I owned a Mac at a time where other people laughed at it. "A mouse and fancy icons? This is a toy!" they said back in 1987 when I bought a Macintosh SE. Yes, but at that time, I added a 21" display (yes 2 pages - I worked hard during vacations to buy it) to the built-in 9" screen, and they formed just one big virtual screen. PC users had to wait about 10 years (or more?) to do the same.
Also, this Mac helped me a lot for my university projects: other students were showing ugly alphanumeric man-machine interfaces (won't call them GUI since the 'G' stands for "graphical") while I showed nice and polished mouse and menu-driven applications. This old-timer now sleeps in the cellar, but I recently powered it up again to show my kids what "daddy's old computer" looked like. Plug the power in, switch it on, and the smiling Mac welcomes you. Then we played Dark Castle, before bringing him back to sleep.
In 1995 I bought my second Mac: a PowerMac 7200 (90 Mhz PowerPC). I played many games on it ( Myst, Rebel Assault to name a few), and soon connected a modem to surf the web. This Mac still runs smoothly and we use it for some old games and personal finance accounting.
Then in 2000 I bought a PC because I was about to co-found the company I work for now and needed a Java development environment at home. Windows had JDK1.2.2 while the Mac only had a slow 1.1.6.
Ouch, that hurted me! I had to reinstall the system (Windows 98) 3 times the first week because of incompatible drivers or who-knows-what. I never, never had to do something similar for more than 13 years with the Macs. Sure they sometimes crashed, but never to a point where I had to reformat and reinstall. More time spent in system administration in a week on a PC than in 13 years on Macs.
Since the emergence of MacOS X, more and more developpers are switching. This is because the Mac is now a killer development platform yet still has all the smooth usability it had for nearly 20 years (yes, the first Mac went out in 1984).
And now I'm stuck to using a PC: I work on a recent Sony Vaio laptop, which won't need to be replaced soon, and my company doesn't consider buying Macs. And I can't buy it with my own money, since my wife (the minister of finances at home) considers this to be some work-related need (and she also considers my work eats too much of my personal time).
Sure, the Vaio works well (Windows XP is a giant step forward in the M$ history), but it lacks the personal relationship that you have with a Mac. And as Steven says, feeling comfortable with your "main window on the world for at least 10 hours a day" is very important.
Now why this rant today? Two reasons:
- There's a massive amount of switchers explaining on cocoon-dev why usability and comfort is more important than raw power. As I said above, you develop a personal relationship with a Mac. This is more than a tool, this is a room, a home. And it doesn't go in your way each and every minute.
- Yesterday, I tried to install pcremotecontrol to control iTunes (yes, I use this great Mac software on my PC) with a standard IR remote. Unfortunately, the software wants an IR receiver connected to a COM port when mine is connected through USB. Grrrr... And today I read Andrew's post about the amazing Salling Clicker which does much much more than a remote on Macs. Grrrr again!
Frustration engenders motivation (the famous "itch to stratch" well know in the opensource world). Maybe it will help me to find the killer argument either at work or at home? Any advice, dear readers?