Let’s give him a nudge: liberal blogger teeters on edge of switching from Windows to Mac

“After I did the post a couple days ago about my terrible experience with a new Gateway Computer (actually with the computer and the support and pretty much everything else about the experience), I got a number of emails from Mac owners basically saying, ‘Switch to Mac. We all live in computer paradise.’ So I thought I’d answer the question on the site. I must say that from my casual experience, Mac’s always seem to work better, be more intelligently designed, have a nicer screen interface and a bunch of other stuff. And honestly, after this most recent experience, for the first time in my life I’ve seriously considered switching,” Josh Marshall writes for Talking Points Memo. “So, why haven’t I, and, probably, why won’t I?”

Marshall writes that he’s concerned about to cost of switching software and also writes, “I’ve got a decent amount of know-how invested in PCs. I don’t just mean that I’d have to become a computer newbie again. But I can open up my PCs and install things and actually do a certain amount of maintenance on them. Not sure one can do that with a Mac, at least not to the same degree. In the background, I guess there’s also that concern about having ones whole computer set-up and data tied to one company.” Marshall has also become very dependent on using a tablet PC for note-taking.

Marshal writes, “Those are the basic reasons holding me back. (I know the hardware tends to be more expensive. But I pretty much live my life online. So I don’t think the cost in itself, if not too much more, would hold me back.) But I really do sort of secretly wish I could use a Mac because they just seem like they’re better machines. So I’d be very curious to hear from readers. Not just Mac users. In fact, not even primarily Mac users. Who I’d really like to hear from are former PC users who’ve switched to Mac. What have your experiences been? Any major downsides? Either in the final experience or in the transition over — moving your data over, etc? Let me know. I’d be much obliged.”

Full article and contact information here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews reader “BB” for the link.]

MacDailyNews Take: This is some good insight into why the heck some Windows sufferers aren’t killing each other to get to the nearest Apple store first (as all of us here well know they should). Step one for switchers is to take a realistic look at the software they use. What programs do you really use and how much did they really cost? Then take a look at what comes with new Mac. New Macs come with the world’s most advanced operating system, Mac OS X. You won’t need your antivirus programs and spyware scanners and you won’t be wasting processor cycles on viruses and spyware and junk. New Macs also come with a browser (Safari), email client (Mail), IM client (iChat AV), Address Book, calendar (iCal), DVD Player, iLife ’06 ( iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, iWeb, GarageBand), Quicken 2006, Omni Outliner, Front Row and more. Next, you need to get on the horn with the makers of the Windows software you want to crossgrade to Mac. You DO NOT pay for a full version and you should not accept such a suggestion from the software company if that’s what they tell you. You have already paid for the software once, you shouldn’t have to do it again. Ask them for the Mac version for the cost of an upgrade (just as if you were upgrading from Windows version to Windows version). It’s just a plastic disk to them at that point. If they refuse you, please let us know about it. Most reputable software makers that value your business will allow for crossgrades from Windows to Mac.

Now, in Marshall’s case, we’re not sure how he pokes around inside his Tablet PC; more likely he’s got a tower and a tablet. For the Mac tower, he’ll want a Power Mac. He’ll find familiar components inside (except it’s much neater inside because Apple actually cares about details) that he can replace and mess around with to his heart’s content. As for the tablet, there’s no Mac tablet. Marshall could keep the Tablet PC (the Mac will network with it just fine) or he could “settle” for a MacBook Pro for now and stay tuned as Apple touchscreen tablet-like patents continue to surface seemingly weekly.

We’re not sure what the concern is about having the “whole computer set-up and data tied to one company,” as any Windows PC you buy runs an inferior operating system that’s — drum roll please — “tied to one company,” Microsoft. Plus the PC hardware itself is generally of lesser design and quality that Apple’s hardware. Apple Computer, Inc. is 30 years old. They aren’t going anywhere. More Windows PC box assemblers have been born and extinguished during Apple’s 30+ years than we can possibly list here. By the way, there is no DellDailyNews.com or GatewayDailyNews.com or LenovoDailyNews.com for a reason. Macs are remarkable, as are most Mac users. Do you want a computer and operating system from a 30-year-old established company known for innovation that has billions in the bank or do you want an operating system from one company that sort of kind of works sometimes if you work at it constantly running on fugly hardware from some box assembler that may or may not be bankrupt, bought up, or fighting for its life within a couple of years?

Please set aside his politics for the time being (pro or con), this is Macintosh we’re talking about here! Please take the points we’ve made in our take and combine them with the best reader feedback from below and write to Mr. Marshall at . He’s teetering on the edge of changing his computing life so much for the better, but he needs a gentle nudge. A few emails answering his concerns should do the trick nicely.

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  1. For me there is one downside to being a mac user and former windows user: When I am forced to use windows at work due to one piece of windows only software my life is now hell ‘cos I know what I’m missing.

    Actually the other downside is that they twist your mind into wanting to help other users have a better computing experience, accordingly you become thought of as a nut when you constantly go on about Mac’s and anything Mac related.

  2. Mr. Marshall has an open mind that’s a good thing. When I switched, was a MS person from DOS 3.2 days through XP, those thoughts he expressed where my thoughts as well but I jumped in and kept my Gateway as well. After about three months I found I wasn’t turning the Gateway on in many weeks so I dropped in a new hard drive then gave the Gateway away. Let me say my experience with Gateway was positive 100%, not so with Windows. Made this switch was three years ago now there isn’t any reason to go back to Windows.

    The genuine concern is at work when one uses a Windows propriety program not available for the Mac, there are many out there. However, in my situation all the programs I use I found available on the Mac. MS makes Office for the Mac and the Outlook PST can be ported to MS Entourage.

    As for tinkering within the PC box as I did with the Gateway I haven’t had need to do that on the Mac, that’s been for three years. Yes I miss the tinkering, so I assist neighbors and friends with their Windows PCs, but I haven’t found any need to do it on my Mac, it just works.

    As for the tablet PC, sorry there isn’t yet one by Apple.

  3. As evidenced by a plethora of long-winded posts, “MacDude” has way too much time on his hands. I believe that “MacDude” is in truth the collective name for a group of Gates/Ballmer/Trotsky Communists trying to keep their hold on a decaying ecosystem.

    “MacDude”, you are a “MacDud!”

  4. The genuine concern is at work when one uses a Windows propriety program not available for the Mac, there are many out there

    All Apple has to do now that the processors are the same is to provide developers with a easy compiler. The developers can then start shipping Windows and Mac versions on the same disk.

    The reason there isn’t as much Mac software as Windows is because market share counts.

    A piddly developer with a sorry piece of software can make his profit because there are more fools on the Windows side that will buy it than on the Mac side.

    Apple can change that by reducing the development costs for Mac OS X with converter/compiler for Windows compiled code.

    So these piddly developers not only can reach Windows fools, but Mac fools as well.

  5. Change is difficult.

    Apple is asking Windows users to change too much at once.

    Change your OS orientation.
    Change your Software platform.
    Change your form factor mentality.

    The iMac is a great form factor for many people, but a lot of users want to select their own display keyboard and mouse. The Mac mini isn’t good enough for them.

    Potential switchers are still waiting for Apple to make a computer for them.

    MDN word: many, as in too many changes at once.

  6. My wife and I bought our first PowerBook 9 months ago. I’ve been working on the whole cross-grade issue and have run into a snag with Quicken. They will not cross grade Quicken 2006 from PC to MAC. I even offered to pay the difference in the cost of the software.

    Has anyone had any luck with the folks at Quicken?

  7. Ok well lets see here I used windows ever since Win95 up to XP. I bought a powerbook 1.67ghz about a year and a half ago. All my previous experience with macs was with everything before OS 9 so I didn’t really like macs to much. Now I seriously would Never even for a second think about switching back to windows anything. I have not spent a dime on virus programs why because there is none. I have never had my powerbook crash on me. I would of never believed how easy it is to use Tiger OSX and never thought I would be able to make movies, and songs as easily as it is using iLife.

  8. “Marshall writes that he’s concerned about to cost of switching software and …”

    This is the real reason for the Intel switch. Watch carefully as this year moves forward and the strategy unfolds. Remember Classic?

  9. don’t switch…

    simply buy a mini (on ebay or craigslist, if cash is an issue)
    play with it.
    do the fun iLife stuff on the mac.
    continue business as usual on the pc (you’ve already got it/them).

    ultimately, you’ll gravitate one way or the other.

    if you don’t like the mini, burn a cd/dvd of all your stuff, put it on the pc, and sell the mini on e-bay.

    if you do decide to use the mac as the primary machine, migrate e-mail and apps at your own pace.

    semi-painless… except the pc part (sorry… i couldn’t help it).

  10. ” I can open up my PCs and install things and actually do a certain amount of maintenance on them. Not sure one can do that with a Mac…”

    I used to “open up” my 1972 Ford and do the same thing. I changed the spark plugs, rotor, condensor and points… and now I only need to open up my SUV to add washer fluid. I don’t NEED a tune-up until 100,000 miles anyway.

    Same type of experience with my Mac. The Mac is maintainance free for the most part. Takes getting used to for one who grew up with “Heath-Kit” like computing. I don’t miss getting my hands dirty.

  11. Marshall, you’ll be amazed at the amount of and the quality of Macintosh software. I’m talking about the software it comes with. So many utilities, you are a power network administrator with a beautiful, portable, multiprocessor computer. The Mac is a joy to use. It’s like looking through into a soothing aquarium.

    There are some things we can’t do. We can’t change the UI theme easily and we can’t get viruses either. We have timely system updates and constant upgrades. We’ve had 5 major upgrades (free) since Mac OS Tiger was released. That level of software support and care is unheard of in the Windows world except by malware companies. On the down side, you have very few malware packages for the Mac to choose from.

    I use my Mac on my enterprise Windows environment which tries to be maximum Microsoft and certainly does not support the Mac. Ug! My coworkers are amazed and confused at what freedom I have.

    When you look at where the Internet is going today, Apple is right there with iTunes, iWeb blogging, iMovie and iDVD, iPhoto. Apple is doing everything most people want to do. It all works together, it’s easy to use, and it’s fun and powerful too. Apple makes best-in-class software in many categories. You don’t need other manufacturers.

    You can upgrade Macs. Processors, hard drives, memory, optical drives, etc. Just like PCs, you might void whatever warranty is left, but you can. Macs come with everything you need unless you love card readers. Apple leads the industry in adopting new hardware technologies as well, like 802.11b and g and Firewire.

    No, you won’t be missing anything when switching to a Macintosh except the shackles that have been oppressing you.

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