Fruits aren’t necessarily healthy

I converted. Religiously – so to say.

In the 90ies I was into Sinix (anyone still knowing that?); essentially it was Unix anyway – no worries. In 1993 I commenced on Windows. V3.1 I think. C. C++. Basic. Visual Basic – stuff like that. Later MFC, STL, ATL and the ike. Always Windows; nearly solely. For more than 20 years. Attempts to religiously brainwash me away from Unix – however – failed more or less; though I developed a really strong and happy relationship with all Microsoft. Heartily. And not by religion.

I never really had a problem to discuss other personal computing options – especially the fruity ones. The only thing was that the “discusees” in these conversations always tended to claim the predomination of geniusness of their fruit – which always left me a bit suspicious.

And then – finally – at the end of August this year, curiosity beat suspiciousness. And I bought an Apple – not for eating (I’m more the meaty guy ;))

So, here I am – one month later! With reality proving the claims — or not. Here’s my 4 predominant awkward working experiences with a MacBook Pro after the first few weeks of usage:

1. Keyboard

The Mac comes with 4(!) different keyboard overlays; i.e.: one key could theoretically have 4 different effects (keys, shortcuts, functions – you name it). Fine. There is no Pos1/End keys. Still fine (though there would be enough room for adding those left and right form the cursor-up key). Anyway – things become blurring when you try to learn the shortcuts for

  • Start of line, end of line
  • Start of document, end of document
  • Back/forward one word, paragraph, …
  • All that including “selecting text”

Plus: Try those in an editor, then in mail, then in some of the Microsoft Office programs?

Disclaimer: I totally and full heartedly admit that arguing based on third-party apps developed for the Mac is inapplicable here! Hence, please no arguing that it’d be Microsoft’s fault not to adhere to MacBooks’ logic for shortcuts!

However: What IS the logic? And IF there is any: Why is it so fck.gly complicated? Some friends told me prior to converting to the fruit religion that it just takes 2 weeks to accomodate. Sorry folks: I failed that timeline miserably. I just don’t get it. I am open to continued learning: If you can provide a logic for me in this respect, you are tremendously welcome to post your comment here!

Disclaimer 2: In comparison to Apple, those shortcuts are well introduced and generally accepted in Microsoft’s OS and apps world. Pos1/End, selecting text, find, quit, close window, … etc. – all the same shortcut. I didn’t stumble by a single program recently doing it differently.

2. Finder

Did I mention that I love Unix, Linux, … . I always did. I never was an expert really, but I loved the straight-forwardness of that OS and its logic – even though some things just did not work (and some things in the past may have been utterly complicated to get to work). With regards to unix’ logic, Finder presents itself really perfectly in line. Directory structures do remind you to how unix always did it. The sidebar feels as if the important things have been mounted for you already. The user’s working directories all there (is that structuring with “Documents”, “Music”, “Pictures”, etc. actually stolen from Microsoft or the other way round?).

However, Finder starts failing its purpose when it comes to presenting the files contained. I got 4 really smart views (icons, list, a convenient column view and the cover view). But how (the hell) is all this sorted. Alphabetically? Then there’s no way of getting directories to the top. By date? Same problem made worse. Is there a way of setting a preference for the view for all Finder locations? No. Not without tweaking the guts of OS X. Is there a way of quickly resetting the view within one location? Well – after some search I found the awkward CMD+ALT+CTRL+<number> shortcut. Weird. And – to me – a totally ill logic of dealing with files.

Disclaimer: I hear the arguing, folks, that this is all a matter of getting used to it. Well, if it’s all about accomodation, who’s to claim advancement then?

3. iTunes

My NAS offers an iTunes Server which transforms the NAS’ MP3 library into an iTunes home sharing participant. Theoretically. However, iTunes never manages to discover the home server. iTunes in fact isn’t capable of dealing with my lovely music library by any other means than by adding it to its own library (which obviously is a redundancy overkill AND a lock-in, by the way).

The annoying fact here is, that even though everything is – or: should be – Apple-made, it doesn’t collaborate properly. This isn’t particularly desastrous; it just doesn’t give me the feeling of advancement before any Windows machine.

4. Finally – the BSOD comparison

I had 3 crashes. Already. Within the first month of use. 3 crashes that were more or less as significant as a BSOD on Windows. Mind(!): None of those 3 crahses where related to any non-Apple apps. I do have regular crashes of the Microsoft Office suite – for whatever reason. Office-on-Mac doesn’t seem to be really stable (need it anyway, so what can I do :)). At least re-starting it from an SSD is sufficiently fast.

Anyway – the 3 total crashes where as follows:

  1. Finder became unresponsive. As unresponsive as to prohibit itself from starting and force-quitting. Seemingly due to this, OS X refrained from shutting down, claiming that a program was hanging. Ultimately the only way of getting it to work again was to go for the 4-sec-power-key option. Well known from my old Windows computer. So: No difference here (and I never found out what made it so unresponsive; this one happened twice so far, btw)
  2. Network switching: It  seems OS X is pretty weak on TCP/IP (wired LAN or WiFI – whatsoever). I have a NAS connected when on private LAN (via SMB; AFP didn’t work for whatever reason). When leaving the private LAN without properly ejecting mounted drives, sometimes – unpredictably – the whole system hangs and remains as unresponsive as above. It may be that I am just too impatient to wait for it to respond again, but – well: I consider that a crash. Less desastrous ones happen ever and ever again when switching between networks, hotspots, … (e.g. when on travel). I already got used to that. Obviously network is the weak point in OS X.
  3. Printer Driver: I added an HP LaserJet to the list of printers, allowed OS X to download the appropriate driver from the AppStore, later disconnected from Ethernet and switched to WiFi-only mode becaue of a meeting and – booom – no more mouse/pad/keyboard interaction possible. Apps kept running. They even reacted to events. But I could by no means interact with them. Again: 4-sec-power-key-force-shutdown (little sidenote: the behaviour was reproducable until I deleted the printer completely).


And the learnings of all this – fortunately, for me:

  • Religion is a dangerous thing
  • Reality could proove religion wrong
  • Fruits aren’t necessarily healthy

Seriously spoken: The MacBook Pro on OS X Yosemite (recently upgraded to El Capitan) isn’t that much of an advancement to any properly setup and maintained Microsoft machine. And eventually I can now discuss the matter based on real-world experiences. This is particularly disturbing as one claim of the fruit guys always was and is, that because of the homogenity of hardware, OS and software that would be the case. Well, it isn’t.

That’s by no means particularly bad. I got a Windows tablet, an Android mobile and a Mac working horse now. Where there’s software, there’s errors. On any of the devices. That was and will remain true for all time. One just shouldn’t claim tremendous advance just because of a brand — though, to be honest, there’s one thing that I do like with my new toy: It shuts down and boots so brilliantly fast that work interruptions due to whatever error aren’t really hurting that much anymore – at least after the first 4 weeks.

Let’s see whether it remains like that.



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