Feeling good after feeling so bad, or, Why can’t Microsoft do this?

Stick with me here.

I have sleep apnea. I didn’t know I had it for a long time. Every morning I woke up exhausted, usually with a headache. My tongue would be all dried out and felt like it had been in an old wool sock all night. My wife didn’t get much more sleep than I did since I snored loudly. She finally spoke with a doctor she worked with who was a sleep specialist. He got me in for a sleep study that night.

About 4 hours into the study they put a CPAP machine on me because I wasn’t breathing much at all. I slept better in the 4 hours I had that pump on than I had ever slept before. I got my own machine the next day and following one night with that I woke up feeling better than I had in a long time. I had felt so bad for so long that I didn’t realize how bad I did feel until I felt better. Feeling bad was normal until I found out what feeling good was like.

That is how I feel using my new MacBook Pro a little over a week. This is after using Microsoft Windows machines since I started working with computers. I “get it” now. I refused to look at Apple for a long time. This is because I did not want to be mistaken as part of the mob. Those rabid Apple followers who buy every shiny thing that Apple makes…

I love the Onion

When my latest computer died recently, I decided to look around for something new. My computer usage has changed since I started using them, and I don’t need to run Windows like I did in the past. I decided to give Apple a look.

Going to the Apple store to speak with someone about a new computer is daunting. In the city where I live the store is always crowded. Fortunately I found a lady to help me who did a great job telling me about the machine, how they are different and so on. The thing she kept stressing to me was all the possibilities that opened up for you. I bought a MacBook Pro and took it home. I have been enjoying myself ever since.

The first thing that struck me was during setup. I use Google apps for calendar and mail. Setting up Outlook on a Windows machine is a multi-step effort. You need to read settings from the Google mail page and then copy those into Outlook. It was such a pain that I usually didn’t even do it and would use the Google mail interface exclusively.

This time, I decided I was going to go all in on Apple. During the setup, I was asked about email addresses and I entered a couple that I use all the time. The setup then asked me if I wanted to let Apple keep those credentials and I answered yes. By answering that one question, the Mail, Contacts, and Calendar applications all synced up to Google on their own. I was in business! This floored me. If Apple can do that why can’t Microsoft?

Next was my printer/scanner setup. Since I was a Windows guy from way back, I never thought about any of my peripherals being compatible with Mac at all. No worries as it turns out, just one click and my Epson XP-810 was up and running. Crazy!

Why can’t Microsoft make all this as easy? Seriously?

The next thing I worried about was key mappings, you know, cut, copy, paste, etc. I was happy to find that most of these which I use all the time are the same as they were on Windows. Most of the time you just sub the command key for Ctrl and you are good to go. Delete works like backspace and fn + Delete works like delete on Windows. Most answers to questions I have are a single Google search away. I still haven’t gone in and let the folks at the Apple store show me everything so I have that going for me as well.

Browsing the internet was a concern. I have used Chrome for a long time but like I said, I decided to go all in Apple. That being the case, I decided to go with Safari and see how that went.

It’s going great!

I like Safari’s Reading List. I am a long time Evernote user. In the past if I didn’t have time to read a page I would just save that page to Evernote to read later. Now I don’t need to do that. I just add the page to the reading list and it’s there waiting whenever I get to it.

I also love the Safari Reader. My favorite extension for Chrome had to be Clearly (by Evernote). This extension stripped all the content from the page that wasn’t the actual text of the page I was reading. Unfortunately, Evernote recently did away with Clearly. The functionality is still available, part of Evernote’s web clipper extension (as “Simplified article”). I find though that I don’t need the extension for this at all. The same functionality is part of the browser as Safari’s Reader and I use it a ton!

Here is a browser window without Reader

Here is the same browser window with Reader

So much easier to read!

Safari is quick and I haven’t come across anything it doesn’t do just as well as Chrome. To this point, I am a happy camper.

One of the possibilities that Apple opens up is the built-in ability to capture video from your desktop. On Windows, I used Snagit (a third party tool) to create “how to” videos and the like. After a quick google search, I found that I can do the same thing on the Mac just using the Quicktime video player. I don’t need a third party application!

I find that what I want to do is often “built in” to my new machine. This is so common that I now do a Google search first to see if what I want to do is available natively. Most of the time I have found that it is. The applications I have installed are task specific and I would not expect to find them built in. These are applications such as Blender, Lightroom, Evernote, Scrivner, and others. But tools that I had to pay for or download to get things done in Windows came out of the box with the Mac.

So, after just a week or so, I get it. I was captive to a bias that came from being a long time Windows developer. I limited myself by not wanting to appear as another pathetic sheep following the herd. But now I can say again that I never knew how bad I felt before, now that I feel so good!

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