with others’ opinions; they aren’t giving me money to listen to them or to have me “like” them or think that they’re “cool”, so what’s the point? I’ve felt this way since elementary school and I always will. A “community” based around a computing platform has always been pointless to me; more of the same cliche-ish mentality that turns people into automatons…

  18. Good opinions, Mike! The Mac community of the 1980s is nothing like this century. Does the new Apple treat it’s partners like members of the family or puppets? When the strings are cut without warning, there may not be a parachute attached.

  19. What I find most amazing about this post is the fact that it has amassed so much attention. I mean, I learned of the existence of this person because links to his post are plastered all over Mac and sundry computer sites. While I agree with him that choosing to stay or leave in this or that computer platform is absolutely his choice, I fail to see why that choice has become news.

    This is a half-baked, badly written, highly illogical rant about Apple’s (or SJ’s) supposed brainwashing campaign to dominate the world, the alleged wonders of cloud computing Google-style, and the presumed freedoms of the non-Apple computing world. (What I find most pathetic is why the perpetrator of this mess finds himself compelled to use the consumer-oriented iLife suite for professional purposes.)

    In any case, this most annoying person has the right to come and go as he pleases, and even whine about it on his blog. If only I didn’t find those pesky links to it everywhere! Ironically, one thing is clear: the ONE AND ONLY reason why those links keep popping up is because it IS news that a Mac user goes back to PC-land. If this is your all-star switcher, SJ has nothing to fear. I can hear his evil cackle through the speakers of my Macs.

    P.S. Oh, and by the way: wouldn’t any person who blogs or twitters about his most insignificant decisions be considered a “raging narcissist”? Just asking.

  20. It seems to me that your rejection of the Mac platform after 15 years is over the top. It is partially true that Apple decides what features are best for users of a Mac out of the box, but as your article describing your move away the Apple standard points out, you certainly have the flexibility to move in any direction that you want to. I can’t believe however, that moving to Windows is going to solve your issues as it is more closed and proprietary than any system available. If you don’t need what Apple has to offer any more, and don’t want to pay the high price for it, I would think that Linux would be the way to go.

    I completely agree with your sentiment applied to the iPod Touch/iPhone ecosystem, which will not let drag a single picture or tune to the Touch or iPhone, but makes you have to take the intermediate step of creating a play list and then syncing to it. Now that hubris is forcing the user how to use their device, will take me and I hope others away from Apple, but the computer is still pretty open for whatever you want to do and how you want to do it.

  21. I realized I could explain my “annoyance” regarding the common statements of how Apple / Steve exert such “control” over Apple’s products and in the case of the iPhone, how consumers use them.

    Two parts: first “duh”. You would rather buy products from a company that didn’t try to define what their stuff did and then accomplish those goals? I prefer to buy & use products from companies that have set high standards.

    We all individually decide what “high standards” means. And also decide how well those standards have been met.

    Second: just because iPhoto, iMovie, or whichever iApp you choose to like or dislike comes with the computer – you don’t have to use it. As so many commentors have already notes (as you do in your article), they don’t make you use Apple apps. With the exception of the iPhone, there are no barriers to using any apps and even any OS you want.

    So, how is this control? Oh yeah, you can only buy iPhone apps from Apple. This one thing (notice I don’t place an arbitrary “little” nor “big” there) leads you to assert how Apple doesn’t give you any choice. This is just a part of the current popular “power user / geek” mythos – as if Apple should build a product a certain way or at all, just because some of us (admittedly many of whom are pretty smart & savvy) want it.

    Last thing, just because I don’t hate Apple doesn’t make me (or anyone else) a fanboy. In my own mind, I am. But, in the derisive sneering way some commentors protray – I am not.

    I own several Macs (home user since early 90s), ipods and an iphone (and use both PCs and Macs in business). If I have a choice, I choose a mac & OSX. Let the insults commence.

  22. Oh yeah, about Google. They have this new thing now that allows you to control what personal document of yours they keep around for your purpose (like enhancing your search and all)… I forgot the name of it but I read about it on ZNet. Look around!

  23. Mike, I have to commend you on this post. I am not going to say what I prefer but you are a brave man for putting yourself up for this heavy array of attacks and such. Best of luck!

    Do remember to checkout every OS you can get your hands on as well! Also, don’t forget to try the crazy but viable Sun Solaris 10 with the x86 build… might not be for you … but who knows!

  24. Mike – without anyone’s approval, you are entitled to your opinion. From what read, here’s what I gleaned: You felt cool when being Apple was not mainstream, you even refer to drinking the kool-aid. But, now you know better.

    Good for you.

    I couldn’t disagree more, but I have no concern about getting you to understand that. It seems clear to me that you consider your technology use as being a personal statement (not dissimilar to fashion). Now you choose to change your use/outfits and proclaim how your dissatisfaction has been building for sometime.

    Bully for you, and who gives a shit?!

    Please use what you like, hardware and software, proclaim as you will.

    But, I find it mildly annoying (can’t be too pissed by someone you don’t know) to read all your platitudes about Apple and SJ’s need for “control”.

    I won’t start about Google, but to say you can have them. Unless they become something different / less than they are now – I shan’t be giving them any more of my data than I can possibly help. No google apps, no gmail for me.

  25. I don’t begrudge any OS. None of them are perfect. I am pretty platform agnostic myself. My Acer laptop is a hackintosh (don’t gimme any grief!) running OS X Leopard and Windows XP dual boot (Boot Camp? Pfft. Chameleon bootloader!). My main desktop is Windows XP (And yes, I had Vista, but was one of those people incredibly frustrated with it and went back to XP). And my home server is OpenSUSE Linux – it acts as my file server, print server, home testing web server, as well as third desktop to turn to).

    There are plenty of apps out there that aren’t Apple branded and can do the same things – and some are even open source and cross platform. For instance, you already know about Mozilla Firefox. Opera is cross platform, though I rarely use it for more than cross-checking websites I’m working on for compatibility. I find it’s interface a bit clunky. I use Mozilla Thunderbird for my e-mail, and have the Lightning calendar extension, along with the Google connector plugin. And voila, I have Google Calendar on my desktop. I use OpenOffice for all word processing/spreadsheet/presentation type things. I’ve tried Google Docs, and IMO it’s not QUITE ready for prime time, but it’s getting there. But I don’t use it much. For music, there’s Songbird (all 3 platforms) which is actually pretty nice and has iPod syncing capabilities (though not the iPhone, as you would expect). Picasa, while not opensource, is on all three platforms, and does well for photos. And if you do any sort of audio editing, Audacity is cross platform, as well. Unfortunately, there doesn’t yet seem to be an opensource cross-platform video editing solution. And one last item: DropBox. You can get a free 2GB folder that syncs between all of your computers, and can also be accessed from the web. And if you e-mail me and let me send you an invite, I get a bonus 250 MB. 🙂

    So it is possible to use platform agnostic software regardless of the OS, and have the same user experience on all platforms using that software.

  26. It’s ironic to read your post. Early this summer I purchased a Mac Mini for a new home theater computer over my WinTel experiences FOR EXACTLY THE SAME REASON YOU ARE SWITCHING.

    Really, I use PCs at work and at home and made the switch to a Mac because I couldn’t stand the arrogance of Microsoft and forcing me to do things their way. I’m sick of the total crapware that comes on new PCs. The bizarre cost structure of the OS. The continued annoyances of the OS and the way it just turns to molasses over time. My home PC has been wiped and reinstalled 4 times and it’s about due again. It takes 3 minutes to turn on if you’re lucky and more like 5 if you’re not.

    I also use Ubuntu and find it generally pleasant but much more difficult to do basic tasks than either Windows or Mac. No modern OS should ever require a command line. Really, it’s 2009 guys.

  27. DHIE,

    Wireless networking is wonderful, but it is not substitute for docking. On a ThinkPad, the dock (I use the smaller one that is more of a port-replicator) I leave two 20″ displays connected (1 through the DVI port, the other through the VGA port), a desktop keyboard and mouse, and ethernet and power cables, though wifi would work just as well in this application. I just click the laptop into the dock and everything works, no issues. Of course, ThinkPads, like MacBooks, are premium products usually sold at premium prices. They have come down lately though.

    A PC is only as good as its drivers. That is why Macs are so stable (Macs are PCs too), because the quality control on Apple’s drivers makes them so. With PCs, there is just too much possibility of bad or rushed drivers, especially on newer models or models with cutting-edge technology.

    My ThinkPad T400 is a great example. It has switchable graphics which were radical technology last year, and the drivers were horrible. Switching usually didn’t work, and while it didn’t crash the system, it wold often get stuck on the integrated chip instead of freely switching to the more powerful dedicated chip. Current drivers are rock solid in both Vista and 7 while performance has also increased. This chip (ATI HD 3470) can run even faster with ATI’s latest drivers, but Lenovo focuses ThinkPads as business computers and is much slower on updating drivers, sticking to stability at the expense of gaming framerates. I use the solid Lenovo drivers, while many others use the ATI drivers.

    Use it stock (Lenovo drivers) and it is a very solid computer. My ThinkPad and my MacBook Air both crash with about the same frequency, usually caused by websites with flash content, and in both cases, only the browser goes down, not the OS. I run Safari and Firefox on both machines.

    The reason for docking isn’t network access, its so that you don’t have plug in and unplug a gazillion cables every time you sit down. Its so convenient that I’m probably going to buy a second dock for home use.

  28. I have a lot of sympathy for this article as I feel the same, but not about the software, it’s more the hardware. I have also been a long-term Mac fanatic (over 20 years) and my part of the house (which my wife always wants to clear out) is littered with old Macs running System 6 and up. Currently the family uses MacBooks and Mac minis, Apple Tv and iPods galore. But my job dictates I have to carry a Dell laptop (running XP), so when I travel all I want is a small notebook, something like my 12″ Powerbook with an Intel chip, so I can use that for my personal stuff in a small package that does not add too much extra luggage. But Steve says no, netbooks are underpowered, so use a “large” MacBook Air (may be light, but till too big for planes and trains) or a too small, iPhone.
    Well Steve, I am happy to say my Atom-powered Lenovo netbook happily runs Snow Leopard (and incidentally Windows 7) to do the things I need when I travel, including Skyping my daughters at university, watching movies, surfing (all the things not allowed on he business Dell) for less than $400 and with a real keyboard (touch-typing on a Tablet- I don’t think so) and in an almost unnoticeable extra package.
    From what I have heard Mike, it is Steve’s dislike of netbooks that has stopped a true Mac version appearing, and has lost me as a customer.
    Finally, over the 20+ years of Mac use, I have noticed an increasing “Microsoftization” of Apple – less concern for the true fans, more lawyers and litigation, and the loss of the sense of belonging…. a sad consequence of success perhaps.

  29. HI Andrew,

    >As for no PCs being as good as Macs, there are many tens of thousands of ThinkPad fanatics (myself included) who will strongly disagree.

    I haven’t had the pleasure to try Lenovo. The company I work for have get the equipment from two of the largest maufacturers of PC hardware. These companies do also provide support for both their HW and for Windows.
    My experience with both of these suppliers is as such that I would never buy a computer from them for my private use. – Not a hope!

    Talking about docking stations. – I would love to see the Lenovo one. My user experience of the combination of the laptop with the docking station that I have to use is abismal at best.
    The following are regular events for me: Crashes, issues with the graphics card, OS becoming unresponsive, Outlook not going online again. So in real terms that docking station/laptop combination is as unstable as it can be. While there is no docking station for the Mac. I am happy enough to get by without by using 80211.n wireless networking.

  30. iphoto right click show package contents there are all your photos. Drag out to photos, songs desktop from iphoto, itunes, etc. Install rosetta to run power pc programs. Pdf from the print menu for any document. Screen sharing for all my macs. Control my mac, apple tv, airport express with my ipod touch. All done within OSX no third parties involved. Oh I feel so held back and limited.

  31. Mike,

    Interesting thoughts, now here are mine as a fellow ADD sufferer (benefiter?) and long-time Mac user.

    First off, the grass is always greener, no matter which side of the OS fence you stand on. I switched back and forth many times over the last 18 years, including Mac OS 8.5 to Windows 2000, Windows XP to Panther, Tiger to Vista and back to Leopard. During all of that I always owned at least one Mac and one PC because there are just too many things that one platform does significantly better than the other.

    Today I am largely platform agnostic, though my hatred of ads prevents me from going the cloud route. I bought an Exchange server, which does even better, syncing email, calendars, to-dos, you name it, across not only my computers, but in the case of calendars my secretary’s computer, my paralegal’s computer and even my wife’s computer. Exchange, a Windows-centric product, works great on Macs too, and iPhones, and iPod touch, and BlackBerry, and even the Droid you want.

    PCs, even with Windows 7, still can’t suspend/resume (sleep) reliably, though hibernate (deep sleep) has been reliable since the Windows 2000 days, but is slow. Nobody touches Apple here, and its been that way at least as long as I’ve been using Macs, which is since 1993.

    Windows has some of its own very cool tricks that the Mac struggles to match. Offline folder sync and volume shadow copy are very powerful features of the business versions of Windows, made significantly better in each version. For all of its bad press, Vista was extremely powerful in this regard, and 7 is even more so.

    Windows does sleep, but its slow to wake and occasionally just won’t. OS X can have offline files, but you need a 3rd party backup utility that will never be as nicely integrated as the functionality built into Windows. So what’s a computer user to do?

    Easy, use the one that has your killer app, and if like me you need both, then use both.

    As for no PCs being as good as Macs, there are many tens of thousands of ThinkPad fanatics (myself included) who will strongly disagree.

    Currently, as usual, I own two laptops. I am responding to this from a lonely hotel room after a day of travel using my ever-so-portable MacBook Air. For short-hop travel or the true road-warrior “local travel” that I often do, there is no better computer available. It is small, thin, light, fast-enough, sleeps and wakes instantly and reliably and of course has all of my Exchange data fully synced all the time, courtesy of bluetooth tethering to my Verizon BlackBerry. I could run Windows 7 on it, but OS X is better for the constant sleep/wake/sleep/wake use that this machine gets.

    My other laptop is a Lenovo ThinkPad T400 running Windows 7 Professional. It is a full member of my Windows Server domain at the office, is also fully synced to Exchange (bluetooth tethering works just as well in 7) and it has switchable graphics like the latest MacBook Pro, but in a smaller, lighter package with longer battery life (13 hours on a 9 cell and ultrabay battery). Oh yeah, it has a 14″ matte screen, and when configured with the small 4 cell battery (3 hour life) it only weighs 4.8 lbs (its 6 lbs with the 9 cell and ultrabay battery).

    Lenovo’s ultraportables (X200 and X301) don’t sleep as well as the MacBook Air. Apple’s portable workstation (15″ MacBook Pro) doesn’t have a light battery option or a super-long-life battery option and no docking capability. OS X is better in frequent short-hop travel, while Windows 7 is better at dealing with networked file folders and long-haul travel. Which is better? Both.

    The good news is that unlike in 1993 when we needed special Mac control panels to mount PC floppies and applications like MacLink to translate (often imperfectly) file formats, today’s cross-platform user has a very easy time of things. Folders on my PC show up in the OS X Finder just as folders on my Mac show up in Windows Explorer. File formats are largely the same as are network protocols and device connectors. In short, it takes very little effort to use both a Mac and a PC with the same resources. I even have a Windows application called MacDrive that lets my PC read the drive of a Mac in Target disk mode (or any other Mac-format drive).

    I think you are jumping the gun for no apparent reason by buying a PC. It doesn’t sound like there is anything in Windows 7 that will do your tasks any better than OS X will, or vice versa. That means use the one you have, and when you next shop, use the one you like better at the time. Especially if you are using cloud applications, your platform choices means almost nothing.

  32. Well, when one sinks to ad hominem attacks (and calling folks “fanboys” is indeed an ad hominem attack), it is generally an indication that the debater has run out of decent arguments.

    I can think of a dozen intelligent reasons why someone might decide that this is a good time to migrate from the Mac to Windows. Sadly, there were no intelligent or mature reasons provided in the article.

    Contrary to popular belief, not all opinions are of equal value or merit.

    A recent survey indicated that roughly 80% of Mac households had at least one Windows computer as well. Most of the “mac fanboys” that you are denigrating are very likely to have far more extensive experience than you do on the Windows platform.

    I suspect that Windows 7 *is* the best OS that Microsoft has ever produced. That is a pretty low bar, in my opinion. I hope you enjoy it.

  33. I just want to say that wholeheartedly disagree that Google apps are more robust than desktop apps on my mac.

    Not even close…especially if your internet connection is even in the least bit clunky…

  34. Interesting article. I have been a Mac user since they released OS X (Anything prior to that was junk in my opinion.) I love the consistency of the UI with the Unix underpinnings (Linux had a way to go before it got where it is today UI-wise). Coincidentally, I had a windows and linux machine for most of my post-Amiga computing life (Windows for games, Linux for real stuff), but the Screensavers demo on TechTV of OS X sold me. 🙂 I didn’t even think of the bundled apps (there was no safari back then) as being anything useful, but the OS itself was a sight to behold. I was a switcher. 🙂 I’ve never been a zealot (unless you count my younger days praising the Amiga and ranting about the Atari ST), but I can say with pretty solid certainty that OS X is the most fun I’ve had since I owned an Amiga. (And typing this from my Mac Mini, I am not soaked for $3K to Cupertino….) *grin*

    Seriously though, I don’t think you fully grasp the implication of what the “Microsoft Way” entails. When your OS has to “phone home” to activate, that’s when I draw the line. (I never bought XP for that very reason. Sorry, Redmond.) The insistence on getting updates from their server (or waiting for the oft-delayed “Service Pack” CD if you’re brave) is also a real turn-off. (You can’t simply download the patches and store them for later.) If you hate the insistence on apps being “just good enough, but not quite” from Apple, wait until you try some of Microsoft’s (permanently installed) “options.” The insidious nature of their “experience” has been, and always will be, a lesson in what true frustration actually feels like.

    That being said, I use none of the “iApps” save iTunes. (I have not found anything convenient enough to replace iTunes, but I don’t feel like I’m being raked over the coals for using it.) Apple’s OS is VERY amenable to me using Firefox, Thunderbird, and so forth in place of the iApps that Jobs provides. The Unix underpinnings (Fink is wonderfully simple) allow me to use whatever other OSS app I feel like, and if I feel adventurous, possibly port an app or two if I find the time. Windows doesn’t even come with a compiler. How draconian is that? You might say “I don’t NEED one”, but the real issue is choice, right? Microsoft has made the choice that you don’t need a compiler in their OS. You can go get gcc, or their own CLI compiler, but you can for the Mac as well, and the dev tools are much more robust (and free), compared to the price structure of MS’s proprietary development tools and IDEs. So if you have to do all that, why not save $199 (that is the cost of Windows Home Pro, right) and stick with OS X? Use “DefaultApps” Prefpane and remove the “default” nature of Apple’s bundled apps to whatever you choose. Apple won’t re-enable them via Software Update, nor will they shut down your OS after an hour because you didn’t let the OS phone home yet.

    Yes it’s true just about everything that exists on OS X has a Windows counterpart when it comes to FOSS tools and utilities, but the point isn’t to return to “the same”, at least I don’t think that was your point. You want something different, but I reiterate that you might not be entirely pleased with Win 7’s “differences”.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t feel as trapped as you did on OS X, but I do feel trapped if I have to use Windows. I’m sure you’ll feel the same way too. But like other posters have said, there’s always Ubuntu (which I run using Sun’s VirtualBox, also free…) Never let a good FOSS Operating System pass you by. You’ll thank yourself in the morning when you can give the finger to BOTH Jobs and Ballmer.

    Best of luck to you, and remember, Linux will never phone home. 🙂 (And Amiga Rules!)

  35. For the iTunes bashers: the music store has been DRM free for quite a few years now. And you don’t have to purchase from Apple – it’ll still work and sync to your device(s).

    I don’t care about Job’s issues – I just care about the quality of the products (hard & software) that Ive spent my money on. Apple gear is slightly more expensive, but holds it’s value better, lasts longer and requires little maintenence – for hard or software!

    It works for my family, without me having to be full time IT support: hunting driver issues, maintaining OS, spyware & virus protection & the rest.

    I’m tinkering with Win7, but the jury’s not in yet.

  36. By way of update, I spent last night playing around with Ubuntu, running it in Sun Microsystem’s VirtualBox on my Macbook. I’m thinking I’d prefer the UI of Kubuntu a bit better (but I don’t want to start a GNOME/KDE war here, mind you!) I never knew how robust a free Linux build could be. Thanks to the commenters who recommended I check it out. I’m looking forward to seeing what my paid Windows 7 will have to teach me about other OSes–as well as to Boot Camping Ubuntu to see what it feels like outside of a virtual environment.

  37. I’m amused at how defensive a lot of Apple-using commenters seem on here. You’d think you told them their mothers are whores.

    You made a decision based on your needs and wants, you were polite and courteous in your writing about why. Why are some of the commenters such condescending pricks about that?

  38. Well, good luck to you. I am subjected to work on Windows at my day job and the amount of hassle Windows in combination with the poor quality PC gives is just unreal. – Should I need a job I would certainly go into providing support for Windows PC’s. One will never be out of work trying to fix the myriads of issues on Windows PC’s ;-P.
    At home I am working with MacOS only and all I can say is that working on a Mac is so refreshingly more productive. I also play around with Linux from time to time. If I had to leave MacOS behind I certainly would chose Linux over Windows, even if Linux would cost more then Windows.
    Good luck to you on Windows, let’s see how long you manage to stick it…

  39. Well, I read this when I saw the headline and was curious. How rare this is will be reflected in how many hits and comments you get… loads I guess.

    But, when all is said and done, it seems you really want to go back and live in a swamp. Apple and the occasional pain of cutting edge progress is just too rich for you.

    You are a talking point. But you are also alone.

  40. Why is drinking the Google KoolAid any better? Because its free? How long does that model last? Until the advertisers stop paying? Google Docs is a nightmare but alternatives dont get any airtime because noone wants to actually pay. So goodbye Applecult and hello GooglAid?

  41. Hmmmmm…..

    I tend to sympathize with you and at the same time want to ridicule you.

    Lets get the ridicule out of the way. Grow a bigger set, Ok?!? You posted an “anti-Mac” article for all to see. Now, I understand it’s really not anti-Mac. It’s just you stretching your wings and flying around to see what else is out there, maybe never to return. However, you threw stones at the glass houses of Mac-fans. Really, who cares about how many stones they throw back, as long as you get the hits on the site.

    Are some of the comments childish, petulant, and rude? Yes. Is your reasoning in the article 100 % sound and logical? No. I really didn’t see any basis for your switch because this comes down to personal choice. Until , further down, in one of your responses to the comments….

    “There’s an intangible here, too. I just don’t feel the Mac environment is a fun one to work and play in anymore. Somewhere along the way OS X got boring–at least for me. Steve Jobs has spent the past few years upping the conservative vibe of Macs–software and hardware. I miss my curvy Wall Streets and colorful iMacs. I miss my Unsanity haxies. I miss a robust Holiday Lights program. The other side looks like a lot of fun and I just want to go over and play there for a while.”

    Ok, I get it. And personally, I applaud it. Inevitably, everything gets boring, or boxy. And on some level, I understand the discontent with the lack of customizable options in the OS. For myself, there are all kinds of code haxxies I use on my Mac. Your hearts not in it anymore and it hasn’t been in a while. Fair enough. The Finder for all practical purposes is stagnant and growing long in the tooth (hence QS for me). Snow Leopard offered a lot in speed improvements to the Finder, but not a lot in eye pleasing or more advanced operations. Not original operations, the likes that are in Win 7.

    I better watch it. I might be thrown out of the Mac club for saying Win 7 has some features Mac OS X doesn’t have. ((Shrug))

    Here is my only suggestion. If you really want to understand why some of the more thoughtful responses are advising you not to go running away, buy a PC from a vendor, like DELL or HP. Start from square one. It might sound painful since you don’t have much experience with Win 7, but it will give you a better idea of why some people cringe at the thought of you switching entirely to MS or other PC makers.

    As for your invested future time in Ubuntu or any Linux distro, there is a whole wide world of possibilities. Hope you are using a free virtualizer, like VirtualBox.

    As for the iPhone, no one, who really understands the tight limitations for developers and customers, should be poo pooing on your discontent with the possible use of a different phone and wireless provider. The iPhone is NOT, I repeat, NOT, the end all be all people. *Sigh* There, I said it. (looks at watch) I should be expecting Apple Black Ops to be appearing at my door to take away my Macs and phones and possibly my life sometime soon. But it has to be said…… Droid looks damn sexy.

  42. [quote=article_author]In the near future I’ll install Windows 7 on my Macbook in a virtual environment to get up to speed on how the modern PC platform works today[/quote]

    the very fact that you _can_ do this–run windows in virtualization (and not vice versa) is a very compelling reason to stay with a mac. vmware unity merges–in my case, for example–ubuntu and windows apps into the mac gui so transparently that you could go without knowing what os was running what app except that the non-mac ones are exceedingly ugly. [g]


  43. someone hit a hornets’ nest :-). it is beautifully amusing to see how emotionally attached people are to their OS … LOL – to Victor’sPanlilio’s point -> “It’s all just a frickin’ tool”.

    i feel more comfortable talking about conflicting theological views than OSes. with the exception of linux evangelists, the mac evangelists are dug in pretty deep…

    one votes with their (insert currency here). *everything* has good and bad. i have been using linux exclusively for about 6 years – and i *love* all the things i value about it, but absolutely acknowledge the negative aspects. what i value in linux outweights not being able to stream video from netflix easily (among other things :-)).

    with applications migrating to the cloud, open-standards, and runtime environments that run on multiple platforms…one’s OS is starting to matter less and less

    on a personal note – i enjoy being able to buy the hardware i want to use and know where my files are on *my* machine 🙂 (to Mike’s point of iPhoto’s enigmatic brokerage of one’s photos)…i remember moving my mom’s photo off to her non-mac-based computer … brutal! talk about serious tethering!

    i’m sure someone is ready to string me up and beat me with a stick for sharing my last two opinions of what is important to me (lol). before you do…take some deep breaths…and repeat after me “it’s just an OS” … and if you’re really ready to fly off the handle and burst – perhaps now would be ideal to reflect on your life’s journey ;-).

  44. @Marcos: “It seems you are the one that is emotional about a computing platform.”

    It’s all just a frickin’ tool. The end result is what counts. If you can do what you need hassle-free on Win/Mac/Linux or in the cloud, fine. I run Win2K3 Server, WinXP, and MacOS X. Tried the Win7 beta. Meh. They all have issues, some more than others.

  45. I have used Macs for a long, long time too and really…two items, embarrassing and lazy as they may seem are what have kept me using. I like pretty, and I hate dealing with security issues. And while I’m permanently attached to a computer or iPhone it seems, my user needs are not ones that would have forced me to evaluate certain aspects of the technology available to me.

    That said…I have recently found myself gravitating more and more to using Google apps myself. Because I am a very mobile person throughout the work week, I have to be able to access the same information literally everywhere I go, and often I need others to be able to access the same things I’m accessing. Right now, a marriage of iCal and Google Calendar and increasing usage of Google Docs have given me just the amount of freedom I need right now. But as possibilities for increased flexibility and mobility, and universal access become more and more the norm, I can see your point that putting up with Mac’s shortcomings seems less and less necessary.

  46. Mike,

    Having drank the Kool-Aid (which you served me) I have become a pretty solid Mac person. However, I have never been one to say that Apple is the end all, and be all. I am always the first to admit OS-X isn’t perfect (spinning beach ball anybody?).

    That said, unless there has been an enormous improvement in the Microsoft operating system, I worry that you will also be unsatisfied with Windows within a short period of time… I remember the frustrations I have had with windows… System crashes… Blue screens of death… The enormous challenge of migrating to a new computer… And may other untold things I have since blocked from my memory banks since making the switch.

    iLife is pretty much an unnecessary collection of applications for me. There are lots of Apple programs I have no use for… I stopped using iPhoto back in 2006 when my photo collection made using it too unwieldy (you remember)… The solution for me? Well, I chose not to use Apple’s Aperture for my photo management because I discovered that Adobe’s Lightroom is a better product (and it still manages more than 50,000 images quite well). For my purposes, Apple Mail and the calendar function are fine… But I can see how they wouldn’t work for business needs… Outside of that, I am pretty happy with the shiny pretty system that Steve offers up.

    I will stick with my Mac, but I wish you the best in your venture to the other side… Be sure to stock up your virus protection.

  47. And BTW. I think it is wrong that you express your frustration with a platform and those that do not understand your argument are labeled fanboys. Most of the comments have been pretty straightforward and respectful. It seems you are the one that is emotional about a computing platform.

  48. I understand where you are coming from. I too have dropped some Mac apps. I LOVE Gmail and through their Google Apps I Gmail with my own domain, FOR FREE!! I also use NetNewsWire which now syncs to Google Reader, and still I prefer the online version of the RSS reader.

    However, I am missing your point. The fact is that you are running all these other options in MACOSX. The fact is that Google works great in MacOSX. I use Mailplane for my Gmail and I love it. You cannot blame Apple for including, FREE OF CHARGE, the most basic of applications that Microsoft does not bother to include and the complain that they are constrained. With simplicity comes constraint… it is inevitable. They are highly integrated and simple but you are not forced to use them…. unlike Internet Explorer, which STILL pops up in Vista once in a while although it is not my default browser.

    You are leaving a company because you do not like their philosophy but is Microsoft’s any better or their profit motives any less clear? I have no problems leaving some of Apple behind. I am about to dump slow to upgrade Aperture for Lightroom 3. I dumped .mac/me for gmail. I plan to use more of Google Docs AND I now have push Gmail on my iPhone thanks to Microsoft Exchange support. APPLE, those evil people, also gave me bootcamp which will allow me to run Windows 7 all on its own or in Parallels.

    You can get everything you want in MacOS X without the virus’ and the pointing of fingers when problems pop up from Microsoft to the hardware makers and vice versa. Windows 7 is shiny and new and I think it will be a great operating system, but no reason for me to switch over.

    I wish Apple were less secretive and less restrictive sometimes but I do see the bright side of that. A few days ago some jailbroken iPhones were hijacked by a hacker who demanded 5 Euros to unlock them. Apple’s warning was correct! No company or platform is perfect and if you think that Microsoft, with all its convoluted tentacles will be any better, I am afraid you will be disappointed.

  49. Funny, you’d like to try ChromeOS when it comes out, but are wary of Ubuntu. You do realize that except for Gnome’s color scheme (think of Gnome as Linux’s answer to the Finder or Windows Explorer) and a few possible custom apps by Google, they are both Linux and both basically the same. Right?

  50. Best of luck.

    I use W2003 every day (the server OS is far faster) in VMWare. I find it very annoying in so many different ways but then I’m a Mac power user by choice and a Windoze power user by necessity (a decade of it no less). I’ve downloaded W7 — well, one edition. I am still not sure which edition I want. I’d like something that works with Unity mode better than what I have. That I have to pick between the scads of editions already pisses me off. Oh, and if you get 64 bit, it’s a kludge when you start looking at how they shoehorned that in. You can’t see how Apple’s done it but you will suffer a bit with how M$ did it. For starters, there are TWO Program Files folders. Then there are those inane Properties windows. They still remain even in W7. They are TINY and NUMEROUS — the latter just to get things done. That’s what led me to call Vista Lipstick on a Pig. I don’t think W7 is that much better. Like using cmd-a to select all text? It doesn’t work everywhere on a windreck like it does on a Mac. I could go on forever. It really is death by a thousand cuts.

    Still, suit yourself.

    Meanwhile, Gmail is great but it is not as reliable as you portended considering how much time the web interface was down in the last two months. I use their most excellent IMAP to load all my mail into Apple’s Mail app and it wasn’t down. (I use the web interface once and a while and it is very impressive as well.)

    Question. Does Firefox give you a definition of a word without having to load another page (google)? That’s one feature I like on a Mac: cmd-ctrl-D and it works in every Cocoa window as it’s a service.

    Still, Apple hasn’t been putting out truly high quality code since Tiger. There are too many bugs.

  51. “For the moment, I’m done playing ping-pong with the annoyed Mac fanboy set. Comments labeling my post as ill-conceived, poorly thought-out, or just plain wrong are just plain silly. I can see right through the petulance and I’m sure so can many readers. I’m sorry I don’t feel the same way about your favorite computer platform anymore.

    Actually, considering the big babies some of you are being, I’m really not all that sorry. Sorry!”

    Ah-ha! The sounds of a frustrated 12-year old.

  52. The open-source, open-ended “PC” (Macs are PCs, just FYI; PC stands for “personal computer”) community will welcome you with open arms. Bravo for standing up against close-mindedness and closed computing environments.

  53. Your words are those of a gentleman and scholar sir. As nothing is perfect, neither is Windows 7 nor Microsoft. However, having the integrity and courage to keep an open-mind for sure has served you well.

    I happen to like Windows 7, thinking it is what Windows should have been all along.

    I applaud your decision to take the plunge, perhaps one day, when time permits, I might take the plunge the opposite direction, just to learn to swim into unfamiliar waters, just like you do.

    I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
    ~ Confucius

  54. For the moment, I’m done playing ping-pong with the annoyed Mac fanboy set. Comments labeling my post as ill-conceived, poorly thought-out, or just plain wrong are just plain silly. I can see right through the petulance and I’m sure so can many readers. I’m sorry I don’t feel the same way about your favorite computer platform anymore.

    Actually, considering the big babies some of you are being, I’m really not all that sorry. Sorry!

  55. If you think Windows 7 will serve you better than a Mac, so be it. But your rationale here doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Apple supplies applications like Safari, iTunes, iPhoto, etc. to meet the needs of the “typical” computer user. If you don’t feel they are adequate for your “power user” needs, then you are free to supplement them with pro or semi-pro applications.

    In many ways, I think the departure of people who seem to somehow define themselves based on their choice of the Mac as a computer is a good thing. Your post reads more like a man going through a mid-life crisis than a rational person who has chosen a different operating system. Despite providing you with 15 years of a fulfilling relationship, you have spotted a cute barista who smiles at you and knows your name, and you now need to tell everyone how stifling and controlling your wife has been.

    You seem to object to Apple even providing these apps, but it seems obvious to me that these tools are a big selling point for “regular” folks, and you are free to ignore them if they don’t suit you. For my personal use, I find iPhoto perfectly adequate as a photo management tool, but chose to go with Final Cut Express as my video editing tool of choice. I can’t imagine complaining about Apple including iMovie to address the needs of folks who just want to trim down video clips for sharing online and the like.

    I find your claim that updates more frequently break 3rd party apps than they did in the past to be dubious, at best. I’ve moved a couple Macs from Leopard to Snow Leopard with no real fallout. And I have a wide variety of third party apps.

    I have used Macs since 1985, and will continue to use them as long as OS X offers technical and user interface superiority over the alternatives available for the desktop. My choice of a Mac is based on the fact that it is a pleasant to use *tool*. If your criteria for platform selection is heavily influenced by things like haxies and holiday lights and colorful computer cases and user camaraderie and the personalities of the corporate leaders, then _maybe_ you will find the Windows world more “fun”.

    But somehow I doubt it.

  56. Chris, I admit I have found value in my Macs, including the one I’m using right now. I just feel a sense of diminishing return at this point. Also, easing my way into the Windows world is why I’m going to use Windows 7 on my MacBook first. I do want to have a safe place to learn the platform.

    Ponter, as I said, I will explore the Linux world as well. Promise.

    Fring, my dissatisfaction is squarely at the door of both Apple’s consumer apps and Apple’s consumer relations. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. It’s disingenuous for you to tell me not to be upset with those apps because I have a “choice” to not use them when Apple’s entire platform brand identity revolves around their supposed and universal easy of use and utility for most Mac users.

    I don’t have niche needs, and I expect the core software touted by Apple (software Apple uses to sell its hardware, mind you) to work as I need it to work and not how Apple decides is the only approved way to use it. There is nothing ill-reasoned here. Take away the consumer apps and you’re pretty much left with an expensive, Linux-based application switcher.

  57. There was a time, a bit over a decade ago, when what you needed to do with a computer greatly effected which computer you bought. PCs weren’t optimized for graphic design work and Macs were slow at number-crunching and databases.

    These days, there’s much less difference (although having to re-purchase all your software if you switch is a pain). That said, Apple is a real control-freak of a company and you will spend extra for that. And it’s interesting to see some developers slowly moving over because of the Linux underneath.

    A friend recently said something to the effect: “Apple will continue to innovate, hold it too closely and then lose their audience when a less controlling competitor can do a knock-off.”

    The iPhone was big, but those over-riding updates sound awful and a LOT of people are interested in Android. This tablet-sized iPhone sounds like a potential Kindle-killer, but there will be something similar in an alternate brand within a year. (Sony’s probably got something up their sleeve, but they’re all about proprietary formats.)

    The one advantage Apple has maintained is the AppStore/iTunes (despite comments on this thread), but with all the Android models getting rolled out for the holidays, there’s now incentive for someone to develop an alternative.

  58. Mike
    ‘I’ve realized my Mac hasn’t worked for me for a long time–that I was dissatisfied long before I realized it.’
    OK, you are making a personal decision. But to place your dissatisfaction at the door of Apple’s consumer apps when no-one is forcing you to use them makes the rest of your post reflect badly on you rather than the machine you were using to get your work done.
    Did those same consumer do what you wanted all that time? Did you continue to use them for 15 years because they didn’t work? Of course not. They did what you wanted then – and now you want something different. No problem, but please don’t regurgitate a mish mash of ill reasoned internet chatter which has nothing to do with you just wanting a change – it’s frankly insulting to everyone who makes a choice. You included.
    Enjoy Windows 7, it’s not a bad OS but neither is it the panacea or answer to your concerns about continuing to use a Mac. Frankly, it’s anything but and over time you will likely meet some closed doors that are wide open to the Mac user.
    As a long time user of both platforms, I won’t spoil your journey of discovery but will say that if headaches are a problem for you, you may be making an unavoidable mistake.

  59. Mike, the other side, where cool things are happening, the side that still feels like the old computer revolution days, is Linux. Give Ubuntu a try. You can do your cloud thing on most platforms; Ubuntu Linux has Bluebird for music management; DigiKam (note the “K”, not to be confused with Digicam, a completely different product) is on a par with Aperture or Lightroom; and numerous other very good programs (and a lot of junk, admittedly) that should satisfy your computing needs — and it’s all free. And you can purchase some really good hardware of your choice. No Kool-Aid. Just freedom. Remember, Microsoft is still The Dark Side. They’ve just been joined by a new BFF, that’s all.

  60. Mike,
    Apple has always been a closed platform so that the hardware and software work better together… and it took 15 years before it annoyed you. However, note that you have been able to transition away from Apple software with a Mac, so it really isn’t as closed as you say… indeed, you will even be able to run Win7 on it.
    Yes, SJ is obsessed with contolling user experience, but for most users that results in an excellent experience.
    As a longtime Mac-user, I too have noticed that the regular updates to the iLife suite have had less value for increased cost (remember when iMovie updates were free?) and that the iPhone and other distractions have delayed OS and other software improvements. I also dislike SJ determining which technology I have access to (late adoption of USB2, no adoption of BluRay, etc.), but I have consistently found overall value in my Macs – my souped-up Cube runs Leopard great and if my G3 iBook I used for travel hadn’t finally died (and been replaced with a MBP), it would still be my primary computer.
    My experience with PCs at work has mostly been good (we have a good IT team), but I would never want to deal with the security/virus/malware issues on my own at home, and I’d always rather use OS X. I’m also spoiled by Apple hardware…and the Apple user community.
    Good luck on your transition – using good Apple hardware should make your move to Win7 nice (and bloatware-free), and if you hit any Win7 annoyances, you can always return to OS X.

  61. NOTE: Time stamps are one hour off (they did not automatically correct for the end of daylight time.) If I correct them now, the comment thread will be thrown into disarray. I will leave the system time stamp as is until commenting dies down later tonight.

  62. Mark, why should I pay for software functionality that I can get in the cloud (in this case Google’s) for free? I spend enough money being a Mac user as it is.

    britmic, I will definitely consider the Google OS. I have less faith in Linux but that is really just ignorance of the platform on my part. Most reviews note that Windows 7 cures the majority of ills from Vista. Calling it what you called it seems unfair.

  63. Charles (my next-tower neighbor), I had an Apple IIc with a green monochrome monitor and no mouse back in 1984. It lasted forever. Good machine design is available on the PC side from what I’ve researched, but you have to pay for it. Which when you think about it is the same deal on the Mac side. I may nurse my current Macbook as a Windows 7 unit for some time until I can afford better design on the PC side, or I may be quite happy with a plain-old creaky low-end Windows laptop. I don’t know yet.

    You’re right, my work is largely web-based. Except for image editing, my machine doesn’t need to be completely tricked out. Again, I’ll figure it all out.

  64. @ChgoSaint: You might try the Amazon MP3 store. I got frustrated with the iTunes Music Store because I wanted my music in unprotected MP3 format that I could transfer to my cell phone. I still use iTunes, but I don’t buy from them. The Amazon downloader will automatically add my purchased music to my iTunes collection.

    I also created a private Amazon wishlist specifically for MP3s I wanted to buy later. Now I just click a bookmarklet in Firefox, and the MP3 is added to my wishlist. I can go back later and buy it from the Amazon MP3 store at my convenience.

  65. I’ve been using Apple computers for 20 years now (all the way back to the Apple IIe in high school). I even have an 18-year-old Mac Plus that still runs beautifully — can’t imagine saying that about a Windows machine more than five years old. The quality of Apple hardware (computers and iPod, I have no experience with the iPhone) far outpaces Windows hardware.

    For me, the Mac is all about design, something no Windows PC maker can match. Mac hardware looks good, and that makes a difference to me.

    And Mac OS X is a beautiful piece of software. I have a Mac laptop and a Windows laptop (I do a lot of Windows development) sitting side-by-side on my desk, and I use the Mac as my primary. It’s just much easier on the eyes. I think you’ll see a significant difference if you open a Google document side-by-side in Windows and Mac. Notice the quality of the text — it’s just so much cleaner and clearer on the Mac. That’s important to me — to have something I enjoy looking at all day long.

    Like one of the previous commenters, I’m also a Unix guy. Most of the servers my clients use are Unix/Linux, so OS X has a distinct advantage over Windows. I’ve created an entire development environment that allows me to write and test code on my Mac and upload it to clients’ servers without modifications. Something I absolutely cannot do on Windows. The Unix underpinnings also make it easy for someone like me to customize my Mac to the way I work, completely ignoring the normal limitations average users encounter. Again, something Windows doesn’t make it easy to do.

    Having said all that, I’m by no means a Mac zealot. When friends ask for recommendations, I always find out what they’re used to — what experience they have and what they’re willing to try — before recommending either Windows or Mac. I haven’t tried the new Windows 7, but I’m hearing good things from friends and colleagues about it. I can’t imagine making it my primary OS, but it might finally replace XP on my secondary machine.

    I think when your life/work is on the web (as yours is) rather than the computer (as mine is), OS is not so important. For me, a switch to Windows would be far too inconvenient.

  66. John, that’s a good point, I could have been more explicit about why an OS switch in the end. I decided that if by and large I’m not going to use Apple-designed or Apple-centric software any longer, I have no reason to stick with an OS that locks me into future hardware purchases significantly more expensive than their PC counterparts.

    I don’t believe Macs and PCs achieve price parity no matter how you slice the feature sets and software suites involved, and I can configure and purchase a Windows system with the exact feature set I need for a lot less than the $1,300 I paid for my most recent MacBook in February. That coupled with Windows 7’s highly positive reviews is enough to make switching to a PC a compelling option for me.

    There’s an intangible here, too. I just don’t feel the Mac environment is a fun one to work and play in anymore. Somewhere along the way OS X got boring–at least for me. Steve Jobs has spent the past few years upping the conservative vibe of Macs–software and hardware. I miss my curvy Wall Streets and colorful iMacs. I miss my Unsanity haxies. I miss a robust Holiday Lights program. The other side looks like a lot of fun and I just want to go over and play there for a while.

  67. Dumping everything but iTunes. How very odd. Reads like another Microsoft sponsored blog post to me (my opinion only). Why not switch to the google OS when it is released, or Ubuntu or other Debian flavoured Linux?

    You say you won’t touch Vista, and yet Windows 7 is essentially more lipstick on the pig that is Vista.

    Enjoy your Vista martini.

  68. If you so despised the limitations of the “iApps” on your Mac, why did you not move on to other software, whether Apple’s pro apps, or from someone else entirely? There are plenty of high quality alternatives. Your argument makes no sense to me.

  69. Fring, what really is going on here is that I’ve realized my Mac hasn’t worked for me for a long time–that I was dissatisfied long before I realized it. The point is I’m not the evangelist I thought I was, and I probably haven’t been in my heart for a few years.

    The inertia of the Mac community, as perfectly exemplified by several of the comments here, tends to try to keep you in line. It’s like living with Mayor Daley here in Chicago–you’re not allowed to ask questions, express dissent, or choose a different leader to follow. Not unless you want people to have a visceral, emotional reaction to what is, in fact, a personal decision.

    As such, you don’t need to agree with my reasoning. But if you want it in a nutshell, I am tired of forcing my Mac to do what I want it to do. And, really, using an Apple product is one long, endless commercial in and of itself. So I have no problem with Google’s embedded ads.

    There’s no stance that’s not biased towards or away from something. There’s nothing odd about changing one’s mind. And there’s nothing odd about feeling disappointed by a computer company–Apple or any other.

  70. OK, so what I’m hearing you say is you’re switching to the cloud for apps.

    That’s simple and understandable.

    But what it has to do with the OS you happen to be using as a platform for getting to the cloud is not so obvious.

  71. Mike – I’m treading carefully here…
    Your reasoning bothers me. Did the ‘Oh so locked in Apple/Steve Jobs’ forbid you from using anything else but Apple’s consumer apps? Did they disable your music/photo library to stop you using other solutions? No… the choice is yours and always has been.
    I’m not an ADHD sufferer but as far as I see, there is no reason for you to hold such a disjointed and if I may say, naive viewpoint against Apple or any other computer manufacturer. By the same measure, Google is hooking you into their software in order to download unwanted ads to your computer.
    It’s simple and straightforward – the choice is yours and Apple makes it easy to do this whereas you may find that retrieving your data from Google’s grasp is not so easy should you choose to go in the opposite direction.
    If you are the ‘power user’ you state you are then you will have known this all the time you used Apple’s products so why the oddly biased anti-Apple stance now?
    just asking…

  72. “Joe, I’m glad the platform works for you. It doesn’t so much for me anymore and I can’t pretend it does just to make you feel better about my decision.”

    I’m not interested in seeing you pretend, nor do I care about your decision. What I care about is your worthless article which is nothing more than an extended whine with no content.

    If you want to grow up to be a journalist, start by stating the facts and building on reality rather than expecting anyone to care about your ability to use 500 words to say “I just don’t like Macs any more” with no rationale.

  73. Joe, I’m glad the platform works for you. It doesn’t so much for me anymore and I can’t pretend it does just to make you feel better about my decision.

    Mark, I’ll do some OS shopping around, don’t worry.

    Harvey, neener, neener, neener. 😉

  74. (Graphic: Not your father’s Apple Macintosh. Daring desktop image included with Microsoft’s new Windows 7.)

    Just the fact that Mike thinks that the Windows 7 turtle desktop image is cool is a great indicator that he has no taste at all.

    Mike you won’t be missed 😉

  75. Mike,

    I’m cross-platform, but you won’t catch me switching to an even MORE proprietary platform completely. The UNIX underpinnings of OS X and rock solid Apple hardware will always have me coming back for more. Perhaps you should try the UBUNTU distro if you’ve truly Googleized your life. I have switched back and forth between Windows and Mac several times over. Don’t think Windows offers me any advantages, and I’d still have to install anti-virus and anti-spyware as a matter of course. It’s just not worth it for me, and hasn’t been for over a decade.

  76. You sure used a lot of words to say nothing.

    I read the article looking for something approaching a rational reason why the Mac wasn’t suitable. You rambled a lot and said absolutely nothing of value.

    What are the reasons Macs are less suitable today than they were 15 years ago? What justifies a switch? Be specific. I’ve spent enough time reading your rambling, content-free screed.

  77. “I deferred to the ease and utility of iTunes. But that’s about it. ”

    Apparently you haven’t updated your iTunes recently. I made that mistake and am amazed at how awful it is not to search for music in the Apple Store and what a pain purchasing has become. It is still the best game in town for music, but it became a much more frustrating game to play. I put music on my “wish list” since Apple said it would hold it there without purchasing. Immediately it charged my card and began downloading. Huh? It also downloaded it five times and charged me five tiems for the same music. Apple has yet to fix this and its been a week.

  78. Aaron, you and my Twitter peep @dupreeblue both raise a good point. I guess I’ll cross that tech-support bridge when I come to it. In my defense, I cause more than my fair share of snafus on my Macbook, so I’m not afraid to get under the hood.

    Andy, thanks for suggesting those programs. I was wondering what besides Winamp I could use in lieu of iTunes after I install Windows 7. By the way, interesting tech site you’ve got!

    [Readers can click on Andy’s name to go there.]

  79. If you want to complete the switch, I would recommend trying out either DoubleTwist or Songbird for a media player.

    Supposedly, DoubleTwist is compatible with iPods for syncing and also has a great feature that will “liberate” your iTunes library from their draconian DRM. Additionally, DoubleTwist either has or will soon have direct access to the Amazon MP3 library for music purchases.

    Songbird is a nice open-source music player based on Firefox. I used an older version and really liked it.

    I just installed Win7 on my desktop and laptop, but haven’t had a chance to load up either Songbird or DoubleTwist, but hopefully will have some time this weekend.

  80. Mike,

    I’m with on a lot of it, but not the MSFT switch. Every PC I’ve had has been more or less junk. Windows can’t even suspend and resume right. It usually starts out ok, but after 2-3 months the machine bogs down to near un-usability. Try finding a PC vendor that doesn’t preload the computer will all sorts of add on junk too.

    I’ve always been a Unix guy. Never was a Mac guy at all. I bought my first Macbook this year and even though it is the cheapest one Apple makes, it’s better than the best Windows PC I ever had. (And I can still drop down to Unix when I have to – that’s my bypass lifeline if I can’t figure out why a disk won’t mount).


  81. Jeff (my fellow ADHDer), thanks for the trackback, and Mohd, thanks for the words of support. I never thought I would shift away from Apple, but this year really taught me how bored, joyless, and frustrated I’ve felt about Mac for longer than I realized.

    Mine is the Mac user perspective you never hear about, I guess. Too many of us never question Apple’s way of doing things. The new Get a Mac (“I’m a Mac,” “I’m a PC”) commercials are a great example of Apple’s reality distortion field. Windows 7 has debuted to excellent reviews–so the best Apple can come up with is an admittedly amusing commercial that basically says Windows 7 has to be bad because Vista and earlier versions of Windows were bad.

    You know what that is? Totally disingenuous. You know what disingenuous means?

    Ahem. Full of shit.

  82. Hey Mike,

    This is quite an honest-to-goodness approach to how you live your life, handling day-to-day challenges and in your words “sea of information”.

    The journey that led your Mac to use the most neutral applications, compared to what’s recommended to be adhered to by Apple is a constructive breakaway.

    I will be following your feeds to see what happens in the future, when you get Windows 7 on your Macbook!

    Mohd Hisham

Leave a comment...