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Apr 3

My PowerBook Saga from a Windows User Perspective, pt. 1

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2009 in Uncategorized

Do I Dare?

I know several of you have already joined the Mac Caravan but many of you still use Windows. Having spent the last several months with a PowerBook I thought I would share my observations with you.

I envision three possible reasons you might benefit from reading this:
Windows User – You might want to know what it would be like to make the transition from XP to OSX.
New Mac User – Perhaps I have learned something you were wondering about.
Experienced Mac User – I’m cheap and need to live on a budget, maybe I found a free tool you would like to know about.

My History

Having used computers for decades I have had a broad range of experiences. I started in DOS and later moved into the graphic world of Windows 3.1. I have always had to live on a tight tech budget so I had to use freeware rather than commercial software.

While I might have wanted to use a Mac the cost of their proprietary hardware and software was prohibitive.

As the years went on Microsoft became increasingly expensive, paranoid and proprietary so I looked for alternatives. I found Linux.

Linux, an operating system like XP and OSX, is available free and legal. Almost everything I wanted to do on a daily basis I could do on a Linux-based computer for free using older PCs which most people would happily give me.

At the heart of my computer use I primarily read and research online, word process, produce presentations, and keep data, music and my schedule organized. As an intermediate user I found most tasks easy enough but because of a lack of documentation learning to use Linux has not been user-friendly. It’s the work of a hobbyist.

On the other hand, the benefit of Windows proprietary software is that many of the programs work pretty seamlessly together. The problem with Linux has been that since it was free there, until recently, has been too little documentation for the curious newcomers and most intermediate users.

Until recently Macs were not an option for someone like me who had to live on a strict computer budget, not only did Macs have proprietary software but until recently they had proprietary hardware.

Vista, Linux or Leopard?

Accidentally breaking my laptops display hinge led me to a search for a new laptop. I read copious amounts of information looking for the best alternative going forward. Both Windows and OSX had come out with updated operating systems. Unfortunately, both have had user errors that have frustrated long-time Windows and OSX users. Therefore, I determined that I had four reasonable options:
Stick with XP, continue using the programs I already owned and find myself increasingly outdated.
1. Buy a laptop and install Linux (Ubuntu and Mepis were my two preferred options) to save money.
2. Buy a Vista-based laptop and fight through the bugs like everyone else.
3. Buy a Leopard-based MacBook and fight through the Leopard’s bugs.

Finding what I thought were bargains I bought a Vista laptop, and then a second, returning both of them when I found myself having as much a learning curve as if I were working with Linux or learning to use OSX. When I was able to use a PowerBook I jumped at the chance with both feet and my heart.

Thanks for reading, next time: Mac Mysteries

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