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Mac

A 2-post collection

Mac vs. PC - Which is better?

Written by Michael Earls
 Mac  OSX  PC  windows  Yosemite

After having a Mac for a few weeks, I have learned some things about using computers. I’ve always been a PC person since I got my first IBM PS-1 when I was a teenager. I was so eager to get it, that I used a strategy that I’m not very proud of today (I’ve repaid that Karma many times over through the years, I’m sure). Anyway, I bought a used iMac a few weeks ago for $250. It’s a Dual-Core processor with 3GB RAM in it, so it doesn’t really compare to my PC, which is a quad core with 8GB RAM and an upgraded Video card. However, I think I can make a decent comparison about the general usability of the two.

First, I love OS X Yosemite. It blends nicely into my household where my wife uses an iPad and a Macbook Air. We both have iPhone 6 Pluses, so we get the added integration benefits of the new OS.

But, when it comes to gaming, nothing compares to my PC. I tried to install my Elder Scrolls online on my Mac, but it just wouldn’t install. I don’t think I meet the minimum requirements, so I’m not surprised. For music, the Mac seems to be doing a superb job. Everything works as it should with Reason. The only problem is that I was thinking of buying FL Studio to do music with. It only runs on the PC (there’s a BETA version that runs on Mac, but it’s hidden deep in their website and it won’t run on Yosemite).

Using the Mac is a wonderful experience. OS X has a great UI and I like the way everything just works. But, to be fair, I can say the same thing about Windows 8.1. It also “just works”. Aside from the “metro” UI, I use all of its features and it’s a joy to use. I can’t wait for Windows 10 as I’m sure they will improve on it.

So, from an OS perspective, both OS X and Windows have the same features, they’re just accessed a little differently. My Mac integrates with my Apple devices in the house (AirPort Time Capsule, Macbook Air, iPad, and iPhones). My Windows computer and OS X both interact well with my Wireless HP Printer. I haven’t had any trouble using it on either OS. It was a little more of a hassle to install it on Windows just for printing, but to get scanning and the other features of it working on OS X, I had to run the HP installer just like I did on Windows, so in the end, it was equally involved on both OSes.

I like that I can pull up an app on my phone and see where my devices are in the world. Since Laurie and I are part of the same family account, I can see where her phone and iPad are as well as where my Mac is (I hope it doesn’t start moving). The iCloud integration with photos is nice as I like the privacy policy from Apple a whole lot better than the one from Google. While Google’s cloud photo storage is “free”, Apple’s is costing me $3.99/month. It’s worth every penny to know my photos aren’t being examined and used for commercial purposes (or some other “non-evil” Google purpose).

Also, we cancelled our monthly $9.99 Office 365 account. We just weren’t using Office enough to justify the expense. I probably will go with either buying Office outright when the new version comes out or go with Scrivener and the Apple office products (I changed my mind :) )

So, the only future I see where I’m down to one computer is when I invest in a high-end iMac with good graphics card that I can dual boot into Windows 10 and play all my games and run all my music software on one computer (regardless of OS).

For now, I’ll stick with my PC and Mac running side-by-side, each doing what it does best.

First Mac added to my desk

Written by Michael Earls
 Mac  windows

Tuesday, I was browsing Craigslist and came across a great deal on an iMac. It’s from 2008, but the specs are modest. It’s a year newer than my PC, so I thought it would be a good way for me to finally get my hands on a Mac.

AppleLogo

I’ve been wanting to own an iMac for a long time. However, since the price was so high, I haven’t yet put the money into it. With this new discovery, I was able to get a used iMac in good shape (with the memory expanded from 1GB to 3GB).

Even though the computer was listed on Craigslist, it turns out that it belonged to our church. They were using it in the print shop. They recently got a new printer with a built-in controller and didn’t need this one any more. I was able to pick it up for $250. I was going to try to haggle, but when I learned it was the church’s computer, I decided to pay full asking price as a way to give something extra to the church. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count toward my tithe, but I felt it was the right thing to do. :)

When I got home, I immediately installed OS X Yosemite on it. It originally had OS X Lion, but I wanted to go modern and get all the new features of Yosemite. After installing the new OS, I transferred all of my music off of my backup drive to iTunes.

I ran into trouble with two pieces of software. The first was Microsoft Office. I was able to download it from the Office365 website, but when I went to run it for the first time, the authorization program displayed server errors. I was never able to get it running.

The other problem I ran into was that the version of Propellerhead Reason that I have (version 4) is not supported on OS X Yosemite. There are work arounds that I’ll have to try later.

Update: 6/6/15 – I was able to get Reason 4 working by installing Reason 8 demo, running it, renaming the folder in Applications from “Reason 8” to “Reason”, then installing Reason 4 over it.

The worst part about all of this is that this is my birthday present, so I had to pack it all up and put it in the closet for three weeks. I’ll get to “open” it on my birthday.

After using the Mac for a few hours, I am a firm believer in the quality of the Apple hardware and software. I recently had to reinstall Windows 8.1 on my computer because of strange behavior after installing the .NET runtime. To be fair, I did install a pre-release version of Visual Studio 2015 on it, so that’s probably what did it. However, I’ve had too many problems with Windows in the past. I realize that I’ll have issues with Mac, as well, but I like the way OS X works.

I’m still keeping my PC to use for games, so I’m not totally switching. However, Laurie’s not too pleased with the idea of having a computer on the floor by the desk and a computer with an integrated monitor and another monitor on the desk. I think she’d rather I just pare it down to a single iMac on the desk with a wireless keyboard and mouse. Minimalism is her goal, I think. Right now, it’s a rat’s nest of computer cords because of power cords, computer speaker cords, and external drives.

Still, I think I’d like to at least have the extra monitor for the iMac.

Even though I just bought this computer, I think I’m going to start saving up for a new computer next year. I’d like to get the 27″ iMac with a better video card in it and 16GB RAM. I might even go for 32GB RAM if the price has dropped by then.

Now I’m starting to feel guilty for my blatant consumerism. More e-waste for the environment, etc. At least I’m not in the market for a new Apple Watch.

It’s like a disease. The more Apple devices and software I get, the more I want. I can totally understand the addiction now. When I went to set up my printer last night, I fully expected that it would involve me navigating to the HP website, putting in the model number of my printer on their support page, and downloading the Mac driver. Then, I expected that I’d have to figure out what the IP address was on the printer and go through all of the hassles that I have to when I do it on Windows. Nope. I just searched for “printer” and the printers panel came up. I pressed the “+” button and my printer was listed in the available printers. I chose it from the list and added it. Done. This is because I’m using an Apple Airport Time Capsule as my WiFi router and it already knew about the printer on the network. It exposed it as an AirPrint device and my Mac recognized it. I was so shocked at how easy it was that I just had to print something to make sure it was really hooked up. So I printed a web page. It worked. Also, when I pulled up the Time Machine backup program, it immediately recognized my Time Capsule and I was quickly able to get the computer backup up. I only had to wait for it to transmit the backup across WiFi to the Time Capsule. It was very easy. This is why I want to switch to using a Mac.

WindowsLogo

Windows can be such a PITA. I’m getting too old to deal with that micromanagement. When I was younger, I enjoyed the challenges that PCs gave me. I liked switching jumpers on sound cards and modems to get them to work together in the computer. I enjoyed altering my CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT for maximum EMM386 settings. I enjoyed the challenges of installing a fresh copy of the OEM version of Windows Media Center. Not anymore. Now, I just want to come home, spend a few hours playing my game, creating music, and watching videos on YouTube. I don’t want to repave my machine every three months because I wanted to try the latest Microsoft framework.

Of course, I’m probably going to install the latest release of Visual Studio Code and run ASP.NET vNext on my Mac, but hopefully that won’t crash my system. If it does, then I might completely swear off Microsoft software at home.

I rely on Microsoft ecosystem to make a living. I spend my day on a Windows 7 machine using Microsoft Outlook to do my email, Microsoft Office to create documentation, and Microsoft Visual Studio to write source code that runs on a Microsoft web server. So I can’t get too cocky about this. However, I don’t see anything wrong with switching my home systems to use the reliable choice. Windows 10 may be the solution, but I think it’s a little too late to the game for me. I realize that there are ferociously loyal Microsoft fans that will see me as a loser, but I don’t care. I’ve seen the other side and it’s beautiful. :)