Mac people: Why?

In a misguided attempt to improve our lives, two of our sons went together and bought us a Mac a couple of years ago.

This computer has been a disaster for us. The only one who can work it is our 12-year-old, who uses Macs at school and knows all about them.

A friend of mine, who has a PC, says she prefers them and wishes she had a Mac instead of a PC. I asked her why. “More intuitive,” she said. “Easier to work with.”

Not for me. Example: On the PC I have a screen. In the upper RH corner are three little boxes. One is a dash, one is an X, and one is two overlapping boxes. If you mouse over, a pop-up tells you that the -sign is “minimize” the x is “exit” and so forth.

On the Mac, on the upper left, there are three circles of different colors. When you mouse-over…nothing. What do these do? Click them and find out! Probably it’s not what you wanted to do at all!

That is one example. Then there’s having multiple windows open and using Alt/Tab to switch among them. How do you do this on a Mac? I don’t know. How do you FIND OUT how to do this on the Mac? I don’t know that, either.

Well, those are two examples. I find nothing on the Mac to be intuitive. I’ve never used one in any office I’ve ever worked in, which probably contributes, somewhat (since I’m lazy and don’t learn things unless I need to). But I don’t remember any sort of learning curve on a PC. You need to know something, there is help. I just don’t see that the Mac is better at anything. Although my sons claim the Mac will outlast the PC by several years. (Probably true, since it’s the most rarely used computer in the house.)

The “X” on the Mac does the same thing it does on the PC. Closes the window. The dash minimizes the window to the Dock, same as on a PC. The plus maximizes, same as the square does on the PC.

Apple + Tab does the same thing cntl + tab does on a PC (only it does it prettier). You find out these things by asking here!

In fact, almost all keyboard shortcuts are the same on a PC as a Mac, just substitute Apple for Control.

My goal is to never, ever use Vista, and so far, mission accomplished. Macs are better hardware than your run of the mill Dell, and to me the software is far more intuitive. I get much more done on my Mac in a shorter amount of time than on the XP machine.

Mouse over the colored circles and in them you can see x - and + …

apple/command + tab = switch between open applications
apple/command + ~ (above tab) = switch between open windows of current application.

Mac keyboard shortcuts:

My opinion on Mac intuitiveness: Intuitive doesn’t mean just like windows only easier. They do things differently. So if you go about it with your PC habits it will feel like you’re getting no where.
Of course you had a learning curve for windows. Where did you learn about alt+tab? Where can one look up how to do that? The answer is that you just knew from experience. There’s going to be a period of learning with OS X as well.

My advice would be to try to approach the mac like a new computer user. Try to do things in the most obvious ways possible. Want to install something? Drag the icon into your applications folder. Etc. For anything else, google it or ask here.

When I got my first mac a little over a year ago I found it disorienting at first but it wasn’t long until I felt at ease. And now when I use windows I find it to be a more tedious process.

Here’s a website that might help you:

I had no idea about this one (long time mac user so some of the new OS X stuff never occurs to me).How awesome is that? I may never hit F9 again.

Oh, and, just since it’s a mac thread. Quicksilver.

You can get help on them by right-clicking them.

I just bought an iMac a couple of months ago, and I’m a total convert. My total experience with one prior to that was about 5 minutes. Of course, I felt like a fish out of water for a week or so, but I’m almost as comfortable on it now as I was on Windows after 15 years of use.

If you want everything to work exactly as it does in Windows, you’ll end up disappointed. If you bite the bullet and use nothing but the Mac for a couple of weeks, you may find that returning to Windows becomes an increasing pain in the behind.

Ice Cream Man, neat! I didn’t know about the switching between windows of the same application trick!

What exactly is it that is so much easier or faster?

When my 2 oldest kids went to college, they got Mac laptops. My wife is buying herself a Mac laptop this week to replace her PC. Not sure what my youngest will buy when she goes to college, but I could be the lone holdout.

I’ve got nothing against Macs, but my work computer is a PC. I’m not the most technically adept person, so I have no desire to learn 2 different systems.

We have both Macboxes and Winboxes at work, and despite all the praise I gave Mac about 15 years ago, I prefer Windows now. It’s not a learning curve or the interface, it just feels as if I have more controll over what’s happening.

Also, obligatory link to a Mac-hate page.

I run Windows on my Mac. :slight_smile:

Why did I buy a Mac? Because it’s the most flexible computer around these days. I can run Windows (for when I need to connect to work), Mac OS X (which IMHO is better looking than Windows, and stabler), and Linux (for when I want to geek out). I can run them at the same time, even, with virtualisation software. And for the geeks, Mac OS X is actually Unix with a pretty cover.

Also, Macs look good. That’s the irrational techno-lust factor there. But it’s nice when irrational lusts can also be backed up by nice rational reasons. :slight_smile:

I think some people who come to Macs have only used one other operating system in their life, and subconsciously expect the mac operating sustem to be the same as that one, only better. It isn’t; it’s different. Whether it’s better or not is a matter of opinion. It’s not like Macs don’t have their problems as well.

True, you can run Linux, Windows, and a cracked version of OS X on a Windows PC, but not officially.

It’s kind of funny that this was the example of non-intuitiveness that the OP chose.

For one, + is arguably a more intuitive symbol than two overlapping boxes for “make bigger”. So, on the symbol front, the Mac system is slightly more intuitive. But, in addition to having symbols of similar intuitiveness, the Mac has colors!

Red/Yellow/Green colors have fairly universal meanings of Stop/Wait/Go due to their use on traffic lights. And what do the buttons do? Well, the red STOP button stops display by closing the window. The yellow WAIT button makes the display go away, but doesn’t stop it; you can still use it later. The green GO button makes the window full size so that you can immediately use it.

Can somebody explain to me why they love Quicksilver so much? I’ve tried it out a couple of times, after hearing how fantastic it is, but I don’t think I get it. What does it do? How does it make things easier?

It’s a vast number of little things that make the difference. But I’ll try to give some good examples

The first one is System Preferences. This replaces the control panel in windows.
If I want to change a setting on my mac but don’t know where it’s located I can type the option I want in the top right corner and it will highlight where I can find it within system preferences (seen here)

Uninstalling is almost never needed. To remove an application from your computer simply go to the applications folder and delete it.

The mail, calendar, and address book applications are all linked. In Leopard (most recent version of OS X) if someone sends you an email with an event and a location you can put it in your calendar or look up the location with two clicks.
For example if someone invites me to a party tomorrow at 9:00 and say they live at Mont Royal and Parc ave then I just mouse over the 9:00 or the word tomorrow and click the little arrow that shows up and choose “add to calendar”. The mail program will figure out that tomorrow means the 26th and put the event at the right time in my calendar. Similarly for the address it goes straight to google maps. I’ve been amazed at how smart the little function is. Very hard to fool.

When I quit an application, it keeps it in RAM until that RAM is needed. That way if I open up an application I’ve used recently it opens up super quick.

No “your computer has to update and will restart in 30 seconds” although I gather that can be turned off in XP.

Say I want to use a static IP on my router at home but want to use DHCP when I take my laptop to school/work. It’s very easy to make network profiles that I can switch between. I’ve never been able to find that option in XP. As far as I know it’s either static or DHCP with no easy way to switch or save a static IP. On top of that to change my network settings I click System Preferences > Network and I’m there. XP it’s control panel > network settings (or whatever it’s called) > click the connection > properties > TCP/IP. That’s just an example of how things are more subtly streamlined.

Printing to PDF is built into the operating system so you don’t have to buy something like Adobe Acrobat to do it.

Finally, one thing I prefer in OS X vs. XP is entering network passwords. This isn’t a plus of OS X but more of a irritation of XP… In OS X you only need to enter the password once. Why in the world would you need to enter a network password twice?! It doesn’t make sense! When creating the password, entering it twice would make sure you’ve entered it correctly. But if you’re trying to access the network, if you don’t enter the password correctly then you don’t connect!

There’s a lot more and most of them you hardly notice in your day to day use until you go to windows.

Thanks Ice Cream Man. I can see the utility of a few of those things but most wouldn’t apply to me. I appreciate you taking the time to spell them out.

I’m a Mac user myself, and have been for years. However, I don’t get the fanaticism that its fanbase exhibits. It’s just an OS, only more complicated and prone to problems than previous versions. As I’ve said many times, force quit is your friend.

I prefer to do some things on a Mac and others on a PC. On my MacBook Pro I installed Parallels and configured Boot Camp to run Windows. Why both? Parallels is fantastic if you need to quickly go back and forth between OS’s without rebooting. A great feature is the ability to drag a file off the Mac desktop and drop it onto Windows, and vice-versa…talk about convenience. Windows works pretty nicely in the Parallels virtual environment, especially full-screen. The downside is there are a few Windows applications, such as high-end games, that have problems with the virtual environment, and you do begin to experience memory issues the more switching back and forth you do. I use Boot Camp when I know I’m going to be in Windows only for an extended period of time and I require maximum resources for the operating system. The downside to Boot Camp, of course, is how cumbersome and time-consuming it is when you need to switch OS’s.

I must admit there’s are a few things Windows does IMO better than Apple, one of which is maximizing windows - When you maximize a window in Windows it truly maximizes, filling the entire screen with the application. Yeah, it’s a little thing, but it’s a very useful feature, especially when browsing. I’ve been dying for Apple to offer true maximizing for years.

I never saw any need for tabbed browsing. To change browser windows you can set up the corners of your screen on a Mac. Unfortunately I’m at the office on a PC, otherwise I can tell you what the application is called. Anyway, the way I have mine set up is that if I move the mouse to the upper-left corner of the screen it clears all of the windows out of the way and you can use the desktop icons that were previously covered. If I hit the upper-right corner it displays all of the windows and I just click on the one I want. Easy-peasy.

It’s called Exposé.

You mean Expose? I have mine linked to the side buttons on my Mighty Mouse. Squeeze the mouse to expose the windows and then click on the one I want.

Here’s a relatively recent thread I started on going from PC to Mac. Hope it helps.