Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Switching to Mac

I have been a die-hard PC user all my life but I figured that its time to start trying new things.  As a first time MAC user I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on my experience switching to Mac.

Some things were very intuitive and easy. Installing updates and apps from the store was easy, as well as using the disk utility to repartition my hard drive. Itunes works better on a Mac, and I also like using other applications such as Spotify or Skype on a mac rather than on a PC.  Using the trackpad is amazing. Switching between fullscreen apps is great for multitasking.  Mission Control and Luanchpad also make it really easy to get to what i need quickly.

* Formatting all my external drives to EXFAT helped the transition since it is the best file system supported by both Mac and Windows

There are also some things that were annoying.  The "Backspace" key is called "delete" on the Mac keyboard, and it serves as a backspace. However, there is no "delete" key as PC users are used to that eliminates the character following the cursor.  Disappointing was the support for external monitors. If i make one app go full screen, then it disables the rest of monitors.  Even in Windows if I make Itunes visualizer go full screen it disables my other external monitors. Windows 8.1 has excellent support for switching between apps on different monitors and that is something I am going to miss.

There was also a problem with supported applications.  Some programs, like Visual Studio, Microsoft, Project, and Visio aren't supported on Mac. I tried using different virtual machines to put windows back on my system.  I started with VirtualBox since it was free. It looked great and went full screen, but wasn't quite what I was looking for.  I instead installed Windows 7 through bootcamp.  This made full use of my RAM but I wanted windows 8 and Bootcamp 5 was giving me issues with installing it.  It is also a nuisance to have to hold down the option key every time i want to use a windows program. So in the end I buckled down and payed $30 for Parallels 9 which was fairly easy to install.  At first I installed the Windows 8.1 Preview that showed up in the Parallels mounter, but it wasn't upgradable or activatable with my windows 8.1 product key.  Using the Windows 7 usb/dvd download tool and an iso file, I made a bootable windows 8.1 disk that installed Windows 8.1 through parallels very easily. Now I have windows and Mac meshed together. I can use my awesome trackpad to switch easily between fullscreen Mac and Windows Applications.

My only issue now is that it is very taxing on my memory.  With only 4 GB of RAM I'm not going to be able to do everything I need to with the computer.  It should be good enough until I am able to afford to buy 16 GB.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts about this topic in the comments below!