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Making the switch: A PC guy goes Mac

By Douglas Schweitzer
September 11, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - My first real experience with a Macintosh computer was back in college when I was taking Pascal programming. It would still be several years before Windows made its debut and up until that point, all the computers I had experience with were "text-based" using the DOS or CPM operating system.

With their more modern graphical user interfaces (GUI), the Macintosh computers at my alma mater were operated by simply clicking on screen icons using a mouse. While Apple didn't invent the mouse or the GUI, it was the first computer company smart enough to bring them to the masses.

But after graduation, I Iost touch with the Mac OS, having taken a job with a consulting firm that used IBM-compatible PCs exclusively.
Fast forward 20 years, plus an endless stream of service packs and patches later, and I eventually became disenchanted with Microsoft and its "buggy" operating system software. Don't get me wrong, Windows XP is a great operating system with excellent features and a plethora of applications available for it. Nevertheless, and most unfortunately, patches, packs and security updates seem to have become a way of life with the guys in Redmond, Wash.

As a result, I began my search for an easy-to-use and secure operating system, one that wouldn't become an exploitable target for the abundance of worms that have plagued the computing community. Having dabbled with several incarnations of Linux, I was somewhat comfortable with Unix-based systems. Unfortunately, I've found that Linux has a somewhat steep learning curve and it can be quirky at times, sometimes requiring hours of tinkering to get it to work the way I want it to.

Ultimately, my search led me back to Apple and its new Unix-based system called Mac OS X. After toying with the computer in the store and talking with the outlet's in-house Apple representative, I decided to give the Apple eMac a try. (The eMac is Apple's basic all-in-one model, sporting a 17-in. screen and a G4 processor.) A major factor that helped in my decision is that my Internet service provider now supports the Mac.

Douglas Schweitzer

After using the eMac for the better part of a month now, I can truly say that it's as fast, as stable and as secure as the Apple representative promised it would be. Immune to most malicious code currently in circulation, my new Mac comes with a vast array of built-in help files and for those with some computer experience it requires a relatively short time to learn and master. In fact, after only a week of use, I was able to pass Brainbench's MAC OS X Computer Fundamental test at the master level.

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