This is the third post in my series "I Went Mac, But Then I Went Back." If you want to catch up on the previous posts, click the links below:
The last three posts have been about various features and specs that I have on my new laptop and reasons why I went back to a Windows computer after being a Mac guy for 5 years. Although I love my new laptop and am enjoying all of those features mentioned in previous posts, there are some things that I do miss from my Mac.
- The track pad on my Mac seemed to be a bit more responsive and worked a bit better than my new laptop. My new laptop's track pad sometimes right-clicks when I don't want it to and there are some finger gestures that I had on my Mac that don't work on PCs. Even with those small differences, I mainly use my bluetooth mouse when I am using my laptop, so I don't use the track pad very much anyway.
- I really enjoyed using Apple's Pages program, which is similar to Microsoft Word. I mainly used that program for page-layout documents, which I found to be very easy to make in Pages. I have Adobe Creative Cloud on my new laptop, so I want to learn how to use Adobe In-Design, which is a lot more advanced than Pages but I will also be able to do a lot more with it.
- My new laptop looks like it is made of aluminum, just like my Mac Book Pro, but it is make of painted plastic to look like aluminum. The "feeling" of my old Mac felt more durable and strong than my new laptop. I'm not afraid of my new laptop breaking or anything, I just liked the solid feeling of the aluminum on my old laptop.
- I am a big fan of Apple's power cord. The transformer had two hooks that I could wind up the cord in a nice and organized way. My new laptop's transformer is a bit bigger and the cord doesn't wind up as well. I know, that sounds really picky, but it is something that I do miss from my old laptop.
- Preview - Preview is a program that comes built into every Mac for viewing images, movies and PDFs. I really like this program. I don't know if the preview feature of hitting the spacebar was part of Preview or just something built into Macs. However, I really liked this feature. If I had a list of images I could just hit the spacebar and the image would pop up with a good sized preview of the image. I could just hit my arrow key and it would scroll through each of the images. I have tried to find an alternative for Windows but have not had much success.
- Over the last several years I have written in my journal using an app called One Day. As of right now it is only for Mac and iOS. Their website says that they will one day have an Android app, but no mentions of a Windows based software. I was at least able to export all of my journal posts over the last several years into a rich-text document. One thing I learned from that experience is that I don't want an operating system dependent journal application. I have been looking for an application that works on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android, but I have not found one yet. I think the best option would be to just do it online using Google Drive or something, but I haven't found a good way of doing that.
Those few differences that I miss from my old laptop are pretty small and don't make that much of a big deal, except for my journal. I just wanted to do a post where I could at least give some of the good things about my old laptop that I miss and will miss in the future. I am sure as time passes I will find other things that I miss about my Mac, but I will also find other new things I love about Windows or software that is available for my new computer.
This is the third post in my series "I Went Mac, But Then I Went Back." If you want to catch up on the previous posts, click the links below:
There are a number of hardware components that helped me make my change to a PC from a Mac. Some of them were more important to me than others, but there were a few that were major factors.
- Blu-ray CD/DVD drive. This one wasn't a major factor, but it was a nice bonus. For the last several years Blu-ray discs have becoming the "norm" when it comes to DVDs. Sure you can still buy regular DVDs but I have noticed that they are slowly being eliminated from the store shelves and Blu-ray discs are becoming more prevalent. I like to watch movies on my computer, and even though I have Netflix and Amazon Prime, I still like to buy the physical discs. The more Blu-ray discs become the standard, the less I would be able to watch movies on a Mac because Apple does not give the option of having Blu-ray readers/writers in their computers. In fact, Apple is completely eliminating CD/DVD drives in their laptops.
- For Apple users who have purchased a new laptop in the last year or so, most likely their laptop does not have an optical drive (CD/DVD drive). Apple thinks that they are not necessary anymore because everything can be downloaded from the Internet. While I do have an Internet connection most of the time, I do not like the idea of having a computer that cannot read/write a CD or DVD. I don't think "the world" is to the point where we can completely eliminate CDs and DVDs. There are several software programs that I have installed on my Mac in the past and my new PC that I have a CD to install it. Yes, I know you can use another computer and wirelessly use that computer to access the CD/DVD on your Mac that does not have an optical drive, but that seems like such a pain. You can also buy a separate "SuperDrive" that plugs into your USB port and use it on your Mac. I want the drive in my own computer and I personally am not ready to have a computer without one.
- My new HP laptop is a touch-screen. Although I don't use that feature for every single program and task on my computer, it is really nice to have. There are also some really cool apps I downloaded from the Windows Store that are meant for touch-screen devices. I'm sure more and more programmers are going to be incorporating "touch" into their programs for Windows computers. I am also sure that eventually Apple will incorporate touch-screens in their laptops, but for the time being they do not have that option.
- My new laptop has Beats Audio speakers. For those not aware of Beats Audio, they have become very popular in the last couple of years, particularly because of the audio quality. My speakers on my old Mac were alright, but nothing compared to the speakers on my new computer! Not only can I turn up my speakers very loud, but the bass and overall sound quality is great! For those of you who know me really well, you know that I love music! In fact, I am listening to music right now as I am writing this post. So, for me the quality of sound coming out of my speakers means a lot.
- This next feature was definitely not a requirement, but I like it! My new computer has a fingerprint scanner, so now I don't have to type in a password to unlock my computer. I can just swipe my finger and unlock it. Again, this was not a necessity, but I feel a bit more secure since I know that I am the only person with my fingerprint! :)
- Some of you may think this might be weird, but one thing I never liked about my Mac or any other Mac computer I have used Apple's mice. In my opinion they didn't flow as smooth and easy as mice on Windows computers. And not only was it Apple manufactured mice, but even if I were to use another brand of mouse on a Mac, it just didn't feel "right." Somehow, the feeling of mice on Windows computers feel so much better and smooth.
- Okay, this hardware feature I am going to talk about was a MAJOR factor in my wanting to go back to PC. I know some of you are going to think "big deal" but to me it is. Apple laptops do not have ten-key.
- I use ten-key every day, especially when I am at work doing genealogy. It is so much easier for me to use the ten-key to enter dates, social security numbers, etc. than it is for me to use the numbers in the horizontal row above the letters on the keyboard. The images above show the ten-key for those who are unfamiliar with that name for that section of the keyboard. I know that you can buy external ten-key keyboards that just plug into a USB port on your computer, but just like the Blu-ray drive, I want that feature built into my computer and not some external component I need to buy separately and carry around with me in my backpack.
- It seems like laptops are getting smaller and smaller. Look at Apple's Mac Book Air. That thing is so small and thin! Sure, I think that would be great for carrying it around because it would be light, but I would be afraid of snapping it in two! For me, I love having a laptop because I can take it everywhere. But at the same time, I don't want a laptop screen that is just as big as an iPad or other tablet. In my opinion iPads and tablets have different purposes and uses than a laptop has. I value the screen real-estate I can have on a laptop. The reason for this is because like I have stated, most of what I do on a computer is genealogy research. I am annoyed when the screen is so small I can't have two or more applications open and showing on the screen at once. I like to have an Internet browser, my research journals and a window where I can view the files on my computer pulled up. If my laptop screen is so small that I can't have multiple windows open and viewable at once, I get really frustrated because I have to tab through all of the different programs. Therefore, I went big and got a 17" screen on my laptop and I love it!! Yes, it does add weight and size to my laptop, but again, I value the real-estate space of the screen and the ability to have multiple windows open at once.
Well, there are a few of the hardware features that I really wanted in my laptop and that helped me make the choice to switch back to Windows from a Mac. I'm sure there are some other little hardware features that I'm not thinking about right now.
Stay tuned for the next post of why I went Mac, but then went back!
In my first post
about me switching back to a Windows computer after owning a Mac for 5 years I briefly introduced a couple of reasons I made the switch. The underlying reason was because I mainly use Windows programs for most of what I do on a computer, and having a Mac made it difficult for me to accomplish those tasks, even though there were a number of ways I described where I could use those Windows programs on my Mac. In this post I continue to tell you why I made the switch, in more detail regarding certain programs and features.
Most of what I do on a computer is genealogy stuff. Yes, I use my computer a lot for school, but genealogy is still my number one use of my computer. Like many people who are thinking about switching to a Mac or own a Mac know, there aren't as many genealogy programs available as there are for Windows computers.
I know many of you are wondering right now "what genealogy program do you use to do your own genealogy?" Well, let me just say that I think I have used almost all of the programs out there to some extent - both for Mac and PC. Several years ago when I really started getting serious into genealogy I found myself wondering which program I wanted to use. I started with one program and ended up using a number of programs all at once. I know, that doesn't sound very efficient and kind of confusing, but I did so because I likes some features in Program A, some features in Program B and other features in Program C.
To be completely honest, I have not found a single genealogy program that serves all of my needs or wants. I think many of the programs out there have some great features - some more than others, but not everything I want and need. Some programs are too basic for me. They don't include the stuff I want, whereas others I think are just bloated with way too many things that people either don't need or don't want to take the time to use or learn it.
So, that still leaves the question "what program do you use?" For the time being, I am just using the online tree feature on Ancestry.com. One of the main reasons I use this is because it isn't operating system dependent. In other words, it works whether I am on my old Mac Book Pro, my new HP laptop, my iPad, Android phone, grandma's computer or any other computer with an Internet connection for that matter. So, when I made the switch from Mac back to PC, I didn't have to worry about what program I was going to use during the switch or if my data would transfer to my new computer.
Sure, that brings up the issue of not being able to view my tree if I don't have Internet access. But honestly, today's ability to access the Internet is almost everywhere. In the past year or two I can only think of a couple of places or instances when I didn't have Internet access all the time. Some of the only times I can think about in the last two years where I haven't had Internet access is when I have been in the mountains hiking or camping or when I was in the Dominican Republic
this last summer. When I am hiking or camping I am not too concerned with accessing my family tree on Ancestry.com, and when I was in the Dominican Republic I was too focused on the amazing activities
I did when I was there. Plus, if I wanted to I could access the Internet at my house I lived in when I went home at night.
Now, if I was going on a research trip where I knew I wasn't going to have access to the Internet at all times I could always use Family Tree Maker, which I do already have installed on my computer.* Family Tree Maker allows you sync with your online family tree on Ancestry.com and view, edit, update, etc. your family tree offline and then sync it again with your online tree when you have an Internet connection.
Another reason I like using the online tree feature on Ancestry.com is because I can use the mobile apps on my iPad and Android phone to access my family tree. I find this very helpful when I am without my computer, at my grandparent's house and simply on-the-go.
One big reason I wanted to switch back to Windows was because of Microsoft Office.** I am going to be completely honest and blunt when I say that Microsoft Office for Mac sucks!! I hated using it. I don't care what anyone says, I thought it was such a horrible attempt to be like the Windows version of Office.
First, the layout was not as user-friendly as the Windows version. That actually surprised me because Apple has been known to be so user-friendly. Now, just to clarify for those who need it, Office for Mac was not made by Apple, but it is well-known that software built for Mac tends to be very simple and easy to use. In my experience, Office for Mac was very difficult to use at times and was not consistent with the Windows version I am so used to using every day at work.
One of the biggest things I hated about Office for Mac was that it did not have all the features that with Windows versions have. I might do a separate post just on this, but for now, what I am talking about is the ability to customize the ribbon in each Office program. In Office for Windows, I created my own custom ribbon with the buttons, features and shortcuts that help me use Word, PowerPoint and Excel more efficiently. When I tired to make the same customization in Office for Mac I found out that you cannot modify the ribbon and customize it like you can in Windows.
The last Office feature I'll talk about in this post (stay tuned for another more-detailed post about Office) is OneNote. Over the last year I have grown to love Microsoft OneNote. I use it every single day! I have several notebooks in OneNote - for personal, school, work and genealogy. For those of you unfamiliar with OneNote, it is similar to Evernote (but in my opinion a lot better!). For those of you unfamiliar with Evernote, either conduct a Google search on OneNote or Evernote, or wait for my future post that will go into more detail. (They are both digital notebook/note-keeping software)
Office for Mac does not include OneNote. There is a web-app, which is pretty good, but I like the native computer app a lot better. OneNote also has iOS and Android apps which I use almost on a daily basis.
So, I know the first part of this post wasn't necessarily "why" I went back to PC, but rather why I use an online-based genealogy program, but my point I wanted to get across was that I don't want my genealogy program/information to be operating system specific. I can access and use the same information that I could on my Mac as I can on my new PC.
The second half of the post focused on Microsoft Office and my hatred for the Mac version. Since I use Office every day (literally) I wanted to have the version of the software that I like, that I can customize and that I am a lot more familiar with.
Stay tuned for another post shortly on how I went Mac, but then I went back...
Previous Posts in this Series
*Note: Although I do work for ProGenealogists, Ancestry.com's official research firm, I was not endorsed by Ancestry.com or ProGenealogists by mentioning the website, Family Tree Maker or Ancestry.com's mobile app. I simply like using those products and I knew if I didn't mention the programs I used for my genealogy research I would have gotten a bunch of emails from readers asking me which one(s) I use. This post, along with all my other posts, are not endorsed by Ancestry.com or ProGenealogists, but do contain my opinions and experiences using the products.
**Note: I was not endorsed by Microsoft for mentioning and talking about their products.
You may have heard people say comments like "Once you go [fill in the blank] you never go back." I have heard from people the phrase "Once you go Mac, you don't go back." Odds are, you probably even heard that from me a time or two.
In January 2009 I bought my first Mac computer. I thought it was the best thing ever! I loved the look of Macs, both the physical look as well as the operating system. Macs seemed so much easier to use than Windows computers and it just seemed like the "cool" thing to have.
Over the years I spent countless hours on my Mac. I would spend every day on my Mac, doing genealogy research, playing games, editing photos in Photoshop, surfing the web and learning about all of then tech items that were up-and-coming.
This post is the first in a series in which I will go over in detail why I decided to switch back to a Windows computer and the pros and the cons between the two. At first I was going to do just one post, but as I was putting it together I realized that it would be an extremely long post and people might be bored of reading one big post. Therefore I decided to break it up into several posts, allowing me to go into the detail I want to make my point as to which operating system I prefer and why.
As time passed over the years I noticed there were things that I wished I had on my Mac like certain software and features. There were a couple of main reasons I used my computer. The first was probably genealogy and the second was school. Except for those two reasons, all the other reasons I used my computer were small and not for very long periods at a time. The more I used my computer for genealogy the more I learned that there were a lot of programs I liked to help me with my genealogy research, but the only problem was that those programs only worked on Windows computers.
I did some researching and found a number of ways that I could still use those Windows programs on my Mac! The first option I used was the program called VMware Fusion. This program allows you to install a copy of Windows on your computer and run a "virtual" Windows computer on your Mac at the same time you can use other Mac programs. I used this option for a couple of years. However, I was never really pleased with how slow it made my computer, so I moved onto the next option.
I installed a program called CrossOver. This program was nice because I didn't have to spend the time and hard drive space on my Mac installing a copy of Windows. It is also a nice alternative to VMware Fusion or Parallels because you don' have to purchase a copy of Windows. Anyway, I used CrossOver for a couple of years. It pretty much tricked your Mac into thinking it was running Windows so you could install software and run it as if you really were running Windows. The main problem I had with this option was that it was really buggy in software that wasn't "verified." So, when I tried to install most of my genealogy software, many times it either wouldn't install at all, or if it did install it would be really buggy and freeze or crash on me a lot. So, after a couple of years of that I tried the next and last alternative - I installed Windows 7 via BootCamp.
BootCamp is Apple's software that comes on a Mac that will let you partition your hard drive and install Windows on your computer. One of the major flaws with this option is that you can only have your Mac operating system or your Windows operating system running at a time. You can't easily switch back and forth between Mac programs and Windows programs without restarting your computer. Other than the fact that this was really annoying to have to restart my computer, it also made my computer extremely slow! Granted, at this point my laptop was well over 4 years old and I'm sure the hardware in my computer was slowly dying and also not able to handle both operating systems.
After trying all of these alternatives, the fact that my computer was ancient in computer years, and other reason which I will cover in future posts, I decided that it was time for a new computer. It was a shock to many when I told them I was going to go back to a Windows computer instead of a Mac. However, I have had my new HP laptop now for several weeks and I do not regret the change.
Stay tuned for more posts about my analysis between the two operating systems, price comparison of the two, and ultimately the reasons why I decided to make the switch.
My new laptop!
I use my iPad every single day. I love all the things I can do on my iPad. Here are some of the things I use my iPad for:
- Check Facebook
- Check my emails
- Listen to music on Spotify
- Surf the Internet
- Write blog posts
- Catch up on the latest news using Twitter and Flipboard
- Read books using iBooks, Google Books and Amazon Kindle App
- Manage my finances
- Access all my important files on my Dropbox
- Create documents using Pages and Numbers
- Watch movies and TV shows on Netflix
- Write in my journal using the Day One app
- View my family tree using the Ancestry.com and a few other genealogy apps
- View my photos on Flickr using FlickStackr
- Play a few games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride and Clash of Clans
So, as you can see I use my iPad for quite a bit. I use my iPad more than I use my laptop anymore. However, there are still some things that just can't be done on the iPad yet. There are many websites that require Flash. There are multitasking issues. I can't have two applications open on the screen on my iPad like I can a computer.
There are many other small things that you just can't do on an iPad that you can a computer.
I would love to see developers of website and apps making their websites mobile friendly or making apps available not just for the iPhone, but also the iPad. I have a few apps on my iPhone that don't have a native iPad version. I can install the iPhone version on my iPad, but it definitely isn't the same.
So, to all you developers out there, I know it takes time and money to make apps but please make your apps for both the iPhone and iPad! :)
Back in July Apple released their new version of OS, Lion. I am a total Mac person, but I must say, I was not happy with Lion at all!
I installed it just a few days after it was released and it only took me about 30 minutes to realized that I did not like it. Simple little settings that I really love about OS Snow Leopard were all of a sudden gone! Some of my favorite gestures used on my trackpad were no longer available in Lion.
For instance, I really liked being able to swipe four fingers left/right to be able to select running applications. In Lion they took that feature away and instead that moves between screens, which I never wanted to use. I never got used to the four finger swipe in Lion. I was still used to the Snow Leopard gesture and it would frustrate me every time I wanted to switch between applications.
Also, I really liked being able to swipe four fingers down for Exposé and see all the applications open all at once or being able to swipe four fingers up to see the desktop. I often will save a file onto my desktop rather than the Downloads folder for quick access.
With Lion I was not able to customize my own gestures - fail 1.
My MacBook Pro is almost 3 years old. I bought it in January of 2009. Macs are know for their longevity and quality. Even while running Snow Leopard, I never felt like my computer was running slowly. It seemed to always run just as fast as the day I bought it in the Apple store. However immediately after installing Lion I noticed a significant difference in the speed of my computer. At first I thought that it was no big deal. I would get used to it - NOT! After running Lion since the end of July I was so frustrated at how slow it was making my computer.
Apple disappointed me in a large part because of how slow Lion made my computer run! - fail 2.
Auto Save - I really liked the concept of Auto Save. I have had a couple instances where I myself have not saved a document and I ended up loosing it because I did not save before I quite the application. I thought this would be a great new feature.
However, I soon got annoyed of this feature because of some simple settings that I think should not be incorporated, unless the user specifies that they want it. With Auto Save, if you were to close an application such as Pages, TextEdit or any similar application you would not be prompted to save the document. The application would immediately close. The next time you opened up the application ALL documents in that application that were in use the last time you closed it would all open up automatically. I myself did not like this! There are many times where I open up TextEdit just to simply copy something real quickly from a web page, blog, etc. that I need to use for a little bit. I don't technically want to create a document of what I copied and with those instances I never want to save the doc. But with Auto Save, all documents would automatically save and re-open the next time I opened the application. The only way a document wouldn't auto save is if I hit ⌘+w or clicked the red circle in the upper-left hand corner of the open window. It would then ask me if I wanted to save the doc.
In my opinion, the Auto Save would have been a great feature if it worked like Microsoft Office on a PC. Did I really just give a compliment to something Microsoft?? haha. Yes, I did. The auto save feature is great when the application crashes or when you accidentally close the program and don't save. There should be a recovery or auto save dialog or window in the application to open the saved document.
In all, it was annoying to me that every time I opened up Pages or similar application, previous windows would also open, making me go back and manually close them and tell them NOT to save.
Those are just a few reasons why I was NOT a fan of OSX Lion. So, what did I do? I reverted back to Snow Leopard! Yes, it was kind of a pain to restore all my files and applications, but it has been so worth it to me! If you are one of those wanting to restore back to Snow Leopard, here is the website that I found the instructions on how to revert back to Snow Leopard:http://maketecheasier.com/how-to-downgrade-from-os-x-lion-to-snow-leopard/2011/09/22