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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Au Revoir, Mac OS X

18 months ago, I bought a MacMini. My travails were numerous, and occasionally, quite the bother. But I liked the Mac Desktop experience, and I liked the idea of running a UNIX-based OS underneath that glitzy UI.

But many things were wrong:
  • My cheap $100 Panasonic KXP-7100 wouldn't work on it. The duplex feature of the printer was something Lisa loved, and though we swapped in a Brother printer, she screamed and screamed until I brought it back. This meant that I had to run VMWare to print anything.
  • I discovered that Quicken on the Mac was unacceptably bad, so ran VMWare for that too.
  • iPhoto was too slow for my tastes, so I ran VMWare for Picasa.
  • Firefox kept crashing on Mac OS X, whereas on my work laptop running Windows XP, Firefox stayed up for days.
  • I had to run VMWare to load my Garmin GPS up with maps.
  • Similarly, my Logitech webcam wouldn't work with Mac OSX.
  • Ditto, my blackberry.
So I was basically keeping Mac OS X around for the nice desktop experience and Firefox and iTunes. But the last straw came when I bought an Infrant RAID array. The Mac talked to it just fine, but for large files, it would randomly disconnect. Furthermore, while the Windows box had an option to automatically reconnect to my Infrant box on login or startup, Mac OS X had not such option. Yes, I could edit /etc/fstab, but that's ridiculous for an OS whose reputation was for ease of use.

So there I was in this parallel universe from the one Mac users seem to love and talk about. My Mac was having all sorts of random problems, but Lisa's Windows box (and my VMWare Windows XP install) was happily churning away, taking all sorts of abuse. My Mac felt slow, but Lisa's laptop was happy. She'd complain about slowness every time she had to use my Mac, but we had pretty much identical hardware. Ok, my Mac had 2GB of RAM.

So today, I wiped my hard drive and installed Windows XP Pro on my Mac Mini permanently. What a relief. Picasa is so fast! Firefox is so fast! So au revoir, Mac OS X. Hello again, Windows XP.

What this experience has taught me about myself:
  • Others care a lot about coolness. I just want my computers to work with the hardware I buy. And price matters to me a lot. I'm not willing to buy a $600 printer just to get duplex when my $100 printer is working just fine.
  • I'm just a contrarian by nature. When everyone else wanted SUVs, I wanted a Mini-Van. Now everyone wants a Mac, I like my Windows XP. My switch back to Windows probably means it's time to buy Apple stock.
  • I can't imagine paying the premium for a Mac again. Next time, I'll build the machine myself or buy a beige box. I'm just not cool enough to own a cool computer like a Mac.

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