15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

Summary: Opinions wanted! I'm a 15-year Windows user who just purchased a MacBook Air and I want YOUR hints, tips, tricks, and advice on how to make the most out of OS X!

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MacBook Air

MacBook Air

Without going into a huge history lesson of my involvement with Windows and how the prospect of me purchasing a Mac was a laughable concept up until not that long ago, long story short, I'm a happy Windows user who decided it was time to purchase the latest MacBook Air. And I'm excited as all get-out about it, despite my initial reservation to dole out almost 2-large on it (maxed-out 13" model + taxes).

Now, before I posit my questions, I want to ask that you please try to temper yourselves. I know we have a lot of passionate readers here who have lines drawn in blood when it comes to the OS they prefer, but I'm writing this post with genuine intentions; not to be intentionally provocative. I want to hear some honest feedback from our experienced OS X users without seeing this post fall apart into a standard tizzy of "tee he he, WinBlowz/tee he he, OS suX" comments, you know? Let's keep it constructive and lighthearted, folks!

So, with that said, I will start with how I use Windows. From there, I'll leave it up to you fine readers to give me your best advice, tips, tricks, and whatever else you have to offer (be it from you, links/sites I can reference, etc; however, please spare the book titles, because I don't read manuals if I can get away with it -- let alone ginormous how-to books). Sound good?

Me, the happy Windows user: As noted, I've been using Windows for around 15 years. I'm content with Windows, I know it like I know the back of my hand, and I use it for far more than your average Joe: to record/produce music; to edit photos and create artwork; to play everything from 8-bit game emulators to Crysis 2; to create/edit videos (game-play, guitar lessons, etc.); to do investigative research (which entails a *lot* of viewing file types ranging from documents to compressed files to database files and much more, thus the requirement of programs to view those files); and, of course, I use it for everyday needs, like browsing the Internet, checking email, writing, etc. There is plenty more, but as you can see, I do things that require a powerful system and I'm deeply-rooted in Windows/PC.

Me, the open-minded OS X newbie: As a hobbyist musician and digital artist, I am fully-aware of OS X being the system-of-choice for those who are like-minded: Pro Tools for musicians, Adobe products for graphic designers/artists, and whatever the movie-editing software-of-choice is for hobbyists (iMovie?). But I bought a MacBook Air because I want to learn about OS X in general; not because I want a Crysis 2 powerhouse. Also, I plan to use it as my primary work machine -- that is, for investigative research purposes (which, again, means dealing with multiple file types (some, Microsoft-specific, like .pptx and other Office 2010 formats) that require various applications), writing, and video/photo viewing/editing -- but I'm open-minded and see this as a potential gateway to step into more powerful Apple territory down the road should I enjoy OS X.

And with that brief summary in place, I'd now like to turn it over to you and ask how I can go about making the most of my MacBook Air and OS X. What are the best ways for a Windows power user to jump into OS X and see its true glory? The last time I used a Mac product, the OS felt completely foreign to me when trying to use it for anything other than browsing the Internet, so I'm banking on having to learn quite a lot. Would you recommend me dual-booting Windows? Do you have an application or 20 that you can't live without or think you can recommend to me based on what I wrote above? Would it be worth it for me to purchase the Thunderbolt Display?

Yes, I'll just jump in there and start figuring things out on my own to an extent, and I most certainly could have just "Googled" my heart out to find opinion pieces/comments across the Internet, but I figured this would be a great opportunity to spark some good conversation here and give you OS X users a place to explain to an open-minded Windows user all the things you love about OS X that I just have to check out.

Remember, you don't have to approach this as if you have to make the sale, because I've already made the purchase. It's on the way (I should receive it by Friday) and I'm super-excited for it! Make it even more exciting for me by giving me your best opinions/advice which I can heed come Friday. I look forward to reading what you have to say!

-Stephen Chapman SEO Whistleblower

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Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

    Frankly, as a past more-than-15-year-user of Windows who was more than happy with its functionality, your greatest fun will be found in what you no longer have to do: spend dozens of hours every year fine-tuning your system. Again, I know that we Windows users took pride in our ability to perform these tasks, but for me those days are now happily over. I'm not sure why I waited so long. In other words, the hefty hardware prices help to pay for the low cost Mac OS, and you gain back your money in saved time and frustration.
    lyochim
    • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

      @lyochim

      Same for me. I've been an MS user since the early days of DOS and AT and XT computers, which is close to 20 years ago. I'd not even touched an Apple computer until a little less than 12 months ago when I changed to an iMac. Like you, my iMac "just works" and I've not had to spend any time "fine-tuning" it as I did with Windows systems. There have been no driver problems, no applications problems, no problems whatsoever . . . which makes my experience with my iMac exactly the opposite to every Windows computer that I have owned!

      Those are MY experiences and others may have different experiences. For me, there is precious little chance of me returning to MS in the foreseeable future.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ptorning

        Me too. Started out with DOS on the PC-XT and have been with Windows since its introduction. I even professionally support Windows and code to it in an Enterprise setting. Still, I made the switch to OS X on a Mac Mini about six months ago and have no regrets. The price was high, but the quality was worth it. My windows needs still get met through virtualization, but I find a lot of pleasure in working with the Mac. A great machine. One thing that still confounds me is the many keyboard shortcuts that I was used to taking advantage of in Windows that don't translate to Mac but I'll get over it.
        xb90
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ptorning I was in the same situation that you were in and agree 100% with you
        ebhb2004@...
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ptorning I wouldn't switch until I could put OSX on the hardware of my choice. Anyways with Windows 8 coming OSX will be looking long in the tooth!!
        jatbains
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ptorning
        I to like you have used DOS MS+Win since day one
        and yes fine-tuning was a learning experience. I bought iMac and love it, but I fined that it is easier to maintain because they only have to keep one set of hardware to develop for.
        garlock
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @xb90

        actually you can still use the same keyboard shortcuts, replace control with command.
        bumblebritches57
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ptorning
        "There have been no driver problems, no applications problems, no problems whatsoever . . . "

        Well, of course Mac's aren't going to have drivers issues-you cannot change the hardware! :)
        After using Macs for almost five years I wouldn't say there are no issues, but yes, there is very little user-required system maintenance or tweaking required on OS X, and no god-forsaken registry!

        My big issue with Macs now is after seeing Lion and some of the useless changes they made (reversed scrolling, hidden scroll bars, Launchpad-u can view all apps using an icon on your dock!), I don't like where OS X is headed.
        MyMac
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ptorning same here. I use windows since DOS 2.1 on my PC-XT machine. 5 years ago move to Mac, and feel my life much more easier than before.
        Voltus
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ptorning Still an MS user. And proud of it.

        <a href=http://casestudies.q3tech.com/case-studies/casestudy_blackberry_enterprise_applications.html>Blackberry Application Development</a>
        davidfrankk
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ptorning what bothers me is this web page which became like Apple fan boy page where all the people who wri<a href="http://www.tran33m.com/vb/">t</a>es articles are buying Apple products and than they claim they are not fanboys. They just don't get it that rest of the world does not have the money (or does not want) to buy Apple products because they just do word docu<a href="http://vb.maas1.com/">m</a>ents or browse internet (which is just simply too expensive to do on Apple platform) so I guess that very soon I will stop reading this Apple fan page
        alasiri
    • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

      @lyochim

      Ancient history I'm afraid, as is the myth of Macs being better for "arty" work. All the Mac gives you is a lack of options and applications.

      I used BSD Unix, don't want to go back no matter how much lipstick the pig can endure ;-)
      tonymcs@...
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @tonymcs@... Sorry @tonymcs, but you confuse your ability to make MS stuff work with "just works." Have been fighting with Windows 7 for others recently and spent a couple of hours today watching an excessively slow installation proceed. I really don't see how things have changed with that clunky, ought-to-be started from scratch garbage. Unfortunately there is some truth to the fewer apps on Mac argument. The problem there, though, is the shortsightedness of developers. Also, I wouldn't disagree with the comment that Macs are better at art argument is overblown. But then again, doesn't the Macs have the best art applications sound a lot like the MS has the most/best [insert your favourite hobby horse] apps argument you yourself just made?
        lyochim
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        That "lack of options" as you say is probably what prevents blue screen of deaths and re-installs. I was a PC guy from 1993-2010 and the best move I ever made was moving to the Apple side June 2010. Ptorning says it best - it "just works".
        Fmezler
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ nomorebs. I just consider no more hang ups, no more spinning hour glasses forever, and no more blue screen of deaths to be "just works". I don't get those on the Mac while they were pretty frequent on my PC even with Windows 7. I was a Windows user from Windows 3.11 all the way to Windows 7. Vista was horrible, but I figured I would wait for Windows 7 since Microsoft themselves were admitting Vista was a mistake. When Windows 7 was a disappointment and still continued with my previous Windows problems, I made the move to Apple. Try making a video on a PC the way I can on Mac - its an unpleasant experience. Windows chokes and locks up while my Mac just breezes right through it with no problems. Just works.
        Fmezler
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @tonymcs@...
        Lack of options? Funny, I never have an issue finding hardware that works with my Mac. Or even software to do what I need it to do.

        I did gain freedom from Windows though and that's priceless.
        itguy10
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @tonymcs@...
        I see it did not take long for the Windows fanboys to start their religious rants.
        Rick_K
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @ptorning
        Not sure what you mean, I don't go fine tuning my systems at all and they just work. My computer only restarts for updates and don't have any issues. Fine tuning was mostly a thing of the past once XP came out and usually it needed fine tuning if someone decided to go surf the nefarious parts of the web or get suckered into clicking links. It "just works" for me and for many others I know. Old schoolers I would say.......
        OhTheHumanity
      • RE: 15-year Windows user buys a MacBook Air. How can I make the most of it?

        @Fmezler,
        " I just consider no more hang ups, no more spinning hour glasses forever, and no more blue screen of deaths to be "just works"."

        I'm not having any of those issues. Does it means that my Windows 7 "just works", right? And I'm sure I am not the only one having this experience with W7.
        dvm
      • Stop perpetuating these myths. It's just false.

        @Fmezler

        "I just consider no more hang ups, no more spinning hour glasses forever, and no more blue screen of deaths to be "just works". I don't get those on the Mac while they were pretty frequent on my PC even with Windows 7. I was a Windows user from Windows 3.11 all the way to Windows 7."

        -------

        Oh please, that's just false. BSODs were a problem with the DOS-based Windows and are far less frequent on the NT-based kernels. They are very rare with Windows Vista and 7.

        I receive the Black Curtain of Doom (or whatever a kernel crash is called on a Mac) on my MacBook Pro far more often that I get a BSOD on Windows. At least once a month.

        And as far as the hourglass forever, get a better PC? You are probably comparing a $500 crap Gateway machine from Best Buy to a multi-thousand dollar computer from Apple. My PC is almost five years old and runs Windows 7 beautifully, but then again it actually has decent components unlike your average $500 machine.
        scottwsx96