Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

Started Nov 8, 2012 | Discussions
Bart Hickman Veteran Member • Posts: 7,256
You can cut and paste files on OS X

Tee1up wrote:

Mac and to some extent PC's are trying to move people away from managing directory/file structures and instead focus on using the various search tools to locate files. On the mac platform I miss the ability to cut and paste files (these structures are important if you do things like web work). Too often I find myself having to copy/paste and then going back and deleting from the original location. Not a big deal but I miss that.

On Windows you cut and paste.  On OS X you copy and move.  Select the file you want to move (cmd-c).  Then at the destination you do alt-cmd-v to move the file.

There are other semi-hidden functions like this which are revealed if you just hold the alt key while perusing the menus.

Bart

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Bart Hickman Veteran Member • Posts: 7,256
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

*sarcasm on*

I miss sharing violations.  Win7 is constantly telling me I can't move or rename something because it thinks some other application is using it.  On OS X this never happens.  Even if another application is editing that file it will immediately learn that the file has moved or been renamed.  It just does what I want--very boring.

I miss path lengths limited to 256 characters.  Nothing like having to change a bunch of folder names to something shorter just because Explorer can't deal with long path names.  I love it.

I miss unnatural and jerky scrolling with a trackpad.  Every Win7 app scrolls differently.  Vive la difference!  I really miss that.

I miss the unreliable search tool.  Sometimes it'll find what I'm looking for and sometimes, inexplicably, it has no frickin' clue.  Life is better with surprises like this.

I miss having to install Cygwin to compile open source software, and even then, I still have to search internet forums for clues on how to get the stupid install script to work.  On a Mac I usually just type the install script at the prompt and it works because it's Unix.  It's so boring.

I miss needing several button and tab clicks just to enter meta data for a file.  On the mac you just hit cmd-i and start typing.  Apple just makes it too easy to organize files!

*sarcasm off*

And actually I've been running Win8 for the last week and a half and most of these complaints still apply (I haven't stressed the search tool much yet.)  Of course these little problems aren't such a big deal by themselves--a minute here--a few minutes there.  But taken together they nickel and dime my productivity downward.

What I recommend you do is make an exhaustive list of the apps you use on Windows and then figure out which alternatives there are out there.  Personal finance; photo editing; time management; to do lists; outliners; note taking; games; drivers for you favorite gadget; etc...

If you might use your Mac at work, make sure your IT department won't frown at you.

Bart

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Tom_N Forum Pro • Posts: 12,400
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

Undah wrote:

danijel973 wrote:

The retinabooks (and 13" Air to a lesser extent) are the ideal photographer's laptops, at least IMO. Also, OS X works great on laptops; it is designed for specific hardware and there are no stupid glitches with suspend, wakeup etc. For a desktop machine, things are less clear because Win7 is very reliable and easy to live with as a desktop OS, so I don't see many reasons to get a desktop Mac instead of a good and much cheaper Win7 machine.

Is there a way on the Win7 side to get a monitor that's as good as the retinabooks?

Not in terms of resolution.  There are a few laptops on the Windows side that have lower-resolution IPS screens.

For instance, there are 15" and 17" HP EliteBooks that you can custom-order with DreamColor2 IPS screens.  I've heard tell of a Lenovo (sorry, forgot the model number) with a small (12" or 13") IPS screen.  I think someone even mentioned a PC UltraBook with an IPS screen – the review for it was kinder to the screen than to the rest of the machine.

danijel973
danijel973 Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

Undah wrote:

Thanks for all this. Lots of info here. I'll be referring back to this post for sure!

If I'm reading this correctly, a Logitech bluetooth mouse can be used on an apple computer and will give you the left click / right click functionality like on a PC?

Yes. In fact I have Logitech mouse and keyboard on a unifying USB wireless adapter and I occasionally just plug the unifying adapter into my mac laptop and both mouse and keyboard just work, with the same layout as in windows.

Logitech bluetooth mouse also just works on the mac.

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danijel973 Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

MtnGoatJoe wrote:

Undah wrote:

Thanks for all this. Lots of info here. I'll be referring back to this post for sure!

If I'm reading this correctly, a Logitech bluetooth mouse can be used on an apple computer and will give you the left click / right click functionality like on a PC?

There is something to be said of not having to be the 24/7 tech support of family members!

I have always preferred the trackpad on Mac laptops to those on PC laptops. Gestures and two finger scrolling are AMAZING! When I get my new iMac next month, I'm getting the trackpad to go with it.

I tried the new Lenovo Ideapad laptops in their store (I'm thinking of buying my kid one for birthday) and the touchpads are almost identical to the ones on my Air. The gestures seem to work the same, too - two finger scrolling, three finger swipe for prev/next etc. The entire thing is also clickable, as on Mac.

However their build quality is inconsistent - some 50% laptops I tried had a very flimsy click feel on the trackpad while the other half is great. Very substandard build consistency, nothing like Apple.

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OP Undah Veteran Member • Posts: 5,320
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

Bart Hickman wrote:

*sarcasm on*

I miss sharing violations. Win7 is constantly telling me I can't move or rename something because it thinks some other application is using it.

LOL, I get this one often enough!  It usually takes a reboot to fix it.

What I recommend you do is make an exhaustive list of the apps you use on Windows and then figure out which alternatives there are out there. Personal finance; photo editing; time management; to do lists; outliners; note taking; games; drivers for you favorite gadget; etc...

Good idea.

graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 5,564
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

Undah wrote:

If I'm reading this correctly, a Logitech bluetooth mouse can be used on an apple computer and will give you the left click / right click functionality like on a PC?

That's an incomplete answer. The complete answer is that due to the right-click support built into OS X from the beginning,any generic or brand name USB mouse will work on a Mac and have right-click functionality, as well as any other pointing device that has a secondary click function (trackball, Wacom tablet stylus, etc).

I've always used Macs, but I hate Apple mice. The mouse I use with my beloved MacBook Pro? The Microsoft Bluetooth mouse. I also have some cheap HP Bluetooth mice I picked up for $5 each, those work too.

You will find the heaviest right-click support in the Microsoft and Adobe suites for Mac. MS Word, Excel, Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. make very extensive use of context menus (right-click).

Context menu support is so pervasive on OS X that on a Mac laptop, you have no less than four different ways to bring up such a menu: Right-click, Ctrl-click, two-finger click, and the option of setting either the bottom left or bottom right corner of the trackpad to register as a secondary click.

OP Undah Veteran Member • Posts: 5,320
program not compatible.. Windows emulation?

Bart Hickman wrote:

What I recommend you do is make an exhaustive list of the apps you use on Windows and then figure out which alternatives there are out there. Personal finance; photo editing; time management; to do lists; outliners; note taking; games; drivers for you favorite gadget; etc...

I found a program, proshow producer, that doesn't work with macs.  It's used to make slideshows with photos and video.  Do makes have built-in Windows emulation?  Is it easy to find one that works well?

CameraCarl Veteran Member • Posts: 5,323
Apple Care!

I, too switched from a PC to an iMac four years ago. By all means do get Apple Care.  My iMac is about four years old and although AC has now expired, it covered three major repairs out of warranty.  My family's experience with Macs is that they are not as bullet proof as some have claimed.  Of three Apple computers in my extended family in the past five years, all three have needed major repairs. One laptop had to be completely replaced since it was so far gone that Apple decided it would be easier to replace it than repair it. Two iMacs needed new hard drives, one needed a new logic board. That iMac still periodically goes completely blank for no reason.  I'll be working on it and get a grey screen. No warning, it just freezes up and I need to force a restart to get it to work again.  There are no error messages and nothing in the diagnostics that allowed Apple technicians to replicate the problem or to figure out what goes wrong.  So get Apple Care and at least buy yourself some peace of mind.

Having said that, when this machine finally fails, I am undecided whether to stick with Apple or go back to PC.  My hard drives are configured for Mac, so I may stay with Apple, but my disappointment with Apple's inability to fix my computer while it was under the extended warranty, and the several hardware failures, would make me think twice about it.

Bart Hickman Veteran Member • Posts: 7,256
Re: program not compatible.. Windows emulation?

When I went to Mac, I basically said goodbye to Proshow Gold and all of the project files (just rendered everything to Quicktime). iPhoto has a decent slide-show tool built in which, it turns out, does exactly what I needed anyway, so I'm not missing Proshow after all.

If you think you need fancy slide show software then there's Fotomagico (probably others too.) Animoto is an online service that makes unique slide shows.  There are also about a dozen slide show editing apps in the Apple app store.

Bart

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Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Veteran Member • Posts: 8,609
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

justinrphillips wrote:

I found the switch pretty easy when I did it, and now when I am on a PC I find myself really missing gestures.

Gestures are great. I'm a big fan of trackballs but recently switched to a Magic Trackpad and love it. The trackball is a bit more ergonomic, and yes, it has programmable buttons. But, I find gestures with the MT much handier and more intuitive with just a little practice. The only thing I miss is the ability to assign a key click to a gesture or button. Perhaps there's a third-party trackpad driver out there that supports this?

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Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Veteran Member • Posts: 8,609
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

danijel973 wrote:

The retinabooks (and 13" Air to a lesser extent) are the ideal photographer's laptops, at least IMO. Also, OS X works great on laptops; it is designed for specific hardware and there are no stupid glitches with suspend, wakeup etc. For a desktop machine, things are less clear because Win7 is very reliable and easy to live with as a desktop OS, so I don't see many reasons to get a desktop Mac instead of a good and much cheaper Win7 machine.

The keyboard is somewhat different and you'll have to get used to that; the keyboard shortcuts are different than under windows. On a laptop you won't get home, end, pgup, pgdn, ins and del keys, but those functions are acheived with alt and cmd combined with cursor keys, and del is fn+bkspc. Except for the keyboard, I don't think you'll find the system all that different from windows, especially if you use Adobe software, which works the same.

As I often rely on my laptop when shooting on location, I feel that the ability to have two internal drives for 24/7 Time Machine and backup is a great advantage. No need to maintain and carry a portable drive with OS clone, data backups, etc. That's why I got a non-Retina MBP and replaced the optical drive with an SSD. My OS, apps, and (referenced) Aperture libraries are on the SSD, and the original HD is partitioned to hold an OS clone, a Time Machine volume, and a data volume to backup all my libraries and the photos I shoot on location. This way, if the SSD goes wonky, I can simply reboot from the HD and keep working.

Gotta have backup, especially on location.

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Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Veteran Member • Posts: 8,609
Don't forget Aperture

One advantage of a Mac is the availability of Apple's Aperture photo workflow software. Aperture is similar to Lightroom and runs only on Macs. My biz partner and I have used Lightroom and Aperture, and we both greatly prefer Aperture for its UI and non-modal workflow. You can buy Aperture though the online App Store (built into OS X 10.6 and later) for just $80. It's a big step up from iPhoto and well worth the money if you're an active photographer.

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

Bill Wallace wrote:

You won't need tech support as much. Get Apple Care when you buy, shop around you can get it a bit cheaper than Apple.

You can actually save quite a bit of money... The L.A. Computer Company meets or beats Apple's education discount price.

Applecare: http://lacomputercompany.com/cgi-bin/rpcart/featured.cgi?group=appcare

For example, Applecare for the 15" Retina MBP is $230 vs. $350: http://www.lacomputercompany.com/cgi-bin/rpcart/index.cgi?command=dispitem&type=sku&sku=10126

Stay away from eBay Applecare deals unless you like being ripped-off... You can buy extended Applecare any time during the first year after you purchase a Mac.

Also you'll save a ton of money on anti virus and os upgrades. Mountain something is something like $19.99 or 29.99.

Mountain Lion is $19.99.

As far as the new 13" Retina MacBook Pro goes... I agree with Ars Technica that it simply isn't worth the $500 difference in price compared to the standard 13" MBP. And since the 13"MBP is regularly available from Fry's for $999, the 13" Retina MBP makes even less sense...

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/11/13-retina-macbook-pro-review-more-pixels-less-value/

I have an early 2011 13" MBP and the new 2.3GHz i7 Mac Mini. (The $599 i5 Mac Mini is no slouch either....) I use a 24" NEC display with both Macs. Both Macs are very capable computers that handle CS6 and Aperture well. The only thing that I would add to either Mac is 16GB RAM and the excellent Power Support anti-glare film ($35) for the 13" MBP. The stock 4GB RAM isn't going to cut it for anything but basic computer use.  Since 16GB is relatively inexpensive it's a No Brainer. And increasing the RAM to 16GB ups the integrated GPU VRAM to 768MB.

I second the recommendation for David Pogue's excellent "Missing Manual" books. Check the table of contents at Amazon for both Mountain Lion editions to help you decide which book will be best for you.

graybalanced Veteran Member • Posts: 5,564
Re: program not compatible.. Windows emulation?

Undah wrote:

I found a program, proshow producer, that doesn't work with macs. It's used to make slideshows with photos and video. Do makes have built-in Windows emulation? Is it easy to find one that works well?

Macs can run Windows two ways. You can create a separate partition on your hard drive that has Windows on it, then reboot the entire Mac into Windows running off of that partition. This basically turns the Mac into a Windows machine and is called Boot Camp.

The second way is virtualization. You can run virtualization software like Parallels Desktop, VMWare Fusion, Virtualbox, etc. that can run Windows as another app running alongside all other Mac apps you have up. You can then run your Windows apps inside that virtual machine. This works much like it would if you already have experience running virtual machines under Windows.

VirtualBox is free, Parallels and VMWare are not, but all including BootCamp require that you have a Windows license to use on this installation.

I don't know of good alternatives to ProShow, nor do I have experience with it, but I think from these forums and others I have the impression that there aren't really any Mac equivalents. While many Mac programs can do slide shows, I keep reading that the lack of anything comparable to the feature set of ProShow is a major disappointment for many Windows-to-Mac switchers. You will probably have to run Windows in some form so that you can run ProShow.

The advantage of virtualization over Boot Camp is that you can run your Windows apps at the same time as your Mac apps, instead of choosing one environment or the other.

woodsrunner Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

The only thing I miss is Microsoft Visio, but not enough to go back to Windows.

noirdesir Forum Pro • Posts: 13,255
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?

woodsrunner wrote:

The only thing I miss is Microsoft Visio, but not enough to go back to Windows.

I assume you have had a look at Omnigraffle. It can open and export into the Visio file format, though it does not have exactly the same feature set.

Bart Hickman Veteran Member • Posts: 7,256
Omnigraffle has Visio beat

woodsrunner wrote:

The only thing I miss is Microsoft Visio, but not enough to go back to Windows.

They have similar feature sets, but in terms of raw productivity, Omnigraffle is a another good reason to switch to Mac IMO (for that matter, so is Omnifocus.)

Bart

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OP Undah Veteran Member • Posts: 5,320
Thanks to all of you - very informative thread

I'll continue to read every post.

Mark K W Senior Member • Posts: 1,657
Re: Switching from PC to Mac.. anything you wish you knew?
1

Since you are asking me if there is anything I wished I knew, well yes...

I got my first Mac, an MBP, 3 years ago. It is my every-day workhorse for image-processing. Basically it is very stable and has run fine pretty-much all of the time.

However, what I wished I knew was that Macs (or more specifically OS X apps) do crash, they do need software updates, and there are multi-fingered start-up tricks you may need to know to keep them running OK (like the NVRAM reset cmd-opt-P-R). They do it much less statistically than especially older Windows machines (I run Win 7 and XP machines also), but I certainly found Macs and their apps do indeed crash and need some minor help to get back up OK occasionally (all of which is documented around on Apple's site or other places). Nothing to be scared of or worry about, just they do do it.

So, so long as you do not think you are getting absolute perfection (as I found some would have me believe when I researched before buying) all will be well.

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