Saturday, November 18, 2006

Apple and MS



Yesterday, a colleague asked me advice on buying an Apple laptop.

Why me? Coz, I have been using an iBook for over two years now. My peers call me a fanatic, though I believe that am little short of that state.

Unlike, many youngsters, my tryst with computers began only in 1995 during my second year at graduation. Oh yes, computers have been in existence much before that. Yeah, I have seen them when I was 10 through the keyholes in my school. Those computers were there to be seen, not to be worked on.

It was only during the project work in MBA that I really got to work on a PC. Primarily, the MS Word. Despite being a novice, in a short time, I could teach many features of the application to my PC-literate classmates. Most of them were engineers and regarded as authority on computers were quite sweetly surprised by my experimentation with the application.

Then came the professional life and being a white collared professional, PC became an integral part of my life.

Microsoft Word was and still continues to be the most used Application. MS PowerPoint comes close second. Yeah, browsing and mail clients are an integral part.

A couple of years back, my company came with a laptop plan where employees could buy laptops at 50% of the cost and in easy instalments. I jumped in.

While making my decision on which brand to go for, I looked around. Dell, Dell, Dell, and more Dell. That grey executive machine was there everywhere. My boss had it, my super boss had it. Many clients had it. Oh yes, the Big Blue's Black machine too was there.

Hmm, now how could I go for what everyone was going for. Needed to be different.

What's the choice? What else but the beauty! An Apple laptop. So I decided upon the Apple iBook because Power Book was little more expensive. I decided upon the G4 iBook. I had always thought that the Apple laptops come in the shape of the Apple logo with bright colors, as shown in many movies. But what did I get, a pure white simple looking laptop.

Though disappointed, I still went for the white beauty, as I realized soon.

So, here comes the transformation in my life. So long, the only operating system that I knew was MS Windows. I guess, I am one of the few Indians who probably have worked on both MS and Mac.

MS Windows is no comparison to a sturdy Mac. In the last 3 years, I never had a single instance of the machine hanging, yeah, at times the applications do hang but the system as such never did.

I started receiving more attention than my boss and my colleagues. I used to flaunt my machine at every meeting. Many clients would start the meetings after spending a healthy 10-15 minutes talking about my machine. Everyone wanted to have it or exchange theirs with mine. Those were proud moments.

For those who have got used to MS operating system, Mac is little different but not difficult. The Dock is one of the best feature of the Mac machines. Run your pointer from one end of screen to other, the Dock, which stores most-used applications, creates a Mexican wave. I used it to death to impress my female colleagues and even others. :)

I loved Safari for its neatness unlike the ugly looking Internet Explorer. In recent times, I have taken to using FireFox which is as elegant as Safari, itself. I bought MS Office package for Mac. I am not sure why but all MS applications for are so beautifully designed for Mac but not attractive on their own operating system. Can't figure out, why?

The other concerns, that many in my organization had raised, were the availability of applications. Well, its true and not true, at the same time. Today, most of the applications that one uses are available for Mac platform. If I check the Applications folder in my machine, I have MS Office, I have all the messengers one would use - MSN, Yahoo..., browsers, PDF software, media players, stickies, games, and many more. I even have Lotus Notes.


And very recently, the Google Earth!

Of course, Apple's own applications are out of the world. iPhoto, iMovies, iChat, iCalendar, Mail. But my all time favorite is KEYNOTE. Use it and you will never want to use any other software for presenting your presentations. I will leave it as a mystery to you.

Everything was going fine, and then things changed. My wife wanted a machine at home for use as she had decided to take a break from work-life. And I had to reluctantly give away my iBook to her. Can you hear my heart break!

Took a big hit on my ego. So far, I had been taking a dig at MS and now, I had to get back to the IBM-architecture. Tough decision.

So, now, I am back to a desktop! Using MS OS.

Well, I would classify myself as OS agnostic person. So, I could, with ease, move to different platforms.

Now, I have come to admire MS, too. The ease that it offers is amazing. I can work on an MS OS without having to use a mouse which is not true for Mac. Just Tab, Enter, Esc. Everything you need can be done. The Alt commands make your life very easy. As they say productivity increases.

The way MS is building functionality in its applications is amazing. Word continues to be my all-time favourite applications. It has so many features that it will take a life time to discover and use all of it.

So, life after all is not that bad.

But ask me what is my dream machine!

An Apple with all the ease of MS applications! I guess, the dream is already true.
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