A little more Apple in my life

48 comments on A little more Apple in my life
3 minutes
Computer and TV

Although I favor using a computer at a desk with a proper chair and a keyboard at ergonomic height, for many years I’ve also owned a laptop. I use it to check email from my recliner, shop Amazon at the coffee shop, and take the occasional Zoom meeting on the deck. I’m on my third laptop, having bought a new one recently, a MacBook Air.

Macs have appeared from time to time in my professional life — I use one at work now. But until now, the computers I’ve bought for myself have always been Windows machines. At first, it was all about cost. Then for a long time it was about not reinvesting in all of the applications I’d bought. Today, I can afford a Mac and the key applications I use are subscription-based and portable.

There are some killer things about my MacBook Air. First, it is silent. Second, it starts instantly. Third, its battery life is fantastic. None of my Windows laptops offered any of that. Booting my last Windows laptop took several minutes. And you dared not forget the power cable, because after about an hour the battery was dead.

What keeps me from switching to Mac for my main machine is that after 30 years, Windows usage is seated deep in me. Whenever I need to do serious work on my company-issued Mac, I am forever cursing the different keyboard shortcuts. My finger has never gotten used to finding the Mac’s Command button, rather than the Ctrl button on my Windows machines. I can fly through my work so much faster on Windows. But for the light use I give my laptop, this doesn’t matter.

When I bought my first computer, back in about 1990, I was a hardware nerd. I had that PC custom built to my specifications. I’ve purchased off-the-shelf PCs since then, but would routinely later improve them with more memory or a fatter hard drive.

I’ve lost that verve. I just want a machine that works. Buy it, plug everything in, turn it on, and then forget about it. I thought I was getting that when I bought my current machine, a little Intel NUC. It’s a tiny computer, about six inches square and three inches high. The stupid thing overheats, and when it does, it shuts down. I’ve solved that problem MacGyver style by taking the plastic cover off the top and sticking a giant aluminum heat sink directly onto the visible components. It’s ugly, but it works. Even then, when I have too many browser tabs open and then open Photoshop, the fan runs fast and hard.

My brother has been a heavy Mac user for years, and has never had to deal with anything like that.

Will this be enough to finally make me switch to Mac entirely, and just deal with the learning curve?

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48 responses to “A little more Apple in my life”

  1. JR Smith Avatar

    I picked up a nasty trojan horse virus thing on my Toshiba laptop in 2004. Took it to Geek Squad. Could not fix. On a lark, stopped in the Apple Store. Tech said “If I can get all of your files safely off of the Windows machine and onto a MacBook, will you buy one?” Been Mac ever since.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Macs do just work, and keep working.

  2. matt Avatar

    “I’ve lost that verve. I just want a machine that works. Buy it, plug everything in, turn it on, and then forget about it.”

    I relate to this. I went the other way: Windows 10 was the best advertisement for Linux I’d seen in a while. With ads (suggested apps) on the menu and the pushy updates, I was done with Windows for my daily driver (and Windows 11 is even worse about all the stuff I hate about Windows).

    I initially went with an Arch Linux install, but after an update (user-initiated, but Arch is a rolling release OS) something got horked and I had to start over. So I switched to Debian. It’s the opposite — stability is the name of the game. I’ve done 3 major-version upgrades in place and have only had one problem with a python conflict.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      One of my sons did the same and is now all Linux. I just don’t have the desire to mess with it.

      1. matt Avatar

        I definitely understand that.

    2. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

      Linux Mint or Ubuntu MATE are my current choices.

  3. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Being in the creative world, as well as mostly doing it for corporations, I’ve had a foot in both Windows and Macs for as long as I can remember. Literally all my pals have only used Mac all their lives, I was always the weird person using PC’s as well. I have to say, currently in retirement, I have two Mac laptops, and a iPad as well, but all were given to me by pals that had the financial wherewithal to move up to more powerful Macs. I was using a 12 year old PC daily until it blew up on me recently. Even so, always hated the constant change of Windows systems that worked, it seemed, almost entirely differently between versions, which looked entirely different from each other, and you had to relearn all kinds of stuff, not to mention that it seemed like every other upgrade was a dog. Because of this, I was using a shell program that made my PC Win8, look and operate like WinXP, because that was my favorite. I can open a new Mac, and easily start working because it’s similar to my 12 year old Mac. Windows seem to forget that a computer is a tool. I’m not a geek, and want to spend as little time learning a new system, or even being on the computer, as possible. It’s not an entertainment option, I’m just trying to type a document or work on a photo.

    Pluses and minuses? Mac is certainly more seamless when working on imaging, and design. The screens are “photo ready”, and you can mostly work on a photo by “look”, and really only have to check the numbers on completion, if at all. PC screens are all over the place unless you invest directly in an RGB screen, which will always be an additional cost, unless you’re cherry-picking components and assembling your own desk-top. Macs, of course, are far less buggy, and far less likely to get a debilitating virus. The new “M” stuff is rapid!

    PC’s really lost me when they started wanting to “rent” you what used to be the free software that came with the machine, Word, Excel, and whatever else, like, PowerPoint. I’m not renting software, I don’t even rent any Adobe products for imaging, if it isn’t with the machine for free, or a purchase for life, like Elements, I don’t use it. Macs come fully loaded with all their versions of everything. If you calculate the additional “rentals” you have to pay overtime with PC’s, they rapidly lose their cost advantage.

    I have to say, I really miss the two button mouse, and felt I did stuff more quickly on PC’s because of this, and yes, as you state, a literal lifetime of corporate PC usage (well, 30 years anyway), has made many operations quicker on PC for me. All my lifetime Mac pals always say that Macs are much more intuitive for creatives, but PC seem much easier to do simple stuff like file transfers. I still go past the PC’s in the store and look at them. If they had a free office software package, I’d still think about buying one for 300 bucks or so, instead of the 1200+ you really need to even consider a Mac.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I am faster on PC, and probably always will be. There are some infuriating UX misses on the Mac, such as the ability to triple-click to select the current paragraph, or ctrl-shift-arrow to select word by word, etc. – stuff that lets me FLY in composing.

      1. Katie Yang Avatar

        Not sure I understand your problem here, Jim, I literally just triple-clicked on my touchpad to select your entire comment (like a paragraph).

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I admit to not having been curious enough to look it up. I just want it to behave like I’m used to.

          1. Bill Eccles Avatar
            Bill Eccles

            The triple-click is entirely dependent on the app. While the OS may provide (not sure if it does) the triple-click event to the application, it’s up to the application to know what to do with it.

            1. Bill Eccles Avatar
              Bill Eccles

              Although, come to think of it, you can use some standard controls which included such behaviors (or don’t), but I’m so far removed from macOS programming that I couldn’t even begin to tell you where to look to find out. (I still have Vol. 1-5 of “Inside Macintosh”. That’s as much as I ever knew.)

    2. Mark Johansson Avatar

      Andy, if you have an Apple Magic Mouse, just go to Mouse/Point & Click in System settings and turn on “Secondary Click”, then select which side you prefer for secondary click. Voila! a 2-button mouse.

  4. Ted Shideler Avatar

    We used the first-gen iMacs in elementary school and MacBook Pros in high school. I’ve been a full-on Mac user since 2018 or so. I’m never going back! My m1 Mac Mini and m2 MacBook Air are fantastic machines.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Believe it or not I was a user of an original 1984 Macintosh! I even had a Macintosh II on my desk at work when I began my career in 1989. But when it came time for me to buy my first computer, I went Windows because I couldn’t afford Mac.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        I was thinking about this column on the way to the coffee shop this morning, and realized the first computer on my desk at work was an IBM Infowindow that went straight into a main frame! Boy, am I old! Green type on a black screen!

        I live In a pretty creative area, but looking around the coffee shop this morning, I’d say about 60% of the machines were all PC’s, but probably issued by their employers. My next door neighbor that does computer and system trouble-shooting for a big banking system, uses PC’s, and is right now building his SystemMaximus. I keep accusing of building a robot overlord because of all the deliveries! Almost everyone I know in retirement has bought their last computers years ago, and is doing everything on an iPad. I even know artists and tattoo people that have migrated to designing and illustration on an iPad when they went to the one with the pressure sensitive stylus. Hard to believe it’s all changed that much. When I had my freelance business in the 80’s, you couldn’t even buy a desk top computer, and if you could, it was unaffordable!

        1. Ted Shideler Avatar

          Can confirm, I do nearly all illustration and design work on an iPad with the Apple Pencil. Then bounce to desktop illustrator or photoshop for final edits

  5. Thomas Slatin Avatar

    I can totally relate; I’ve been a Windows girl since forever ago. When cell phones became a thing, I was an Android girl as well. Recently this year, my wife and I officially made the switch to all things Apple. We will never go back. Everything just works seamlessly, every time.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      If my mind were not so deeply set in the Windows keystrokes for selecting and deleting things, I’d be very interested in going all Mac. I am just not eager to scale the learning curve and defeat 30 years of habit. I do a LOT of writing.

  6. tbm3fan Avatar

    Never have used anything Apple. I first worked on a Commodore back in 1979 in Tony Adam’s research lab at UC Berekley School of Optometry. Since that time I gone up the ladder of Win 3,7, and 10 but am using a 7 right now. There is a 10 right under me also as I sometimes swap around. The first 3 was IBM and everything after has been Dell. Back in the early days before Windows I was capable of moving around the DOS software commands quite well. Couldn’t remember much of them today. Kind of like a stick shift vs and automatic.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Every now and then at work I find myself at a UNIX (Linux) prompt and it’s like calling up info from offsite storage to remember the commands.

  7. Simon Hollander Avatar
    Simon Hollander

    I’ll never again buy a Windows PC for myself. After a few years programming (COBOL) IBM mainframes we started transitioning (at least in my departments) to PCs and I spent the next twenty years using them for various work tasks. It was a rare day when I didn’t have to call tech support (although I got a weird kick out of creating work-arounds while I waited). My wife, on the other hand, has used PCs and Chromebooks forever and still uses both at home. I have taught her, when she was a problem, to chant, “Don’t panic” over and over until I have fixed the problem, as I eventually do (sometimes after much online research). In 2010 she took a course that required her to use a Mac. A small fortune later, she had a MacBook Pro. When the course ended she gave it to me. I learned to use it and am now on my second MacBook Pro. Since switching to the Macs I’ve never had a problem that required more than a reboot to solve.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I find that name-brand Windows PCs are highly reliable these days. It’s not like even 10 years ago.

  8. ronian42 Avatar

    I’m not an Apple person I’m afraid Jim. I can interact with them to get the basics done and teach a new user basic things but for me I feel they are too expensive in the UK for what I feel you get. Personally for most of my home use the Chromebooks do the trick. Like the Apple, silent and swift. I have a windows laptop for mainly one program that there isn’t an equivalent for and my phone is a Pixel 7 pro. At the end of the day, as long as the device does what you need it to do it doesn’t matter who makes or what the OS is.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve never tried a Chromebook. I didn’t even consider one when I bought this Mac. Maybe I should have.

  9. Peter Milller Avatar
    Peter Milller

    I’ll comment from a different perspective. My goal with computers was a way to do typesetting (then desktop publishing) cost effectively. Started using typesetting machines in 1972. Punched tape was pretty cool, and the Wang word processor could output punched tape for us when I worked in a corporate environment. My first computer was a PC because it ran Ventura Publisher, then went with Macs because my business served creatives. Been through countless Macs and Windows PC ever since. Currently have a state of the art Mac Studio for photography and an ancient Mac Mini for typesetting. One thing about Windows that is an advantage is software compatibility — if you still have licensed versions of Office 2007, they will still run on a newer Windows 10 machines — can’t say that about Macs. If you have an old version of Adobe Creative Suite you need hardware of the same vintage to use it.

    1. Andy Umbo Avatar
      Andy Umbo

      Peter, you are exactly correct. I’ve been the recipient of many high end printers and scanners from my Mac pals, because they’ve upgraded to the most recent Mac of their dreams, and no one will write a driver for their old printer or scanner for the new Mac Op/Sys! , Mac has a long history of what the fanboys call “orphaning” with not only third party software, but peripherals as well. BTW, it took years for many of my art director buddies to fully use computer design, because the original programs did not allow type kerning. I remember an art director telling me he could walk down an aisle at the grocery store and tell you everything that was designed on a computer instead of professionally typeset. Not an issue now…

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      When I worked in publishing in the 90s, all of the layout people used Macs. I don’t remember what their software platform was though. When I did tech writing in the early 90s I used a Mac with Interleaf on it. Man, I loved Interleaf.

  10. lasousa2015 Avatar

    I also use a MacBook Air, 2020 version. It can get a little sluggish using heavy intensive applications.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Fortunately, I don’t intend to stress my MacBook like that. It’s just for email and stuff on the run.

  11. Khürt L Williams Avatar

    Jim, I think if you’re just checking mail, shopping Amazon and attending Zoom meetings, an iPad Pro would have been a better choice. I don’t like laptops screens and keyboards. I’ve got a Mac Studio desktop for work. For light tasks I’ve got an iPad Pro.

  12. Michael Avatar

    Only Apple I’ve “owned” is the IIe my parents got when I was in high school.

    Perhaps you should just put your laptop to sleep so it starts immediately. Baffles me why my wife shuts down all the time. It’s extremely rare that I boot outside of having to install updates.

    You and Photoshop must be pretty rough on battery life I guess? My laptop is 10 years old and will still last over an hour on an original battery.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It is very nice that on the MacBook, the machine wakes instantly from sleep.

      I don’t use Ps on my laptops – I want the big screen and mouse when I do that. The battery life on the old laptop was about 40 minutes. The MacBook can go probably 6-8 hours.

  13. seatacphoto1951 Avatar

    I bought my first Mac, a Mac Mini, a year ago. I still am not as efficient as with a Windows machine, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed and acclimated to the experience.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There’s a lot to like about the Mac. I just can’t get past not being able to figure out how to select from here to the end of the line, or here to the end of the paragraph — things I can do in Windows easily. I have to reach for my mouse, which feels painfully slow.

  14. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

    Jim, triple click for paragraphs and CMD+Shift+Arrow select sentences, and there are other keyboard shortcuts. Those shortcuts can be modified or created from scratch.

    Have you considered using a Mac Mini, monitor, and Windows Keyboard and Mouse?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh you’ve got to be kidding. That’s how you do it? So not intuitive.

      My Intel NUC suddenly died last week, a horrible death when the fan blew and everything inside cooked. I looked hard at a Mac Mini. Ecosystem unification – very attractive. But the Mini I wanted was something like $1300. I found a NUC with specs that blew the Mini away for $500. So I’m back with Windows on my main machine. You can’t argue with commodity pricing.

      1. Daniel Brinneman Avatar

        Yep. I haven’t tried selecting single words. You’ll find plenty of articles with keyboard shortcuts for macOS in a web search. Which NUC did you decide on?

  15. Katie Yang Avatar

    I bought my first iPhone in May 2020 when the second SE came out. Eight months later I bought the MacBook Air M1. Both times because they were Apple products that were finally affordable. Going on four and three years respectively, the devices feel exactly like new (except for the batteries, naturally) and I’ve never, EVER, had the same experience using Android or Windows products. They typically slow down in their second year and it’s crazy downhill from there. I still have my Acer laptop to use like a TV screen but the constant updating and rebooting I have to do requires a ton of patience.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I went Apple for my phone after my beloved Palm Pre started to fail. The iPhone 5 came out and I got it on the first day. I’ve never looked back — but the one thing I do hate about the iPhone is that after four years, you stop getting OS support and eventually apps stop upgrading. You have to get a new phone.

      My previous WIndows machine was incredibly disappointing as it failed spectacularly after just two years. But I usually get 10 years out of one, solid, strong service.

      1. Katie Yang Avatar

        I believe OS support is averaging more like 6 years now, which seems reasonable.

        10 years! Granted, I’ve never invested in a higher-end Windows desktop, maybe that would have changed my mind about it.

  16. Khürt Williams Avatar

    Jim, as you may already know, I have had a lot of Apples in my life since 2005. I have all of their products and don’t provide family IT support unless it’s an Apple product.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I get that. I was my dad’s IT support. Oy.

  17. Bill Eccles Avatar
    Bill Eccles

    Build quality of every. single. Dell. leaves much to be desired. We replace them at work after 3-4 years because they’re falling apart by then. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro that was purchased (as part of my employment agreement, because I’m “handicapped” the other way around) is still going strongly, 10 years later, though I retired it a year ago in favor of an M1 because Word was stressing the old one out. It seems that Word consumes a lot of resources to keep the cursor blinking. Who knew?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Word is a hog!

      I’ve never owned a Windows laptop as tightly built as this MacBook, but then, I always deliberately bought budget Windows laptops. No comparison.

  18. J P Avatar

    My children are Apple People. I am not. I have reached the age where I have so much built-in knowledge about Windows machines (and Android phones) that I am reluctant to make the switch to something completely new and unfamiliar. Although if I am going to start relying on my kids for tech support as I get older (which seems to be the pattern as I have observed it) maybe I should switch sooner than later.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I was a Palm person for phones until HP bought Palm only to kill it. I went Apple after that almost on impulse.


      I’ve used Android phones for testing software (which is what I did for a living for a long time) so I’m familiar. What I learned is to avoid the cheap Android phones and get the ones that are as expensive as iPhones.

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