Sunday, September 14, 2008

Took the Plunge

Yes, we finally took the plunge into the brave new world of Apple computers. I bought my husband a MacBook (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB RAM, and 250 GB hard drive). He finally received the new computer I had wanted to give him last Christmas! You may recall the Vista woes of my January 14 and January 19 posts. I was more or less convinced that Mac was the solution in my February 8 post. So what took so long?

My struggle with Lenovo over the returned T61 Vista laptop intensified over time. Aggravated, I sent back its XP replacement without ever opening the box. With two laptop purchases on my credit card, I thought it best to wait for the Lenovo refunds before purchasing a third computer. Lenovo proved difficult, but on April 29 I received the final credit on my Feb 5 returns. By that time, however, my professor husband had second semester work in progress on his old laptop. Not a good time to make a switch!

Finally, on July 9 we made our way to Apple's new West 14th Street store. We came away with a MacBook, a Time Capsule, a copy of Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Leopard Edition by David Pogue, and a MobileMe subscription for the free iPod Touch obtained through Apple's Back-to-School promotion. (The iPod was for me, of course!)

Right out of the box, the MacBook was fun. We laughed as the setup wizard instructed my husband to take his own profile picture using the camera in the laptop lid. I squeeled with joy when the spiffy little machine, in less than a minute, automatically established a wireless network among our three computers. (You have no idea how much time I've spent over the years setting up home networks, both wired and wireless.) Kazowee!!

File transfer was easy as well. I simply plugged the removable backup drive into the MacBook's USB port and copied over all the files.

Moving Microsoft Outlook's mail, contacts, and calendar was a bit more challenging. Following the advice in Pogue's book, I downloaded a $10 program from Little Machines called O2M (Outlook to Mac). The transfer to Mac Mail was easy - all the subfolders were retained and I was able to transfer a previously archived mail folder. The contacts transfer was equally simple. After the contacts were loaded, features of the Mac Address Book helped me merge multiple email addresses into a single contact and eliminate duplicates. The calendar transfer was the most tedious. My husband has birthdays and anniversaries as well as appointments, but they all transferred into iCal as events. Therefore I had to make some manual adjustments, but in the end the calendar looked and behaved properly.

I loaded some components of Microsoft Office for Mac -- Word, Excel, and Powerpoint -- plus Google Earth, RealPlayer and Mozilla's FoxFire browser. I imported bookmarks and reset the home page. Lastly, I went through all the relevant system preferences making adjustments which would enable the MacBook look and feel like his old computer as much as possible.

Pogue's Switching to the Mac book was very helpful. Despite being a bit chatty, it contained clear explanations and instructions. Knowing nothing about navigating the Mac operating system, I managed to do the work of a Mac Genius! (That's Apple-speak for "technical support person.") Apple would have done a free data transfer, but they wouldn't have been able to do all the customizations that I could do because I'm on such intimate terms with my husband's old laptop. Besides, the weekend I devoted to the data transfer and setup effort really kick-started my Mac education.

I just hope my husband's road to becoming a Mac user won't be too bumpy. This Christmas-in-July gift was intended to relieve his frustration with sluggish response time, continual virus infections, and frequent downloads of program and virus pattern updates. While the Mac will eliminate those issues, it will require PC habits be replaced with Mac skills. Nobody is particularly fond of change, but my husband trusts my judgment that this switch will be worthwhile in the long run.

And really, how can he not love this sleek black MacBook? It's a dream machine, with its fast response and its totally gorgeous screen graphics... yea, I know. I sound like a real Mac person now, don't I? OK, I'll admit it - I've been converted. And so has the cat!

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I love that pic of the matching cat and computer! Very cute. And I'm jealous... I'd love to switch to Mac, but ain't no way I can afford a new computer right now. Oh well, a girl can dream. I'm thinking of at least getting the $50 ipod shuffle for my birthday - my first foray into apple products.