Those who know me well are probably questioning my sanity right now and wondering if hell has frozen over.
In the late 80’s, my first real computer was a Tandy PC, running DOS. Along with a durable dot-matrix printer, It got me through high school, and my first year of college. But in 1993 I bought a Mac. At the time, it blew away anything Microsoft had to offer. I was the envy of my dorm brethren. I stuck with Apple through the 90’s as Windows dominance grew.
I never liked Windows 95 or 98, or the early versions of Windows XP. The classic Mac OS , and then the futuristic OS X blew away Windows in my opinion. OS X kept getting better and better while Windows still suffered from the same flaws year after year, though XP slowly improved. Eventually, in the past few years, XP solidified and stabilized, and importantly, hardware got cheaper and more powerful than ever, which helped. Vista of course was a dud, and while I enjoyed OS X, I pitied those stuck with Vista, and even those sticking with the more stable XP, though I understood why they chose to stick with XP over Vista.
Then, everything changed.
Last year, Windows 7 was released. I used it for a bit, reviewed it, praised it. I still had no reason to switch though from from my nice iMac running OS X.
Then, disaster struck.
My iMac started suffering an array of hardware problems, requiring 5 trips to the Apple Store over the course of several months. Everything was covered under AppleCare, but it was a time-sucking annoyance. I ran Linux on my netbook in the meantime, and then eventually I inherited an older Macbook at work, and have been using that in the field, but it’s not sufficient to be my main machine at home.
Circumstances continued to unravel in unexpected ways.
My wife’s old Powerbook died, and around the same time I came in to possession of an excellent Dell tower that someone was getting rid of, for free. It made sense for me to give her the iMac, and for me to use the Dell, which I upgraded with additional RAM, new hard drives, a good video card, and nice display.
For several months I ran Ubuntu (Linux) on that Dell tower.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ubuntu. Someday it could be a true competitor to OS X and Windows, and in some ways, it already is. But I eventually came to the realization that I needed certain apps that would simply not run in Linux, and the idea of dual-booting, or the prospect of Hackintosh-ing OS X on the Dell just wasn’t appealing to me.
So, I installed Windows 7, and I’m not looking back.
So far, it’s a real winner.
It runs very fast and solid, doesn’t lag, doesn’t crash. I still have my Macbook which I use for work, as I need OS X in the field due to job requirements. But as I jump between my Dell tower running Windows 7 and my Macbook running OS X, the difference is clear. Windows 7 feels fresher, more modern, and sleeker. Incredibly, Microsoft didn’t screw this one up. OS X works well, but it’s starting to feel stagnant.
I once was a fan of Apple’s “all-in-one” seamless experience with their OS being tied to their hardware. There are positives and negatives to such an approach. Lately for me though, the negatives seemed to outweigh the positives.
The so-called “Apple Tax” – that extra cost for Apple hardware, doesn’t seem worth it when it comes to putting together a powerful workstation. The variety of PC manufacturers means more competition and lower prices. This is an old pro-Windows argument, I know. But Windows has never been this good. OS X always seemed worth the Apple Tax to me, but Windows 7 is the first, truly great version of Windows, and the appeal has won me over.
I think being open-minded with technology is the best path.
Some tools work better than others. I love my iPhone, and I love Ubuntu on my netbook. I like having my Macbook in the field because it can run OS X as well as Windows, both of which I need for work. But for my primary PC at home, the time has come for Windows 7 to rule my desktop.
It just makes sense.