Macintosh: Year One

I've spent most of my computing life using Windows. I've used every consumer version of Windows from 95 to 8. As a kid playing games I was content with it, but as I got older it began to frustrate me repeatedly. It became clear that Windows wasn't built for me. I was already a fan of Apple's stuff, and I had used a Mac on occasion. Even before I decided to make my purchase, I knew the Mac would definitely be more my style.

I will briefly mention that Windows is a good OS too. Its good for different people. I'm not one of those people. I use an iPad, and an iPhone. I get too much benefit from using a Mac that I'll ever get from using Windows. I know. I had an iPad, and Windows computer for a while. I used the iPad for anything, and everything I could. It often wasn't the best tool for the job. I still chose to use the iPad because I liked it more. I did not enjoy using Windows. After a while it became clear a Mac was the best tool for me. If I was going to spend any meaningful amount of time on the computer, I wanted to enjoy it as much as I could. I didn't (and still don't) enjoy using Windows.

On June 27, 2012 I became a Mac user, again. We had a Mac sometime before I was 5. I only ever used it for playing games. I also briefly owned a Graphite Power Mac G4 (running Mac OS X Panther in case your were curious) just a few months before I purchased my MacBook Air (abbreviated MBA). The G4 was fun to use for about a day. It was so old I couldn't install anything remotely recent on it. I had to find archived versions of applications just to have something to run on it. I could hardly browse the web because there was so little processing power. But it got me hooked.

More than a year later, I'm sitting in front of a 13" Mid-2012 MacBook Air. This is computer I consider to be my first Mac. I've invested quite a bit into it beyond the purchase price. Good software on the Mac is primarily paid. I used money I earned over the summer to purchase not only the Mac, but OS X versions of some of my favorite iOS software titles.

As far as the overall experience goes, I've found it to be significantly better. SSDs are standard on the MBA, and 4GB is plenty of RAM for my current needs. It's not a perfect machine. The hard drive is two sizes too small at 128GB. Thank goodness I was smart enough to avoid the 64GB machine (that would have been a disaster).

There are a few notable differences between OS X, and Windows that took a while to get used to. One of them is how one goes about installing applications. Particularly the .dmg files that are common for non-Mac App Store application installations. It was strange having to drag the application into my Applications folder. It's not at all strange now, but it is a lot different coming from Windows. The hardest part is remembering to unmount the dmg after I'm done. There were other, similar differences that I learned in time.

A Mac may not be the best option for you, but I will continue to recommend them to friends and family as the ideal computer. It's a hudge relief to not hate my computer every day I use it. There are still workflows that I'm refining on my Mac, but I the tools that allow me to do that are far more plentiful, and refined on OS X. One year in, this Mac is the best computer I've ever owned. To me, that's all that matters.

Reagan Knopp