It’s true. I am now (mostly) a Mac. I have been a Windows guy since 1986 when I bought my first PC, an IBM XT Clone. It ran DOS 3.1 and had an amber monitor. I used that computer to catapult my fledgling real estate business into the top 10% of my office within my first 18 months in the real estate business.
And I never looked back. I went from PC to PC, always getting the latest and most powerful PC on the market. Except for my laptops, I always built my own PCs from components and in the process gained a really in depth knowledge of computers and how they worked. I knew about Macs but also “knew” that they weren’t meant for any serious business. I even rented time on a Mac Classic at the local print shop to learn how to do flyers on it. I was honestly baffled by the mouse and the user interface in general and never went back.
Along the way I obtained three increasingly complex certifications from Microsoft that further expanded my knowledge and cemented me to the Windows platform. Whenever any one new to our business would ask about the type of computer to buy, my answer was always the same, a Windows PC from a reputable manufacturer.
In the last few years though, a crack has been appearing in my Windows armor. It started when Apple announced that its operating system was going to be built upon UNIX. This meant that users of Macs would have better security and stability available to them as UNIX is the operating system used by many large businesses to run their operations. But, UNIX is not user friendly to say the least. The magic that Apple applied was to layer their wonderful user interface over the UNIX background and in so doing, brought UNIX to the masses. The user of a Mac has no idea that they are actually running UNIX. Apple did a superb job on bringing together an industrial strength operating system with an award winning graphical user interface.
The crack widened further when Apple announced that it was going to change the hardware that they used to build their products to the same hardware used in PCs. That meant that the Microprocessor was going to be of the Intel line instead of the Motorola Power PC line. This was huge, in my book, as it meant that it would now be possible to run Windows on a Mac. Up until this point if you wanted to run Windows programs on a Mac, you could do so, but at an enormous penalty in terms of speed, as the software had to “translate” the software into to something that the PowerPC processor used in Macs could understand, and then translate the output back into the Intel based Windows software. This caused these programs to run extremely slowly.
The final split occurred for me when I learned that it was possible to run both Windows and Mac operating systems and all of their programs side by side on a Mac by using virtualization software. Virtualization software by Parallels or VMWare creates a “virtual PC” on the Mac’s hard drive. A virtual PC exists only in software and is invoked by merely clicking on an icon on the Mac. The virtual PC can co-exist with the Mac allowing you to switch between Mac or PC with the click of the Mouse, or it can take over entirely. It can also be put to sleep where it waits to be called to life. When it’s not in use it claims no resources and when it is brought back to life it does so immediately without the painfully slow Windows boot up process.
The Mac can be “taught” that certain things should always be run on the Mac side or should always be run in Windows. If you click on something that should only be run in Windows, the virtual PC starts and the appropriate Windows program runs! It’s like having two computers in one. How cool is that?
So, I began my move to the Mac. I started by buying my wife a 24” iMac in October of 2007. I installed Parallels on it for her and then installed Windows XP Professional (although XP Home would have worked as well for her).
Then in January of 2008 I bought a 17” MacBook Pro for my self and installed VMWare Fusion in it as well as Windows XP Pro. Finally, when my home desktop computer began to show signs of obsolescence I replaced it in April of 2009 with a 24” iMac. I installed VMWare Fusion and Windows XP Pro on it. In fact, I used the software from VMWare to install an exact copy of my old Windows PC on the Mac. Wow! Who knew that you could do that?
So, my move is nearly complete. I still have a Vista Windows 7 machine in my office and my tablet and convertible laptops are XP machines. I just bought my wife a new Asus EeePC 1000HE Netbook, as Apple has not entered the tablet or netbook markets.
So, what is the experience like? That will be the topic of next week’s post! Stay tuned.