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.

 
 
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.

Genealogy

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.

Microsoft Office

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.

Post Conclusion

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.
 
 
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! :)