I’ve just been through a real conversion experience


It has been coming for some time now, I knew deep down that it was going to happen soon because the signs were there and so I would have to make a decision, but it could only really be a choice that I was truly happy with and also one that had solid evidence to back it up.

Evidence for a real conversion experience? Yes truly.

In fact I have good solid empirical evidence that now fully verifies my conversion.

(Takes a deep breath and gets ready for the confession)

Yes, it is true, I have indeed converted, I no longer have a Windows laptop, I have now switched to using a Mac.

Wait sorry, what is that you say? … “God”, no this is not about god or religion at all, where did you ever get that idea from, no no, this is about something that is actually real and measurable.

So yes indeed, my sudden silence was due to the old laptop making a rather sudden and swift departure for silicon heaven … sadly rather terminal, the GPU (soldered to the motherboard), decided not to play nice anymore, and now I just get a command line interface when I boot, so with no desire to return to the 1970s of green screen character based computing, it was time to move on.

I knew this day was to be soon, it was showing symptoms, so the idea of “what now” had already been mulled over for some time.

Windows 8.1 perhaps …. (rushes out to throw up at the very idea). If XP was still around, perhaps, but that is at end of life, and so if I buy new kit I get this ugly morass that masquerades as an OS, and would have it potentially inflicted upon me? … er … no.

For some time now I’ve been running Ubuntu on the old laptop … and that of course came at a price band I could indeed afford … namely free. Alas, it has buts. It simply did not behave as I really wanted it to, and so I’m happy to let go.

So were these my only choices, is this how I wanted to fly.

The first, Windows 8.1, is where you simply can’t work out how to get to the airport and need somebody to take you there, then once you are checked in, you have no hope of finding the damn gate to catch your flight … and you have no idea when the flight will take off because you can’t work out what is going on.

The second, Ubuntu, is where you all turn up at the airport, and everybody flying steps out on to the runway with bits of the aircraft then you all put it together … correctly … before you fly.

Is it all really that bad? Perhaps not that bad, but not far off it, I could relate specific Ubuntu horror stories and how I needed to delve down inside and fiddle to get it to behave correctly on a rather too regular interval. Basically every few weeks they would push out a fix and that would break things and I’d be back to fix it again.

So what now, why a Mac?

Why not, because I finally get what the Mac culture is all about.

In the old days I was happy to fiddle and tweak, but I simply do not have time for that any more, I now want to get on with stuff and so I have fallen in love with the idea of getting a solution that just works. Yes, it is a closed eco-system, but that is fine. We live in a world where we need layers of abstraction that bury the complexity under the covers and just do the job. In an open universe of plug-and-play, “just works” can at times require a bit of luck. Case in point, I tried to install some software and the Mac OS pops up and stops me ….

Hey, we have not actually tried this out, you are taking a risk here. If you really want to do that, then here is how you can bypass the security settings

“Oh”, so I pause and ponder and then conclude, “Nope, I don’t actually need that”, and so did not install.

Conclusions so far for my MacBook pro

  • I opened the box and it just worked, it even came with a fully charged battery
  • Easy to use … different … but in a nice way.

Challenges

  • Getting mail stored in outlook folders converted … I simply uploaded into a gmail account (folders ¬†and all). Mac Mail has a bug when handling so many gmail folders (Apple are working on it), but Thunderbird was happy, so no big deal, I’m in … and in fact leaving it all there and making it all cloud based renders it all a lot more secure and less prone to drive crashes
  • Printer drivers for my very old clunky printer (think rubber bands and bootlaces) for the Mac have been a tad elusive (not a surprise)

It has still been only a few days, so hopefully I will feel the same a few months down the line. Tempting as it might be to go for Office on the Mac, I’ll give the Apple alternatives a go first (yes it appears to read Office docs, and yes I can export back into an office format … so it is all looking good so far).

Oh yes, one other big bonus … the boot time. The interval between hitting the power button and having an OS up and running that I can use is …. 15 seconds. (one label for that … SSD). The downside is that I’ll be drinking a lot less coffee, I no longer need to find something to do while it boots.

Is that last point really really true … a 15 second cold start boot time? Actually it is less …

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