Jumping on the Mac bandwagon

Well, I guess my decent in to total Apple Fanboy status is complete. A little over a week ago  I purchased a Macbook Air. The funny thing is, I didn't actually feel like a fanboy. I have never once stood in line or even pre-ordered an Apple product. I think either one, if not both of those activities would be required to really be considered a true fanboy. I will admit that I'm a huge fan of the Apple products. The Macbook Air is no exception.

Let me start by saying, this isn't something I jumped in to rashly. I've considered the move for some time. Cash flow was certainly one of the reasons I didn't make the move sooner. But more than that, it's hard to break habits that you've had for 20+ years. A few years back I bought a Macbook thinking that I would make the switch to Mac at that time. That didn't happen. I used the previous Mac sparingly. It was great for traveling because it was nice and light and I really enjoyed using Keynote (along with Keynote Remote for the iPhone) for doing presentations. But, my day-to-day work just didn't fit the Mac, so I soon found that I was going months without booting it up. It sat collecting dust until a couple of months back when I sold it (using Rumgr) to put the money towards buying a new Mac.

Several people have asked me why I'm making the switch. As I started to consider my response, I realized the answer isn't quick and easy. There's quite a few reasons, actually. So, in no real order, here's the main reasons why I'm making the switch:

Trackpad / Gestures
I have several friends who have Macs and watching the ease in which they move from desktop to desktop was awesome. Swipe, browser. Swipe again, editor. Swipe a third time, Twitter and IM client. Two finger swipe does this function. Three finger swipe does another. For as cool as it looked, testing it out at the Apple store made all the difference. It just FEELS right. Oh, and having one less gadget to lug around when traveling sounded appealing as well.

About 20 years ago I used to build my own computers. If not building from scratch, I would install RAM or new hard drives, troubleshoot hardware… all of it. The thought of doing that today makes my cringe. For the past couple years, my PC laptop has had a problem with a driver that has made it almost impossible for me to use Skype on the machine. I can use it, but I'll have to reboot within 15 minutes of completing the Skype call. I really like the idea of the Genius Bar. Having a place that I can make an appointment and go to for support sounds really great to me. Will I ever use it? Dunno. But, I have it in my back pocket if something comes up.

The App Store
Say what you will about Apple having too much control over the app store, but ya know what, when I download an app to my phone, the likelihood that it's going to work is pretty darn high. I'm willing to accept a smaller pool of apps that will work over having a larger number of apps and playing the needle in the haystack game to find one that works. Yes, that's probably a bit over dramatic, but you get the point.

Size / Weight
Once I decided to buy a Mac, I had to decide between a MBP or an MBA. I probably changed my mind a dozen times, but in the back of my mind I was pretty sure I wanted an Air. The 13″ model has a sufficient screen for getting things done when not at my desk with the large external monitor. Plus, the thing weighs, and I'm not exaggerating, about 1/4 of what my previous laptop weighs. Given the amount of travel I do, carrying the Air around as compared to the 17″ wide-screen behemoth I have been lugging around is going to seem like not carrying one at all. Not to mention, with my previous laptop I wasn't able to use it on the last 6 or 7 flights in a row because the person in front of my would lower the seat and my laptop was simply too big to be of any use.

While I'm sure there were other factors in making the decision, these were definitely the biggies.

One Week Later
It's been just over a week since I got the Mac. Immediately after getting it I began moving EVERYTHING to it (thank you, Dropbox). I hit up friends and Twitter to get some input on which apps to check out. I got some great suggestions, and outside of QuickBooks (I'm not planning on purchasing it for the Mac), I can do  everything I was doing on the PC on the Mac. I've used the PC to test a couple sites for compatibility, but other than that it's been Mac all the way. So unlike my previous attempt to switch, I think this one may actually stick.

Move over Fanboys and make room for your newest member.

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  1. shayne on March 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Awesome! Glad you’re enjoying it 🙂

  2. TJ List on March 21, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Congratulations. I hope your experience with it is better than mine. I wrote about it at http://tjlist.net/category/pc-to-mac/.

    I use my 13″ Macbook Pro (bought used) for travel and work away from home. There are things I really like about it. Battery life is great. The screen is beautiful, and it’s light. The keys feel good for typing, and they nailed scrolling (every PC I have seen that has tried to implement 2-finger scroll has stumbled).

    However, after nearly 14 months with it I still can’t use it for REAL work. For one thing, I need screen real estate. 1280×800 pixels just is NOT big enough for anything more than email. The lack of a true “Delete” key still annoys the living {redacted} out of me. I can’t find an editor that I like (I’m hooked on Notepad++). And the open source graphics programs (GIMP and Inkscape) that I use run for crap in Apple’s horrid attempt at X-windows.

    At home it functions as a web server and Twitter client. And the #Cuteness watches videos on it. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    I look forward to a follow-up post from you in a few weeks or months.

    • John on March 21, 2012 at 11:23 pm

      Yeah, there’s no way I could use any laptop as my full-time machine without some sort of external monitor. I have a 24″ display that I use as an extended desktop, and it works like a charm. I have a second display that I’m going to try and get hooked up, I just need to find the right hardware to make that happen.

      I will absolutely do a follow-up email in a couple weeks to let you know how it’s going.

  3. Andy on March 22, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Great write up John.

    I have various Linux distributions set up as Virtual machines on my Core i7 Windows 7 desktop for coding etc and none of them still feels quite right for my main machine. I have also tried the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 which is going to be another Vista / ME for Microsoft so not sure where I am going to go after Windows 7.

    I’m still not sold on Mac I can’t quite get along with it but maybe next I should try creating a Hackintosh on the i7 Desktop before making my final decision – has anyone done this?

  4. Lloyd Wiebe on March 22, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Well reasoned, and well written little rationale, John. I was in much the same boat wrt PC’s, and since making the switch, I’ve enjoyed my computers much more than I ever did PC’s. Glad you’re happy.

  5. John on March 22, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I have been using a 27″ iMac for about 4 months and love it so far! Anything that I was using as far as a Windows OS is running great on VM Ware Fusion. Looking at laptops now to make the transition complete.

  6. Ben Jones on March 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I’ve thought of making the switch, and for a while I was doing everything on the iPad. BTW textastic was a pretty cool editor (me likey) — BUT, I’ve always said that as a web dev guy, I should be viewing the site using the tool that the majority of peeps are using. The MAC in the office is always 2nd or 3rd on the food chain.

    I moved off a desktop device about 3 months ago and have been strictly laptop since. Ever since I made the move to a laptop as my primary computer – the MAC draw has increased. Maybe it’s something they’re putting in the water… or the beer.

    • John on March 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Ben, I absolutely agree that for web development you HAVE to test sites on a PC. Until the balance of power shifts and the majority of people are using Macs, it’s an absolute no brainer. That being said, I’m happy to fire up the PC for a few minutes and do testing with it, but holy hell, I am really enjoying the Mac so far.

      My previous ‘desktop’ machine was also a laptop. But, a huge one. Regardless, the effect is the same. I like being able to pick up my machine and take it with me and already know that I have all the same tools as if I was at home at my desk. It means that I can be productive even in short bursts while traveling rather than spending time fumbling around with where things are at.

  7. Andrea_R on March 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    We both recently switched over to Macs here too for work. Ron got a MBP and I have an Air. He still uses his desktop (linux) for… uh.. email now that I think of it, and has switched move of his dev work over to the MBP. I suppose next on his list is dual monitors.

    He was the firs tone to notice the usefulness of gestures, as he has fine motor control issues, and it;s been a whole lot easier than using a regular laptop.

    My Air? *love* it. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Neither one of us were fanboys before, more of a “oh. that’s neat. pricey tho.” but now after using them? Worth every penny. I’m still finding cool stuff about it.

    Given 99% of my day is spent in a web browser, in tweetdeck and skype, it’s just perfect for me. being able to lug it everywhere and anywhere I like? Some kind of bonus.
    And yes I had a Ubuntu laptop before. that thing was huge compared to this. It’s just so much easier to move around with.

    And it fits my tiny fingers. 🙂

    • John on March 22, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Seriously, gestures are amazing, right? I feel like I should shoot a quick video to show how I’m using things now, because I’m really liking it. I’m not sure how it will differ once I move to an external keyboard and the magic trackpad (already purchased, not using yet). The keyboard I have is going to require some key-remapping, which is going to be a bit of a chore. I probably need a couple hours to make that happen. Until then, it’s laptop on the desk for typing, large monitor behind that for ‘work’

  8. Gabriel Shepherd on March 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm


    Its nice to get some feedback from someone who travels frequently. I have been a mac guy for awhile now, and bought my current 15inch MBP about 18 months ago. I have regretted it to some degree since. I talked myself into believing I needed the extra processing power and larger screen. Over that time I have realized almost none of my intense work happens on this thing anyway when on the road. I end up using it for hootsuite, emails and reading the oatmeal (smh). Then I go to sxswi this year and see hardcore developers killing in on 13inch airs… I guess once the new air gets release, I will head to rumgr. Of course knowing my luck, Apple will add a 15inch air to the lineup creating another 3 months of internal deliberation. Thx Again

    • John on March 27, 2012 at 1:20 am

      You hit the nail on the head! You aren’t going to be doing a ton of intense development while you are away from your main work area anyway. The extra screen real estate would be nice, but, after spending this past weekend at a conference, carrying this puppy around in a messenger bag was an absolute delight!! Completely validated my decision after one trip.

  9. Phil Simon  (@philsimon) on April 26, 2012 at 8:58 am

    There’s no going back. My only regret: that I didn’t do it sooner.

    TextExpander, Skitch, and PDFPen are must-haves.

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