The Great OS Experiment

The Great OS Experiment

A celebrity CIO reviews the desktop operating system contenders in search of the next-generation office computer

SIDEBAR: Making the Migration

by Jason Snell

A Mac expert weighs in

I'd echo John Halamka's thoughts about running Windows on Mac hardware: Parallels Desktop is definitely the better option, and it generally runs well, but it has the occasional quirk. Users who buy a Mac should expect to spend most of their time using Mac OS X, not switching into Windows. For the vast majority of tasks, the Mac-native software will do the job. Windows is there if you need it, but most users view it as a tool to be used only when absolutely necessary, not as a major part of their Mac-using experience.

Web sites that require Internet Explorer for Windows used to be the bane of Mac users' existences, but these days most Web developers are building their apps using Web standards and testing for Firefox compatibility, which generally means they're compatible with the Mac version of Firefox (and sometimes with Safari too).

Halamka used a MacBook, which is Apple's consumer laptop. If he had been using a MacBook Pro (which might be a more appropriate choice given his expertise and title), he wouldn't have found himself needing a $20 mini-DVI adapter for his projector; the MacBook Pro has a standard DVI port and includes a DVI-to-VGA connector in the box.

The article makes Keynote sound like a "light" version of PowerPoint. My experience is that Keynote presentations actually offer far more options (in terms of transitions and slide builds) than PowerPoint does. I can always tell when someone is using Keynote, but that recognition is because of extra effects, not the lack of effects. It might be more accurate to say that Keynote doesn't offer the same effects as PowerPoint.

As a Mac user, it's encouraging to see that many of Halamka's complaints are the sort you'd expect from someone trying to make a transition from their familiar Windows operating system to the Mac's somewhat different approach. Although Mac users can rattle off the "Vulcan Death Grip" required to take a screen shot (Command-Shift-3) and know that on the Mac "right click" is synonymous with "Control click", it's not always obvious to new users how these things work.

Jason Snell is VP and editorial director of Macworld (Macworld's publisher is a sister company to CIO's publisher.)

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