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Opening the eyes of a PC user

April 11, 2009


I originally wrote this a few years ago (in June 2005) for an old blog I used to have, and I just stumbled upon this again today. I am going to re-post it here in its entirety, because it still holds true today. In fact, it is even MORE true today.

I’ve been an expert Filemaker and Mac consultant in Austin for as long as I can remember, but yesterday was truly a magical day for me as I trained a PC user on her first Mac ever.

I spent the entire day training my friend Jessica on her brand new iBook G4. Jessica just switched from the PC to the Mac after a lifetime of using PC (and after much urging from me). And I gotta tell ya, it was as incredible for me as it was for her — to see the Macintosh through somebody’s eyes who had NEVER seen it before was just amazing.

You know, lifelong Mac users such as myself really don’t know how much anguish PC users go through — they are all having such abusive relationships with their machines and they don’t even realize that it doesn’t have to be that way. Jessica was having so many crashes & freezes & viruses, she always had to struggle with drivers whenever using new hardware (hell, just figuring out the confusing array of downloaded files was enough to drive her crazy), she was always challenged with resizing photos before emailing them to people with small mailboxes, she always said that she had “bad luck” around computers. She & her officemates had always spent weeks trying to come up with a good-looking publication in Microsoft Publisher. They had always tortured themselves to make good-looking PowerPoint presentations but then dreaded the fact that they would have to configure the projector & the system preferences for hours in the hopes that they could actually display their presentations on the big screen.

Within the first hour of using her new Mac, Jessica realized that her life was about to dramatically change for the better.

She practically cried when we plugged in her digital camera and iPhoto automatically recognized her camera & imported all of her photos — WITHOUT ANY DRIVERS. She couldn’t believe it when she created a presentation in Keynote in less than 5 minutes that looked a zillion times better than anything to come out of PowerPoint. She plugged it into a projector, and it just WORKED. She couldn’t believe that her machine slept automatically when she closed the lid, that it woke INSTANTLY from sleep when she opened the lid… couldn’t even believe that Apple spent enough care & time to have the little power connector change colors to let you know whether your battery was charged or not.

She couldn’t believe how she started a professional newsletter in less than 3 seconds in Pages, and how it was all integrated with her iPhoto collection, and how she could just drag-and-drop images wherever she wanted and the text just flowed around it. She created her own hardbound coffee table book in iPhoto in 2 minutes, too.

She couldn’t understand how Apple includes the wonderful iLife for free with all new Macs. iLife is a suite of award-winning creativity programs that all work seamlessly with one another on the Mac. It would cost a fortune to cobble together something similar on the PC, and it would never work as seamlessly on the PC.

She was shocked that PDF creation is built into Mac OS X for FREE — with no need to purchase the very expensive Adobe Acrobat Professional. That’s right, you can create a PDF file from any Mac program for free — it’s all built into the operating system. Likewise, you don’t have to download the bulky & slow Adobe Reader just to open a PDF file. Again, PDF viewing & manipulation is built directly into the Mac operating system.

We signed her up for a .mac account (this is now known as MobileMe), and when she published a website of all of her photos in less than 1 minute, she was awestruck. When her address book & bookmarks synchronized to Apple’s website, she was in heaven. She understood the importance of iDisk immediately, and said that she could now throw away her JumpDrive.

And Exposé just blew her away: with one simple keyboard command or one simple mouse movement, she could conveniently see all of her open windows shrink down to little thumbnails on her screen. She could also use Expose to show her the desktop at any given time.

She flipped out when she saw Dashboard and started downloading more widgets immediately (and couldn’t believe that they just auto-installed themselves without any intervention on her part), and she couldn’t believe that Apple’s Spotlight search feature instantly updated itself as soon as she received a new email from someone.

She was thrilled that all of her Microsoft Word & Microsoft Excel & Microsoft Powerpoint & Adobe Photoshop files that she had created on her PC worked seamlessly on the Mac. I had assured her that they would work perfectly, since those files are completely cross-platform (i.e. they work exactly the same on both Mac & Windows). You can send almost all files (not just the ones listed above) back & forth between Macs and PCs all the time.

And she appreciated all the little touches that Windows users never get on their side of the fence — the fact that Apple’s Mail icon simply shows you the number of new emails that you’ve got waiting for you, or the fact that you can just drag-and-drop attachments onto the icon and an email is automatically composed for you. And that you can automatically resize photos smaller right from within Mail! Or the fact that Apple’s menu bar shows you the status of your battery life at a glance, and that you can tell your battery’s status even when the machine is turned off. Or the fact that you can control the volume & the screen brightness right from the keyboard!

And I didn’t even have time to show her how the new Dictionary is integrated into the entire system, how Fast User Switching would enable multiple people to share her machine (each with their own personalized experience), or how Apple makes backups simple with their automated Backup software.

All of this, and she’ll never have any crashes, freezes, viruses, error messages, nothing.

It was one of the most amazing, magical days I have ever experienced… and I have been doing this a really long time.

Steve Jobs has really done something absolutely amazing here. Just truly magical. Just totally inspirational & beautiful. Why ANYBODY would EVER use a PC is beyond me.

And to think that it’s only getting better as each day passes.

4/11/09 update:

I hadn’t spoken with Jessica in a while, so I just checked in with her yesterday and asked her if she is still a happy Mac user. I should’ve known better, because I noticed that she was actively using Apple’s MobileMe to publish web galleries of her photos. This was her reply:

“Yes, of course I am still a Mac user! Most of the family is addicted to them thanks to you and me…but mostly thanks to you.”

Aww… what a sweetheart. 🙂

And by the way, today there are over 550 more software & hardware innovations that Apple has added to their Macs (such as backlit keyboards, multi-touch trackpads, 2-finger scrolling, built-in webcams and built-in videochatting, magnetic power cords for laptops so if you trip on the cord your laptop doesn’t go crashing to the floor, keyboard control of iTunes, Time Machine backups, QuickLook, Spaces, the Sudden Motion Sensor, a media browser in all open dialog boxes, and much more), so the innovations listed above almost seem quaint by today’s standards. The most recent 300 software innovations are listed here.

In fact, the greatest innovation of all may have been Apple’s switch to the Intel processor in 2006. What this means is that ALL WINDOWS USERS are now WELCOME to join the Mac family, because — if you so desire — you can now run Windows on your Mac at 100% full speed. So if you use a specific Windows-only application or play a Windows-only game that you just can’t live without, never fear. You can run ALL of your Windows programs on a Mac as well. The Mac is the only computer that lets you run Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X all on the same machine. More details here:

I love that Apple keeps raising the bar of technology, and truly cares about making life easier & more fun for all of us.


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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2009 5:12 AM

    I remember reading this back then – you know, I still don’t have a mac and I still don’t have even the quaint stuff. My computer throws exclamation points at me, and tells me I have to hunt down drivers (you guys really don’t do that, huh?). Politics, getting screwed over by the elite, the media.. that all makes me feel alive. Microsoft depresses me.

  2. April 11, 2009 9:58 AM

    We need to find drivers every once in a while for nonstandard accessories.

    But for most common devices like printers, digital cameras, voice recorders, videocameras, hard drives, USB Flash drives, ExpressCards, FireWire cards, USB & FireWire hubs, MP3 players (both iPod and non-iPods), cell phones (both iPhone and non-iPhones), and more… no drivers. Just plug the device in.

    The Mac is TRUE “plug-and-play”, not whatever Microsoft wants you to believe that “plug-and-play” is.

  3. April 11, 2009 12:44 PM

    You’re gonna convert me to a Mac… I just know it!! lol

  4. April 11, 2009 2:46 PM

    Haha… Shane, my man! It is a great honor to have you here reading my blog! I just started reading yours and it is phenomenally engrossing. Thanks for being here. (And I’m gonna work hard on your conversion! 🙂

  5. April 13, 2009 5:08 PM

    These are such great vids too. The best thing (after Steve Jobs’ presentation style and the flat out innovation) is the ENTHUSIASM of the crowd! People aren’t clapping like Pavlov’s little puppies, like the Party system at the State of the Union Address – or most tellingly, the way they do at a Microsoft Ballmer presentation. Remember “Developers Developers”? In shots of the crowd, a lot of the audience had their arms folded, slightly irritated at ‘forced enthusiasm’. And a lot of the people actually participating were just clapping with dull expressions on their faces. People don’t need Ballmer screaming “COME ON! COME ON! YEAH!” They don’t need to be cheer-led. Somehow Jobs manages, in a reasonable tone of voice, and getting right to work, without nonsense, to inspire genuine enthusiasm – people can’t help themselves.

    Do you have the full “Developers” link? I can’t find it and I want to post it. I found that talk by Ballmer (“talk” used loosely) so telling. The flat response by the crowd – as I remember it – was slightly horrifying. And he spent a full 15 minutes or more fake-pumping the crowd, and even when he got to business it was in very general, un-detailed propaganda. The difference between letting an artist and a salesman run the company.

    This is a great presentation – Mac should have this on their site.

  6. April 14, 2009 8:44 AM

    Herbert, your wish is my command.

  7. April 14, 2009 2:50 PM

    Haa – I meant the *full* vid – there used to be a link to a very long cut of the incident – I think it should be called an incident – on Youtube or something. I love when he gets winded 10 seconds in and he’s just saying “VELopers(clap) VELopers(clap) VEL(clap)… VEL(clap)… (clap)…(clap)…(no more clap). This is no way for a visionary to behave. Which is the point, of course.

  8. April 14, 2009 8:56 PM

    Yeah, you know… I remember seeing that video a long time ago too! I wonder why I can’t find it anymore!

  9. May 1, 2009 2:40 AM

    Because it was highly embarrassing for the CEO – which is not great for a CEO, or for the highly visible event.


  1. Steve Jobs vs. Steve Ballmer — with bonus music videos! « ScottWorld Blog
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