The Aftermath of Part I

Before proceeding with this article, please read through the first Mac article, "A Month with a Mac article", to get a foundation for the purpose, perspective and background that led to this article. This article is very much intended to be a sequel and not something that will stand on its own. If you've never used Mac OS X at great lengths or haven't read through the positive and negative points of the Mac platform from a PC user's perspective (from the first article), go back and read Part I before continuing.

When I originally committed to doing a Mac section on AnandTech, I actually committed it to the readers before discussing it with the rest of AnandTech staff. So when it came time to implement it, the rest of the staff didn't see much of a place for Mac articles on AnandTech. It took a lot of convincing (as well as some executive privilege) for the establishment of the Mac section, and then came the publication of the first Mac article: A Month with a Mac: A Die Hard PC User's Perspective.

Within the first three days of publication, that little Mac article skyrocketed to becoming one of the all-time most popular articles ever published on AnandTech. The flood of emails that came in as a result of that article is greater than the response to any single product launch that I'd ever seen. Even to this day, I get tons of emails from users just now stumbling upon the article, searching for PC user experiences with OS X as folks contemplate trying out OS X for the first time, thanks to the release of the Mac mini.

Immediately after the publication of the first Mac article, I already thought about doing a follow-up. The scope of the first article was already quite massive and the depth was as thorough as I could be without writing a book on the experience, yet there was already so much more to cover.

Then there were the responses to the article - Mac users complained that I was being too harsh on the one-button mouse, PC users complained that I was being too positive on the OS, but then the vast majority of users actually provided some very good feedback, asking for more information in certain areas. In fact, I'd say that the Mac article resulted in the most positive email responses that I've had from an article to date. I introduced the original article by talking about how difficult of an article it was to write, but after the overwhelming response to it, a sequel didn't seem that difficult.

One problem with these types of articles is that they inevitably take much longer to put together, simply because there are no structured tests to run and analyze. Articles like this are very much about the experience, and to do the experience justice, it's truly something that you have to integrate into your daily routine for a while. Prior to the first Mac experiment, I'd used Macs at various stages in my computing life, but never actually trying to integrate them into my daily routine. Writing an article based on any of those experiences would have turned out very differently compared to what the first article ended up being.

The downside to these long-term subjective evaluations is that the hardware industry changes at a spectacular pace and a lot happened during and immediately after the publication of the first Mac article that changed things dramatically. Before diving into the focus for this article, I'd like to briefly touch on some of the hot items that have surfaced since Part I.

What's Changed Since Part I
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  • jsares - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Here's what I wrote on my blog:

    http://macmini.blogspot.com

    Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech has a great second article about his experiences with switching to the Mac.

    If you could say he liked the Mac in his first article you could say he loves the Mac in this article.

    Some great quotes and my comments in italics:

    "It took a lot of convincing (as well as some executive privilege) for the establishment of the Mac section, and then came the ... article "
    Some of Anand staff didn't want him to write about the Mac.

    "Within the first three days of publication, that little Mac article skyrocketed to becoming one of the all-time most popular articles ever published on AnandTech."
    Windows enthusiasts are dying for something new.

    "One problem with these types of articles is that they inevitably take much longer to put together, simply because there are no structured tests to run and analyze."
    That's why this article is so good."

    "At the end of the first Mac article, I came to the realization that what attracted me most to OS X was the way everything just worked the way that you'd expect it to."
    Welcome to the Mac, Anand.

    I don't want to give away too much so go read the article and give the guy some credit in the comments section and send him some nice emails.

    Great article Anand!
    Reply
  • CrankyTodd - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    Hi Anand,

    Regarding Expose, especially on a laptop, you'll find yourself enjoying Expose MUCH, MUCH more if you dont use the function keys to launch it.

    Under System Preferences, choose Expose, and use "Active Screen Corners" to activate Expose functions. I was reluctant to try it at first, but I was hooked within minutes, and cant imagine going back. I Set the lower left corner of the desktop to activate the "Application Windows" function, and the upper right corner of the desktop to activate the "All Windows" function. So as I'm using my Mac, as soon as I want to switch applications or windows within the current application, I just throw my mouse into one corner or the other, instead of having to actually go hit a button to activate either function. Once you try it, you'll see that its an incredible seamless way of navigating the system.
    Reply
  • ugly - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    "OS X Tiger
    ...as well as the fact that in Tiger, every single pixel on the screen will ac-tually be rendered by the graphics card."

    I thought some image "things" (I couldn't come up with a better word for what was in the core image demo) could be offloaded to the graphics card, but this statement makes it sound as if Tiger will be Quartz Extreme like it should have been.

    Reply
  • Dualboy24 - Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - link

    I loved the article. I was waiting for a new Mac read at anandtech. It seems like ages since the first one... I recently made a jump to a Mac Powerbook 17" a few months before the first article. The funny thing is I build/sell PCs on the side... but my main system is now the mac and of course I have 5 PCs running every MS-Linux but I must say that the Mac OS is the most advanced OS in terms of interface and it seems multitasking. Expose is a wonderful feature (I use an MX500 mouse with the exposes features mapped)

    Oh. Also you shouldn't forget the system wide spell checker. Such common sense I wonder if MS does not include this in windows in order to push some of their other products?

    Anyway looking forward to the Mac mini review I am probably going to get one for the low noise and power factor.
    Reply
  • miniMUNCH - Monday, January 24, 2005 - link

    I 2nd the 5400 rpm HD for an extra $45...well worth it. Or you can upgrade the HD yourself or have MAc Shop throw in a 7200rpm HD, but for me the 5400 rpm HD is plenty. Reply
  • wilburpan - Monday, January 24, 2005 - link

    Oops. What I meant to say was:

    Being a user of OS X, Linux, and Windows, I would say that the often cited lack of a two button mouse in OS X is not so much a flaw as it is a preference. Personally, I can move from the one button mouse in OS X to the two button mice of Linux and Windows and back again without much trouble. To complicate things further, two button mouse behavior is different in Windows and Linux. One can get right-click type behavior in many OS X applications by control-clicking the mouse, which does not seem to slow me at all compared to right-clicking.

    Until someone can produce data or a usability study that shows that, say, editing an image in Photoshop is slower using a one button mouse than a two button mouse, this is all a matter of what one is used to. You might as well criticize a scroll mouse for the tendency for middle clicks to be interpreted as scrolling commands, or harp on the inconsistencies of menu shortcuts and menu item locations (e.g. does Preferences belong under Edit or Tools?) between applications.
    Reply
  • pkthoo - Monday, January 24, 2005 - link

    Great article!
    I consider myself as a neutral. This article sheds light on what I have been looking for; user experiences on using Mac.
    Now, I am certain that I am going to be Mac+iPod user, hopefully by year's end.

    Apple should make 512MB as minimum RAM amount, and bundle Mac mini with iPod Shuffle as a new 'wholesome' package.
    Reply
  • wilburpan - Monday, January 24, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • Snoozy - Monday, January 24, 2005 - link

    I still think you are missing out on the complete mac experience by not using a launcher application.

    I run Butler (http://www.petermaurer.de/nasi.php?thema=butler&am... but there are many more: LaunchBar (http://www.obdev.at/products/launchbar/index.html)... QS as mentioned earlier, just do a search on versiontracker.com.

    What these applications enable you to do is virtualy elimate the need for CMD+tab switching, using the dock, or using the Applications folder to launch things. Basically press CMD + Space (as I have it setup, you can go with whatever key combo you want!) and then type what you want - you can even teach them anacronyms for commonly used applications. For example if I do CMD+Space then type PS and hit enter it opens photoshop, or switches to it if its already open. The applications are infinitely configurable, I've got a shortcut for blog which runs an apple script that then pops open MarsEdit and opens a new post window for my blog (which is WordPress powered, MarsEdit contacts it via XML-RPC). Butler also has a built in dictonary, and multiple other widgets. Check it out.

    I 2nd the suggestion on using sidetrack. I bought my PB (1st mac) in march last year and this was one of the first things that I had to have - makes it so much nicer.
    Reply
  • hopejr - Monday, January 24, 2005 - link

    #23, On OS X there is the Zoom thing in the Universal Access Pref panel, that allows everything on the screen to be zoomed at what ever zoom level is necessary. You can set it to follow the mouse, or keyboard focus. It's a nice feature. There's other good features in OS X that help with those who can't see too well.
    #28, I just tried that and you're right, it does (I tried in 2k3). Oh well, I use OS X more so it's more important to me there :P (although it's nice to know it works in Windows too, for the times I use it)
    Reply

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