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Monday
Aug072006

I Love Witnessing the Joy of New Mac Users

mashby_mac_desktop_small.jpgIn 2006, I've had the privileged of seeing 4 good friends move from a Windows PC to a Macintosh, and what strikes me the most is their excitement over the little things, like installing applications or putting a MacBook to sleep by simply closing the lid.

I should start out by mentioning that the most recent switcher is my blogpal and good friend Michael Ashby, who just this weekend bought a MacBook and began his migration to a Mac, from a Windows PC. I think Mike has spent at least 15 years as a hardcore Windows guy, not only managing his life on one, but supporting many clients with their PC systems. So, when I learned Mike was buying a MacBook as a primary machine, I was surprised... pleasantly so!

I've been intrigued as I've followed Michael's progression from Windows to the Mac, since I know he has such a deep history with Windows. I've shared his excitement of the purchase, of learning how fun the Mac is to setup and work with, and have shared advice on applications and a few tricks I've learned.

Michael has been posting like a wild man since Friday, with new posts each day. You can check out his many postings below:

Making The Leap
Meh…
First Impressions
Taking Her Out On the Town
One Of The Gang
OK, So Nothing is Perfect
Choosing Apps: E-mail
Choosing Apps: Web Browser
Choosing Apps: Office Suite
Surprise! I’m A Keyboard Guy. Who Knew?
Having A Hard Head Can Sometimes Pay Off (GarageBand & Axiom 25)
Flickr Photoset: Making The Switch

The funniest experience has been Michael's unbridled excitement over putting the MacBook to sleep by simply closing the lid.

Having been a Powerbook user for many years, I couldn't understand his thrill in this — isn't that how laptops are supposed to work?

Well, according to Michael, it ain't so:

One of the features I have been most eager to try is almost not even a feature to most Mac users. It’s the fact that you can simply shut the lid and put the laptop to sleep. If you’re a Mac user, this may seem old hat, but for Windows users, this is a very big deal.

Why? Because in the Windows world, if you don’t shut down the computer, you’re just opening yourself up to a world of hurt. Although the “feature” is present on all Windows laptops, it simply doesn’t work worth a damn. I’ve been using laptops for the past 11 years, many of which with the laptop being my primary machine, and the sleep has never worked properly.

On a Mac, when you close the lid, the computer quietly goes to “sleep”. When you open the lid, the computer comes back to life exactly where you were. I’ve been completely green with envy as I watched friends and colleagues at conferences just close their laptops and go. They then have to wait as I shut down my laptop. Why didn’t I just close the lid like they do? Because the results were so unpredictable. Some times it would come back, but more often than not the computer would lock up, or simply crash. It’s just safer to shut down.

When I mentioned how much I was looking forward to using the sleep feature on the MacBook to Mike Rohde, he asked me what I was talking about. When I explained how it worked in the Windows world, he said “Is that why my Dad freaks out when I just shut the lid to his laptop?” I let out a huge belly laugh and told him “Yeah. That’s why.”

Another common "wow" moment is when Windows users install new applications. Most Mac apps are simple to install: double-click a disk image file (.dmg) which creates a virtual hard drive on your desktop, then drag the application on the virtual drive to your Applications folder (or anywhere else on the drive). That's it. No registry hacking, wizards or other gyrations to go through.

Tonight it was great fun. Michael and I watched the WWDC Steve Jobs keynote video together — it was fun to see Michael get so excited about the new hardware and software Apple released. It was very enjoyable seeing Michael, this hard-core Windows and Palm veteran, so pumped up about his new Machine and platform, seeing features he could only dream of on his Windows machines. It was like seeing a kid in a candy store.

I'm going to enjoy observing Michael settle into his new MacBook. I think this is the most excitement I've seen from him on a gadget since getting his Tapwave Zodiac. I'm sure there will be frustrations here and there (it's a computer after all) but in general, Michael will love his new MacBook, and become one hardcore Mac fan.

Welcome to the Cult of Mac Michael! :-)

Related Links:
The truth about switching - what it's really like switching to a Mac by Bill Westerman

Reader Comments (11)

I wrote about my own Mac epiphany a while back: http://www.johntopley.com/oldblog/archive/2005/03/18/

My PowerBook G4 was the first laptop I've bought so I didn't really have a "wow" moment when I put it to sleep and it just worked, although I've since observed colleagues with PC laptops struggling to put them to sleep!

And the disk image/application bundle way of doing things is definitely one of my favourite features.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Topley
Wow! A whole post on little 'ole me?

Thanks Mike for all your support and kind words as I make the switch. Also, I should probably thank you for the years of gentle nudging that helped me even consider the switch to begin with.

I guess this makes you one of my two "Mac Daddies"? LOL!
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermashby
John, thanks for mentioning your experiences and that link � great story of your switch!

Michael, you're my buddy � how could I not share your Mac joy? :-)
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
I didn't realise I was so *lucky*. I close the lid, my Windows laptop goes to sleep.

I open the lid, it wakes up again. Had it over a year now, I *always* use stand by or hibernate, and I've never yet had it crash on resuming.

Only problem is that sometimes, if Firefox has been running continuously for a few days and eaten all of the memory, it takes a minute or so to resume.

I always used to wonder why I kept seeing people walking from desk to meeting room with their laptops halfway open - it turns out this is why - most laptops often die on resuming, so people daren't let the lid close in case they lose all their work.
August 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Randall
Never had a problem with standby in windows 2000 or XP. I use it all the time, and reboot my laptops maybe once every two weeks. Anyway.. going to buy a black Macbook with 2gb memory and 100GB harddrive now. I'm switching over.
August 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAtle Ofsti
No epiphany for me.

For the sake of balance, I'd like to note that I purchased an Intel Mac Mini, recently, and I hate it.

I hate the ergonomics of the mouse and the keyboard - even the speed and cadence of the mouse on my monitor seems just... wrong, and I can't adjust it to a rate that feels comfortable. I hate the sluggish operating system. I hated the total lack of feedback that the system gave me during my numerous futile attempts to install OpenOffice.

Working with the Mac feels like wading through treacle.

Other than that, it seems OK, but my PC will always be my workhorse. The Mac get powered on for work purposes only, about once or twice a month (I work in software, and we have to check compatibility on Macs).

I've nothing invested in a PC vs Mac debate, all of which I find a little churlish. I'm just surprised that the whole Apple experience turned out to be so poor.
August 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPeter
Four years on, I still feel amazed at the closing-notebook lid thing. The "sleeping light" on my iBook also makes a great night-light for my kids!
August 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermorituri
Atle, some folks have said they can shut a PC laptop with no effects, so it must be hardware to software integration. Michael Ashby mentioned this issue so I'm merely going on his word, though I suspect he's not worked with every laptop out there.

Peter, sorry to hear your experience was less than ideal. I suspect it may have been partly due to the PPC Mac mini's speed (especially if it had stock RAM). I think the Intel-based Macs are much speedier.

As for the slowness and odd fit, you may just have so much invested into the Windows side, the Mac would be a hard switch to make. Since I'm not at all hardcore about the Mac vs. Windows debate, I can understand Windows may be a better choice for some, while Mac is for others.

morituri, thanks for the note -- night light is a great idea! :-)
August 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
I can relate to his elation! I myself just purchased a MacBook and was amazed to find I could turn it on right out of the box and everything worked. Internet, word processing -- it even picked up my home network in a snap!
August 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKira
I have several friends that have recently made the Mac switch and it's a blast watching them go from, "I can't believe there's no right click" to, how did I ever live with that horrible PC.
August 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShawn Blanc
Kira and Shawn, thanks for the confirmations! :-)
September 6, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde

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