MacOS vs Windows and the new MacBook Pro series – some more thoughts

I’ve been a Mac user since Windows 3.1 came out. I figured since I liked a real GUI environment I might as well go with the real thing. My first Mac was an LC way back when. Yet… I don’t consider myself a “fan boy.” I really think 6 of one is half a dozen of the other. It depends on what you are used to. Since I also use Microsoft tools, like Office, and Dropbox and other cross-compatible tools from Google and Evernote, etc., I like to think of my Mac as “just a tool” rather than something I’m in love with.

I prefer the Mac OS. And lately I’ve come to enjoy the Mac ecosystem more with things like Universal clipboard.

I use my Mac mostly for software development and then all the daily things people do with their computers. I find it mostly stable and easy to use. But it is far from the original “it just works” idea.

Objective studies on usability show it’s really a matter of what you are used to. There are many people I know and respect who are highly skilled developers in the field of computer graphics who do all their main work on Windows machines. They are not Mac haters. It’s just that the tools they use (Maya, etc.) are only available on Windows and that’s the way it’s been for a long time and so they became used to that environment.

When forced to use a Mac, rather than instantly fall in love, they are just as confused by MacOS as Mac users are when trying to get things done on Windows.

I also run Windows (7 and 10) in Parallels on my MBP – mostly for browser testing – and find it awkward to use. but I’m sure that that’s really because I’m just not used to it.

Getting away from the entire Apple ecosystem is difficult. And there is no reason for me to consider giving up my current late 2013 Retina MBP, which is specced out (for the time) with a 512 GB SSB and 16 GB of RAM. It works just fine. But I did wanted to upgrade, because 512 GB is too small for my data now.

But the new MBP series is just too expensive. Real sticker shock. So I suspect I’ll just keep going like I am for a few years – or possibly sell this one and upgrade to an older model that’s newer than mine with more capacity.

But I don’t see anything in the new MBP that makes it worth the price – especially since I would need to get the even pricier 1 TB option.

Tech Talk – Windows 8 first impressions

I’m mainly a Mac user, but I also run Windows under Parallels Desktop, mainly for testing purposes.

I decided to upgrade one of my Windows 7 virtual machines to Windows 8 the other day, just to keep up with what’s new. Below is a screenshot after the upgrade was done.

My first impression is that it seems “ok” for a tablet OS. But everything seems so big and takes up an awful lot of screen space.

And it doesn’t seem easy to use for actually getting work done on a “real” computer. You can get beyond the “tile” view to a somewhat normal looking desktop, but then you keep bouncing back to the tile view. I find it hard to believe that Windows users who are used to Windows 7 will find Windows 8 easy to get used to.

There are clever things there though. The tiles are all dynamic and so if there is live content (weather updates, news, facebook or twitter feeds, etc.) your screen is constantly updating. They aren’t “static tiles” like in iOS. And you can apparently create custom ones, and even tiles representing individual people.

Still, I haven’t even been able to figure out how to do something as basic as having two separate windows open at the same time. And we are talking about “Windows” here! The help instructions said something about moving the cursor to the top-left corner and then dragging an app there to “an open space,” but whenever I try that the app always opens in full screen mode.

I’ll say one thing for sure – Windows 8 is definitely not recommended for people with motor skill difficulties. I would imagine such people would have problems getting the cursor just-so in the correct corners of the screen to see hidden things open up.

If I had to make a prediction I predict slower adoption for Windows 8 than for Windows 7, but there are so many PCs out there I guess it will stick. But I also predict a firestorm of complaints about “how do we use this?”