Posted in Life

Making the Switch: PC to Mac

I bought a MacBook Air this week. This is the final step in a year-long process to convert to Apple. It started with the iPad last November. I had been looking at tablets for months. I had almost settled on a Nook Glowlight, when my research took me across a great deal on iPad Mini.

I really just wanted an e-reader, not a second computer. But, if I could check my e-mail and Facebook on it, and occasionally run a Google search, then why not? So the Glowlight seemed perfect. But, then, the iPad was the same price I was planning to spend on the Nook, with all the same benefits and then some. So, I bought the iPad. At the first, it seemed to be a strange and almost superfluous purchase. I even felt a little guilty. I’m only a one person family, and I’m not successful enough as a writer to need two computers for my work. But, slowly, the iPad became an important part of my life.

I carry it around in my purse, and do everything on it from journaling, to banking, to online shopping. All while the brick of a laptop, housing all my important files, sits safely and securely at home. How did society function before tablets?!

Around this time, my Android phone was clearly breathing its last, slow, dying breaths, and I knew a new phone purchase was inevitable. Already accustomed to the iPad, I was now starting to find the way my PC worked, bulky and inefficient. If I had to upgrade, why not match the iPad? So, this January I found a great deal on an iPhone on Amazon.

Then, a couple of months ago, my PC, a hardy road warrior, and faithful workhorse over the last three years, caught a deadly virus. It has since been revived to its former glory. But in the interim, I took the final plunge. For weeks, I researched MacBooks on ebay. I chose an Air for its sleek design, and portability. I finally settled on a beautiful, refurbished 13” MacBook Air 2014 in mint condition. It arrived a few days ago, and I am still on a honeymoon.

It’s super lightweight and portable, which actually makes me a little nervous. I’m used to sturdy notebooks that can be more or less tossed into a messenger bag. This one needs gentler handling, and a wrong breath on its aluminum body can very easily cause permanent scratches. (Of which it currently has none). I’ve heard you are supposed to buy a zippered sleeve to transport it in, and so I’ve been searching for one. In the meantime, I keep it safely docked at my desk, and still rely heavily on my iPad while on the go.

The MacBook came with El Capitan, the 2014 Apple OS. I’ve heard that it can be upgraded to the latest and greatest Sierra OS for free. I’m not sure I want to do that, because a year ago, I tried to upgrade my PC from Windows 8 to Windows 10. It caused major problems that I’m not sure it ever really recovered. So, right now, I’m fine with El Capitan.
I’m a little bummed the Air doesn’t come a DVD player. (But, honestly, where would they put it?!) Although it does come pre-loaded with the drivers for one. I’ve heard I can buy an external one, to be plugged into the USB ports. (Another expense).

I bought the computer for several reasons, one was that the software I use for writing, is really made for Mac. The PC version lacks a lot of features, and runs slow and buggy. One such feature was the ability to sync your laptop/desktop files with your iPad. This would be a huge benefit for me, because I carry my iPad around with me in my purse. So when I have time here or there, I can just whip out my iPad and start working on a piece, and the changes will be on my laptop when I get home. So, I downloaded the software, and I am pleased with its enhanced performance. The mobile sync version requires an additional software purchase for the iPad, so I have yet to do that. But, I LOVE using the writing software on my MacBook. It just flows better.

The iCloud is a cool feature, because it transfers files between of all your Apple devices. So, when I first set up the computer, many of my files, photos, and my iTunes library were immediately there.

The App Store comes preloaded as a desktop icon. This is weird, as I thought Apps were only for phones and tablets. I guess it’s just a different way to present full software packages for download. I think Windows 8 might have introduced this concept, but it was foreign to me, so I never used it. Now that I’m already used to the App Store, I find it a neat little perk.

But they have a lot of applications for writers, and I am eager to try some of them. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, writers can write in any application they choose, but when submitting work to editors, MS Word is the industry standard. So, I had to download MS Office Mac anyway. Although, that may just be one of those PC minded things I’ll wean myself off of in the next few months.
Typeability is a key feature when looking at a computer. How do the keys feel? When a computer gets older, years of use make the keys cranky, dirty and oil ridden. Newer keyboards feel light, and respond well to touch. I love the way the keyboard feels, so open and roomy.

Although, I miss a few keyboard features from the PC. When editing a piece, writers zip the cursor in and out and around lines of text, sort of like highway traffic. The “End” button on a PC is a helpful feature. There is no such equivalent on a Mac. “CTRL” is now “Command.” There is no red “X” in the upper right hand corner to close a window. It’s a red button on the other side, and that doesn’t close the program, only the window. To close the whole program, you must push Command Q. There also is no right click. This is confusing. I’m having to relearn how to do basic functions, like set a photo as a desktop wallpaper, and I have to remember the keyboard shortcuts to Cut and Paste.

However, I love this computer. For me, a computer represents an era in my life. Every time period of my life, I’ve had a different computer. And in this gentle season of transition, nothing is clearer to me right now, than that this is a new time. So, a new computer for wherever life will take me next.

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