Just switch to Mac, already (updated for 2010)

We all have computer problems, and that doesn’t stop with Mac, but it sure gets easier. I find myself telling one friend after another to switch to Mac. Sometimes the objection is, “but I absolutely have to have Windows for my job” because of some Windows-only application or another.

If that’s the case, then you especially should get a Mac. Because face it, sometimes Windows goes south, and when it does, would you rather revert to the Windows machine you had yesterday that was running fine, or would you rather troubleshoot Windows for a week and still not know what’s wrong? Would you rather spend two minutes restoring yesterday’s virtual machine or two hours driving to a geek squad?

If you don’t need Windows apps, then you’ll be much happier on a Mac. If you do need Windows apps, you’ll still be much happier on a Mac, with Windows running as a virtual machine.

Meanwhile, just because you have one or two essential applications that are Windows only, that doesn’t mean you should have to put up with Windows software for everything else you do, like email, web, calendar, address book, photos, music, documents and spreadsheets, etc. Use your Mac for everything you can, and use Windows only as much as you absolutely have to.

You have at least two good choices: Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion. Both work pretty well and have roughly the same features. For me VMWare has worked a little better and the little problems I’ve had to figure out haven’t been as confusing on VMWare as they used to be on Parallels, but I’ve heard other people say the opposite.

If you want to try VMWare, I think this link will get you a discount. I’m not being paid for this blog post, but if enough people buy VMWare through this link, I get a $10 gift certificate to Amazon or something like that. But that’s not why I’m posting it–I’m posting this because I think people with Macs get more done.

My tech support policy for family and friends?

  • Mac: free, unlimited, anytime you can find me online or answering my phone. And since I can actually take over your machine and show you how to do things with screen-sharing in iChat, I can help you with your computer even if you live in New York. It’s a lot easier than the old, “Um, what do you see in the upper left corner, where it says File… can you click on the button that says…” routine, believe me.
  • Windows: you’re on your own, and next time please get a Mac.

So far my family and friends who have listened to me have sooner or later been glad they switched. Even my dad, who like me never admits when he was wrong about something, who fought this advice for years and finally got a MacBook Pro last year, who loves it. My mom was perfectly happy to make the switch and she loves hers, too. In a single year, you wouldn’t believe how many new things they’ve started doing (and enjoying) on their computers.

Why are Macs so much better? Because Macs make it so easy to do things—everything from basics like email to advanced tasks like photo manipulation and professional audio recording—that you will get more done. You’ll focus on your goals, not how to complete the tasks. Because things are easy, you’ll find yourself doing things that you never planned to do, like making custom calendars from your pictures. Like building websites. Like getting your finances organized. Like writing a book. Like making mix CDs for your friends. And on and on and on.

Still not convinced? Here’s my best argument. Go down the hallway of any office and look at the monitors on people’s desks. I bet you many beers that this is what you’ll see:

  • Windows displays that are covered with Post-Its with little reminders of how to do really basic things.
  • Mac displays that have at most one or two Post-Its, and they’re reminders about groceries to buy on the way home.