No. of Recommendations: 24
Parts I & II of my Mac experiences. More over the next couple of days:

Part I : Background

I'm not the typical Mac switcher. I've been using Linux as my primary desktop for three years or so. And I was very comfortable there, I found Linux very stable, very user friendly (once configured), and very configurable.

But there were several core problems: there were some applications that didn't have adequate Linux versions (taxes, personal finance, diagramming, games) and hardware drivers were always a challenge (PCMCIA, wireless, laptop displays, and surprisingly some network cards).

Eventually I started to run into tech-savvy Mac switchers. People that I knew and respected in the UNIX world were starting to carry around Jaguar based laptops. So I started to research Macs. And I liked what I found. So (as documented in this thread, I bought an iMac.

Part II : The Honeymoon

The iMac was even better than I expected. The excellent Java, X11, and IMAP implementations made using my iMac for work an easy transition. So I started using my iMac not only for consumer applications, but also as my primary work machine. (Which was more than I expected.)

I had a little bit of a learning curve, but in general I found that using a Mac was pleasant and productive. I'm effectively crash-free, although I've had a couple of times were I couldn't shutdown cleanly. Many of the applications that I use everyday now weren't even available on Linux. (NoteTaker, iTunes, Safari, Dreamweaver, OmniGraffle and leap to mind.) In fact, I liked the iLife apps so much that I bought an iPod.

Of course the physical elements of the iMac are great as well. I never expected that I would appreciate the quietness of the machine. (Although the quietness of my Mac just draws attention to how loud my PC server is.) And I love the wide display.

It's hard to explain exactly why I like the Mac so much. The interface is certainly more consistent than Linux. And I like the dock. The ability of applications to put their core functions in a dock menu and to reflect the core status in a dock icon modification is especially nice. But even applications that I've used on other platforms (such as Dreamweaver) just seem "better" on Mac. And applications that don't integrate with the Mac interface (OpenOffice, IntelliJ IDEA) bother me.

I guess, even though it sounds trite, I like the Mac because it "just works". Apple has provided various infrastructure pieces such as Keychain, Address Book, Internet Options that Mac applications generally seem to utilize effectively and respect. For example, since Safari and Camino both use Keychain they can share their saved web passwords. It's not that Windows (or Linux) doesn't have equivalent applications to Keychain. (Although I love Keychain's interface.) It's just that since they aren't part of the OS they aren't part of the standard interface used by all applications. Linux and Windows may have standard apps for web browsing, email, calendaring, address book, and password management but none of them are as good as the tools provided by Apple.

Quality is part of the reason I like my Mac as well. is a thousand times better than Outlook Express. Safari is a million times better than IE. iChat (even though I don't use it) is a million times better than MSN Messenger. Although not all of Apple's applications are perfect (please give me an AppleWorks update), they range from "very functional" (iCal) to the "truly outstanding" (Safari, iTunes). Apps bundled with Windows and Linux seem to range from "security distaster waiting to happen" (IE, Outlook Express) to "somewhat functional" (Konqueror). In virtually every aspect, the Mac's experience seems to have more thought in the design.

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When Life Gives You Lemons
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