Windows expert to Redmond: Buh-bye

Scot Finnie says "sayonara" to Windows, but his search for Mac software continues

Editor's Note: This is the third installment of a series in which longtime Windows expert Scot Finnie gives the Mac a three-month trial as his primary machine for work and home use.

Bye-bye Windows! My three-month Macintosh trial has ended, but my permanent gig with the Mac is just getting started. Apple's MacBook Pro and Mac OS X are now my computer and operating system of choice.

If you give the Mac three months, as I did, you won't go back either. The hardest part is paying for it -- everything after that gets easier and easier. Perhaps fittingly, it took me the full three-month trial period to pay off my expensive MacBook Pro. But the darn thing is worth every penny.

What About Windows?

After hundreds of hours testing Windows Vista during its extensive beta cycle, I found myself wondering last year if it would turn out to be the best operating system choice for most people. That's when I decided to give Mac OS X a fair shake. In early November, I began a total-immersion trial of the Macintosh.

I started by making a brand new Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro 17 my primary computer. For a month before the trial officially started in November, and during the two weeks that followed, I worked on selecting products, converting data and setting up corporate software systems for my company, as well as finding solutions for personal use. Prior to my adoption of the Mac, I had one Windows computer for both business and home, so the Mac had to handle both sets of tasks too.

After living with the Mac for three months and comparing it with my Vista experiences, the choice is crystal clear. I've struggled to sort out my gut feeling about Windows Vista (see "The Trouble with Vista"), but the value and advantage of the Mac and OS X are difficult to miss. While I continue to work with Windows XP and Vista on a number of other machines, I am now recommending the Macintosh for business and home users.

Microsoft's marketing materials for a past version of Windows used the phrase, "It just works." But the only computer that tagline honestly describes is the Macintosh. Don't translate that in your mind as, "Yeah, so what, the Mac is easy to use." Any new computing environment takes some getting used to. The easy-to-use aspect is nice, but not all that significant. When Mac users say, "It just works," what they mean is that you spend more time on your work, and a lot less time working on your computer.

Note that my Mac runs Windows in the Parallels virtual-machine software, which I use frequently for a handful of specific tasks. The version of Windows I use there, and that I am currently recommending, is Windows XP. If you read "The Trouble with Vista," you'll see why I currently recommend XP over Vista. That recommendation may change at some later date.

I know that many readers will move to Vista anyway (as I have done on my main Windows PC). That's OK, as long as you go into it with your eyes open.

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