I’ve been using Microsoft Windows on a PC since… since before it was Windows, really. I’ve seen the introduction of Windows 1.0, 2.0, Windows 286, Windows 386 (had a tough battle with DESQview, that one), Windows 3.0, Windows 3.11, Windows for Workgroups, Windows NT, Windows 95 (great launch party!), Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME and XP. And that’s just counting the major versions, not all the dot-somethings along the way.

While I’m counting my scars here, I might as well note that I’ve been in beta or early release programs for Chicago, Snowball, Borg, Ferengi, Daytona, Cairo and Memphis. (Just for you’z geeks: there’s two OS/2 builds in there… spot ’em?)

And so, after boning up on the features and requirements of Microsoft’s latest — Windows Vista — I worked out my upgrade strategy: I got a Mac.step2_beautyshot_mb15_060110.jpg

I’ve actually been using this machine (an Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro) since December, and it’s been a kick in the pants to experience how my brain-pan and eye-hand coordination have adapted in that time. No more clicking in the upper right-hand corner, no more hunting for menus, no “missed it by that much” collapsing menu cascades. I have to admit I’m still learning some of the finer points of how the Mac does compressed files and folders (my desktop is currently littered with an array of DMG files that — I’m pretty certain — don’t need to be there.)

I’m impressed by the quality of the core Apple software what shipped with the machine — no real surprise there — but I’m more impressed, still, with the exceptional variety, usability and capability of the current crop of Mac shareware and freeware. Next time around I’ll make a point to list some of the tools that I’ve found especially valuable along the way.

Meanwhile, I can’t say enough good things about a book — Switching to the Mac – Tiger Edition, by David Pogue and Adam Goldstein — that’s made this a near seamless transition for me, overall. Look for it wherever fine O’Reilly books are sold near you. And be sure to look for the latest edition; it covers the latest crop of Intel Macs, too.

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