Weighing a Switch from the New Windows OS "Windows Apathy" to a Mac


C

Chad Harris

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/10/t...1&oref=slogin&ref=technology&pagewanted=print

August 10, 2006
Basics
Weighing a Switch to a Mac
By THOMAS J. FITZGERALD
Ten years ago, if you were a Windows user, the idea of switching to a
Macintosh might not have seemed enticing. An abundance of new Windows
software was arriving on store shelves, while the selection available to Mac
users seemed to be falling behind, often relegated to a back corner of the
same store.

Today the calculation is different. Apple Computer, through a series of
transitions, has reinvented itself. With a new operating system, its own
chain of retail stores, the iPod and now a new line of computers that run on
Intel processors, this new and more mainstream Apple is catching the
attention of Windows users, and many are curious about switching.

But is switching a good idea? The answer, as always, depends on the needs
and preferences of the user. Apple’s move to Intel processors has made it
easier to run Windows on Intel-based Macs, and thus any software a switcher
may want to continue using. But even with that ability, there are pluses and
minuses to consider.

Software

The center of the Macintosh experience is Apple’s operating system, Mac OS
X. With Unix at its foundation, Mac OS X is more stable, secure and open
than previous Mac platforms, and the current version, called Tiger, offers
features not included in Windows. More than 12,000 software applications
have been developed to run on the Mac OS X platform since it was introduced
in 2001, according to Apple, including popular programs like Microsoft
Office, Adobe Photoshop, the Firefox Web browser and many from Apple.

But the world of Mac software is still smaller than what is available in the
Windows world. A Windows user curious about switching needs to take an
inventory of applications and determine what options are available in the
Mac world to accomplish the same. Mac software is likely to be available for
most mainstream applications; some may be included on a new Mac and others
may require a separate purchase.

Other important applications, especially in categories like business
software and games, may run only on Windows. This is where the new
Intel-based Macs can make a difference: because they use the same hardware
architecture as Windows-based PC’s, called x86, the experience of running
Windows on a Mac is much improved.

Two methods for running Windows on the new Macs have moved to the forefront,
and both run considerably faster than Virtual PC, the leading option under
the old Mac architecture. The first, a new program called Parallels Desktop
for Mac ($80; www.parallels.com), enables you to run Windows and Mac OS X
Tiger simultaneously. For example, you can run Windows software like
Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook in a window that can be minimized
just like other Mac programs. Data can be copied between the platforms, you
can share files and folders between them and you can choose to run Windows
in a full-screen mode.

Parallels can run Windows versions as old as Windows 3.1 and through the
current editions of XP. You will need to provide your own Windows
installation software. A drawback of Parallels is that it does not support
3-D-accelerated graphics, which means some higher-end 3-D games and other
programs run slowly or not well. Other factors to consider are a speed
reduction of 5 to 15 percent compared with running Windows natively on
Intel-based computers, the company says, and the fact that not all
peripheral devices are compatible.

The other option for running Windows on the new Macs is made possible by
Boot Camp (www.apple.com/bootcamp), a free utility from Apple now available
in beta testing. (Apple announced this week that Boot Camp would be part of
its next operating-system release, called Leopard, scheduled for next
spring.) Unlike Parallels, which runs Windows within Mac OS X, Boot Camp
creates a partition on the computer’s hard disk and installs Windows to it.
When the computer starts up, you can choose to run either Windows or Mac OS
X.

Benefits of Boot Camp include running Windows at full speed; it runs
natively on the Mac, as it would on a conventional Windows-based PC, fully
using the processor and graphics abilities, and providing compatibility with
hardware peripherals and devices designed for PC’s.

A drawback of Boot Camp, though, is that you must shut down one operating
system before using the other. This means you cannot run Windows and Mac
applications simultaneously. Another drawback is that it can run only two
versions of Windows: Windows XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2, which
costs $200, or Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2, which is $300.

Security is another aspect of Macs that has Windows users curious. In
Windows, antivirus and antispyware programs have become essential for
defending against a variety of threats. So far, the Mac OS X operating
system has not been infiltrated by viruses, and it remains free from the
type of spyware threats that spread in the wild and go after Windows users,
according to Symantec, maker of Norton Antivirus.

But when Windows is run on Intel-based Macs, for example through Boot Camp
or Parallels, it is vulnerable to the same virus and spyware threats that
can affect conventional Windows-based PC’s.

Hardware

The physical designs of Apple’s desktop and notebook computers are often
innovative. The iMac, for example, is a space-saving desktop unit with an
all-in-one enclosure that conceals the computer’s components behind the
monitor. And the MacBook, a new notebook with a glossy screen, includes a
new keyboard layout. This week, the company introduced the Mac Pro, a line
of desktops replacing the Power Mac, completing its transition to Intel
chips.

But while Apple’s selection covers much ground, it is less diverse than what
is available from companies like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sony and Lenovo. For
example, Apple does not offer ultraportable notebooks, a tablet design or as
wide a choice in processor types and speeds. And when it comes to pricing,
Apple no longer offers notebooks in the sub-$1,000 range, or desktop units
in the sub-$500 range, as do other makers.

Consideration should also be given to the compatibility of any devices like
printers, external hard drives and cellphones that may be connected to a
computer. In some instances, only Windows may be supported.

The Switching Experience

I spoke with a number of Windows users who had recently switched to Macs.
Their reasons varied, but their experiences had some notable similarities.
In many cases, since they had mastered Windows long ago, learning the Mac
interface, essentially from scratch, took more time than expected. Also,
many switchers retained strong links to the Windows world, often through
computers at their workplace or older units at home.

Danielle Wang, 26, of Austin, Tex., bought her first Mac six weeks ago. She
took the advice of a friend and decided to buy a MacBook to replace her
Windows-based laptop, a Sony Vaio, which she said had been stolen.

Early in the transition, Ms. Wang said, it took time to get used to the Mac
interface; the menus, the location of buttons and other items were
different. “It was difficult,” she said. “The first three days, I was
constantly thinking about returning it.”

Ms. Wang uses the MacBook mainly for applications like e-mail, Web browsing,
digital music, games and instant messaging; so far, she has not encountered
problems finding Mac software, and she still maintains access to
Windows-based computers for other programs she prefers to use at home.

In comparing the MacBook and the Vaio, she said the graphics were clearer on
the Sony.

“The Sony Vaio is more lively,” she said. But she prefers the look and
design of the MacBook.

Over all, Ms. Wang is glad she switched. She likes the Mac interface and
says she is likely to remain a Mac owner for the foreseeable future. “It was
the right decision,” she said. “I really love my Mac right now.”

Enjoy,

CH
 
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A

Alan Simpson

The current OS battlefield really boils down to these words in that article:



"...mainly for applications like e-mail, Web browsing, digital music, games
and instant messaging."



Since all that stuff is in the OS, and many people don't need anything else,
the OS as "platform" (for doing other stuff) is taking a backseat to the OS
as (dare I say it?), "toy". At least in the market we typically refer to as
the "home" or "user" market, which is getting to be a very big market and
growing in leaps and bounds. Apple sees this and is wisely going after the
opportunity full bore.



(Sorry if the word "toy" offends anyone. No intent to offend. Just can't
think of a better word offhand).
 
B

Bernie

Alan said:
Since all that stuff is in the OS, and many people don't need anything else,
the OS as "platform" (for doing other stuff) is taking a backseat to the OS
as (dare I say it?), "toy". At least in the market we typically refer to as
the "home" or "user" market, which is getting to be a very big market and
growing in leaps and bounds. Apple sees this and is wisely going after the
opportunity full bore.



(Sorry if the word "toy" offends anyone. No intent to offend. Just can't
think of a better word offhand).

"Toy" is a good word as you have used it but I don't think Apple will
make much headway into the market with hardware. I just don't think they
have much clue as to what the real prize is. Port their O/S to run on a
regular PC and they could finally make that dent.
 
C

Chad Harris

I would really like to hear your thoughts and others Alan, like to hear
your thoughts on the semi-new movement within MSFT towards Web 2.0 and the
things Ray Ozzie and others have been making speeches about:

Both Microsoft and Google want to dominate the Web
http://blogs.zdnet.com/web2explorer/?p=248


Ray Ozzie, Yusuf Mehdi & Gary Flake
Three Microsoft Visionaries

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Conversation about Microsoft

http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail843.html

_________________________________
What Is Web 2.0
Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software
by Tim O'Reilly
09/30/2005 Read this article in:
a.. Chinese
b.. French
c.. German
d.. Japanese
e.. Korean
f.. Spanish

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html
______________________

To: Executive Staff and direct reports

From: Ray Ozzie

Date: October 28, 2005

Subject: The Internet Services Disruption

http://www.scripting.com/disruption/ozzie/TheInternetServicesDisruptio.htm

Web 2.0 Conference
http://www.web2con.com/

November 7-9 2006 San Francisco

CH
 
M

MICHAEL

Bernie said:
"Toy" is a good word as you have used it but I don't think Apple will make much headway into
the market with hardware. I just don't think they have much clue as to what the real prize
is.
Port their O/S to run on a regular PC and they could finally make that dent.

I totally agree. That would change everything.

I don't want to be constrained in Apple's small
cultish kingdom, and yet, I am basically a prisoner
of Microsoft's world domination.

Mr. Jobs, tear down that wall!

--
Michael
______
"The trouble ain't that there is too many fools,
but that the lightning ain't distributed right."
- Mark Twain
 
M

mmmmark

MICHAEL said:
I totally agree. That would change everything.

I don't want to be constrained in Apple's small
cultish kingdom, and yet, I am basically a prisoner
of Microsoft's world domination.

Mr. Jobs, tear down that wall!

--
Michael
______
"The trouble ain't that there is too many fools,
but that the lightning ain't distributed right."
- Mark Twain

I think providing Mac OS X on generic "PCs" is a mistake. This is the
advantage Apple has--that they create the whole widget. It makes them much
less dependent on others.

I personally think the Mac Book is the best portable PC currently available
and is a good candidate for running Mac OS X, XP and Linux in the
triple-boot trifecta. Vista will soon also be officially supported.

I don't want to haul around multiple laptops--so why should I? YMMV, but
this is perfect for me. If this isn't fast enough for you, check out the
new Mac Pros. Faster than and cheaper than identically equipped Dells.

Apple is offering power AND value. Compare benchmarks and price "apples to
apples" before you scoff.

-Mark
 
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A

Alan Simpson

Well, I don't have any particularly interesting thoughts on it, other than
to say that I don't disagree with any of it. The Web is the platform, and
software as service is the architecture and the model. For now. But before
ya know it, it'll be something else nobody's thought of yet.



It all boils down to the same two words that have been driving this whole
thing since day 1: Moore's Law. If you're looking for interesting thoughts
on the whole big picture beyond our current timeslice, read Kurzweil's "The
Singularity is Near". Not so much about the living forever angle, but all
the stuff he uses to defend that belief.
 
C

Colin Barnhorst

I think the MacBook Pro is a cut above the MacBook. I run OS/X and XP Pro
SP2 on mine and the ExpressCard/34 slot on the MBP enables me to run SATA
external drives (with all the speed advantages that brings). I could not do
that on a MacBook and would have to put up with the slower usb and firewire
drives. Also, the ATI x1600 adaptor is a treat. I plan on upgrading the
Core Duo to a Core 2 Duo when Apple begins to make the upgrade available.
That will enable me to take advantage of Leopard's 64bit support.
 
C

Chad Harris

Is that the computer you use the most and the one you take with you? What
do you use when you're at home? Do you use the same PC when you're out that
you do at home?

CH
 
C

Colin Barnhorst

I use the MBP as a helper computer at home and of course it is my notebook
on the go, which is not very much since I retired, but I do take down to
Starbucks with a couple of times a week. I use the VT capability of the
Core Duo in the MBP to test Linux distros under the beta of Virtual Server
2005 R2. And of course I spend some time on the Mac side of the MBP, mostly
to see how the other 5% lives.

I use a P4 Northwood based desktop as my primary home computer. I use an
AMD64 x2 based system for testing Vista. My wife uses an AMD64 based Compaq
laptop for all of her computing interests.

I am waiting for a new primary home computer that I have ordered from
CyberPower. It is a Core 2 Duo E6600 based system with 4GB of ram and a
GeForce 7900GT card. It also has one of the new Baracuda 7200.10 750GB
drives as the data drive. I'm looking forward to seeing how the new
perpendicular recording drives works out.

The Northwood system is going to my elderly cousin in Texas after I get
everything squared away on the new one.
 
L

Lang Murphy

Well... lessee... some folks are crabbing here about having to spend more
money to either upgrade their PC's to run Vista or buy a new computer to run
Vista due to the requirements...

So... then the alternative becomes, Hey, I'll buy a Mac instead. Yeah,
that'll save them lots of money.

I don't think so...

First off, Mac hw is more expensive, in some cases ridiculously so...

Then... if you want to run Windows on your Mac, you "should" own a Windows
license. From the PC POV, the same applies to upgraders, but buyer's of new
systems will get the OS with the cost of the PC. Not saying it's free, cause
of course it ain't, but... ah, whatever...

I'd love to have a Mac, for real. Just can't afford it. Every time I've
gotten a new PC in the last few years, I've considered Macs. Bang for the
buck just ain't there. Not for me, anyway. Were I heavily into, say, editing
digital content (meaning I made money doing it), then, yes, I might drop the
extra money on a Mac. But I don't, so I won't. Hmmm... a more accurate
statement would be: I don't, so I can't. Justify it.

Jes' my late night two cents on the subject...

Lang
 
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D

DanS

Were I heavily
into, say, editing digital content (meaning I made money doing it),
then, yes, I might drop the extra money on a Mac. But I don't, so I
won't.

It really bugs me when someone says a Mac can do 'this' better or 'that'
better....just like all the Mac vs. PC commercials on TV.

It's NOT the hardware or O/S that you do 'things' with. It's software, and
everything depends on the software you use to do everything. Photoshop is
made for PC and the Mac. With the above rationale, it will work 'better' on
a Mac ? Will it give better results ? I don't think so.
 
B

Bernie

However....... I've just seen two things that make me sit up and take
notice. The first was XGL/Compiz on Ubuntu which had me smiling like the
first time I connected to another computer about 20 years ago on a 1200
baud modem. It isn't mature and it has a way to go to be easy to set up,
at least on Ubuntu, but this is eye candy that makes sense. It isn't
just eye popping. It also made me wonder why MS haven't further
developed Aero. It is great looking but doesn't add any really useful
functions... I don't consider flip 3d to be anything other than a
novelty gimmic. But the compiz spinning cube is actually useful.

The second was running Freespire from the live CD. I'm about to install
it instead of Ubuntu as it works pretty damn good straight out of the
box and is very much designed with Windows users in mind. I've been
saying for a long time that Linux has the potential in terms of
technology and talent to capture a good slice of the desktop market if
when they look at creating a package they do it from the viewpoint of a
typical Windows user, ie. not a power user or administrator of servers.
That would mean everything so far as possible works out of the box and
whenever configurations have to be changed they can be done through good
looking and easy to follow GUIs and wizards. Looks like the people
behind Freespire have similar ideas. They also, very notably, don't make
a big deal of the "software should be free to alter" idea and that is a
very good thing that shows they are beginning to understand their target
audience a bit better. I'm not in the least against Open Source software
of the idea of being free to change the way it works. But I'm a
developer and a power user too. Regular mainstream desktop users want
everything to just work out of the box and wouldn't have a clue as to
how to change the way software works other than changing font sizes.
 
L

Lang Murphy

Can't argue with your essential point, that it's apps that do the work.

It's been years since I've read any reviews of software that runs on both
Mac's and PC's but I seem to remember that the main sticking point with such
apps was (is?) that, for example, MS Office on the Mac was not (is not?) the
same code as MS Office running in Windows. Same goes for Photoshop. Point
being... Photoshop on the Mac -may- "do more" than Photoshop on Windows.
 
B

Bernie

Lang said:
Can't argue with your essential point, that it's apps that do the work.

It's been years since I've read any reviews of software that runs on
both Mac's and PC's but I seem to remember that the main sticking point
with such apps was (is?) that, for example, MS Office on the Mac was not
(is not?) the same code as MS Office running in Windows. Same goes for
Photoshop. Point being... Photoshop on the Mac -may- "do more" than
Photoshop on Windows.

Yes they are different in code but probably not in functionality. But
this is mostly a variation of "mine is better than yours". For years I
preferred Paintshop Pro over Photoshop. It was a fraction of the price,
it was much easier to learn how to use and I never had occasion to curse
it for not being able to do something I needed to do.
 
L

Lang Murphy

I wouldn't bet the bank on functionality being the same on both platforms. I
definitely remember some Office functionality that was available on the Mac
long before it was available in Windows. Don't remember exactly what it was,
but do remember Win users grousing about the delta.
 
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B

Bernie

Lang said:
I wouldn't bet the bank on functionality being the same on both
platforms. I definitely remember some Office functionality that was
available on the Mac long before it was available in Windows. Don't
remember exactly what it was, but do remember Win users grousing about
the delta.

Kind of hard to discuss without specifics. Do you mean a recent version
of Office or back in the days of Windows 3.11?
 
L

Lang Murphy

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A

Alan Simpson

Yeah. And how many Mac users who switched to Windows did so because there
was just more stuff on Windows that they couldn't use? It was a common
complaint. That doesn't apply so much nowadays when you're talking about
Internet stuff on a portable computer.



If you want to build dynamic data-driven websites and Web services, or serve
'em up, platform comes back into play. We won't see Google switching their
Linux cluster over to Mac OS or Windows Vista any time soon ;-)
 
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