Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Making the Leap to a Mac

Last week was a very difficult week for me, technically speaking. On Monday morning, about 3 hours before leaving to conduct workshops in Chicago and Indianapolis, my Toshiba notebook would not boot. Actually, I did get it to boot after waiting about 30 minutes.

Thankfully, I managed to burn a CD of all my presentations for the week, but it was with a sense of fear and dread that I powered it down. Long story short is that Windows went bye-bye on me.

You might be thinking, just reinstall Windows, right? No, Toshiba didn't make it that easy. Their “recovery” CD is actually a reformat CD, which formats the hard drive before it reinstalls Windows.

So I found myself in downtown Chicago (with no vehicle) early Monday evening searching for a new notebook. I've had it with this Toshiba. Nothing but problems since I've had it. Even as I type this, I realize that “hey, the cursor doesn't randomly jump four or five lines above where I'm typing.” That's nice. How sad that I had grown to accept such poor quality.

First stop was Staples. At first I was excited because they were having a blow-out sale on notebooks. The bad news was that they were all blown out. The shelves were empty of computers.

Next stop was Office Max Express where they only had pens, paper clips and other office supplies for the office worker in a paper-based emergency.

Finally, I headed up the Magnificent Mile to the Apple Store. Things seemed to be leading me to this choice. I've been thinking about switching to a MacBook for sometime now and I guess this was the right time.

After explaining my situation (er, crisis) to the salesperson, she hooked me up with a sweet little 13” MacBook that is a pleasure to use. The next evening, I got the Parallels application and Windows XP, so I can now run my Windows applications that won't run on a Mac. It looks odd to see the XP desktop on a Mac (desecration, I'm sure some would say), but aside from a procedural bug in Parallels, the whole thing with XP works great. In fact, it seems to run faster than my Toshiba, which isn't much of a surprise.

Another cool thing is the 30 second boot up time. That may not last for long, but for right now it's great.

I am having to get used to the differences in usage, such as the mainly single-click and the no right click (it's ctrl and click). I'm a fast learner, though!

I've been working now for over 2 hours and the batter is still going strong. My Toshiba's battery life was down to around 8 minutes (really). I had bought an external power source just so I could work on the plane.

And then there's the coolness. I've never owned a cool computer (and I'm not talking about not overheating like my Toshiba does on occasion). No longer than 30 minutes after I had bought the MacBook, two people commented that I wouldn't regret buying it. Some expressed envy.

I really don't think I'm going to regret the switch. One week now, and things are still great. No regrets at all - only smooth computing. I'm sure I'll have to work through a few issues along the way, but for now, it's just nice to be able to work on the road with a fast, reliable, usable and , oh a cool, computer.

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