My trusty Windows laptop, weakened by security holes and virus attacks, recently crashed for good. Though my data was backed up, and I could have eventually corrected the problem, I must admit I was getting tired of the hassles that come with trying to keep a Windows laptop virus- and spyware-free.
I have the good fortune of also owning a Mac laptop, which I use to test Mac software, and I remembered something Walt Mossberg wrote in The Wall Street Journal in his Sept. 16, 2004, column: “The single most effective way to avoid viruses and spyware is to simply chuck Windows altogether and buy a Macintosh. Apple’s operating system, OS X, is harder for criminals to infect, and Mac’s market share is so small that hackers, virus writers and spies get little thrill, financial gain or publicity from attacking the platform.”
Though I’ve been thinking for some time about making the switch to a Mac, two things gave me pause. The first was a concern about cleanly transferring over my files and vast stores of data; the other was the fear of not being able to run Windows-specific apps. Finally, I decided to continue using a PC for work but to make a Mac laptop my primary computing system. To make my Mac as capable as possible of handling all of my normal computing tasks, I enlisted two products.
The first, Move2Mac, is a utility that easily migrates PC data, e-mail and image files from a PC to a Mac. The second product is called Virtual PC for Mac, and, ironically, it comes from Microsoft. It lets you run any Windows program on a Mac and does it very well, albeit quite slowly. If there is a Windows-only software product that I really need, I just use the Virtual PC for Mac to handle those tasks. However, 90 percent of the time I am able to work in pure Mac OS X mode, enjoying all the virtues of the best OS and GUI on the market. When it comes to enjoying a hassle-free computing experience, the Mac is a breath of fresh air.
The Mac also saves me money on the road. Apple’s iSight video camera allows me to hold voice or video conferences with my wife, or to call my son’s home and see my granddaughter as often as I wish, for the cost of the hotel’s broadband or a Wi-Fi connection; there’s no need for a VoIP account, since I connect through AOL IM, which is basically free. On a recent trip to Tokyo, the iSight was my main form of communication with my office as well, and it saved me a bundle in avoiding international calling charges.
Plus, when it comes to design, Mac laptops are undeniably cool. When I take my 15-inch Titanium PowerBook to meetings, people immediately ask me about it and, in essence, drool over it. They love the screen and the keyboard, and though most will continue to use PCs, you can see they would love to have a Mac if they could.