L ast Friday, I decided to end a long-term relationship. The decision was not made lightly and though I will still need to find a way to coexist, I am determined to move on. For well over 30 years, we’ve been together daily. We’ve enjoyed some very good times together and weathered some incredibly difficult ones. I realized last week that enough was enough and that it was time to move on.
Farewell Microsoft. This morning, I pen this post on a new keyboard wrapped in shiny elegance. The slim graceful silhouette of my new MacBook Pro adorns my counter in a youthful, sultry way. The differences are obvious the moment you begin to open the box. Yes, this device is a thing of beauty, a true work of art, but her compelling attributes run far deeper than her space grey metallic skin.
Simplicity. Consistency. Dependability. Respect. In the first few minutes of turning on the power of this Mac, her departure from the world of Microsoft and its version of computing become readily apparent. My HP laptop was barely six months old and huffed and puffed like an out of shape couch potato a mile into his first marathon. This little Mac fired up silently, effortlessly illuminating my new possibilities with a responsiveness that was only fantasy in my Microsoft world.
Perhaps I’m being unfair. Maybe I haven’t given Microsoft a fair shake. As I consider what brought me to this point, all doubts subside. I have had many, many Microsoft PC’s. Over the years, I noticed a disturbing pattern: I was replacing them almost annually. Why? Because they became unwieldy, unstable, and slow. Corrupt drivers. New software that caused mysterious issues. The painful experience of email and calendar managed through a bloated and temperamental product called Outlook. The troubleshooting options were endless and almost always led to the final solution: reset your system by reformatting your hard drive and reloading everything.
It is now 2018 and the best answer we can provide is to reformat and start over? In the latest indignity foisted upon loyal customers, Microsoft stopped asking if you wanted updates and started installing at its leisure – your only indication of their presence reflected in the bogging-down of your machine on a sporadic basis. I would be quite happy if the process was invisible but the fact that I notice at all means that something is not working ideally.
For me, it all came to a head over several days as my laptop choked on the latest update. My disk drive ran at 100% utilization every time I tried to use the machine. I spent hours searching for resolutions and testing them. Disabling this, deactivating that. I used to enjoy the troubleshooting game but I no longer have the time or the patience for it.
The final resolution? Leave the machine on for a day or two while the insidious “System” process ran incessantly, apparently indexing files or some other arcane activity for the “enhancement of my computing experience.” Thanks Microsoft.
Much has been written of similar experiences as users jump back and forth from these platforms. I’m sure Apple will offer me different challenges. However, as a long term iPhone and iPad user, I’ve already found that interoperability has come a long way baby. The Mac OS may be different but it seems that I’ve already been using versions of it and am pretty familiar with its nuances.
In one last fit of desperation, Office 365 sought to make the transition of Outlook onto my new Mac difficult. I spent a few minutes on it and then decided to simply use the email and calendaring tools from Apple. Farewell Outlook.
What lies ahead? Who knows? Maybe I’ll start attending Mac user conferences and put Apple stickers on my notepads or the rear window of a new all-electric vehicle. Perhaps I’ll just use this tool to serve our customers, respond to our employees, and occasionally pen a new post. The bottom line is that my days of troubleshooting Windows issues are done (well, mostly) and I’m ready to give Apple a chance to make things easier.
My first glimpse of my new Mac future? An unexpected FaceTime call on Saturday morning from my daughter and grandson that automagically appeared on the Mac as I was working away. Nice job Apple.