Saturday, March 22, 2008

Becoming a Apple Mac "Crack" Addict

After many years of convincing myself that I would never buy or use a Mac computer because PC computers were better, I have come to appreciate and realize what the craze is all about when it comes to the Mac platform.

I don't think I have been this crazy about a computer EVER. I think the only parallels in excitement and anticipation in waiting for my new 17" Macbook Pro to arrive would be the following: Since I first started developing in VB and ASP, Windows 2000 and 95, and when I got my 10 screen LCD Setup.

However, I don't think anything comes close because never have I spent an entire week thinking and researching everything about the platform and a computer, I currently have a serious case of MAC "Crack" Addiction as I call it. In the past week, I must have gone to an Apple Store at least 3 times, visited the Apple Store about 100 times (probably at least once and hour), talked about it at least once every 2 hours and checked on the status of my Macbook Pro every 3 to 4 hours :p.

For me, I would say it all started with the speaking to some of my colleagues at a contract I was working. Normally, I purchase a new PC or notebook at least every 6 months to a year, simply because the development work I am doing + virtualization always requires me to have a fast running machine. I have held of buying anything the last year (2007 was the only year I have gone through not buying a single server or PC) because frankly, there wasn't much change in the PC platform. We were using virtualization heavily and there was no new OS or major software changes on the market, and I had already bought my Vista PC back in December of 2006 along with my Dell Notebook.

So one of my colleagues had a Lenovo notebook on his desk, and I had always been the biggest fans of Lenovo / IBM thinkpads. In my opinion, Lenovo is #1 for PC based Notebooks, Dell is #2, HP and Compaq are #3. Stay clear away from Sony Vaio they are garbage from my experience but they look nice. Toshiba I have just never been a fan of although they are the best for Japanese notebooks.

I have always like the Thinkpads because they were the workhorse of notebooks, had the best design, had the mini keyboard light and had the best service and warranty (always 3 year). They were also the most expensive notebooks, which is why we went with Dell because Dells were the most similar to Thinkpads but were much cheaper. However one of the things I hate most about the Dell notebooks now are that they don't come with a built in microphone. Because I use my computer as an IP phone, this was a real pain in the ass and for the last 2 years, I have hated this the most about Dell Notebooks. Aside from that they were fine.

So continuing the story, I was admiring the Lenovo and telling them how much I loved Thinkpads, then my colleague goes "That's a piece of shit" you should get a Mac. So then I stared over at his 23" Screen along with his 17" Macbook Pro that was on his desk. He was talking about how much better the Mac was than the PC, especially now that it had the Intel processor. Just to give you some background, I had purchased a Mac Mini with the Core Duo platform about a year ago, and frankly I wasn't that impressed. The only reason I purchased one was because of the safari browser I was testing, and to let my kids play on a computer so they wouldn't touch mine. From Summer of last year, the Mac mini was basically put into storage and I thought I would never use it again.

After looking at the Macbook Pro on my colleague's desk something I told him about the features that I loved about the thinkpad. Particularly the little keyboard light you could turn on so that you can view the keyboard when it's dark. My colleague goes "that's lame, the Macbook Pro keyboard lights up when it's dark." It was at this point I felt something come over me almost like a turning point. I also saw the small wireless keyboard and all the features he was showing me. He also mentioned that PC World even mentioned that that Mac's run Windows faster than any PC based computers. It was at this point I actually considered maybe getting a Macbook for a notebook. However it didn't stop there, another colleague who was the IT Director was also a huge Mac fan and after speaking with him, I was sold. I had already known about the virtualization with Parallels and VMware, and being a very heavy user of VMware and virtualization, I was pretty comfortable running my development machine inside a VM.

What pushed me further though, was the March 6 presentation Steve Jobs gave about the iPhone SDK. My reaction to the iPhone before also was substandard because I had never liked the fact that the Apple platform was fun to develop on. With the opening of the SDK for the iPhone, now I was hooked into the iPhone because the iPhone is essentially a Unix handheld computer. What pushed me even further, was watching the video for Ruby on Rails. Apparently, lots of people use Mac as the platform to develop Ruby on Rails applications. Because I develop mostly internet application and have been looking at Ruby on Rails, this also made the Mac more attractive for me. Then I started thinking about how damn sexy the Apple equipment looked compared to the PC equipment as well as the user interface. I figured I spent about 10 hours a day in front of a computer, I may as well stare at the hottest looking piece of hardware on the planet.

From the technology perspective, I had already been using Ubuntu on one of my notebooks for the last 4 months, which actually probably helped in making me want to use a Mac even more because Mac OS X is based on a Unix Kernel. The problem with Ubuntu is that it was still relatively immature and there were still somethings I didn't like about it. The Mac however, seems to be everything the Ubuntu is but is more established and better supported commercially, which makes it great because it almost seems like I was searching for something and the Mac is it! There is virtualization, great commercial support, a huge user base and a solid OS.

Another part that also stood out for me was this article and excerpt from wikipedia:

For over three years now, Mac OS X has gotten faster with every release — and not just "faster in the experience of most end users", but faster on the same hardware. This trend is unheard of among contemporary desktop operating systems

This was crazy for me to comprehend because every time Windows came out with a new OS, you would need to buy hardware.

It was from this point on I started going nuts about the Mac. I started scouring the net for deals and I must give Kudos to Apple, they sure know how to control the market.

So in summary in my first week, I bought the iPhone, Macbook Pro 17 with the 1920x1200 resolution screen, a 30" Cinema Display and the wireless keyboard. I also took my Mac Mini out of storage and dropped 2GB of memory into it. I am currently writing this Blog from my Mac Mini because I haven't received my Macbook Pro yet.

If all goes well (Which I am sure it will), I will be purchasing 2 more 30" Displays so that I have 3 x 30" display, the new Mac Pro workstation - Dual Quad Core? CRAZY ( I am due for a Desktop workstation upgrade) and we will also be evaluating the XServe 1 U Server.

The major applications and tasks I will be doing will involve the following

1) Running VMWare Fusion - testing compatibility with moving virtual machines
2) Running Office 2008
3) Cisco VPN Client
4) Ruby on Rails Web Development
5) Connecting to Active Directory
6) iPhone SDK Development

My hats off to Apple, I think they are truly starting to transition to the Corporate space rather than just being consumer oriented. I am so excited to get my new Mac next week that I started using my Mac Mini today for all the tasks that I want to do on my PC. I will keep the updates on the progress of my move to the Mac. This is truly an exciting time in computing for Apple because their solutions are very well integrated as well for all PC users looking a change from their standard and usual PC usage.

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