Why A Faithful PC Guy Bought A MacBook Pro

20+ years using a PC

As a 20-year PC veteran, web developer and hosting provider I describe my reasoning for buying a MacBook Pro instead of sticking with a traditional Microsoft-based laptop.

High School

Commodore VIC-20 William Shatner Advertisement

Yes, that’s William Shatner

Like most geeks my age I’ve been using computers since high school. My parents bought me a Commodore VIC-20 and I burned it up by coding for 6 hours straight on a hot summer day in a house without air conditioning. I can’t even remember the program – something super awesome I’m sure.

I used Apple IIe computers to learn how to program in BASIC and I got out of boring study halls by saying that I needed to use the Mac lab to “study” when in reality I was playing games like Lode Runner most of the time.

College

In college I worked in the computer lab and played on 386/486 PCs and VAX most of the time, occasionally visiting the Mac room to say “Hi” to old friends. I was working on an accounting degree but I spent almost all of my time in the computer lab even when I wasn’t on duty.

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A new beginning

Several years after college I started my side-business when I realized I should start charging all of the people that ask me to fix their computer, explain the latest technology fad, research the best television or fix their website.

The iPad saved my ass

When I purchased my first generation iPad I lived in a single-floor two bedroom apartment and I spent most of the time in the second bedroom – my office. I worked all day in front of a computer and then came home and worked all night too. My ass needed a break.

I figured if I bought an iPad I could segment my work into the tool best suited for the task.

Desktop Tasks

Web Development
Image Manipulation
FTP uploads
Beyond Compare Synchronization

iPad Tasks

Reading/Writing Email
Reading Technology Articles
Researching Images
Playing Games 🙂

Breaking Bad desktop background

I watched before it was cool!

Ultimately the iPad allowed me to leave the office and rest my butt muscles for a bit while still getting some work done and occasionally glancing up to watch Breaking Bad. If I needed to do anything on the PC it was only a couple rooms away.

More power, Captain!

It worked great for a while. But then I moved and started commuting to work on the bus. I found that I didn’t have as much time in front of my home PC so I tried to use the iPad to fill the gap. But the iPad simply isn’t suited for web development or the type of website maintenance that I needed to get done.

Why didn’t you just buy a {insert PC-maker brand name here} laptop instead? They’re cheaper, better, super awesome and my brother’s sister’s cousin’s pet turtle loves theirs…

The typical argument is that if I work with PC-based files and software in my home office that I should get a PC-based laptop for easy compatibility. I completely agree. If I were to counsel someone else in the same situation I would recommend they stay with PC-compatible products. But I’ve never been one to take the easy way if I had an opportunity to learn something useful by doing it the slightly “harder” way.

I’m (probably) not an Apple fanboy

Apple Store Fifth Avenue

Apple Store New York

So why would a faithful PC guy buy a MacBook Pro? I won’t lie. The “cool factor” played an important role in my decision. The simplicity, elegance and thoughtful design of Apple products coupled with a sleek form factor are ultimately what drove my decision to buy a MacBook Pro.

But I also fix computers for people on the side and lately I’ve been getting more and more questions from people thinking about switching to Apple. Other than the iPhone and iPad I didn’t have recent experience with other Apple products. I rationalized that buying a Mac would allow me to help my clients make the right choice for their situation.

How did it go?

Overall I love my MacBook. It’s fast, quiet, cool, light and does almost everything I need. The hardest thing to get used to are the shortcut keys. I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts and I was a little frustrated at first trying to figure out how to do the same thing on a Mac that I do on a PC. One of the big sticking points for most people – no “right-click” – wasn’t hard to learn at all. I’m still not sure of the difference between FN, CONTROL and OPTION though. And installing third-party apps (e.g. FileZilla, Roboform) is a little odd; I’m not sure I’ve got the hang of it yet.

Luckily Google knows all and the thousands of people that have done this before me left lots of information for me to find.

I’m currently trying to convince my girlfriend that she should buy a Mac. She complains about her laptop all the time.

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