One year review after switching.

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Curren~Sea, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Curren~Sea macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I switched Fall 2006. Bought a 24" iMac and 15" Macbook Pro. I got tired of the constant crashes, required tweaks, virii, and increasing complexity. I'm an application developer so I spend 8-10 hours every day in front of my XP machine where I also log terminal time into a unix box. I know my way around a PC but it's always been a pita. For a home machine, I want simple, effective, fast, secure. The Mac seemed like a perfect choice.

    A full review would be too tedious and has already been done by more competent writers than I. So here are just a few of my highlights.

    The Good
    Sleep mode with near instant on. Easy installation and removal of software. iMac takes up less space and it looks great. No worries about virii or spyware. Very stable. Good Apple support.

    The Bad:
    Somwhat sluggish. Opening files or applications is not snappy like in doz.

    The Apple keyboard and mouse were not easy to switch to. I ditched the mouse after 10 minutes. No big deal. I tried the plastic keyboard for a year and I kept thinking I'd get used to it but I still prefer an IBM or HP keyboard. I have the newest Apple slim aluminum keyboard now. It's funky and I like it but it's not easy working on a HP keyboard all day and then switching to the Apple.

    iPhoto. You should be able to do more editing of photo's here. Plus it's slow after you load a few thousand pictures. Perhaps I need to learn more about it but after using it for a year I'm not a big fan. I think Picture Manager was more intuitive and easier to do the things I wanted like batch conversions. HP Photosmart is not a bad alternative.

    Resizing windows. Seems silly not to include the ability to resize a window from any edge or corner. This is annoying to me.

    Wireless compatibility. Couldn't get the built in airport to work with the PS3 so I had to use a wireless router. Had troubles connecting to PC laptops also.

    Mail is not great. I think Outlook offers more, especially as integrated with its calendar. I have Entourage installed but Mail isn't that bad that I feel the need to switch.

    The Ugly:
    File management. For me, the quickest and most efficient ways to keep things organized is through file mangler (explorer). Apple's Finder is exremely lacking. I constantly have to resize windows or click on a different view to see what I want. I tried Xfolders but didn't like it either. I like seeing things in a neatly organized tree. Why can't the Mac do that?

    Why doesn't apple-tab work to bring the selected window to the front? Things go into the dock and never come back. Some things you can click on the dock and open or close, others you can't. Some things you have to click on five times just to open. Very inconsistent and annoying. The doz taskbar is quick and efficient. One click open, one click close. Alt-tab instantly brings the selected app to the front. It can't be that hard.

    Incompatibilities with Windoz Office docs. I can create a simple Word doc in doz and open it in Word for Mac and it's different which requires reformatting. Same thing happens when using NeoOffice. Bummer. Also, there are a few apps that I need that won't run in OS and virtualization is painfully too slow.

    The Conclusion:
    I may try to dual boot up Vista and see if I like it better. I'll continue to learn about OS X and try to do things more efficiently. I just expected that after a year things would be much easier by now. Some things are but many things aren't. By far, the biggest advantage of the Mac is stability and safety against attacks.

    Part of the reason why I'm posting is to ask for help. I truly want to have a great Mac experience but it hasn't really wow'd me yet and I'm still struggling with some major issues particularly with file management/organization and application switching. By the way, I'm still on 10.4 and haven't seen a real need to move to Leopard. I will try Leopard before I make any final judgements. I think that after a year of constant use I have put in enough time for this whole Mac experience thing to reveal itself.
  2. Barham macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2004
    An interesting review. I think your major problem is one that many people have when switching. If you don't fully immerse in OS X, it's more difficult to get used to. When constantly comparing the "old way" to the "new OS X way", you find yourself liking XP because it's what you're comfortable with.

    It's like with HD TV in a way. If you're watching SD somewhere every day and HD somewhere the difference seems less than if you only watch HD and then try to go back.

    I personally find the three column finder far easier to use than explorer, but I'm in the minority, I think. If your work requires you to use XP, then you'll most likely always have this back and forth.
  3. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    I think that if after a year of use you are still not linking the Mac OS, then you are better using Windows. :) I mean, your problems don't seem to be very big, but you are stil not liking the Mac OS.

    If you really want to give it another try and see if you like OS X, then stop thinking about Windows. Mac OS works differently, and some things, like windows resizing, are in fact there on purpose, to make your user experience more easy.

    One question: how much RAM do you have? Because of one thing I am certain, Macs aren't sluggish. Also, check is the apps that are sluggish are Universal or use Rosetta.

    And try learning iPhoto, it is a great app for home users. And if I am correct it do has a batch conversion option.
  4. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    I'll try and add what I can to this.

    I don't have issue with the Apple Keyboard (well, I'm not a switcher either) but agreed with the mouse, the Mighty Mouse just doesn't do it for me. However, the same is the case with the mouse you'd get with any given PC. I love Logitech's 8 million button mice. :D

    So you were trying to use Internet Sharing from the Mac to the PS3 over the internal airport? I have no issues whatsoever sharing the internet from my Mac Pro over its airport card to my Wii and various other wifi electronics. I'm guessing it's either an issue with the PS3, or you just didn't have something configured correctly.

    To each his own. I've no problem doing what I want with the Finder. I really miss column view when I'm using Windows. There would be noting bad about adding a "tree" view to Finder though, I might use it sometimes.

    Might I suggest getting away from the habit of minimizing windows? It's (as you've pointed out) pretty much crap in OS X. Instead why don't you try some of the other solutions available like hiding apps (command h), Exposé (I can't do without it anymore!), or even Spaces.

    This one, at least, you can blame on Microsoft. Maybe Office 2008 will help.

    Really? I've found virtualization pretty fast. It's certainly not like running a native app (or natively booting Windows), but *plenty* serviceable for things like Office, IMO.
  5. spinne1 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2005
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    Opening all PowerPC-based apps will be slow (Office files for example). Give it time and soon all apps will be Intel-native and then will open faster. Also, consider opening all the common apps you use at start up and then leave them running most of the time (the Rosetta apps for certain). That way, opening files is very fast.

    I agree. I don't like any PC or Mac keyboard since the early 90s so much so that I use a really old Apple Extended Keyboard II with a USB-->ADB adapter. It has the Alps key switches and has that solid feel and key throw distance that I love. It may not look pretty but it makes all the difference.

    Again, I tend to agree. iPhoto is fine for many but not for me. I use Photoshop to process my photos and I simply keep them in folders for organization. For batch processing, I bought an app called Batch at one time but now I believe Photoshop duplicates the functions of it. I prefer to use Batch however for image size type changes because it is easy to use.

    I've never cared much for the PC way, but I'm used to the Mac way. I can see how that would bother you if you were used to that.

    I love Mail because it is simple yet complete. I don't care about calender stuff so for me it is perfect. After trying computer calenders I find it much easier to use a paper and pen solution. For mail, all I need to is to send and receive emails and attach files without too much clutter or feature-bloat. I think it is actually freeing sometimes to get back to basics and do less micromanaging of our lives ala Outlook. For some business folks I imagine what I just said is impossible.

    I've always felt the opposite. I hate Windows explorer. I hate the way it lists folders first and then files later. I hate the look of it. I hate the non-intuitive way that it is set up so that you are not sure where you really are on the hard drive without checking sometimes. The column view in OS X is a mimic of the tree. It is different but similar things can be accomplished. I know in Mac you do have to open two finder windows often to drag and drop. Then again, the same is true for Windows from my experience. There are TONS of little tricks that you keep learning as the years roll on. I have been on Macs since 1993 and I constantly learn new tricks.

    You should never have to click more than once to open anything on the dock. I don't have to. What files or apps are doing this?

    And for increased productivity with the Finder, try this app out:

    If you stick to the basic fonts this is not supposed to happen: Arial, Arial Black, Century Gothic, Comic Sans MS, Copperplate Gothic Bold, Copperplate Gothic Light, Curlz MT, Edwardian Script ITC, Impact, Lucida Handwriting, Monotype Sorts, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Verdana, and Wingdings. Always use these and they should not need any reformatting. For further cross platform info:

    When you say virtualization, what do you mean, Parallels? VMWare? Virtual PC? What apps?

    Keep learning new things and KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS--someone here will know a better way and share it with you.

    I would highly suggest you make good use of the sidebar in Tiger. Put all the folders or files you use often in it. Next, put all the apps you regularly use in the dock. Next, this is indispensible for me but maybe it will seem foreign to you, but in all previous Mac OSs, it was instinct to switch between apps (when you wanted to use only the mouse) by going to an application switcher menu at the top right of the menu bar. I can't live without it and still primarily switch apps with it. It is available here:

    If you do try it out, make sure after you install it to go to your ASM preferences found under System Preferences and under the Menu Bar Options tab, check the "Show ASM in the menu bar" box. Also make sure to select Application Icon in the box below the check box and Application Name in the box below that. In the middle tab called Menu Settings check "Application Icon & Name" and also all three check boxes just below that. Play around with the choices and set it how you like it, but at least try it to see if it suits you.

    Some other ideas for increased productivity:
  6. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Apple-~ (apple button + the tilde character) cycles through front app open windows, which is the functionality you seemed to describe wanting.
  7. psonice macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2005
    Just a couple of things:

    Virtualisation will only be slow if you haven't got enough ram, or you're using virtual pc (which was made for PPC). For vmware or parallels, you need enough RAM for windows (at least 512MB for XP, vista really needs 2GB), plus a few hundred MB for running the application, plus say 512MB for OSX. So you should have at least 2GB really, 4GB for vista. I run VMware with windows XP and a linux server at the same time - both run very fast, with 4gb.

    Also note that some applications won't run properly in a virtual machine - basically, anything that needs to use the 3d card or anything special on the sound card. A few games will work, but most won't (or will run, but very slowly), and things like 3D design apps will really struggle. Use bootcamp for them (vmware and parallels can use the bootcamp partition, so you don't lose any disk space).

    The other thing - I seriously recommend not going for vista. It's still VERY buggy, incompatible with a lot of applications, and doesn't really offer a lot that's worth choosing it over XP. (And I do know a fair bit about it - I'm a qualified microsoft systems engineer, and specify OS and application setups for a good few thousand PCs :) ). XP is still a much better bet for now, it's much faster, takes less memory, is stable, and works with pretty much everything.
  8. Curren~Sea thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for the tips and links. I'll check them out. Maybe just a few tweaks to the core system are all I need.

    My iMac is a 24" which I believe the minimum ram was 1g. I have 2g of ram and 256mb of video on an Intel core 2 duo processor. Maybe it's the genie effect that seems slow to me (coming out of the dock). The alternative seemed choppy. Is there a way to open apps differently so it has no animation and just instantly appears?

    I agree that Mail is sufficient for home use. One thing I don't like is that I can't resize images that I drop in there. One thing I do like is how easy it was to setup a few different accounts and have them show up on the left pane separately.

    Another thing I just remembered is that copy and paste does not always work. Lots of times I'll copy an image from a web page and the only thing that pastes is the link, not the actual image. It seems as though copy/paste behaves differently based on the app.

    Are there any good full size Apple keyboards out there? I have tried many including the latest versions from Logitech. I would have been very happy with the plastic keyboard (great size, looks good, nice key layout) but the tactile feature is too soft and the F and J key markers (bumps) are too faint and leads to too many errors.
  9. TheStu macrumors 65816

    Aug 20, 2006
    Carlisle, PA
    When i am copying an image from the web, I don't even bother with keyboard commands, or anything... i just drag the image out of the webpage and into a stack on my dock.

    As for the keyboard... damn near any USB keyboard on the market should work just fine. And if you happen to get one that is designed for Windows (has the little Windows flag key) you can simply re-assign it to be command, or option, or any of those via Keyboard & Mouse preferences.
  10. spinne1 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2005
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    To cut the animation, go to System Preferences, then Dock, then uncheck "Animate Opening Applications." However, I do not know if this really speeds it up at all. I know for Rosetta apps it will very slow regardless (such as Microsoft Office.)

    This may help:

    Do your image copying with your mouse, not the keyboard. Right click on an image within Safari and scroll down to "Copy Image." This should work. I imagine there is a similar menu item for other browsers.

    From what I can tell, no. Matias makes a "Tactile Pro" which is based on the Alps switches of yesteryear, but it receives very mixed reviews. Some question the durability while others bemoan that the letters wear off fast off of the keys. For this reason the ONLY Mac-keyboard solution I offer (and it is NOT pretty) is to either suffer with a modern membrane based keyboard that looks better with your computer, or get on ebay and buy two things:

    One, an Apple Extended Keyboard II, model M3501 off ebay, and

    Two, either an Griffin iMate, or a Belkin F5U118-UNV. These will allow you to hook up the old Apple keyboard that was ADB to USB. Both work well, I have one of each for two of my computers. Both are running under Tiger and the Belkin I've used under Leopard with no problems I could find. Officially, the iMate is for Panther or earlier but it seems to work perfect for me in Tiger.

    The two negatives are that the old Apple keyboard is very large and is of the light gray/beige color scheme that was prevalent among all computers at the time, and that for troubleshooting purposes you want an authentic USB keyboard lying around. Why? The first key punch you make after startup is not recognized and thus booting while holding down certain keys does not work with the old keyboard setup. It is rare to need to do so. I have a cheap early iMac keyboard lying around for just that purpose.

    Honestly, once you use this keyboard a while you won't be able to settle for a membrane one.

    Some keyboards on ebay:

    Note that some are much more gray than beige and as such look much better. I would not get one that was too beige and yellowed

    Some of the USB-ADB devices (there are no Belkins on ebay right now):

    Some good reading about keyboards:

    You could also look into the Model M and find an adapter to use with a modern Mac and just use a PC keyboard. It would generally work.
  11. DaveF macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007
    I agree that finding a good Mac keyboard is overly difficult. I've found the Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 has been the best compromise. Though not Mac labeled, MS's drivers are good and it doesn't have excessive keyboard labels for PC-only functions.

    I use the Logitech MX Revolution mouse. Despite the Logitech driver weaknesses, this has been an excellent mouse for me.

    It took me two months to successfully switch to my Mac at home. The Mac has some weaknesses, and Leopard unfortunately damaged as much as it improved the GUI. But on the whole I like it a lot, and am glad to have switched. It just takes time to learn and accept the alternate way of doing things.

    Can you explain what you mean by "Some things you can click on the dock and open or close, others you can't"?

    Your other complaints I understand. It sounds like you use the Explore mode for windows, with the tree view. I never use that; you're the first person I've know that likes it :) The closest the Mac has is Details view. Have you tried that?

    Mail: I like Mail. It's not as full featured as Outlook. But it's included with the system. It doesn't require a $400 Office suite, as Outlook does on the PC.

    iPhoto: should do more photo editing? Compared to what? It does the basic stuff. Compare it to Picasa. The problem, to me, is that there's nothing for the Mac in the $100 range before stepping up to Photoshop. Photoshop Elements is what you want, but the Mac version is 2 versions out of date!

    Good luck!
  12. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Keep in mind, if you don't like Mail, iPhoto, or any other built in Apple program, you don't have to use it. There are tons of great alternatives. My personal favorite image app is graphicconverter. It has an awesome highly customizable image browser, powerful batch functions, and much, much more.

    And for all that awesome capability, it's mad cheap! Only $35 bucks! (or free if you don't pay the shareware fee)
  13. Curren~Sea thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for all the suggestions. It's tough when I work all day on a PC and then switch to the Mac at home and weekends. I still greatly prefer the Mac for security and stability. This alone is enough to keep me here. I will continue to learn more about it and explore software additions that make sense.
  14. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    I will write one as well, when i got some time. its been almost 17 months. and its just as you described, good, and bad.

    Its not all about what Macs' tradition is, its all about if its easy for users. Never blame switchers for not doing things "mac-way", since "mac-way" sometimes/many times are inconvenient/inconsiderate.
  15. theman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2007
    hi, i just switched 2 months ago, and i have only used windows a handful of times since. i have been reading these forums A LOT so i didn't really have much of a problem adjusting.

    you DEFINITELY should not minimize your windows. at first, it was frustrating that i couldn't tell exactly what windows i had open (like with the taskbar), I could only tell which programs I had open (even if they didn't even have any windows). so for a week or two i minimized all my windows all the time, so it would be more like the windows taskbar. but then i discovered expose. not just expose, but CORNERS. go to system prefs>expose and set one of your corners to "all windows" and another to "application windows" if you want. then, all you have to do to switch a window is swipe the mouse into the corner of the screen and grab your window. easy as that. it takes maybe 500ms to do. now, you can just layer your windows on top of eachother and not worry about them at all.

    i now find the windows taskbar to be clumsy and strange that every single window has a tile there. also, i keep sweeping my mouse into the corners of the screen...

    also, command+tab works fine if you don't minimize apps (dont!)

    here's how i have my corners set up:

    bottom right:
    all windows
    bottom left: dashboard
    top left: spaces (still don't really use it, i don't think i do enough stuff on my computer to have a need for it, its just micromanagement that's unnecessary)
    top right: show desktop --- now this one was REALLY annoying at first, because i was used to clicking that button in the windows taskbar all the time. but now that i'm on mac, i hardly ever use the desktop (for windows it was mainly for launching apps, and for temporarily placing files). now i don't put anything there.

    another thing, i put the dock on the left side, its way more convenient and you save more vertical space on your widescreen. its also just less moving the mouse from top to bottom all the time.

    i have about 13 apps in my dock and if i want to run anything else, i just hit COMMAND+[space] (opens spotlight), type the first 2-3 letters of the name and hit enter. opens right up.

    another thing that annoyed me at first: that apps didn't close when you closed the only remaining window. but now it seems very strange in windows to have each window sort of a separate program the closes when you close it. basically, all you have to do is remember Command+Q (quits) and Command+W (closes window).

    also, if you want to close a program that has no window open, hit Command+tab, go over to it, and then move your finger from tab to Q, and it quits!!

    that brings me to my next point, LEARN AS MANY KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS AS YOU CAN!!

    ok, so i kind of went off a little bit, i i think you are probably experiencing the same things i did, so i hope it helped a lot. just pick a method of doing things, and stick with it for a week or so and if it's still annoying you, try to optimize it a bit. i will never go back to windows, it's awful, painful, and kind of makes me sick to my stomach when i use it now.

    good luck dude, and have fun.

    oh yeah, and i just want to say, the fact that if an application crashes (which is really inevitable with any computer) or even beachballs for a second (spinny colorful thing), you can just quickly switch to another app and it's fine. in windows, if one app crashed, it meant you'd be waiting a while until you could do anything. that is the #1 advantage to OSX (and yes, you probably already know this, but i had to say it).
  16. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    You couldn't be more right about minimizing to the dock. With so many better alternatives to clicking the yellow button to minimize a window to the dock, it's become a feature that's basically never worth using. Instead you should use either expose to hide all windows and show the desktop, expose to show thumbnails of all open windows, expose to see thumbnails of all open windows in just the front application, apple-tab to desired program, apple-~ to desired window, apple-H to hide the front program and then apple-tab back to it, spaces to put programs in different work areas so they never overlap to begin with, etc. etc.

    There are so many gazillion great ways to immediately get to your desired front window that it's made minimizing a window to the dock a useless function.

    (in fact, Apple might want to eliminate the minimize-to-dock feature altogether so that switchers don't fall into this same trap of trying to use the dock like the windows taskbar)
  17. JSchwage macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2006
    Rochester, NY
    Ever notice how you have to pay for Outlook, but not Mail? If you're doing a comparison to Mail, Outlook Express should be the comparison.
  18. Curren~Sea thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Doesn't this make for a very cluttered desktop? When I open my app windows and leave them up, it seems kind of busy and sloppy to me. Sometimes it's hard to see where one app window stops and another starts, especially with programs that have floating windows like Photoshop.

    Anyway... I installed Leopard last night and it looks like a nice improvement over Tiger. I like the dock and transparent menu bar with my background. And I'll figure out a way to use spaces and stacks more effectively. I also installed iLife08 which seems to improve iPhoto in terms of organization. And the new iMovie looks like it'll be fun to play with.
  19. theman macrumors 6502a

    Jul 26, 2007
    the thing is, it's ok for it to be cluttered. just spread your windows out as much as you can, you have a 24" screen so you should be able to fit almost all the things you need to do on there as long as you don't maximize browser windows. that is unless you do an insane amount of stuff at once (this is just for personal use right, no crazy work stuff?).

    this is basically how mac users do things. in windows i only had 2 windows viewable at once if i was moving files or something. pretty much only 2 explorer windows. otherwise my windows were just maximized.

    with mac, i would like to have a lot of windows open, but i am only on a 15" screen, but i try.

    it's ok if some windows are in the background, just use expose (the corners suggestion works best) to switch, or command+tab. there is no reason to minimize. if there is a program you just don't want to see for a while, hit command+h and it disappears completely. just use cmd+tab or click it in the dock and it comes back.
  20. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    Indeed. If expose never existed, apple+tab and apple~ would still be all you need (in fact it's technically faster than expose most of the time). Minimizing is kinda silly. Dare I say Windowsy. This whole switching/moving multitasking is actual an area where OS X is far superior to Windows.

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