So several people have asked me why I made the change to Mac OS, from being a Windows user for over 2 decades. Here’s why:

mac versus windows

1. A more functional laptop

I wanted a new laptop. I narrowed it down to a Lenovo, Sony or Macbook. 2 years ago, I wouldn’t even consider the Macbook, but these days the Macbooks come with a very functional touchpad, a gorgeous screen, and very comfortable keyboard. Not only that, it’s unibody design meant less of the flaws that you’ll get with a conventional laptop, such as my old Thinkpad with its warped base, cracked plastic bits, and creaky metal hinges (still a solid machine nevertheless).

2. A new OS

Windows 7 was released, and with that, it means a new learning curve. Why not learn Mac OS? Granted, it’s probably steeper than Windows 7, but it’s still something that you have to learn anyway.

3. Focus on function

The Mac OS isn’t just pretty, it’s more functional too. One thing that always left me irate is the activation of Windows. Even genuine users would get bugged with activation alerts and be hassled with the procedure. Mac OS? Just buy the CD, install it, and you’re set. That’s beautiful.

Is everything all good and rosy though? Not at all. Here are some quirks that I still haven’t gotten used to:

1. Replacing folders in finder

This is a file operation that I don’t get at all. When you overwrite a folder in Mac OS, the entire folder gets replaced. E.g. assume you had a folder named MyFolder. Inside MyFolder, there’s 10 files.

Now imagine you suddenly discover that you had another version of MyFolder elsewhere on your hard drive, and it has 5 files inside that’s not found within the 10 files. Great – now you have 2 locations, but you just want 1. So you just copy the 2nd folder over to the original location.

Under Windows, the 5 files will be added to the original 10 files, so that you will have a total of 15 files.

Under Mac OS, the new folder will completely replace the original folder, i.e. you will find a total of 5 files (the new ones) inside. What happens to the original 10 files you ask? They’re GONE.

I found out the hard way about this (my files were completely overwritten and unretrieveable). No undo function for that too.

2. Mac Office 2008

It sucks. If you do a lot of documents and work in Office 2008, then this may be a huge deal breaker. Mac Office 2008 runs so slowly and has such a counter-intuitive interface that I find myself loading up VMWare just to run Office under Windows.

I’m not kidding when I say it takes 10-20 seconds for Word (or any other Office app) to open up. Besides that, try auto-fitting a table to the page width, or changing a document theme, or styling text (e.g. headers), or inputting smart art. You’d feel like killing yourself. And that’s not an exhaustive list, by the way.

I have no idea why the MacBooks in the Apple stores open up Microsoft applications so fast.

3. Finder

It sucks too. First of all, what’s Finder? Finder is to the Mac OSX as Explorer is to Windows. My first grouse: there’s no cut in Finder. You’ve only got copy and paste, which is absurd, even with all that talk about it being a more secure operation. I had to look for alternative file browsers to use on Mac OSX because of this missing functionality.

Second grouse: you can’t move things around intuitively because it doesn’t have a fixed folder list on the side. If you are ten folders deep and want to drag a file out to the top folder, you’ll have to pull serious tricks to do so (even with that spring-loaded thing). In Windows at least there’s a folder list on the side that allows you to go to any folder that you want easily. I had to solve both these problems by getting PathFinder, which is what Finder should really have been.

4. Flash

Again, this sucks. Adobe has clearly put Windows as their platform of choice, and Unix a distant second. Anytime you run Flash or Air on your Mac, you’ll see a huge spike in CPU usage. Sometimes if you leave something running – like GrooveShark, Pandora, or something like that – your system can be brought down to its knees. Unlike the above issues, this problems has no workaround at all, except to wait for Adobe to beef up Unix support for Flash/Air, which is annoying.

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