Branching Out

Frequent readers of this site (I know, that implies I still post frequently, but just humor me here) will know that I am a Windows fanboy, particularly when it comes to Windows 7. Well a couple of weeks ago I actually did something that I would have thought unthinkable just a few months ago. I bought a Macbook. Sure, it was a lightly used one from a good friend, but it's still a Mac!

I don't have anything against Apple, in fact I love my iPod Touch and am looking to upgrade to an iPhone at the first realistic opportunity (it doesn't look like that's happening any time soon, but you can't take my dreams away from me). Generally, though, I'm not a big Mac fan. I've always said that Windows makes sense to me and Mac doesn't. Obviously that's changed a little bit now that I've had easier access to a Mac, but overall I'm still a PC.

The whole reason I even thought to buy a Mac was for podcast production. I produce podcasts in both standard MP3 and Apple's enhanced AAC formats. The best (but technically not the only) way to produce enhanced AAC podcasts is with Garageband, an application available only for Mac OS. I've always wanted a dedicated production machine anyway, so it made sense to use a Mac for that purpose. And I don't regret it one bit. I love my Mac for podcasting. Garageband is simple yet powerful and it allows me to do just about everything I need. My only reservation is that I prefer Adobe Audition's highly-customizable noise reduction engine to that of Garageband, but I've found a marginally annoying solution to that problem: I do all necessary noise reduction in Audacity before exporting the audio to Garageband for the final editing process.

But I have, of course, also used the Mac for everyday computing and compared it to Windows 7. I'll admit that OS X is better than I had initially thought. Once I forced myself to learn the OS, it was actually much easier to pick up than it had been in my past attempts. I found some good apps for my everyday casual computing needs. Probably the best is Tweetie for Mac. Since I first tried it the week it was released, I've loved it enough to want a Windows version. Sadly the app's creators atebits Software have said that they have no interest in developing Tweetie for Windows. That's a real shame and a major lost opportunity, in my opinion, but I digress.

The worst experience I've had on my Mac is ironically and without a doubt Microsoft Office. It's a nightmare! It takes a year to start up, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and blame that on my single solitary, lonely little gigabyte of RAM for now. Once the dock icon decides to stop its infernal bouncing and Word actually starts up, it's a complete mess. I can't use it to save my life. It's as if they took the Windows version, took it apart, and put it together again, except inside out. I hate it. A lot. I'm going to have to try OpenOffice (even though I hated that in Windows, but you never know) or use Google Docs as I've done on occasion in the past.

On a side note, I've been very happy with the Mac's battery life. My Lenovo Thinkpad's one-year-old battery gives me under 3 hours in the Windows 7 "Balanced" power setting, but I've been able to squeeze almost 5 hours out the Mac's two-plus-year-old battery when I really try.

All in all, I'm happy with my Macbook, but I'm still a Windows guy at heart. I'm writing this post from my Thinkpad, but when I record my podcasts later this week, I'll be using the Mac. And who knows? I'm not ruling Apple out anymore. They won me over with the iPod after a couple of years of resistance. Mac OS may win me over yet!

Frank Emanuele

I’m a proud Catholic, social media nerd, podcaster, musician, blogger, New Yorker & Community Manager at Likeable Media. I’m all about Superman, Star Wars & the Beatles! I love to express myself in the written word. There’s nothing quite like reading your ideas on a page (or screen, as the case may be) and knowing that others are reading those ideas and thinking about them. Please read, comment, and most importantly, enjoy! The content and opinions represented in this blog represent my personal views and not the views of my employer. For more info, visit