No Windows for Me

One Month Windows Saga: Not All That Bad

- 2008.03.04

Around three weeks ago, Low End Mac published a column of mine detailing my month-long switch to PCs and Windows. It was somewhat of a success; after all, what more controversial topic could be found to post on a Macintosh website?

This piece concludes that journey.

I caved in and managed to obtain a new (to me) Macintosh. (I'm now on an Intel Mac and loving it.) I had to negotiate with different people for four days, but here it is.

To begin with, I will talk about how I managed to survive using Windoze (Yay! Back to calling it that!) for an entire month. My next column will be a review of the Macintosh I got, a barely used 2.2 GHz black MacBook with 1 GB RAM, a 160 GB hard drive, and Leopard.

How I Coped with Windoze

In a world full of wonderful Apple products, it's rather hard to imagine someone voluntarily using Windows, assuming they are well informed. However, I did do such a thing.

To give my readers a quick refresher course on what I used for this little experiment, here is the rundown: As my main machine, I used a Lenovo/IBM ThinkPad T60, which is a Core Duo at 2.0 GHz with 1 GB RAM and a 100 GB hard drive. It was running Windows XP Professional. I used Microsoft Office 2007 for school work, iTunes for listening to music, and Mozilla Firefox for Web browsing. Pidgin was my application of choice for instant messaging using both Jabber and AIM.

As I said in my previous column, there were several Macintosh applications that I could not live without. They included Skitch, for easy image manipulation; iChat, for stupidly easy direct IMs; and Camino. Love ya all.

To avoid completely repeating myself, I'll tell you how the rest went. Overall, it wasn't really that bad. Screenshots in Windows are a pain in the neck, for sure. You have to press the key, open Paint, paste it, and then save it - as a bitmap - to your hard drive.

One thing I did like about the whole experience was how snappy everything was, excluding boot times.

I mostly used the ThinkPad on a laptop stand with a Logitech MX Revolution mouse attached. Setting up the MX was a huge pain. It took me a half hour to get it working, because you had to download a 60 MB file to install the "connection utility". On the other hand, once all of my hardware was up and running, it was smooth sailing.

One thing I love about Mac OS X that I didn't find in Windows is the cheesy slogan: It just works. The third-party hardware and software I purchase for my Mac don't need additional drivers.

For example, a Microsoft Bluetooth mouse I found laying around my room was too old to support computers with built-in Bluetooth. It had a gigantic USB dongle to allow wireless connectivity. When I attached it to my Mac, it recognized the mouse. I ran the Bluetooth setup utility, and the mouse was working perfectly, within two minutes.

To be completely honest, the whole Windows experience wasn't all that bad. The reason why this article is so brief is because there is almost nothing to conclude. The experiment did help me realize how lucky I am to be a member of the Macintosh community. It is helpful, informative, and supportive, something Windows users cannot say about their user/support base. LEM

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Benjamin Zalutsky is a recent Mac convert.

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