Saturday, November 11, 2006

M Is For...

I have been thinking about buying a Mac. It is difficult for me because my computer is not all that old and I am not the sort of person who replaces things unless they are completely worn out and barely functioning. This is why, for instance, I wore the "cool" clothes I got in eighth grade right up through the end of college.

My computer is going on three years now. The fan sometimes runs loud and scaldingly hot, and the maximum battery life is something like a minute, but other than that, the computer actually runs fine. But it is constantly frustrating to me that I am hamstrung when it comes to working with video. A Macbook Pro would be a simple way to get some real video capability without fretting about specs and upgrades, and on top of that it is just so pretty.

I am hesitant, though. Aside from my loyalty to the computer that is mostly still pretty good, I actually rather like Windows. I'm used to it, I know the keyboard shortcuts, and I fear that acclimating to the Mac interface will be full of little annoyances as I discover various tasks that I know how to perform more conveniently on a PC. Example: Whenever I've used Blogger on a Mac (browser: Safari), I've noticed that it lacks the buttons to automatically bold, italicize, and most importantly, easily add a link. Instead I've been forced to type out links in html, which is a huge pain in the ass. Ryan, is this why your early posts were so ineptly formatted?

I'm also worried about software. They say that Macs can run Windows XP now, but does that mean I have to install it? I don't think I have it outside of a startup disc for my HP that's bundled with all sorts of other stuff. They say it can run Windows programs, but come on, if Windows programs run well on a Mac, why do Mac versions still exist?

Over the years, I have collected enough Windows software, legitimate and pirated, that replacing it all will be either expensive or time-consuming as I seek out Mac friends to steal it all from. Office/Word, Photoshop, and Final Draft are my primary concerns.

I would also, at some point, need to buy some cheap MiniDV cam to make it all worthwhile.

But then my computer started to give me a sign. I am having an issue with the M key. It's not broken, exactly, nor is it totally sticking. But it's not pressing easily. I have to hit it just so, or make sure to hit it a bit harder, or it won't register. When I do press it hard I can feel some kind of popping underneath the key, as if something is caught down there, something that won't come out.

It's really annoying. I think I need a new computer.

Also, I've started wanting a new digital camera. When I saw the videos my sister shot of that Chinese guy on her digital camera, I realized how far the mpegs on your average point-and-shoot have come. Imagine if cheap cameras could do that back when I shot the Squelch Documentary. It would have been watchable!

And then yesterday I try to turn on my camera and it gives me an error message and can no longer focus its lens.

So I need a new one of those, too.


lyan! said...

Yeah, ineptitude (you're an ass). Problem was that I started blogging before I learned how to do html. I did have to learn how to type everything out in long-hand and I still do it now — which was done because I lost like three versions of one post one day and I got tired of typing so I migrated to doing it on TextEdit (mac's wordpad).
On that note, the difference between PC and Mac OSs is low and growing lower with every year I think. I think the Mac-specific video programs are good and easy to use, and while, yes, word & friends works, there's also a wealth of open-source programs that'll do the same damn thing, use the same keyboard commands and will translate seemlessly.
(a quick note about the keyboard shortcuts: the only difference is that the "control" or whatever button you press + [anything] for your commands is next to the space bar instead of on the outside corner-spot.)
As far as blogging for babies, if you download firefox blogger comes up like it does on a PC, it's a safari thing, or rather, that Blogger didn't make their thing completely compatible with Safari.
If you get a mac, you need to make a conscious decision to switch to Mac OS. It is true you can run Windows on your mac, but you would need to buy a version of Windows (i think) that will work. At the very least you'd need to buy some form of a driver/installer for it. And the difference between the two versions comes down to programing architecture methinks — they can now both use the same processor, but how they use it is still different enough that they're not the same.
My only newly-realized warning with a Mac (yeah I know, I've been resident Mac guy forever, but still, Apple is changing...) is that with all the creative software that Apple makes, they've become, well, bitches lately, scaling back features to make the programs less completely functional. This bothers me. Especially if you auto-update something and lose some feature between the old and new version (and most of the features that keep getting scaled out are conversion-type features which I guess would get you around their various security devices they've put in place. Most times this isn't a critical disability, but it will possibly get you a few frustrating moments filled with web-searches for a second-hand program which may or may not be free/shareware.
Nevertheless, the amount of good, solid Mac open- share- and free-ware is really good. I don't know what it's like for PCs, but there's so much that you can really do whatever it is you want to get done.

Simon said...

I switched to the Mac about 2 years back, and I just got a new one (unfortunately, my powerbook got stolen on campus, so I was forced to purchase a Macbook Pro somewhat shamefully this morning).

Generally it's been a much better experience than my time on the PC. Giving up PC gaming was hard, but everything else has been pretty easy. The big difference is that the Mac just doesn't get in your way. When you're using a PC, there's constantly some stupid thing twitching in the tray or bleeping at you or asking you to do this or uninstall that. The elegance of the mac isn't really in any particular feature but just that it sits there and does what you tell it to.

Office and Photoshop and whatnot are pretty easy to "find" for the mac if that's your route. Final Draft is kind of a bitch. I had a stolen copy on my last laptop and now that that one was stolen, I can't find it again. Adding insult to injury, Final Draft 6 for the mac is actually much better than Final Draft 7 for the mac, which is a buggy piece of shit which can barely scroll through a page without doing something horrible.

As for other software, there's generally fewer options on the mac, but what's there is usually pretty good. There's a lot of really awesome free Mac software that usually has fewer options than their PC counterparts but which work much more smoothly and pleasantly on the whole.

Cliff Notes: I'd probably recommend the mac switch for almost anyone who wasn't tied to something really PC specific like computer gaming or some obscure program. I used to make fun of mac people years ago but OS X and the current intel machines are all awesome and work really well, even if the commercials are still pretentious nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I thought I would hate my Mac, but now I can't imagine using anything else.

You'll get used to the little annoyances.

It's like dating a girl that is hot, but has an annoying voice.

After you bang her a couple times, you don't mind so much.

crystal said...

i don't run windows anything on my beautiful baby. but! you can. the reason other things still exist is because many people don't want to support windows products, some still prefer the mac stuff and only the macbooks support it.

remember on the video shoot when you were amazed at my computer playing those dvds for like 5 hours? well, it's a year old so it used to be 6 hours. think about that! also, it's beautiful and i'd marry it if i could.

i understand being curmudgeonly and cheap though... so is is possible to sell your computer and then buy a mac? by the way, mike used to be pc and never looked back after the switch over. it's really not a big transition. and then he could edit all of his projects at home (or anywhere) and that was priceless.

lydia said...

It took me a few weeks not to be annoyed by all the little things specific to Macs. Software and torrents are still an issue, and I'm not sure I would want a Mac as the only computer in the house, but I'm glad I got one. My iBook is a cutie!

Sarah said...

I got a new PC laptop about a month ago. It was $399. I am perfectly happy with it.

C said...

Dude, first exercise, now this?

why pay extra money for something you will like less?

Kid Fabulous said...

Hi Dude. I love my Powerbook G4, it's so handy! And purdy. Most software is being made cross-platform now, as your previous commenter friend noted, so formatting/compatibility "ish" is getting to be less and less. Just remember that "open apple" is like "Ctrl", and most of your keyboard shortcuts are going to work fine. For a web browser, I suggest Firefox (freedownload from over Safari, since, yes, Safari can be a bitch. Anyway, if you do get a Mac, I have MS Office 2004 and the Adobe CS Suite (cough, cough). Have been thinking of buying Final Draft (whatever the $179.00 version is), so if you do get a Mac, totally email me. Toodles.