I bought the Mac for homework and studying. It will help in a couple of specific classes and will generally be better suited to portability than my other laptop. The only new revelation that came yesterday is that there is not a native client to for Visual Basic. While I realize that Visual Basic exists primarily for Windows programming, I'm sure there are programmers using Macs (poor souls) who at least occasionally need to do something with Visual Basic. The only way to get it to run natively on a Mac is to do the whole Boot Camp thing, install Windows on its own partition, and then install Visual Basic Studio in the Windows environment. I have the free space to do that (I'd need around 30GB free, and the Mac has around 85GB), but I don't really want to do that. I may consider just doing a remote connection to one of my Windows machine from the Mac. I think that would just be easier than going through a bunch more installations. And that's all that came up on day seven.
This all brings me to my conclusions. Let's summarize the past few days with a pros and cons list for the MacBook Air 13":
- Outstanding design and construction with premium materials
- Weight and profile thickness make it easily portable
- Solid hardware that can handle everyday tasks with ease
- The keyboard is comfortable to type on despite the small form factor of the laptop
- Surprisingly decent sound from a laptop
- Battery life is absolutely amazing and I have not had to take the charger with me once
- Initial setup is quick and relatively simple
- Instantaneously wakes from sleep
- Spaces is well implemented and incredibly useful, especially given the small amount of screen real estate available in this form factor
- Includes a lot of useful software that is more fully-featured than the included software you find in other operating systems
- Far more expensive than similarly equipped laptops of the same form factor constructed from similar materials
- The automatic brightness for the keyboard and screen are rarely set appropriately bright or dark enough for the environment
- Time Machine is not a robust backup solution and cannot take advantage of existing network shares without a lot of ugly "hacks" that do not result in a reliable, elegant backup solution
- Adding a true network printer is not a straight-forward procedure as it is on every other modern OS
- When it is needed, the cooling fan is far too loud
- The touchpad requires too firm of a click compared to other laptops I have used
- The OS is way too dumbed down. "So easy, a child could use it" is why I often refer to Mac OS as a "PlaySkool OS"
- Apple has sacrificed intuitive controls and easy access to things power-users want all in the name of "user experience"
- "Apple's Way" of doing things is often contradictory to what the rest of the industry is doing making OS X unfriendly for those who need to use multiple operating systems
- Outdated Microsoft Office suite (blame on Microsoft for this one)
At the end of my first week, I simply cannot recommend a Mac to anyone unless they have been lifelong Mac users that have never touched a Windows machine. The cost, the counter intuitive OS and it's inability to play nice in a multi-OS, Windows Server based environment are simply too much to overlook.
Now that my first week is over, however, I'm going to dig into a lot of the support documentation to set this thing up the way I really want it to work. Anything with code can be modified, even if it isn't always easy to do. So I will find workarounds for all of the things that annoy me about OS X. My only concern is that they may not be very elegant or robust in their implementation. I'll have to cross that bridge when I come to it, if only to keep my sanity in check. This is, without a doubt, going to be the computer I spend time with in class and for homework, so I need to invest the time to make it less irritating.
And that, my friends, is the conclusion of a Windows Guy Buy a Mac. I'd love to hear your comments and opinions on what I've written or on the MacBook Air 13". You can leave them on any of these entries, or contact me via twitter or facebook. And be sure to check out the "infographic" at the very bottom of this entry.
If you've linked directly to this final post and want to read the previous entries, here's some handy links (or you just click the header at the top of my blog to be taken to all posts):
A Window's Guy Buys a Mac: Intro & Day One
A Window's Guy Buys a Mac: Day Two
A Window's Guy Buys a Mac: Day Three
A Window's Guy Buys a Mac: Day Four
A Window's Guy Buys a Mac: Day Five
A Window's Guy Buys a Mac: Day Six
I stumbled across the following little gem the day after I originally wrapped up this series. Here's one easy graphic that properly summarizes what I spent the last week writing: