Am I a PC? Giving Up My Vista Laptop for a MacBook for a Week

Yesterday, I was walking through New York’s Union Square Subway station and noticed a panel of Microsoft “I Am a PC. Are You a PC?” advertisements. I have been a PC since I was a young gal. I grew up in a PC family using Windows 95, then Windows 98 and then Windows XP desktops.

When I went to college, all I wanted was a Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop (my college friends will remember the name I gave it – “Delly”) and when I graduated I bought a Sony VAIO running Vista. But the ad made me ask myself: am I really only a PC? If I don’t know anything other than being a PC, how can I be sure? That’s probably not what the Microsoft marketing execs wanted.

I have only used Apple computers for one project. When I was editor of the Union College newspaper we had Power Mac G4 desktops running Mac OS X v10.2 (Jaguar). I did all my work as editor on my Inspiron and only did layout using the Apples in the newsroom. Since then, I haven’t used Macs. I haven’t even reviewed them for LAPTOP Magazine (only once did I do a piece on Apple security software). I figured it was time to give Apple and its Mac OS a real shot to decide if I am just a straight PC shooter. I plan to use this new Macbook I am typing on for the entire week. My promises: I will not use my Sony VAIO FZ Series laptop for the next week. I will not use my work Dell Desktop (unless I have to use our work network to check in an articles to one of my editors). I will not use Microsoft OS laptops (unless I have to review a new netbook). Are you thinking of switching to a Mac? Or just interested in a newbie’s experience? I encourage you to follow me on my journey of Mac discovery. For those experienced Mac users any advice is welcomed. This morning alone I have learned about Expose and Spaces.

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  1. Daniel Shain Says:

    This post struck home in a number of ways. First, you reminded me of my first car, a Saab 900 I named Saaby. Second, you mentioned being an editor of the Concordy. I also went to Union, and I was actually only a year behind you there. Unless I’m mistaken we were actually in a class or two together. Stevenson maybe? And do you remember reading Daniel Deronda?

    In any case, I also blog tech news but I’m relatively new to the field and I would love to hear your experiences about how you got started and how you are enjoying it so far.

    And I’m in the same boat with PC vs Mac… I never knew much of anything about Macs until I wrote an article pitting Vista against Leopard a couple months ago, and I still have never properly owned one. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this.

  2. Steve 'Chippy' Paine Says:

    Good idea. I need to do that some time soon to so when you’ve finished with that mac….


  3. JB Says:


    There’s almost no chance of you liking the Mac more than a PC after a week’s worth of use. It took me at least a month or two before I was comfortable having made the switch, and now I can say that I couldn’t imagine going back to a PC.


  4. Intosh Says:

    What does a Mac has to offer to me that I can’t find on the PC? And before you mention it, much publicized (thanks partly to Apple) security risks or virus threats of the PC have never been a problem for me.

  5. Attractor Says:

    “Are you thinking of switching to a Mac?”

    No, why? Because Microsoft dominates the world personal computer market. What does that mean to me as a computer user? If there is a software application to be released to the general public, the first, perhaps the only operating system it will run on will most probably one of the Windows OS-es. There are a countless number of programs and video games that do not work on Maciontosh and Linux, so there is no need for me to switch to a Mac.

    “Or just interested in a newbie’s experience?”

    I am interested in using a Mac just for fun and the purpose of me being familiar with another OS. However, as far as I’m concerned, it is unlikely that Apple impresses me with shiny graphics, ads, and all the claims it makes to convince people to use a Mac.

    Are you a PC?


  6. richf Says:

    Very timely article. I just got myself a macbook for Christmas. Tell me all I need to know.

  7. James Says:

    I can totally relate to the article. I just made the switch to mac OS x and so far iam very happy. i have always been a windows user since win/95 and up to vista. i never had any issues until vista came upon the scene. I was annoyed the sluggishness of the os, driver support, and the way they changed everything. I was considering buying a thinkpad or xps but i could not justify the price, they were more than a mac! They even cost more if I went with Windows xp. So I settled on a macbook black I found on sale at bestbuy for $999.99 ( post new macbooks). I figured that if did not like i would return it or sell it. Now im not gonna say “i love my macbook” instead i really like it. It starts up very fast, battery life is great, wifi os strong and the os is very easy to you. I was surprised by how fluid this machine was. I installed windows xp via boot camp with a 32g partiton. I rarely boot into it since most of my work is web base so i really had no need to buy new software for my macbook or boot in to windows. I really wish you would give mac os x a try for aleast a 30 days and i promise you will be pleased. Also one thing i really like about apple is the support. i can walk into a apple store and get help, try doing that with a windows machine at your local brick and morter store.

  8. Intosh Says:

    Recently bought a 500$ laptop with Vista Home Premium installed. Long time Windows user but first time Vista user. Was ready to switch back to XP if I didn’t like Vista. But as it turned out, there was no sluggishness, no driver problem, no major changes that could significantly impact how I used to work on Windows. “They changed everything” is simply a big exaggeration. Vista’s negative aspects are simply blown out of proportions.

    So again, what does Mac OS offers that I can’t find on Windows, aside from the cute and fancy GUI.

  9. Janus Says:

    Well Intosh, I would offer the following:

    – iLife (even if you were to argue that Windows Movie Maker and the Photo album thingy were comparable–a dubious proposition in itself, there is no equivalent to the splendidly fun and even occasionally useful GarageBand

    – Much better security (whether by obscurity or the superior foundations of UNIX over NT–and I suspect it is both), this is an indisputable fact

    – Expose > Flip3D

    – 3rd party software with much greater UI consistency

    – Better power management than Vista–especially with Aero whiz-bangery enabled

    – The smug satisfaction of knowing its continued existence and success at the expense of Windows drives people like you to madness

    Now I am far from a dyed-in-the-wool iTard. I use Macs, XP, and Vista regularly and much prefer the Mac OS to any version of Windows, but I hate Apple’s limiting and limited hardware–their determination to keep removing I/O ports, expansion bays, buttons, matte/glossy display choices (comparing the expandability and customizability of a circa-2000 “Pismo” PowerBook and Apple’s current lineup is simply depressing), their refusal to make tablets and netbooks…I can go on…

    I hate Apple’s hardware in practice and I hate the all-controlling philosophy behind their hardware in general. But not as much as I hate using Windows (again, both in practice and in principled opposition to their near-criminal business practices).

    My dream computer would be a VAIO or ThinkPad with Mac OS X. But that’s not going to happen because Microsoft’s software can’t handle competition, and neither can Apple’s hardware.

  10. Intosh Says:

    - iLife? It’s a matter of opinion what is better and you simply your take on it. I’m sure there are at least one Windows movie making and photo software that’s comparable to iLife or better, among tones of choices.

    – As I said in my earlier comment, I have never had problems with security on Windows. Perhaps I’m one of the rare exceptions but I doubt it. 80% of computers run Windows after all, if security was such a huge issue on Windows, why don’t businesses and consumers stop using it; we would have see significant migration to cute Macs.

    – See first comment. Are you gonna list all your favorite software on Mac?

    – UI on Windows is consistent enough across apps. Has never been a problem for me. And, did I mention more choices of apps?

    – Laptop autonomy is comparable based on reviews I read on the Web. Did you pull that out of your @ss?

    – The smugness part is true. You just confirm the rule that some Mac owners care much more about the “show”, than the “go”. I guess you believe in “what you buy and what you own defines you, right?! LOL.

    But wait, the funniest part I find is the claim that Microsoft “can’t handle the competition”. So genius, when will Microsoft beg the government for bailout money? LOL.

  11. mike Says:

    I switched for several months and went back. Working with windows in OS X is too much work—can’t resize from any border; cmd-tab doesn’t restore a window when it is minimized; maximize button is treated differently by applications; single menu bar for dual monitors; too many apps litter the desktop with indendent windows (SDI). In short, OS X desktop is easily cluttered and inefficient. I guess if you like mousy, OS X is the OS for you.

    On the other hand, I love the hardware. I think Vista x64 runs better on the Macbook Pro than OS X itself. I don’t seem to have hiccups when browsing the net for example.

  12. Pablo Says:

    I see all this people don’t like mac ! .. I was a windows user since I had like 9 years old when my dad had windows 95, then 98, 2000, XP, vista, and some weeks ago I tried windows 7.. I have a macbook.. and I really like it .. I love the keyboard and the trackpad! .. I like the things u can do with the trackpad like putting 4 fingers and then move them down and it takes u to Exposé… then when u put the 4 fingers and then move them move them up , u’re gonna be on the desktop.. also when u use 2 fingers , it’s for scroll down or up .. when u click with 2 fingers is a right click ! …. I don’t know but for me I prefer mac…

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