It is amazing how often people say that Mac’s just work. I found that to be true for the initial things, but once I went beyond the software that was included on my machine, I found myself lost and confused, and feeling very limited in what I could produce.
What was a dock, and how do I switch applications? Why aren’t applications closing when I click the red dot?
I was lucky, as my transition into the world of OS X was met with much community and friend support. Everyone wanted to share a tip with me. It was a fun feeling, but really not all that different than the world of Linux.
The big difference between my experience of Linux and OS X is that everything I wanted to do on my Mac seemed to need more paid software. Nothing good was free on the Mac. While I don’t mind paying for a few things, it seemed like everything I wanted to do other than browse the web needed another piece of software that set me back a few dollars. This made me want to go back to the free and open source world of Linux.
After some poking and prodding, I was able to find all the applications I needed. Installing them was a breeze, and my dock quickly filled up. I had to resize it, and only keep the applications I use on a daily basis on there. Sometimes I would remove a file and the next time I clicked on the icon in my dock or desktop, it would put a question mark. What had I done? Seems like I removed the application. Oops…
Navigating the administration panel called System Preferences, was relatively simple, but it didn’t feel like it was giving me all the “power user options”.
Disorganization is killing me. Despite having some great ready made folders for music, documents, pictures and the like, I found my desktop getting cluttered, and made a “stuff” folder on my desktop to clear off my desktop. I should put a better organization system in place, but I haven’t yet, and like Linux, I feel that the directory structure isn’t as easily understood as it should and could maybe be.
Don’t get me wrong though it is not all bad news here as the included applications are amazing. Photobooth is especially fun. It actually is the most social application included with OS X. It allowed for hundreds of hilarious pictures of friends and family, and became one of those things that people were actually interested in buying a similar machine just for the fun of using Photobooth.
When I first tried playing one of my xvid files, it tried to play it in Quicktime, and of course that didn’t work. I tried adding the codec, and still wouldn’t run. Thankfully VLC was easy to install, and worked great.
Another piece of software that has taken over my life is iTunes. Something I almost never used on my Windows machine. I am a huge Democracy fan, but iTunes on OS X just works well, and it’s included. I have since switched to iTunes, and don’t think I could go back to using any other piece of software to manage my video and audio podcasts.
Overall the software on the Mac is very nice looking, but it could use more free and open source software. I also think that there should be a better system for finding great software for OS X.
While OS X works well, it doesn’t “just work” like some believe. I had issues, and many stumbling points, but thankfully the community makes up for it in spades.
I think if Windows had such a bright, focused and friendly group of people helping with every issue, then maybe there would be enough of a reason to use Windows, but with OS X and Linux having such strong communities, I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to gain market share faster than Windows can fix its mistakes.