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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  • jonmarsh - Thursday, November 3, 2005 - link

    I just read this and several other Mac articles here last night. Funny thing is, several weeks ago when my "enterprise" HP laptop started flaking out on a business trip, I was at the point where I was considering buying a Mac Mini just to play with. This was after reading about the current state of Tiger and the platform in general.

    Instead, I ended up walking out of the store with a new 17" Powerbook, which is no heavier than my 15" HP, and infinitely more pleasurable to use, in so many ways. After loading Office for the Mac, iWorks, Deltagraph, Acrobat and Acrobat reader, and bringing my files over, I was ready for a subsequent three weeks of business travel, and haven't looked back since.

    I'll need the HP to run some of my CAD software (schematics and PCB design), but I'm pretty sure now there will be a G5 dual processor system in my future running those apps under Virtual PC.

    Perhaps some of the adoption process and uptake wouldn't have been as smooth with earlier versions of OSX, but some days I just wonder why I didn't do this sooner.

    BTW, I've been using PCs since 1983, and building them since 1985, so it's not like I'm not quite immersed in that scene, especially due to the CAD work (electrical and mechanical) which I do. For now, I'm learning Ashlar Vellum Graphite, and thinking I should have done that long ago, too. (Adios, AutoCAD).

    BTW, the 23" Ciinema display is great- not that my Samsung 213T is obsolete, but the integration factor for the Apple is a big plus. And this silly laptop DOES have dual DVI and can drive the 30" display, too. Hmmmm. ;^)

  • Imaginer - Sunday, August 7, 2005 - link

    "For example, if you have a file, drag it into an open Terminal window and the entire path to that file will be copied into the window for you. It actually makes interacting with the file system from the command prompt quite easy. "

    Windows command prompt allows this too
  • rhayes - Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - link

    I bought a PowerBook 15" 1.5ghz about 4 months ago (my first Mac for all intents and purposes).

    As mostly a PC user (Windows + Linux), I agree with a lot of what Anand talks about in the article. I think most people coming from a Windows background could safely make a purchasing decision based on that article...

    For the record, what really sold me on the Mac (particularly the PowerBook) was running into it EVERYWHERE at my last Java symposium: "No Fluff Just Stuff". As a Java developer, it just seemed liked the perfect package: a) no Windows in sight, b) UNIX on a notebook without having to install it myself, c) the best OS GUI on the market IMO.

    The reservations about the 1 button mouse on the G4 are definitely understandable. But somehow (for whatever reason) it really doesn't bother me. However, when I'm at a client site and developing for long periods of time on the G4, I do carry a Bluetooth mouse with me. It's one button also :)

  • ginjin31 - Sunday, June 12, 2005 - link

    wonderful job with all the articles related to this. i can't believe i read the whole thing. =D

    there's one thing that i haven't noticed though. you never mentioned the sleep freature in the Powerbook, where you never really have to turn off your laptop. so whenever you need to use it you just take it out open it and it's ready to go.

    unlike PCs, you have to turn it off, standbye, or hibernate. waiting for the PC to boot takes a lot time, so a lot of time wasted before you can actually start working. i'm not really satisfied with the standby feature either. sometimes the PC just doesn't resume or i would get an error message. this happens more often and i would always end up rebooting the PC in the end.

    this is my favorite feature on Macs, and i don't know if i missed it but i don't think you mentioned it at all in the article.

    wonderful job overall Anand. i felt exactly the same way when i first got my Mac, being a diehard PC user myself.
  • Gooberslot - Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - link

    #28, it works on Win98 too.
  • mongo lloyd - Monday, February 21, 2005 - link

    Sometimes, these article make me wonder if Anand is the kind of "die-hard PC user" as he claims. For example:

    "Unlike the Windows command prompt, Terminal actually interfaces quite well with the rest of OS X. For example, if you have a file, drag it into an open Terminal window and the entire path to that file will be copied into the window for you. It actually makes interacting with the file system from the command prompt quite easy."

    As does CMD. As it's done for at least since Win2000. Possibly longer. There are lots of small things like these, bordering on being untrue statements, interspersed into these two Macintosh articles (which, admittedly, are good reads).
  • azkman - Sunday, February 6, 2005 - link

    It looks like one of your dislikes with the G4 P'Book may have been partially addressed with the brand new lineup. Scolling and panning on the trackpad can be performed with two fingers. Besides, they're just plain faster and cheaper than before. BTW, great review!
  • sluxx - Thursday, February 3, 2005 - link

    Enjoyed the article very much.

    I'll also fifth SideTrack. For $15, you essentially get a new multi-function trackpad.

    When you are typing, in the middle of a word, press alt+esc, you get a list of words that begins with what you've typed. Great for looking up words that you're not certain of the spellings. I imagine it works only for Cocoa apps and not Carbon apps.

    A couple of other freewares that I find useful: Spirited Away that hides selected (you select) background apps after a specified amount of time, and Speed Freak, a GUI wrap of the "renice" unix command. It's especially useful for me on a G3 iBook, but can help making your front app snappier. You can search and find them at

    My first time here, but looking forward to reading your other articles.
  • hindsight - Saturday, January 29, 2005 - link

    A couple of PowerBook features not covered in the article but still worth mentioning:

    - Dual displays: an external monitor plugged into the PowerBook can either mirror the LCD screen or act as a second display and thus significantly increase the desktop real estate.

    - Target Disk Mode: start the computer with the 'T' key held down and the computer behaves like an external FireWire drive. Very useful for transferring large amounts of data between machines quickly. (this works to all Macs)
  • bshell - Thursday, January 27, 2005 - link

    Both Windows and Macintosh OS's try to "think for you", but there's a fundamental difference in how they do this. Windows *imposes* its monopolistic will all the time, making decisions that it decrees to be the way things should be done all the way from spelling and grammar to where files should be stored, to the web search results. It's very mercenary, patronizing, irritating, and annoying. Apple, on the other hand has a more philosopher-king style, making "kind suggestions" rather than decrees, and guessing what you want correctly, sensibly, and unobtrusively more of the time. Somehow the choices Apple makes feel much kinder than Windows and always make you go "Wow, thanks" instead of "Oh damn, leave me alone." This is pervasive.

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