Sometimes a good blogger must cannibalize his e-mails for content.
Sometimes mediocre bloggers must do the same.
I was recently asked:
“I’ve never taken the plunge into Mac World because of all the investment I’ve made into PC software. So I can still use that stuff using Parallels? Is it worth the extra money? Convince me! :)”
Why Macs are Better
- QuickLook! This is just a very, very cool idea. Preview all kinds of common files (and get freeware plugins for more) without opening the program. And it’s lightning fast.
- Spotlight. Mac superiority goes into little things like being able to run calculator functions in Spotlight, the integrated search program.
- iLife integration: iCal with Address with Mail. If someone sends you an address or an appointment in Mail, Address Book or iCal picks it up and you can easily click it into either program.
- Built-in camera and mic. I have made quick “scans” of all kinds of things that didn’t need to be high res.
- Similar menus for all Apple programs: I really like the consistent keyboard shortcuts in the various design programs. E.g., I hit Shift+Cmd+M to crop a picture in Pages and Keynote.
- Stronger core architecture; far fewer restarts: I have to admit it: Right after I promoted five-point Macism in an e-mail list, I started having a little trouble with my MacBook. It doesn’t want to stay asleep for some reason. But I’ve been using it like 10 hours a day for a year and a half. I think a reinstall of Leopard (which should be easy with Time Machine backups at hand) will do the trick. I can say, however, that force quits of individual applications (mainly of Firefox) are fast and painless. I’m back up and running in a minute.
- Installing programs is so much easier: It really is amazing: drag and drop! And I have a freeware program that makes deleting programs even easier than Mac makes it.
- Apps installed in one spot = easier upgrades: Apps stay in the Applications folder, so you don’t have files scattered as much over your system.
- Hot corners, Dashboard, Exposé, Spaces: This is just awesome. I use it a million times a day. I run my cursor to any corner of the screen to do various tasks I prescribe. I love Expose. If you don’t know what it is I think you’ll have to look at the Apple site. Basically it’s just a real handy application and window switcher. And with Spaces I can easily separate Mac OSX (Space 1) and Windows (Space 2). I hit Ctrl+1 to get to the first and Ctrl+2 to get to the second.
- Keyboard shortcuts easily manageable: I’m a maniac about these, and I have used a very cool freeware program called Spark to automate a lot of my common typing tasks, from entering my username and password in Novell Border Manager to removing the extraneous text from a New York Times article I’ve saved.
- Quicksilver: Awesome, awesome! You just have to see it—at blacktree.com I think. I use it a million times a day. It’s an application and file launcher—and oh, so much more!
- Good looks inside and out. Eye candy! I admit it. This matters to me a lot. I hate clunkiness. I was a graphic design major and I still do a lot of design on the side. I feel more creative in a good-looking GUI, like I’m working with a tool that understands me.
- Drag and drop on springloaded folders: Very handy. I can drag a file from a folder up to the top left corner of the screen to clear the desktop, then I can drag it onto a folder there—which pops open—then onto another folder—which pops open—then where I want it.
- Switch keyboard layouts quickly. With one keystroke I go from English character set to Unicode Greek. It’s fully customizable, of course.
- iWeb and iPhoto make you look good with no work. I’m a cheap designer to use it, but iWeb has saved me time. And I prefer finder to iPhoto, but if I ever make a slideshow, iPhoto is my thing.
- Easily put any folder in a Finder (equivalent to Windows Explorer) sidebar.
- OS comes with screenshot shortcuts. Unbelievably useful for a designer. You have lots of control, too, over what size and shape you want the screenshot to be. Leopard improved this already very useful tool.
- Stacks: cool eye candy.
- Well-engineered keyboard.
- Terminal gives you great power over your computer.
- Automator lets you, well, automate tasks.
- Built-in Oxford American Dictionary/Thesaurus, with German, Latin, and other plug-ins available for free.
Mac superiority, I admit, is not focused in a lot of big things (though there are a few, like QuickLook), but in a whole lot of little ones, in attention to detail.
If you do buy a Mac, make sure to check out MacMall.com. And I would recommend purchasing a wireless Mighty Mouse. They’re not cheap, but 360º scrolling is just very handy.
And this very day I was asked by someone else what to buy now that he has a MacBook with Tiger.
I answered: RAM, Parallels, Leopard, and a blogging client.
I added the attached annotated image to show what free apps to get.