Another Apple Convert


One of the fantastic perks of being on the Osmosoft team is our use of high-end macs as our primary work machines. Mine is one of the new MacBook Pro’s with an Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB Ram, and lots of other stats that make a geek drool :). And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the developers on the team, which is everyone else except for Casablanca and I, are using the new Mac Pro’s with 4 Core 2 Duo chips (8 cores in all!), dual 27” monitors, 1TB storage, etc.. This is my first mac which I’ve had the opportunity to use as my very own, and the first one that I’ve had consistent access to since the Apple MacIntosh Classic in my 5th grade classroom.

My initial impression is fairly positive. I’m impressed by the excellent build quality of the MacBook Pro, the user-friendly OS X interface, the brainless built-in wifi signal manager (which makes the Windows wireless manager seem like managing a NASA rocket launch), and other little things that make using the Mac that much more seamless. The things I’m not so excited about include the one button under the trackpad (vs. two buttons), entirely different short-cut keys (from Windows), and the different process of installing new applications. As you can see, my cons with the Mac are all related to my ingrained user experience with Windows machines over the past 15 years. So it is actually less of a knock on the mac hardware/software, and more on the basis that I’m just more familiar with a specific style and way of working.

And since the current generation of macs are now Intel-based, I’m even able to take all of my work apps with me and run them under Parallels, which has worked well, with a few hang-ups that I’ll write about on a later post (along with a trial of VMWare to compare and contrast). Now, my previously tightly locked-down work laptop is contained in a virtual instance that I can open and shut down depending on what I’m trying to accomplish. BEAUTIFUL. The walled gardens between my personal machine and work can coexist in peace and harmony. I’m no longer denied from logging into an airport wifi and being forced to connect through the work VPN. I’m no longer forced to use a work-around to get to my internet radio stations, and the list goes on and on. I’m giddy with joy rather than the usual case of wanting to chuck my laptop off of my office roof.

A recent positive experience occurred traveling down to dConstruct. During the trip I was easily going from finishing up some edits in a Word document, responding to some emails in Outlook’s offline mode, and then moving over to watch one of my DVD’s and browsing through my last trip’s pictures inside iPhoto. And where I used to leave my work laptop at the office, I now always bring the mac with me everywhere I go without fail. How’s that for incentivizing me to keep working no matter where I’m at. A win-win situation for everyone if I don’t say so myself.

Yes, the Macbook Pro is roughly £500 more expensive than a standard HP or Dell of the same spec, but the increase in my productivity greatly offsets the marginal price difference. With a fairly blurred line between my work and personal life, which is more common than not these days, having this mac allows me to easily go from one to the other and do more work than before (wait, this is actually a bad thing ;-). No wonder Jeremy forces the team to use these uber-strength macs. Thank goodness the Osmosoft team has leadership that make decisions based on optimizing our ability to contribute and deliver, versus following the standard spreadsheet and corporate handbook policy.



2 Responses to “Another Apple Convert”

  1. Parallels is great – Coherence (Unity in VMWare) makes it feel like slightly oddly skinned windows, without having the full (visual) weight of the Windws desktop as well. Admittedly I pretty much just use it for Windows browser testing (I have VMs for XP+IE6, XP+IE7, Vista+IE7, each with a different version of Firefox as well).

    As to my work… I said, when I was at my first interview that it didn’t have to be a mac, but I had to be able to install linux on it. I survived on the Mac mini they’d bought as a spare machine for 3 months, and then got a MacBook Pro (that I would’ve bought myself had I not been asked to go out for coffee just before ordering it).

  2. 2 dr1ft3r

    Patrick – Good to hear from you. Excellent time in Brighton the other week. I don’t think I’ve been using the Apple quite long enough to actually demand a mac as a condition of my hiring, but I’ll re-evaluate this in another year’s time ;-). I’ve heard good things about VMWare, so give me a little time and I’ll let you know what if the mixing of Windows and mac skinned windows bothers me as much as it does you :-p.

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