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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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Heresy From the Lips of a Windows Programmer.


My day job is running a software company that produces programs that run under Microsoft Windows.  All but one of the computers in my office are Wintel machines.  There is one very old iMac, which I received for free, and use to verify that our newer web-based applications (including Conservativity) run properly on that platform.  Well, recently, my wife got an offer that she could not refuse:  a free iMac G5.  Of course, being the geek, I was recruited to set up this machine, which runs OS X from Apple.  What was entailed in this setup?  Plugging it in and turning it on.  Done.  Score points for Apple.  Hooking up the printer?  Connect it and turn it on.  The iMac immediately recognized the printer and there was not even one configuration window.  Easier than pie.


"I got to play with Apple’s vision of the personal computer.  I was astounded."


Later. my wife wanted word processing, and my school-age daughter needed it.  So she bought Office 2004 for the Mac.  This also installed with the same amount of ease that a program installs into Windows.  Then I got to play with Apple’s vision of the personal computer.  I was astounded.  I had thought the older iMac to be aimed squarely at the novice, with no way to make life more productive for compugeeks like me.  I also thought that Apple had not bothered to think through office productivity as Microsoft had with every OS since Windows 95.  My tour of Apple OS X has changed my mind and my life.

I had known for some time that Rush Limbaugh was a loud voice of support for Apple computers.  He touted their resistance to almost all viruses and spyware, and noted that they were far easier to use than the average PC.  I disagreed with Rush.  Now I see that Rush was, as he is over 98.8% of the time, right.  OS X is an incredible adventure in ease of use.  There is a fully-adjustable favorite programs/running programs bar at the botton of a 16:9 ratio wide screen (yes this iMac will play DVD’s when you insert them).  Safari, Apple’s answer to Internet Explorer, is a true joy to use.  Tabs and multiple windows empower the user to control his or her internet browsing experience.  It’s not perfect.  For example, if I am accessing Paypal, and type in my password and press the submit button to log in, Safari ignores that until it loads all of the images onto the web page.  It should, when the submit button is hit, immediately abort all work on the page and send the submit to the web site.  But, the benefits outweigh the single drawback.


"I also found, ironically, that Office 2004 for the Mac is an outstanding and fully-compatible adaptation.  Microsoft is obviously not trying to screw over Apple in terms of applications compatibility."


I also found, ironically, that Office 2004 for the Mac is an outstanding and fully-compatible adaptation.  Microsoft is obviously not trying to screw over Apple in terms of applications compatibility.  I was easily able to load and edit Word documents from my Windows computers, Excel was a joy, and Entourage is easily able to access email from my remote Exchange server.

Back to Apple’s work of genius, iTunes is of course plug-compatible with iPod, and is easy as pie.  As I stated before, one thing that annoyed me about older-generation Macs was their lack of office productivity, for example, easy keyboard shortcuts and rapid program access.  OS X solves both problems elegantly, and delivers a superior user experience to Windows XP, which delivers a superb interface.  OS X, which is getting an update, named "Tiger," on April 29, is presently the leader in personal computing user experience.

This is heresy for a Windows geek.  At this time, Apple reigns supreme.  The iMac G5, not a very expensive computer, is head and shoulders better than the best Windows XP machines.  Not only are they attractive works of art, but the OS makes them the paragon of ease of use.  I am now considering an Apple computer for my desk at work, provided that I can still work with Windows to do my programming.  Should I be expecting Steve Ballmer to come burn this heretic at the stake?  I hope not!