Having now spent a little time with the Mac, here are some final observations:
I know I shouldn’t care as long as it does the job, but build quality and engineering design DO matter. It puts a smile on my face every time I use it. This thing is simply light years ahead of the typical PC and gives me confidence that it’s not going to break (although, of course, it’s still “just a computer”!)
The Best Platform for Windows:
Here’s a surprise: A Mac with VMware Fusion is the best platform to run Windows! Virtual machines let you snapshot your “machine” at any time, so you can easily go back to an earlier state to recover from problems, viruses (or programs you wish you hadn’t installed!). You can even use snapshots to create separate configurations dedicated to specific applications. Initially I thought I’d have to keep the PC around, but it look like I’ll be able to do everything I need using VMs.
A common problem these days is the proliferation of open windows on your computer desktop. It can get quite messy! Apple addresses this with a tool called “Spaces” – essentially you have not one, but multiple desktops which you can switch between. I love being able to quickly check email and flick back to exactly where I was in an instant.
Not everything Mac is perfect. The Apple “Magic Mouse” – a sort of cross between a mouse and a trackpad – was a disappointment. It’s looks cool, has clever engineering, and is a great idea …but it’s triumph of form over function – a bit like those “modern” 1960s chairs that looked great but were hell to actually sit on. I eventually reverted to my old Logitech mouse. It fits my hand and is easier to control fine movements for photo editing.
Another thing Macs do better than PCs is work together. Sharing files, sharing screens. I just got a Mac Laptop for work and love being able to sit in the lounge in front of the TV and work with my Mac Pro in the study as if I was right in front of it.
PhotoShop Differences :
Photoshop CS5 brings many changes – mostly common to both platforms. However one “feature” is simply a long standing Mac/PC difference – and one I’m having trouble getting used to: The application background in the Mac version is transparent (you see the desktop and any other windows behind what you are working on), so accidentally clicking outside the image takes you out of Photoshop …sometimes to another application. Hopefully I’ll get used to it.
My favorite thing? No more reboots! Starting my PC used to be a case of “press the button and go make coffee”. Remembering something I wanted JUST after I’d shut down was a frequent source of frustration (and occasional swearing!) – and that’s if the darned thing shut down properly. Now, I just put my system to sleep and when I need it, it wakes up in seconds. What’s more, everything is there just as I last used it. Brilliant!