My wife finally did it… she bought an Apple MacBook Pro laptop. After months of venting how bad/slow/problematic her Windows Vista PC was operating, she decided to spend some big bucks and get a Mac laptop. Her intent is to use the MacBook as her main system, so she loaded it up with 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, and a WLED 17″ wide screen display.
Because she does book-keeping on the side, she will need to run various versions of QuickBooks Pro. Instead of trying to buy a Mac version of that software package, she decided to get Desktop Parallels (Virtualization software) so she can run Windows XP in a window on her Mac to run a few Windows-based applications (like QuickBooks Pro). Finally, she purchased Microsoft Office for the Mac so she can open/read/create MS-Word and MS-Excel documents.
While she had her wallet open, she also purchased AppleCare (3-year warranty), MobileMe (Internet “Cloud” backup service at $99/year), and one-on-one Mac Genius support (at $99/year). Oh, and I can’ t forget the new case she needed for her extra wide laptop. In all, she spent more money on this single machine than I’ve ever spend on a PC system. In fact, her sister just purchased three (3) new Dell laptops with a wireless color printer for less money than she spent on her MacBook Pro setup! That’s the biggest difference between a Mac and a PC.
I have to admit that the MacBook Pro is a beautiful machine, with its slim design and WLED display. The bright and clear display even made the fuzzy Apple fonts tolerable by my standards. The system booted up very quickly, and ran very quickly with the Intel 2 Duo Core processor.
Of course, using the Mac was a bit difficult since it is so different from the Windows Vista operating system. Where’s the “Start Menu” button? Clicking the small “X” window button doesn’t actually quit the application? What’s a “dmg” file, and what am I suppose to do with it? How do I install software on the Mac? You definitely need a different mindset to live in the Apple world.
The biggest challenge I had in setting up her Mac system, is mounting a shared drive on her old Vista system for transferring of files. I had to do a lot of Internet Google searching to learn how to set her MacBook to the same network workgroup name as her old PC, and to mount her drive. Strangely, I could see certainly PCs under the Mac’s “Shared” resource, but not all of them. I’m not sure why some showed up while the others did not (all connected to our internal wireless network).
Surprisingly, the Desktop Parallels VM software did a great job running Windows XP with QuickBooks Pro. It was very snappy, just as if you were running the application on a dedicated Windows PC. In fact, I set up her MacBook to either use the VM software in a Mac window, or to boot-up in Windows XP mode (with only using a single installation of the WinXP Operating system).
To help learn how to use her MacBook Pro (other than just web browsing), my wife bought several Mac books which she is currently reviewing. Time will tell if she likes her MacBook better than her old Vista PC system (I certainly hope she follows through and uses it as her main system, considering how much money she spent on it!).
For myself, my current Intel quad core system running Windows Vista is working just fine. I don’t see any slowness or have any major issues with the system (although I recently had some quirky problems with my mouse cursor not working properly). I explored switching to a Mac Mini several months ago (so I could do some Apple iPhone development), but decided at that time I was so embedded in the Windows world that switching would have been too painful.
I also don’t plan to upgrade to Windows 7 in the near future unless I see a tremendous value in doing so. I’ve beta tested Win7 for about 4 months and didn’t see anything compelling enough to switch from Vista.