The Practical Mac

Move2Mac, Divergent Reviews, and Making Your Own Choices

- 2003.01.07 - Tip Jar

I wish to apologize in advance for making our readers think so early in the year. Personally, after holiday time off, I want nothing more than to cruise for a couple of weeks and slowly re-acclimate myself to a return to the drudgery of work.

However, a thought occurred to me while I was enjoying some R&R (despite my valiant attempts not to think while I was on vacation), and I want to share a challenge with you, our faithful readers.

How much are you influenced by professional reviews? If Ebert & Roeper give a movie "thumbs up" or "thumbs down," does that influence your decision to see the movie? If MacAddict pans the latest gadget you have had your eye on, do you forgo the purchase? If Macworld says the latest iMac is indispensable, do you mortgage the house to buy it?

Some consumers live and die by professional reviews. The truth is, most of us are influenced at least a bit by the opinion of others regarding any given product or service. However, this is an area where reasonable minds can differ and often do.

Star Trek: Nemesis has received mixed reviews. Will that keep me from seeing it? Absolutely not. I have never missed a Star Trek movie and don't plan on starting now. Even if the movie turns out to be less than I hope for, a bad day watching Patrick Stewart is preferable to a good day watching Leonardo DiCaprio anytime. I find Star Trek both entertaining and thought-provoking, unlike most of the fluff that passes for movies these days.

Two Weeks Notice, with Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock, has generally not received good reviews. I saw it last week and enjoyed it, even though it is not the kind of movie I would usually see. Sometimes we all just need some mindless "feel good" entertainment, and this movie was it for me.

On the other hand, based upon glowing reviews, I went to see Pink Floyd: The Wall (the movie) about twenty years ago. Even today I still scratch my head and say, "Huh?" when I think about that movie. Apparently it was over my head, artistically speaking.

Sometimes reviews dispense undisputedly sound advice. How many of you wish you had heeded the advice of Mac reviewers and skipped the purchase of that Performa 5200?

Last month, I reviewed a product called Move2Mac that assists PC users with migration to the Mac. Although I found a couple of shortcomings with the program, overall I gave it a good review and recommended it for Mac newbies switching from the Dark Side to our beloved platform.

Shortly after that article was published, I received a copy of one of the three Mac print publications to which I subscribe. In this publication was a review of the same product. The review was mostly unfavorable to Move2Mac. Among the faults the reviewer found were:

  1. Price ($59), given that fact that it is essentially a single-use product.
  2. The product does not do anything that someone with a fair amount of Mac knowledge couldn't do on their own - and for free.
  3. It does not migrate PC applications to Connectix VirtualPC (assuming you have VirtualPC installed).
  4. Move2Mac supports a limited number of email programs, and the workaround to migrate to and from unsupported email programs is cumbersome.

Here is my response to this review:

1. The price/value argument is highly subjective and something each consumer must ultimately decide for themselves. However, I did not find the "single use" limitation to be a significant issue. My thought: Why would one need to keep migrating to the Mac multiple times? After all, once you're there, you're there, right? The reviewer thought you should be able to use it to migrate multiple PCs to the Mac, and I do agree. The serialization scheme prevents you from installing the PC portion on more than one computer, a draconian copy protection reminiscent of Microsoft and one of the primary reasons one might want to leave the Windows platform behind. Most users would probably find the single use sufficient for their needs, but it would be nice to expand the license a bit to take in more Switchers. I really don't think Detto would lose much revenue in loosening the restrictions a bit.

2. This observation is true. However, someone brand new to the Mac (remember, this product is aimed at complete Mac newbies moving to the platform for the first time) would not have the first idea how to do this manually. Experienced Mac users don't need the product because they are already Mac users.

3. This is true. However, the product does not claim to help users migrate to VirtualPC, and, quite frankly, while I was evaluating the product, it never even entered my mind that it should. One of the points of migration is that most programs in general use have Mac versions or Mac equivalents, and thus you don't need your PC programs anymore. After all, why migrate if you are just going to use VirtualPC to run MS Office for Windows? I agree that this is a valid point, but I think it would apply to only a very small percentage of Switchers.

4. Also true, and the documentation tells you which email programs are supported up front. This is one of the issues I had with the program as well.

So who is right? Does Move2Mac deserve thumbs up or thumbs down? Is it Chariots of Fire or Ernest Goes to Jail?

Only you can decide, and that is really the point of my rambling. If you are planning a major purchase, read all the reviews. Try to find some positive as well as some negative. Weigh both sides of the issue. The product in question might have some bona fide problems, but in your unique situation, the pros may outweigh the cons. Or they may not. Either way, you will come out ahead if you are an informed consumer.

There remains at least one universal truth, though: Buy all the RAM you can afford. LEM

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Steve Watkins is the Vice President for Information Technology for a mid-sized bank, an attorney, and an Army Reserve JAG on extended active duty. He has been a Mac user for about 12 years. He has owned some PCs along the way - but always came back to the Mac. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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