news of 2004-10-10

A Windows Power User's 1 Month Trip to OS X

Now that was an article I was begging to read. Really. I've heard a lot of switchers' stories, but they mostly were - mildly put - relatively 'dumb' users. Apple clearly caters to those with Panther and will even more with Tiger (Spotlight will show you 'desktop pictures' if you search for 'wallpapers', for example). But someone who grew up with DOS and puts Windows XP to good use and is able to have his/her system running without a crash for several weeks: I hadn't heard much about such a user trying out a Mac. This article on will give you a better idea, too.
The following quote should give you an idea about the fact that the author was willing to give OS X a real chance (and probably more so than most die-hard OS 9 users still out there...): "The benefit of leaving applications running even when you're not using them is that when you do need to use them or open a file with one of them, the response time is instantaneous - as opposed to waiting for an application to load. Of course, you can do the same thing in Windows, but for some reason stability and performance seemed to remain unchanged under OS X, whereas I almost always ran into an issue with Windows - whether it was having too many windows open or too many programs running."

He's also talking about browsing speeds, and quite certainly, he makes a point that we Mac users seem to have forgotten. Remember the days before Chimera and Safari, both of the browsers that are responsible for bringing the Mac 'up to par' with Windows? Well... Considering the amount of web browsing that we all do on a regular basis, Safari's rendering performance is nothing short of unacceptable." - If you think he's wrong, just take a look at the numbers he got comparing Safari to IE on Windows. Not unusually, Safari was 30% slower. That's of course much better than OmniWeb 3.x/IE 5.x/Netscape 5.x back in the old days, but it's still bad.

One other point in his article is very important to me: "The keyboard and mouse both look great but fall flat on their face when it comes to functionality. For a company that has seemingly done a good job of allowing form and function to go hand in hand, and for a company that has developed some of the best human interfaces to digital technology, the input devices are a strange enigma." - I have to admit that I wasn't really aware of this fact, but I haven't used a Mac mouse in years (I'm using the original Microsoft IntelliMouse with IntelliEye, the best mouse ever made ergonomically - for right hand mouse users at least). I've recently installed an iMac G4 at the company I work for and found the mouse incredibly bad. And I've been a mobile user for years, so I was using the perfect keyboard for me for years. Actually using the iMac's keyboard (and it's the same that comes with the PowerMacs) was so ugly, I had to get back to my PowerBook instantly. I totally agree with the article's writer here.

The biggest weak point of the Mac is Games. The article says that in some places and of course in the 'Games' section. For years I've been saying that if you want to use a Mac and want to play games: Get a GameCube or a Sony Playstation 2. The Mac quite definitely just isn't for games, and I doubt it'll ever be. In my opinion, Apple should rather forget about pampering game developers. It just won't happen...

A final comment to the article about Mac pricing: Sadly, the writer completely ignores anything but the most expensive Mac. Sure, he's a power user, so he really needed the dual processor PowerMac. But the fact that he has to doesn't apply to other users. I'm well aware (as many of us are) that it's the PowerMacs that still give the false image that Macs are expensive. And this article only looks at them. The iMacs are priced well against the competition, the eMacs anyway, the iBooks are great value/price performers. But even the PowerBooks, the professional notebooks Apple is selling, compare well to Windows counterparts. I'd have given the article five out of five stars if I did have a star-based system for reviewing reviews, but if a good article writer starts to talk about the price of Macs, he or she should definitely not ignore everything but the most expensive Mac Apple is willing to sell.
I still think that this is a very good and important article.

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-10-10 at 17:53 CET ]
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