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Re: Mac conversion from PC

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Title: Re: Mac conversion from PC
There is a WORLD of difference between switching to Linux and switching to a Mac.  While Linux has come a LONG way toward being more friendly to the non-geek population, it is still much more attuned to the geek population.  There are lots of the geek population that dealing with Linux is “just like dealing with Windows”, but they have never been a “typical user” and never will be so they really do not get that perspective.  Linux is still tougher to deal with.

The Mac OS is in many ways more easy to deal with than Windows, although it is pretty close.  You will give a lot of hassles by going to a Mac that you tend to have to deal with on a PC.  But, you are correct that there will be a learning curve and some ineffeciencies when switching.  How much so will vary greatly from person to person.  In reality, the Mac OS and Windows are not really all that different for the “core functions”.  The “devil is in the details”.  Generally, I find it tougher for a Windows person to go to a Mac than a Mac person going to a Windows computer.  For example, Mac people tend to learn to drag-copy/move stuff in the Finder from Finder window to Finder window, where as Windows people tend to do that stuff by way of copy and paste, which is not available in the Mac OS.  Since the Mac user can do the same thing in Windows, they do not have a problem...but the Windows person will have to learn to do it another way since the copy & paste way is not available in the Mac OS.

As to programs, you should find very little difference at all.  Word on the Mac is pretty much identical to Word on Windows.  Now, there is a HUGE exception to this...with Office 2007, Microsoft introduced a “ribbon” interface, which is DRAMATICALLY different.  And since they elected NOT to all a user the option of turning on the old menu structure, you had to cold turkey learn a new interface.  The Mac version, however, did NOT go to the “ribbon” interface (thankfully).  But, there is a good chance that many people are still on Office 2003, which is not much different that Office 2008 on the Mac interface-wise.

Overall, how steep a learning curve will be highly dependent on the individual.  I know some rather computer phobic/illiterate computer users who made the change with no trouble at all, but that was likely due to the fact that they basically used the computer for three things...Word, email and web browsing...and the extent of their file management stuff was saving the Word files to the default folder that Word would save them to...and never used the Finder/Windows Explorer to deal with/move files.  I also know “regular” users who struggle with the change.  And I know others who have little trouble.  It is largely a function of how well people adapt and learn new things.  I would use myself as an example of how easy it can be, but then we all know that I am not “normal” (in more ways than one <grin>).


Adrian, MI

On 8/27/09 5:08 PM, "Jordan Truesdell, PE" <seaint2(--nospam--at)> wrote:

More to the point, switching to a Mac will not solve your PC issues (conflicts, errors, etc) overnight - it will simply change them for a different set, and you will be managing in a foreign environment to what you're used to.  I've dealt with macs a little, but not recently enough to discuss fine points. I've tried switching my home pc to Linux, and my daughter ran Ubuntu on "her" laptop (she's 7) for several months. This discussion comes up in other areas I play with (vocal work, voice overs) and there are always compatibility problems with Macs - as many as PCs, though that's anecdotal at best. Quite honestly, I haven't had a computer issue in my office (5 PCs and a server) for over 4 years. My software is backed up automatically, my network files are available when I'm out with laptop and don't have any wifi or cell service, and the one drive failure I had on our server was fixed and the office running normally in less than 30 minutes. I'm sure the same could be done with Macs, and I'm sure I would spend as many hours figuring it out as I did with my PC.

I don't know how you work, but you're looking at a steep learning curve and a good deal of lost time during the transition - just as you would with any software change. I would say the same to a Mac user considering Windows.  The better you are at managing Windows, the harder it will be to switch for work. If you've got a lot of time on your hands (say, 10 hours a week that's already spent with nothing to do during work), I'd say go for it. In three or four months you're likely to be getting close to where you were with a PC in productivity. Remember you'll want as much software native as possible, which means allocating S/W budget as well as hardware. A side note - at the level of machine we use as engineers, Macs are really no more expensive than 1st tier PCs, unless you're an insatiable bargain hunter (like me) and expect to get 50% off every time you buy something.

If you do it, however, don't pussy-foot around. Decide to do it and don't look back. That's how most failures start. Just remember to budget the extra time.


Grathwol, Albert wrote:
Our PCs work great- no problems.


From: SGE Structural [mailto:sgordin(--nospam--at)]
 Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 1:10 PM
 To: Seaint
 Subject: Re: Mac conversion from PC



The switch from PC to Mac will be a decision you are not likely going to regret. The reliability, usability, and security of Mac systems can significantly improve the day to day functions not just for regular consumers, but for structural engineering firms too. Almost all compatibility problems have been eliminated with the combination of existing Mac software and Windows virtualization products such as Parallels Desktop.

Eugene Gordin, EIT
Doctoral Student
Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of California, Berkeley <>

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