How to Switch Part Two: Where To Start?

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By: switchtoamac at: 2:59 PM on January 4, 2006 | Comments (0)
Where to Start?
Clearly, Macs are showing up more and more in everyday places.  Perhaps a family member, friend, colleague, or classmate has recently switched and you want to understand what encouraged them to buy a Mac.  Perhaps you're seeing more people using Apple products and want to know why there's so much Apple and Mac buzz these days.  Perhaps  you've made the decision to purchase a Mac but need some help on how to move forward.

If any of these situations apply, you need to start thinking about and answering a few or all of the following questions:

  • Do you have some questions about Macs or simply want to learn more about what today's Macs have to offer?
  • Are you a Windows user tired of the PC platform?
  • Have you had enough of Windows' security holes and vulnerabilities?
  • Are you willing to free your computing experience of viruses, spyware, malware, malicious code, and exploits?
  • Are you ready to start enjoying your computing experience?
  • Are you ready become a more productive computer user?
  • Are you ready to become a more knowledgeable computer user?
  • Are you ready to leverage today's digital lifesytle with ease?
  • Do you own an iPhone and/or iPod and considering purchasing your first Mac?
If you've answered yes to any of the above questions, read on!
Why are people switching to Macs?
There's no doubt that over the past few years, numerous people have switched to Mac.  The trend shows no signs of slowing down as evidenced by Mac sales metrics.  Macs are all over the place and so too are other Apple products including the iPhone and iPod.  So why are people switching to Macs and ditching Windows?  Why are Apple stores always packed with shoppers?  Clearly, the Mac's ease of use, value proposition, and flexibility are driving many of these people to purchase Macs.  Macs run the easy-to-use cutting edge Mac OS X operating system that is the most modern operating system for today's computing lifestyle.  Mac OS X users are able to devote their time to actually getting stuff done thereby increasing their computing productivity.  This increased productivity is a byproduct of Apple's end-to-end model of designing both hardware and software.  Furthermore, Macs are the most flexible systems on the market as they are the only computers that allow users to simultaneously install Mac OS X and other operating systems on the same computer.  This can be done via Apple's Boot Camp software or with virtualization applications.  This flexibility has allowed users to continue to use other operating systems as they ease into the Mac transition.  Many users have bought a Mac to minimize their outlays in that they can rely on a Mac to run Mac OS X and alternate operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Sun Solaris.

Mac OS X - an overview
Mac OS X is the operating system that runs on a Mac and according to Apple, it's the "world's most advanced operating system". It offers an ease of use, simplicity, user interface, and experience that is not found in any other operating system. Mac OS X makes it very easy for you to be productive and have fun at the same time.
The Macintosh experience begins with and is centered around the Mac OS X operating system. With its solid UNIX foundation, Mac OS X is the most secure, stable, and Internet capable operating system for today's computer needs.  Mac OS X offers many features and capabilites not found in the numerous flavors of Windows, Linux, or other UNIX variants.

Today's cyber threats range from viruses, trojan's, spyware, malicious code, arbitrary code, pop-up ads, and security vulnerabilities. As a result, today's computer user needs a safe, secure, and stable computing environment.  This is more true given today's Internet-centric computing lifestyle.

Mac OS X was initially released on March 24th, 2001. OS X 10.5 known as Leopard, represents the current version of the operating system. The upcoming Mac OS X Snow is slated for release sometime in 2009.

Darwin is the core of the OS X operating system. Apple designed OS X around UNIX, the industrial-strength operating system originally developed by AT&T Bell Labs. For you techies, Darwin is comprised of two major components: Mach 3.0 and BSD - Berkeley Software Distribution, particularly FreeBSD. The Mach kernel, originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University, manages the tasks and processes that run on a Mac. The beauty of the Mach kernel and thus Mac OS X is "Protected Memory", where the operating system gives unique space in memory (RAM) for each running application/program. The benefit of this implementation is that the operating system will not allow applications to share memory space. In other words, one application cannot use the memory space that is utilized by another program or the operating system itself. This provides an inherient crash-resistent safety mechanism.

This contributes to the safe, secure, and stable computing environment mentioned above. When applications and programs are isolated from each other and run in their own chunk of memory and if the application crashes or becomes unstable, Mac OS X doesn't require a restart! All you need to do is either let OS X shut the program down, manually quit the program, or kill the "process" under which the program is running. As a result, the program will cease execution and OS X will clear it's memory space. The benefit is that the other programs running on the sytem will not be affected. WOW, what a difference from Windows. Too often do we see a program running in Windows lock up and the likely outcome is an unusable system or a system crash, better known as the "blue screen of death" (BSOD).

UNIX has historically been a "command line" operating system where users send commands to the operating system via a terminal. Although Mac OS X is UNIX at the core, Apple created the beautiful and easy to use Aqua interface. Windows users will feel at home in the OS X environment which makes the switch that much easier.  For those of you wanting a more in depth read on the architecture of OS X, read this from Apple.

Viruses and Spyware

Windows users exposed to the Internet are well aware of the viruses, spyware, malware, and hacker's goals of attacking and compromising PC's. Microsoft, the company who created the Windows operating system, urges users to install anti-virus programs, software firewalls, and other security software because they understand that Windows has several inherent security vulnerabilities that make an unprotected Windows computer system easier to compromise.

How does a computer user who wants to leverage the vast benefits of the Internet and the digital age avoid viruses and spyware? The answer, switch to a Mac. As of this posting, there are no viruses written or spyware targeted at Mac OS X. Furthermore, the vast majority of viruses floating around are written to exploit the Windows operating system and if one of those viruses were to find it's way onto a Mac, it would be incapable of infecting OS X.

Combine this with preceeding write-up on OS X, it's easy to see that Mac OS X is not only more secure, but is also the operating system of choice for the Internet. With Apple's vast collection of Internet based software such as iTunes, iPhoto, iChat, Quicktime, Safari, and Mail, the union of a safe, secure, stable, modern, and easy to use operating system with the benefits of the Internet is not only possible, it's a reality.

An Enjoyable Computing Experience - Macs are easy to use
Windows based systems require that you spend a lot of time and effort to keep them secure and operational. With Macs and OS X, you spend your time working which in turn leads to productivity and an enjoyable computing experience. With Mac OS X, less time is spent securing and protecting the operating ystem and computer.  Your time is focused on the issues that matter most; getting things done and having fun.

Mac OS X allows users to enjoy their computing experience. With OS X, Apple has made using a computer fun again. In fact, Macs by their nature of running OS X enable a today's digital lifestyle.  With a vase collection of easy-to-use applications, you'll get things done with ease and interoperability.  With Safari, it's easy to surf the Internet. OS X has made it easy to transfer photos from a digital camera into iPhoto. Once uploaded, you can easily edit and organize those photographs. You can easily trasfer your home movies to iMovie. You can edit and create your own DVD's with iDVD. You can easily share your moments with family and friends by uploading your photos and movies to MobileMe. You can quickly create a personal website with iWeb.  You can communicate with the world via email using Mail or participate in a video chat by using iChat. You can purchase, download, and organize music and movies with iTunes. You can keep that music on your Mac, load it onto an iPhone or iPod, or stream it wirelessly to an AppleTV. You can create and record your own music with GarageBand. With Spotlight, you can find your documents and files with ease. OS X provides the tools and ease of use for today's fast paced lifestyle.

Computing doesn't have to be a headache.  By using a Mac running OS X, you'll find that using a computer is what it should be, a fun and enjoyable experience. Thanks to Apple, we have a choice.  Using the questions outlined at the beginning of this article in conjunction with the overviews presented, you're likely to want to learn more.  You can do this in numerous ways.  You can visit your local Apple Store, talk to current Mac users and recent switchers, and continue to visit our site as a resource.

How to Switch Series

We encourage you to read the entire How to Switch series.  We currently have eleven articles and plan to revise and expand the articles in the near future.  We also have a guides section as described below.  If you have any suggestions, please post a comment or drop us a line.

Switch To A Mac Guides

Be sure to visit the Switch To A Mac Guides for a collection of guides that provide overviews, descriptions, and tips that describe Mac OS X and Mac OS X applications.  We also have descriptive write ups on each consumer Mac model, the MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.  You can view the complete list of guides here.

  • July 24, 2006 - Content revision and modifications
  • August 15, 2006 - Content revision and modifications
  • March 22, 2007 - Added links to Switch To A Mac Guides
  • April 11, 2009 - Content revision and updates

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