Windows 2 Apples

Apple and Microsoft commentary from the perspective of a long time Microsoft user.

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Windows 2 Apples Episode 22

Posted by inetsynch on February 22nd, 2008

Audio player at end of text.

Now that apple has released a second major fix for Leopard, I'm trying to determine whether I want to spend the time and money and making the shift from Tiger. Other than the time machine function, which allows easy and apparently seamless automatic backups, I'm not sure there is much to be gained.

Unlike Microsoft, Apple conveniently allows users to install new upgrades on top of an existing OS. At first glance this seemed to be a very attractive option and possibly another reason to gravitate to Macintosh. However, many Mac users seem to have had difficulties when using this approach to upgrading and have to resort to what Windows users have been doing since day one of its release ... wipe the hard drive clean and install the new operating system followed by a reinstall of all of the various applications that you use and then crossing your fingers and hoping your applications are compatible with the upgrade.

The idea of wiping my hard drive clean and installing Leopard sends chills up and down my spine and has inspired at least one nightmare. Perhaps, I'm overreacting because of my previous experiences with similar upgrades to Windows computers. I have acquired quite a collection of small Macintosh applications and I'm not entirely sure that I can find all the original install files and required activation codes.

A reinstall of the applications that I commonly use is complicated by the fact that most have been updated at least three times since acquiring my Mac. Frankly, I had not expected so many updates and fixes to applications and the operating system. It has been a Deja vu windows experience.

Conveniently, Apple allows me to simply copy my existing operating system and all associated files to an external firewire hard drive, hopefully, giving me an easy way to reinstall Tiger if the Leopard update causes havoc to my system. Since Tiger is "simply working" and I've had no real need for most of the Leopard update features I suspect I will continue to put off the upgrade until I am persuaded that it is worth the potential angst of reinstalling my applications.

As I have noted in the past, a major advantage of the Apple operating system is the convenience with which one can make a complete backup of application files as well as the operating system. The Leopard operating system extends this advantage by offering the Time Machine option. Happily, my investment in the HP windows home server has put an end to my concerns about getting complete and frequent backups of all of my Windows PC Systems.

Additionally, our clients have been very impressed with the newfound ease with which they can now upload their podcasts and other large files. I highly recommend the Windows Home Server software and in particular the HP Some Server Solution to those with multiple Windows computers and or a networked collection of Windows and Apple systems. Although my Mac is limited to file sharing, the server makes it extremely easy to switch between the Apple and Windows machines when editing files.

Recently, I discovered OneNote 2007, a Microsoft office application that is given little press and is certainly not well promoted by Microsoft. Microsoft describes OneNote 2007 as "an electronic version of a paper notebook where you can write down notes, thoughts, ideas, scribbles, reminders, and all kinds of other information." The more I use OneNote the more dependent upon it I become and the more I wish there were an equivalent application for the Macintosh. OneNote has become indispensable to me as I create and manage projects.

This is yet another instance where I find the rich, almost overwhelming availability of Windows compatible software and applications a compelling reason not to make an absolute switch to the Apple way of doing things. I anticipate sometime in the not too distant future the gulf between hardware and software solutions available for Windows vs. those available for the Mac will become a non issue, but at present I simply can't envision abandoning Windows and completely embracing the native Mac operating system.

My experience with OneNote 2007 also highlights one of the major advantages of using Apple products. Apple has recognized that modern operating systems are visually based and has won well deserved kudos for its graphical user interface. Microsoft on the other hand has only recently, with the release of Vista, begun to smoothly integrate and make better use of a well designed graphical user interface.

I believe Apple's focus on creating a user friendly, attractive and intuitive interface inspired them to create a superb online library of video tutorials which make apple applications almost instantaneously usable. Microsoft on the other hand continues to rely primarily on dated and static pictorial tutorials requiring that Windows users seek video instruction from third party vendors such as Individual Software.

Individual Software produces an excellent series of Windows video tutorials under the Professor Teachers logo. Please don't confuse the Professor Teaches series with Video Professor frequently touted on television. The Individual Software product is far less expensive and requires no investment beyond the purchase price of the particular tutorial you are interested in. I highly recommend Professor Teaches to anyone struggling with the Microsoft operating system or applications.

Recorded using M-Audio Podcast Factory, Mixed with Mixcraft 3.1, Dictated using Vista Speech, Tag edited with JetAudio

Copyright Sam Caldwell


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  • Richard Rost

    Hopefully, Microsoft won’t start making GOOD tutorials for its products. It keeps third party vendors such as the ones you mentioned and myself in business! Then again, Microsoft always starts bundling new software with Windows - sometimes just to destroy competitors (Windows Media Player, then Internet Explorer, what’s next?)

    Richard Rost

    Thanks for your input. I don’t see the connection between software tutorials and Media Player etc. Online training and video tutorials are definitely areas in which Apple excels. At the moment there is a need for good video tutorials on OneNote 2007 and the Windows Live offerings. We are currently putting together a podcast series covering these applications. I should also note that there are many audio and video podcasts available for the Mac … some produced by Apple others by independent podcast producers.  Best of luck in your venture.  Sam  

    Windows 2 Apples

    Feb 28, 2008 at 4:29 pm
  • Anon

    You do not need to wipe your hard drive clean to install Leopard.

    Prior to installation, uninstall Application Enhancers and Input Managers if you have installed any in the past. The first will cause problems with installation, the latter will cause problems or simply not work. I would imagine that most Mac users don’t know what Application Enhancers are (like FruitMenu) or Input Managers (various Safari Extensions, the hack httpmail that allowed checking Hotmail from Apple Mail) and probably never installed any.

    Install Leopard with confidence with the traditional ‘Upgrade’ option on the DVD. I’ve had no problems at all.

    As for your love of OneNote, there are so many superior options on OS X that the list is too long. I personally use VooDooPad Pro. Try it and see how powerful it is. I like the ability to give depth to a todo or packing list, etc by linking items. I can then sync these lists with my iPod Notes feature. Then, when I randomly find myself in the hardware or computer store, I can browse the iPod for details of what I need to purchase.

    Don’t put any more of your eggs in the Microsoft basket. M$ products are built on a pour architecture. They often intentionally don’t let you export from their proprietary file formats in order to ‘lock’ the customer in. Viruses, price gouging, unreliability, cause problems to spin out of control.

    As a developer its easy to see that Mac OS X is superior architecturally. It’s built on UNIX and has a very stabile object framework called Cocoa that has taken 20+ years of good decision making to perfect. Microsoft will need that much time to start over. They have no incentive to improve given that they are a monopoly. Apple is eroding that in recent years however. Go into any café in Seattle or San Francisco and you will see nothing but Apples.

    Mar 18, 2008 at 5:59 pm
  • inetsynch

    Thanks for your feedback. Will put off Leopard a while longer as I see no Leopard required applications yet.

    Thanks for the tip on VooDooPad will take a peek at it.

    I disagree with your condemnation of Microsoft. They have earned some of the ill will but look at the huge range of products including complete computer systems supported and in some cases made possible by Microsoft.

    As far as locked goes, Apple locks down its software by requiring you purchase your computer from Apple … a wonderful position to be in when trying to produce stable systems.

    I have no special allegiance to either company and just use what works for my current needs.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Mar 18, 2008 at 11:39 pm