imacA while back I wrote about how I was fighting an urge to switch to Mac OS X. At the end of the post I concluded that it would be best if I moved Holly to a mac first, since her needs were less than mine. She was using a salvage PC running Windows98 and complained of it crashing all the time, so it was time to do something.

Over the weekend, I rearranged the office to put the original Bondi Blue iMac in place of what she had. Once everything was plugged in, my first task was to get her e-mail up and running and her address book moved. The built-in Mail and Address book applications were a piece of cake to work with. Although somewhat basic, they really do everything that she needs. The one hurdle I ran into though was that I had zero options in terms of trying to import her information. She was running Outlook on the PC and I tried everything I could think of to move things over, but to no avail. One thought I had was to

HotSync her pa1mOne Zire 71 with the iMac to move her data over. That’s when I discovered a problem that ended up being a theme with going forward with any other applications. The Palm Desktop would only work with OS X 10.2, I’m running OS X 10.0.4. Back when I purchased the iMac off of eBay, I also purchased the recently released OS X operating system. I had no troubles installing on the 233MHz G3 system when I boosted it’s memory from 32MB to 160MB. It runs slow, but it runs pretty well. As Apple updated it’s software, I was able to download updates and apply them. This allowed me to get from 10.0.0 to 10.0.4. After that, they released a new version of OS X and I had to purchase an upgrade. I decided to hold off since I wasn’t using the mac all that much anyway. Fast forward to today and I found that almost every OS X application out there requires the 10.2 version of OS X. OpenOffice, Yahoo Messenger, and even Internet Explorer, just to name a few. Luckily, the only thing that Holly was looking to do was to be able to send and receive e-mail, so I could at least get her up and running for now.

As I thought it over, I realized that without a more current version of Mac OS X, there was very little I could do. In talking with some friends, most said that prior to 10.2, OS X was really a beta. I bought my copy the first few months it was out. They don’t call it the “cutting edge” for nothing. 😛 In looking on the web I found that the going price for OS X was 119.99, but I was able to find it on eBay for $50, so I bought it. It should come in later this week and I’ll let you know how it goes after I upgrade her iMac. In the meantime, what are my thoughts on my Mac experience thus far?

1. The interface is awesome. Holly wasn’t too thrilled with having to learn a whole new computer system, but she took to it really fast and everything was very intuitive. She was able to work with the browser, e-mail and address book without any questions, she just plugged away, which was great. Coming from a PC background, it has taken me a little while to adjust to the fact that the top menu bar is constant. I keep looking to the window itself to provide the controls, which is how Windows does it. With that small adjustment in my brain, I found getting around in OS X to be a bit of a breeze.

2. Apple draws more lines in the sand. With Windows, I can run just about any program from Windows98 to XP Professional. What that means is that I could be running the same OS for the past 5 years and still run a ton of programs. Granted, I have probably upgraded my PC a few times in that time frame, but the longevity of the OS is to be commended. Apple, on the other hand, tends to draw a line in the sand more often. This forces developers to only support more recent versions of the OS. Had I setup the iMac with everything I needed back when I bought it, I would probably be OK. My problem is that I’m trying to setup an old Mac in todays time frame and support for those products are gone.

3. Macs Cost More. The initial cost of the hardware is more, but there is a certain inherent upgrade component built in to the Mac platform and as such, I can see where upgrades are going to be more frequent, or I’ll want to purchase a newer Mac computer. Is this a bad thing really? Well, BMWs cost more to maintain than a Geo, but can you say it’s not worth it? I suppose it just comes with the territory and is part of the price of admission. I upgrade my workstations about once a year, so I’m not unfamiliar with doing upgrades. Over the long term though, I don’t see Holly having to upgrade as frequent, so it may not be any more expensive than if she were on a PC.

4. More Peace Of Mind. One of the biggest surprises is that anti-virus software is not a requirement. :O I wouldn’t dare think of running a Windows box without anti-virus, firewall and spyware protection, but in the world of Mac, it’s not all that important. Do virii exist for Mac OS, sure but according to friends of mine, it’s fairly rare and specific to Microsoft Office. I’m not planning on running MS Office, so I don’t have to install anything.

To be continued… I’m not out of the woods yet I still have to apply the upgrade to OS X 10.2.4 and get everything running again. So, I’m not a total Mac convert as of yet, but I have to say that other than the upgrade cost, my experience thus far has been pretty good. It certainly feels like the perfect fit for Holly.