So I finally got my HP Pavilion DV2 back from the worst support experience in living memory! Meantime I had finally bitten the bullet and moved over to a MacBookPro, my first experience of the Mac OS.
It’s intuitive, it’s much better than Windows, it’s so easy…. I could go on, but that is the advice I was given as I opened the excellent packaging that came with my new toy. Build and design quality are of course outstanding and without a doubt the OS is not difficult to come to terms with. As a slight aside you may remember that almost a year ago I attended a moving from Windows to Mac “workshop” at the flagship London Apple Store. I can safely say that it was the worst training event I have ever attended and probably was the main reason that I didn’t get around to taking up the corporate “free” MacBookPro until I really had to (when HP sold me a lemon and then took months to repair it).
So 5 months on how do I feel? Would I go back to Windows? Well yes and no. I finally got used to the differences such as the ap bar on top of the screen, not on the window and the inevitable wanting to shut the window by going to the top right rather than top left. I can use the cmd key now. The usability of the apple is great, keyboard and keyboard illumination; airport and connectivity in general; and mostly perfect suspend and resume simply by closing and opening the screen are all outstanding. The touch pad is just fantastic and is probably the one big thing that kills me when I find myself using a Windows laptop.
Would I let anyone take the Apple away from me – not a chance, but that’s not the whole story. At 50 I have so much Windows baggage it’s embarrassing. Even though Redmund have tried their best over the past 10 years to change their OS look and feel and destroy my ability to use their software applications effectively by making wholesale and unintuitive changes in every release – I have still found myself having to use Windows and Office on Windows in order to remain moderately productive. I didn’t quite have to move back to the HP to do this, I use the excellent VMWare Fusion which allows me to fire up a virtual machine on the Apple and there I am in Windows 7 with Office 2007. I am getting better at using Office 2008 native on Snow Leopard, but boy is it hard, it is not a port or even a near neighbor, it is very very different. Don’t even get me started on Outlook and my historic email archives. So the irony of having two versions of Office, sometimes running in parallel whilst I rush to churn out another excellent PowerPoint or throw up an Excel model of the next financial crisis.
If I had written this blog two months ago I would probably have even more high praise for the Apple as compared to Windows hardware software combo the MacBook was fast, responsive and not prone to inexplicable slow downs. Unfortunately that is not the case now and I get a fair amount of the spinning colour wheel to frustrate me when I am working. OK so I may have too many apps open, or confused it by not rebooting when I change locations, but it has now ground to a halt a couple of times and can be a pain just like bloaty Windows.
Is it better? Yes it is (there I said it), is it perfect? No it is not. Would I go back? Not exactly, but I will co-exist. My desktops remain several and are all Windows in one way shape or form (some running VM’s for LAMP stuff) and, much as I may lust for big and powerful Apple desktops the wholesale replacement is not an option. Forget the hardware replacement costs, much of my long term investment is in software and the blood sweat and tears of how to use it effectively (or not), so even if I was a brainwashed convert it would not be happening anytime soon.
So what about the HP? It’s smaller, lighter and very well specified (for what it is), so yes it will get used. In fact Mrs Bladesey is making eyes at it as I type.