Using Mac as a Work PC, the First 6 Months

MacBook ProAround four years ago, I migrated to a Sony Vaio notebook running Windows XP so I could be equally effective at the office, on the road, or at home. In the last six months I’ve been using a new 15″ Unibody MacBook Pro and am glad to say that, contrary to conventional thinking, they do make excellent work PCs. Since roughly 99.999% to 100% of our work is done in a browser anyway, it really doesn’t matter what I use. Microsoft Office for Mac is available, and for hardcore Mac guys, there’s always Open Office, which is free and works quite well. My notebook has a variety of applications and I can do so much more on this thing than I could do on a Windows PC. It’s not only funny, it’s eye opening. In all fairness, I suppose that you can do almost everything on a Windows PC that you can do on a Mac, it just takes more patience and clunkier software. Here are a few examples:

Photos
Since I only have one work computer, I obviously have some personal photos and music on my Mac as well. While I never really tried that hard to arrange photos in Windows, it’s a snap in iPhoto. It also syncs with my iPhone perfectly and allows me to organize photos for personal and work-related uses with incredible ease. You might say, “Well that’s not a work function,” to which I would reply, “Says who?” Photos are a big part of our marketing, web sites, branding efforts and the interactions we have with co-workers on a frequent basis. When I can snap a quick pic from my iPhone, sync it with my Mac and upload it to this blog, I just did a work-related task with my Mac and iPhoto. On Windows, you can do the same thing but it just takes longer. You need a separate application to edit photos (like Photoshop) and I’ve had difficulty with Windows discovering certain memory cards, not to mention the ambiguous method in which Windows uses to arrange photos.

Creating Content for Social Networking & Viral Marketing
Aside from the included software that comes with a Mac, I also have Final Cut and Logic Studio, which can be used to create, edit, and master anything from radio spots to a full blown movie. They fit into the workflow fluidly, making it easy to kick around ideas for viral videos or audio spots.

Presentations
This is not a fair fight because you can create a killer presentation in KeyNote, connect your MacBook to a projector, close the lid and control the entire presentation from your iPhone running the free Remote app. Windows, on the other hand, will crank out a mediocre looking PPT file and will have to be controlled at the PC. (Again, in all fairness, there might be a better way that I’m not aware of.)

I’m not much of a gamer but I understand Windows has a leg up in that department and is the clear winner there. But since gaming is a personal activity that should be done on your own time and not on work-related PCs, that’s a moot point.

Yes, I have Microsoft Office installed. Yes, we have a bazillion servers running Windows Server, and yes, we have a plethora of Windows workstations at both of our locations. It’s hard to get away from Windows even if you wanted to and Macs are expensive. It’s all relative and things to take into consideration but for me, it’s a no-brainer. I can’t recall the last time my MacBook required a reboot and I seriously cannot remember ever having an application crash. Even if it did, you would rarely have to reboot the Mac like Windows requires often times just because a program crashed. We’ve even kicked around the idea of integrating some Apple XServer servers into our upcoming Cloud Hosting offering.

Another Final Thought to Consider
As I have migrated from PC to PC, I have never been able to successfully carbon copy the entire Windows operating system from one hard drive to another without a bunch of stuff breaking or it simply not working at all.  Shortly after I bought this MacBook, the new 7200RPM, 500GB notebook hard drives came out and I had to have one. One Saturday afternoon I stopped by the store, picked one up, took it home, made sure Time Machine had run a recent backup, removed the old drive, installed the new drive (no tools required and it took 30 seconds), popped in the Leopard disk and it asked if I wanted to restore from Time Machine. Within two hours it was finished with no errors and everything worked perfectly. In the past when I’ve tried that with Windows, I knew my entire weekend was shot and I would eventually just have to install a fresh O/S, reinstall all applications, rebuild my preferences and then get my data back on there somehow. What a mess.

In my opinion, Mac is great for work environments and by the way, I’m not the only person using a Mac in our office. We also use them in our Marketing and Development departments.

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