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Switching to Mac: A Love Story

June 29 2011

I have been an entrenched PC user all of my life. Right or wrong, I've been very vocal about my objections to Macs:

  • They're unnecessarily expensive.
  • They're unrealistically exclusive.
  • They're difficult to use.

And then, yesterday, my PC crashed – for the tenth time. As one of my fabulous teammates valiantly went to work on my crippled Sony Vaio, I was allowed to maintain my productivity with a borrowed MacBook Pro. And so it began.

After a fair amount of groaning and griping, I went back to work. I was pleasantly surprised to find all of my favorite Microsoft Office programs already installed. I could still use Word! But when Word opened, I saw that it looked different. "Ha," I thought, "Here's confirmation that switching to Mac is going to be difficult."

It wasn't.

In fact, I found the interface of Word for Mac even easier than Word on Windows. Sure, there were several little quirks I had to get used to. For example:

  • Ctrl + C to copy and Ctrl + V to paste have been replaced with command + C and command + V. The "command" key is in a different location (instead, the "fn" key on my MacBook is where the "Ctrl" key was on my PC). I learned this the hard way after highlighting multiple paragraphs and having them replaced by a single letter "c" instead of copying them. Then I learned CTRL + Z which undid my mistake and made me uber-happy.
  • Like my Android Smartphone, programs keep running, even if I close the Window. I need to train myself to actually quit the program (CTRL + Q). But I also noticed that, on a Mac, it does not noticeably slow the computer down to leave them open.
  • The filing system works a bit differently than my Windows filing system. However, I actually liked Mac even better once I got used to it. I loved that my downloaded documents were in such an easy-to-reach spot. I really had to hunt for them on my Vaio.
  • The mouse pad works differently. In a good way. After a day or so, I was swiping, scrolling, and clicking like a maniac. But there were certainly some rogue moves to begin with.
  • The "delete" key on a MacBook actually functions like the "backspace" key on a PC. For the functionality of the PC delete key, I discovered that I needed to hit fn + delete.

I spend much of my day in Word. I'm a copywriter after all. The vast majority of the rest of my day is spent on our publishing platform. All the kinks I kept running into on my PC when I went to publish our (fantastic) content were completely erased.

Oh, and while I'm writing several articles in Word and publishing articles on our site, I'm also editing screenshots in Gimp, taking notes in TextEdit, watching a webinar, checking my email, and creating Excel spreadsheets to keep myself organized. On my PC, I was endlessly frustrated by trying to navigate between these multiple programs. On my Mac, however, I can use Exposé to quickly find what I want, even if I've got 6 or 7 things going on.


Advice for Agents Looking to Switch from PC to Mac
Before you buy that Mac, it's crucial to be sure that all of the tools you need will work on the Mac operating system. To find out, find another agent who has a Mac and take them out for a cup of coffee to hear their story. I have a sneaking suspicion that all Mac users are coffee lovers. Most likely, your MLS system may be the only concern for Mac compatibility, and there are some work-arounds. But it's good to be sure.

If there are some programs that require the Windows OS, but you're still set on switching to Mac, you also have the option to use Parallels. Parallels is a product you can purchase that will allow you to run the Mac OS and the Windows OS simultaneously.

With the growth of Web-based services such as DocuSign or Instanet for Document Management, AgentAchieve or Delta Media for your client-servicing tools, more of your data is living outside of your computer and MLS System. These web-based solutions make the operating system you use almost irrelevant.

I think what you'll find is that the transition is easier than you expect. In fact, it's easier than most people (even Macs) will tell you. Of course, there are plenty of resources to help you make the switch. I found a great guide to switchingguide to switching on Apple.com.

My apologies to my PC pals; I feel like such a deserter. But I've been welcomed to the warm and inviting fold of Mac. I drank the Kool-Aid. And I've never been happier.

Now, I wonder if they'll let me keep the MacBook . . .

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