Update on eBay and 5k iMac

Apology

It has been 3 weeks since i last made a blog post. I’ve been spending all my time focusing on selling my CD collection to raise money to buy the 5k Retina Display 27″ iMac and also reading this 2″ thick tome Switching to The Mac.

I can announce success on both counts! I am typing this blog post on my new iMac, and i completed reading the book which i highly recommend to anyone switching from the Windows world to the Mac world.

In addition, my experience selling on eBay has been surprisingly positive. With only a few small glitches I’ve sold my most collectible and expensive CDs. I still have a few hundred plain old normal CDs left to sell, but everything is going very well and I have a number of very satisfied customers.

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Opinion/Review

I am extremely impressed with the iMac. Briefly, here are the high points:

  • The display is simply incredible. Bright. Sharp. Crisp. The blacks are the deepest darkest blacks i’ve seen on any monitor anywhere. In fact, this is easily the best computer monitor i have ever seen or used. For someone with bad vision, this is a HUGE deal. Seriously.
  • The Mac OS X operating system is very different from Windows and in almost every case, that is because it is better, more flexible and more capable, especially with regard to graphics and audio.
  • The hardware itself is in a universe of its own. The aluminum case the computer and display are in is solid and light. No plastic in sight other than the actual keys on the keyboard (which are set in an aluminum frame as is the trackpad). The Mac has superior audio output because of better audio components as well as the way the operating system handles audio. Mac’s cost more than Windows PCs, but it is my opinion that it is more than worth the cost for the far superior hardware.

I’m very pleased with the time and work it took to make this transition. I would do it again in a second.

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John’s Apple Conversion

The Beginning

I started in the world of computers in the late 70’s. As part of my MBA program i had to pass a test proving i was proficient in either Cobol or Fortran. I didn’t want to waste time taking a class, so i bought a book and taught myself enough Fortran to pass the test. I’m one of those strange ducks who always reads the manual, and is able to learn stuff better from a book than being shown. My mind just processes things better that way.

A year or so later, MBA in hand, while working for General Electric’s Mobile Radio Division, microprocessors were making their way into our products so i took a hands on class in assembler programing of 8088 processors. That’s machine language programming using hexadecimal.

We then moved to NC and i got a job at a community college teaching television repair (my undergrad degree was in Broadcast Engineering). They asked me if i’d also like to teach Introduction to Computers and also Programming in Basic (on Radio Shack TRS80’s). The Intro to Computers course was no problem because i’d taken that in my MBA program, but i did not know Basic Programming. How hard could it be after teaching myself Fortran and taking a program in assembler programing. So, i bought a book on Basic Programming for TRS80’s and in a month i was good to go. Around the same time i bought a Commodore 64 for myself, and learned Commodore’s version of Basic Programming on the C64.

A few years later, i got a job teaching Basic Programming on the IBM personal computer for a local business college. I then also learned MS-DOS and writing batch files. A few years later Windows came out and i moved down that rabbit hole. I am very proficient with all things related to Windows hardware and software and have existed solely in the Windows world for almost the past 25 years.

The Present

I am now preparing to move into the Mac world. My six year old Windows 7 computer is at the end of its useful life and i simply see nothing compelling or interesting in the world of Windows, so i’ve decided to get an iMac later this summer. Guess what i did? Yup, i bought a book! It’s called “Switching to the Mac”. I must confess to being extremely impressed with the Mac’s approach to computing. As i wade through the two inch thick tome i find myself continuing to think “Why doesn’t windows do it this way?”

I stuck my toes into the world of Apple with my first iPod in 2009 followed by my first iPad in 2010 and i have found myself enthusiastic about the intuitive way their products “just work”, so now i’ll be jumping into the Apple pool with both feet.

The Reasons

So, what are the reasons for my Apple Conversion? They are twofold.

Things Microsoft has done (or not done).

  • Windows 8
  • Focusing on ‘touch’ for computers to the detriment of everything else
  • Moving to a subscription model for Office products
  • Naming mutually exclusive computers and operating systems the same to completely confuse their customers who can’t understand why their new windows computer can’t run windows programs
  • Innovation so bad that the majority of their home and business customers are still using very old versions of their operating system, a significant number using versions 12 years old and no longer secure
  • An inherently insecure operating system so bad that they single handedly caused a new category of software to appear just to fight viruses, trojans and malware.

Things Apple has done.

  • Innovate – the iPad was so well done that it created an entirely new aspect of mobile computing
  • Understanding that while some aspects of their mobile computer operating system (IOS) can be used in their other lines, they never merged IOS and OS X, keeping them separate and distinct
  • ‘Touch’ on mobile computers but not on desktops
  • Trackpad innovations like gestures
  • It’s trite, but it’s true. Their products just work
  • Maintaining complete control of the hardware production
  • Free upgrades to the operating system resulting in a much higher percentage using more current and more secure operating systems
  • An almost non-existent market for anti-virus and anti-malware software for their operating system because it mostly isn’t needed.

The Result

The market share for Windows computers has been sliding for several years and manufacturers of windows computers are either stopping manufacture of Windows computers or cutting back on their product lines.

The market share for Macs is growing each year and they are adding new products and options each year.

Lest i seem like a total fanboy, let me say that Apple is not perfect. There is much i’m learning in the “Switching to Mac” book, but the overwhelming number of shortcuts to do things on a Mac is so great as to become absurd. While it’s nice that you can use a shortcut to do anything you can do with a mouse click, it is not possible to learn the thousands of shortcuts needed to accomplish this, at least not for this aging computer guy. There are so many shortcuts that many of them have no mnemonic (a device such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something.)  relation to what they do making strict memorization the only possibility for many shortcuts. For example, on windows ctrl-c copies, ctrl-x cuts which makes sense. Macs have so many shortcuts that the use of the option, shift and command buttons individually and in combinations coupled with a number or letter key ends up without the ability to hang your hat on which keys to use to accomplish each shortcut.

Lastly, the most significant aspect of the Mac is that it is inherently visually based. You can see PDFs, pictures and videos in their icons! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Also, the monitors are so crisp and bright that it makes your jaw drop. Apple pioneered the very concept of a retina display. For my aging eyes, that’s a huge plus.

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