OSX Observations

OSX Observations (Original image from Unsplash.com)

I mentioned in my previous entry about buying a MacBook Air, and I am now here to share my thoughts on it. As a long-time PC user since the late 90s, I had struggled quite a bit with using OSX. I’ve been fiddling around with it for the past week, and I’ve had to learn this operating system. Despite some of my frustrations, I will admit that OSX is a lot easier to handle than the time I tried out Linux several years back! Moving on, here are some of my observations.

Touchpad is not for me

I never got used to the touchpad on Windows laptop and my Chromebook. The MacBook’s touchpad and I didn’t agree, either. This led me to using my mini-USB wired mouse, which I feel gives me a lot more control, and it’s just easier for me.

The scrolling direction has driven me crazy

When I used my mouse, I use the scrolling wheel and discovered, to my dismay, that the way I scroll down on a PC was making everything go up! I tried to adapt to it, but I only grew more frustrated. This led me to look carefully in the preferences and I saw something about natural direction scrolling. I chose to be unnatural, and voila! That solved my scrolling problem with the wheel!

Command key is forever disabled

Being a keyboard shortcut person, I am used to using the CTRL key. Mac’s COMMAND key and I rebelled against each other, and I was not about to change years of muscle memory for that one key. Ergo, I changed my modifier key to be the CTRL key on the MacBook. It’s not exactly placed the same on a Windows PC keyboard, but it’s a much better alternative to the COMMAND key! I hope the FN key will be a modifier key option in the future!

The function buttons placement confuses me

By function buttons, I mean the minimise, maximise, and exit buttons on the left. I’m so used to them being on the right in Windows, so them being on the left is one thing I’m still trying to acclimate to on the MacBook.

iTunes and QuickTime can stay far away

My dislike for Apple back then was due to iTunes and QuickTime being a major pain on a Windows PC. I realise that those were what really soured my experience with Apple. Now on a MacBook, I still refuse to use those. I might seem a bit irrational here, but I really have no use for those two software despite my hatred for them.

Sticking to Mac-only apps will not work

I was excited to try out apps like Day One, but then I realised that I wouldn’t be able to access them on my PC! Sure, I can use those apps on my MacBook, but when I am at home, I prefer my desktop PC. Ergo, I need to use apps that are not restricted to one particular platform, like Evernote, Google Apps, and et cetera. I do make an exception to using one Mac-only app, and that’s my next point!

iMessage is a gem

I am liking the fact that I can use iMessage on my MacBook, meaning I have an actual keyboard to use to type messages to people! I absolutely hate typing on my iPhone, but now I can write long messages on my MacBook! Along with Twitter and KakaoTalk, I am happy with my messaging options.

It’s faster than my Chromebook

My beloved two-year-old Chromebook only has 4gb of RAM, but the MacBook has 8gb and that makes a difference in performance. In fact, my MacBook’s performance is comparable to my desktop, but only in terms of browsing online, checking email, doing blog-related tasks, and messaging people.

It’s heavier than my Chromebook

My Chromebook weighs 2.2 pounds (0.96 kg), and the MacBook Air weighs 2.96 pounds (1.35 kg). In numerical terms, the differences aren’t much, but when I am holding the two, I definitely feel it. The heaviness isn’t a bad thing, but I do wish the MacBook were a bit lighter!

The screen is okay

The screen on my MacBook Air is okay for what I need to do. But there are some tasks that aren’t suitable on that screen. Things like photo editing and whatever gaming I do, it will be on my desktop, which is a lot easier to see on a 24″ monitor! I do admit to wanting that Retina screen, but I’m not forking $300+ for that!

AirDrop is awesome

Along with iMessage, I am loving AirDrop! Using that to transfer photos from my iPhone to the MacBook is so convenient! I adore this feature, and it will be handy when I travel and have to sort out my iPhone photos!

Overall, I like the MacBook Air

Despite my gripes, I do like my MacBook Air. I think it was a good investment, and I think this machine will be more useful to me as time goes by. It’s definitely faster than my Chromebook. I will always favour Windows PC as a desktop, but for a portable laptop, I think the MacBook Air is the way to go! To conclude this post, I want to thank my friends who have helped me with this should-I-buy-a-MacBook dilemma and recommending me their favourite apps. I may not have gone for them, but it was fun to see what their favourites are :)

Comments

  1. I started using a Mac for the first time this year when I started this job (somehow I got the job to FIX macs without having ever used one… I guess it helped a little bit that my boyfriend was working for Apple at the time and taught me the basic shortcut-key combos), and as a life-long PC user and Apple hater, it was a strange transition, but now I can’t live without some of the little features like the 3-finger-swipe to different windows. The styles are nice too. I have 15 Inch Mac Book Pro (older generation) for home work use, and 13 Inch Mac Book Pro (newest generation) for office work use, and can really tell the difference in capabilities between the two.

    You mentioned the weight for Macbook Air… Yeah I was really surprised at how heavy it was, compared to a Macbook Pro! It’s actually bigger than a Macbook Pro, and only slightly lighter… Though obviously MUCH lighter than my HP Windows machine.

    The Macbook is VERY light though (only 2.03lbs) and SUPER tiny and thin.

    I’m still learning/getting used to the special features (like AirDrop!) and I hope soon I’ll have all the ninja techniques figured out so can use it efficiently… XD

    Reply
    • I actually did my research and considered the MacBook Retina for its lightness and its Retina screen. But I decided that it wasn’t worth the $300+ extra for it. The MacBook Air isn’t that heavy, but it just feels that way because I am used to my Chromebook’s size and weight. XD;;

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  2. Switching over from PC to OSX can take a bit of time but you’ll get used to things in no time! I still get mixed up between my ctrl/command keys, haha. Glad you found ways to reconfigure the settings so you’re super comfortable with using your new laptop.

    I love how Macs work and everything but I hate how you need OSX-compatible apps. Haha, this means no gaming for me XD. At least there are other alternatives as far as apps go? Hey, on the bright side, at least there are fewer viruses on Mac computers ;). You got yourself a solid device!

    One day, we will have feather-weight laptops! Just give it 30 more years XD. Shoot, I wish my work would give us Macs because I’m lugging around a thick Lenovo every day. Glad to hear that you like your MacBook Air overall! You did a lot of research and thinking between the two and I feel like you made a good decision overall. I rather have slightly more functionality than retina at a lower price but that’s just me XD. I would prefer a Windows desktop as well. Definitely spending 3x less than the Mac Pro and still get kickass specs XD.

    Thanks for sharing!!

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  3. Hey Tara! Sorry I didn’t get to return your comments back sooner, but here I am *waves hello*

    Welcome to the Mac/OSX family! I’ve been using Apple since I got my first laptop, which was their Powerbook G4 – their laptops have come a loooong way since. Anyways, yeah, it does suck with most OS X apps because they only operate solely on OS X platforms and it can be a hassle for people who use both Windows and OS X.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying your MBA though despite some things that could be fixed. APPLE FOR LIFE hehehehe

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  4. I’ve often wondered how easy it would be to swap to OS after using WIndows for so many years! This was a great summary of everything – I sometimes use Matt’s Mac and knowing that I can swap to unnatural scrolling will be a lifesaver!
    I’m still a Windows person, but I’m always impressed by the longevity of Macs. Matt has had his for years with no issues – I hope yours lasts you a long time, too =]

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  5. Congrats on your new laptop! The Macbook Air is soooo nice. One thing I like about my Macbook (compared to Window laptops) is how long lasting they are.

    I also agree that the touchpad is annoying aha. I don’t really like using it on either a Mac or a PC LOL. I like the feel of a mouse! It’s cool how you adjusted a few features on your laptop so that you’re more comfortable using it. I never even thought about it that way and usually force myself to adapt to the differences xD

    And I also feel you about the Mac-only programs. Or even vice versa. I had bought a 1TB drive from the Apple store once and discovered it only works on Mac systems. I had to buy a program so that I could use the drive on both my Windows and Apple computer :/

    I’m glad you’re liking your new computer compared to your Chromebook! It’s nice to treat yourself once in a while.

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  6. Yayyy welcome to the Apple family! Congratulations on your new laptop! :) I’m using a Macbook Air too and I agree that it’s a good investment :D

    I started using Apple computers in 2009, when my desktop PC died on me lol. I never looked back since. Sure, I also experienced some of the stuff you mentioned (I can totally relate with your experience with the Command key lol) but after some adjustment I grew to love it :D

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  7. Haha welcome to the world of Apple! I gotta agree with you on some of those points and I guess the rest is because I switched to Mac 7 years ago and just got used to over time! :P

    I definitely struggle with the scrolling direction and with a Mac mouse you can’t right click or scroll down!!! I’m left-handed so I just scroll with the touchpad, but I can’t actually use it as a mouse. I don’t use a Windows mouse because it’s stiff and unnatural for me as a lefty who doesn’t know how to use a left-handed mouse.

    iMessage is the best because I also hate texting on my phone. All my Android friends I message them on Facebook!

    I thought you’d find it hilarious to know that I had Kaokaotalk on my phone earlier this year because my girlfriends from my new church used it for group chat – I think most of them were Korean, not all. But then it took too much space on my phone so I deleted it, hehe.

    The main reason I stuck with Mac is because it was a lot faster than any Windows PC I owned, and my parents did not want to spend a fortune on those when you could get the cheaper but slower versions.

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  8. I find using the touchpad doesn’t work well for everything. If I’m pixeling, for example, I also need my mini-USB mouse. Otherwise, it’s too erratic and causes a mess.

    iMessage seems like what I do with Google Voice—how convenient!

    I love when friends can help me make wise decisions based on their experience! Sometimes it’s more helpful than navigating the technology blogs, which use a surplus of tech jargon I’m forever going to be confused by. It’d be much easier if they could have a paragraph at the end that, like, explains it for n00bs and says, “This is what you need: ____” and tells me the exact thing and place wherein I can find it, and offers up other applicable options. 😅

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  9. It was really interesting reading this! 😊 I also was on Windows for years before I got my Macbook Pro Retina back in 2014, I agree that I was having difficulties getting used to the touchpad and scrolling direction. HAHA, it drove me nuts trying to get used to it! But after using it for a while, my brain has adapted to it and formed those new neuronal connections and now it’s literally just second nature 😆 I’m currently looking at getting those trackpads (but they’re so expensive gah!!) because I dislike my mouse!

    I quit using iTunes ages ago, it was super frustrating back when I used it on my Windows laptop/PC. I stream all my music from Spotify now ✌🏼

    YESSSSSSS at the AirDrop feature. IT IS THE BEST. I’ve been able to drop files (quite large ones like videos etc) easily and it’s awesome because I don’t have to upload it on to Google Drive to then download onto my phone anymore (which used to be SO annoying!!) IT’S AWESOME!

    Another thing I love about AirDrop is that I can drop photos to other people’s phones without losing the quality which happens on WhatsApp/FB sometimes.

    Glad to hear that you’re enjoying your Macbook anyway! <3

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  10. I feel like the preference on the scrolling direction is really split. Like half of my coworkers keep the default, and the other half changes it. Whenever I’m on another coworker’s laptop, I’m not sure what to expect, haha. I thought it was weird at first, but I have to admit it felt natural to me when I’m using the touchpad or magic mouse!

    The command key was definitely something to get used to. I’m able to switch between Mac and Windows easily now, but the command key is still an odd location to me. It’s not as natural as the positioning for CTRL I feel like?

    Most of the apps I use aren’t Mac specific. I think most of the Mac specific apps I have are for programming. It’s nice that most things are compatible on both Mac and Windows now!

    I’m glad you’re liking your MacBook Air! I think I like both Mac and Windows equally. Each has their own pros and cons :)

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  11. I’m not a Mac user. Still… not a Mac user today LOL.

    But I have thought of purchasing a Mac for (future?) work-related purposes (namely for development, etc.). I have used Macs before for work years ago, and there are a lot of things (many of them you listed) that I never really got used to. That Command key was annoying for me.

    I don’t have the budget to purchase a Mac myself, they still cost me an arm and a leg. A laptop would be nice and keep my desktop with Windows 10.

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  12. Welcome to the MacBook family, TC! Hahaha! I never had a laptop of my own even during my college years (I just borrowed Mom’s whenever I can). When I got a job post-college, and can finally afford (to pay for credit card bills), I got myself the 2012 MacBook Pro, and I haven’t looked back since.

    It did take a little getting used to, but I got the hang of using it in no time. Now I pride myself for being knowledgeable with both Windows and Mac that I don’t mind switching between the two OSs for work and personal use. :)

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  13. If you like Day One or wanted to try it out, there’s actually a really great alternative to it called Journey. It’s cross-platform, so you can use on a Mac, PC, Android, iOS, even web-based :)

    Reply

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