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Join Date: May 2009
Location: McMurdo Station, Antarctica
sorry, long post - 05-16-2009, 05:08 AM
Since everyone else is giving their two cents, I might as well throw mine in.
First off, I am certainly not a fanboy, and I'm of the opinion that you should use whatever you like, and whatever you're most productive with.
I've used Macs going back to the days of the Apple II Plus... then the SE, SE/30, Apple Portable, IIcx, the first PowerBooks, and so on. I also had some exposure to DOS and Windows 3.1, but I thought it was far from intuitive and downright ugly. Funny enough, despite having some background in programming C+ and Java, I still couldn't tell you how to write a batch script in DOS.
The change for me came with Windows 95, as I was working for a small company that had just switched over to Windows on DEC machines (pretty cool at the time). Of course, Windows 95 was a constant headache as many of you remember, especially early on. It was buggy, would often lock-up or crash, and in general seemed very unstable. I was also tasked with administering Windows NT 4.0 Workstation and Server. Now that was a totally different experience. I used to show people how you could open the task manager, shut down Explorer.exe, have the screen essentially blank, then start-up a new Explorer process and it'd all come back - that's how stable it was, haha.
By the time that Windows 2000 and XP came around I was now very comfortable with Windows... not always a huge fan, but very comfortable nonetheless. That came at a price though, as I was no longer comfortable with Mac in terms of the layout, workflow, and the myriad little idiosyncracies that make an OS and OS. At one point I did try to get back into Mac with a Mac clone (remember those), which was cool because it had regular PS/2 ports... but I was pretty hooked on Windows for better or worse.
After a few years of XP usage I was pretty bored with the OS and fairly underwhelmed too. I tried Linux with Redhat and FreeBSD, and though they were fun to play with, neither could act as a replacement at that time. I also looked at OSX back in the days of Cheetah and Jaguar, but the Aqua interface felt sluggish, and I just wasn't feeling it. One of the things that annoyed me, and still annoys me a little bit is that the user interface at that time hadn't changed much since the days of System 6. Yes it was prettier, and more sophisticated, but still too much the same for me.
If we flash forward a few years, we come to Vista. Now I know lots of lots of people have had innumerable problems with Vista... but I hate to almost say it, I haven't. My brother and are have both been long-term geeks, and we've had many many discussions regarding Vista. I think my brother installed Vista more than a dozen different times to try it, only to reinstall XP within a week. I was definitely in the same boat with a lot of people in the early months of Vista when driver support was poor, but aside from that I've ran the 32 and 64-bit versions on a variety of Dell machines, a Macbook, and a Mac Mini... all without problem. Now to qualify my statements, I want to make it clear that there are some things in Vista that bug the crap out of me (like the Network and Sharing Center), but overall it has been a responsive and stable OS for me.
Vista issues aside, my interest in Mac has been piqued time and time again, especially after Apple moved over to Intel's x86 architecture and provided Bootcamp. I've even run OSX under VMware in Windows (which was no easy feat), but I still find myself gravitating back to Windows, especially now with Windows 7. Others in this thread have argued that they're "Windowfied", and that it took them some time to get used to Mac and to unlearn everything that Microsoft had taught them. I'm just not sure I fit into such a grouping.
Interestingly, given OSX's unix architecture, that did spur me on to experiment with Ubuntu and Linux Mint (an Ubuntu derivative). My experience with Ubuntu has been largely positive, and I could see that in certain applications Ubuntu might work well for me, but there are still too many things linking me back Windows. For example OpenOffice is a great tool for many people, but I tend to use many of the advanced features in MS Office, and file conversion is still less than desirable. Of course one can use Wine or just virtualize Windows, but if I'm spending most of my time in Ubuntu or even OSX in the Windows virtual environment, then why not just stay in Windows or do a reverse virtualization if need be. And I don't think this is just a case of finding the right software packages that correlate or emulate what is offered in Windows. In many cases, the similarity or emulation of what I would normally use simply isn't good enough.
Lastly I'd like to add some thoughts about Windows 7. I've spent the last several months testing the betas, and had many back and forth conversations with Steven Sinofsky and other Windows engineers. I think in many ways Windows 7 is the Vista that never was. There are some fascinating articles and interviews on the Microsoft blogs and site that detail the redesign process that took place with Win7. One of the most fascinating aspects was WinMin, where they were sorting out (for the first time), all of the dependencies in Windows, what was no longer necessary, how to reorganize and secure processes at the kernal level... and it's made a huge difference. One of the other glaring changes that has occurred (at least within the Win7 dev team), is that they have been interacting with and responding to the consumer base like never before - it's an incredibly healthy dialog which has occurred recently. What makes that change so significant is not just that fact that it is Microsoft which is at the heart of the change, but that it also shows how far Apple has to go in meeting consumer expectations today. The Apple mantra is specific, and has worked well for them in the past - they are designing a functional and visually attractive product FOR you, not WITH you. Apple has a very clear idea of what the user experience should and must be, Microsoft, at least with Windows 7, has taken an approach that says WE'VE got a lot of ideas on what we'd like to do with the OS, but you're the end-user, what do YOU really want? And from my Win7 experience, they've based their many changes on what we have said in the forums and feedback, and based off of very sophisticated telemetry data that is sent from the beta.
So where do I find myself today? Well, if you can't tell I'm super excited about Windows 7. I find Ubuntu to be a very compelling model for OS development, particularly in their release schedule and community development... but I couldn't make the switch completely. And Mac OS... you've always piqued my interest, and will continue to do so, but every time I use OSX sit there and think, no it just doesn't feel right to me.
I'm pretty sure that's wildly off topic, and more characters than one should ever commit to a forum post, but hey I was in a writing mood and I thought that this might strike a chord with a few of our fellow mydellmini members.
Dell Vostro A90 | Black | Kingston HyperX 2GB | STEC 32GB SSD | SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC | 0.3MP Webcam | Bluetooth | Intel 4965ABGN WLAN | Windows 7 RC1 or Ubuntu - depending on mood | GMABooster | A04 BIOS
Join Date: Mar 2009
05-16-2009, 10:54 PM
I use Mac OS X Leopard on both of my computers, the mini and a larger dell. I don't know why some people are saying that OS X is too simple, with too little power under the hood, and that Windows is better in this area. I find OS X to be the opposite of that statement. It has all the power and stability of Linux and other Unix-like OS's, and a really slick GUI over the UNIX underpinnings.
I love features like Spaces and Expose on the small mini 9 screen, as well as on my larger desktop. I don't have to worry much about malware or viruses, and OS X flies, even on the mini. Everything feels very polished, as if the engineers at Apple don't let even the smallest of UI problems get by. The 3D Graphics acceleration is all hardware-based, and all animations are very smooth. Take the example of moving a widget into the Dashboard in OS X, vs. moving a new gadget out onto the desktop in Windows Vista or Windows 7. In OS X, it smoothly glides out, and there is a really cool ripple effect. In Windows, the gadget remains the same size until you let go of the mouse button, then "jumps" into the right position and size with much less elegance. And all of this graphical prowess in OS X uses less system resources than Vista or Windows 7, which eat up memory and CPU cycles. On the lowly GMA 950 graphics of the mini, Windows runs poorly with bad battery life, while OS X feels extremely fast.
I've used Windows a lot also, and up until a year ago, it was my primary OS. Now, I could never go back. I still use it (dual booting with OS X on my mini Windows 7), but only very rarely, just to fool around with it.
And I don't know why anyone would still use Windows XP. It runs very well on slow hardware, but is just unusable in its lack of very common features like integrated indexed searching. It looks and feels old, which it is. It came out 8 years ago, which is an eternity in "computing time." The theme is very boring and hard on the eyes, unless you get a third-party theme, but even then, you're just re-skinning the same aged OS.
Lastly, I love Linux, in particular Ubuntu, and had Ubuntu Netbook Remix on my mini 9 before I upgraded to a larger SSD for OS X and Windows 7. Ubuntu is awesome in its customizability (is that a word?), and isn't too hard to use, once you're used to it. I would love to run it, but some of the programs I need don't run on it, and I have no need for it, since I'm running OS X. As I said before, I think OS X is the perfect hybrid between the raw UNIX power, and a really slick, functional Graphical User Interface, and so it is my choice of Operating system, both on a mini 9, and on a desktop.
All of these modern OS's are great, considering where we were, and I don't feel OS X is hugely better than Windows 7 or Ubuntu. However I just feel like Apple's philosophy is the most like my own, and they really care about making a very polished finished product.
Snow Leopard 10.6
Inspiron E1505 1.6 Ghz Core Duo, 1 GB RAM, Intel GMA 950, 80 GB HDD, Leopard 10.5.8
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