A smooth transition from overfriendly PC to simplicity of a Mac

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 August, 2005, 12:00am

I am in the process of shopping for a new notebook. I've had two notebooks in the past, an Acer and a Dell Latitude, which both crashed and burned after three years. Now I'm eyeing Apple's new iBook. As a woman with little tech knowledge, I'm attracted to the design, colour and simplicity. Is the iBook a worthwhile choice? And will a PC gal be able to make the easy transition to the Mac world?

Rochelle Lewis


For the rank beginner, there is little doubt that the Mac is considerably easier to use. Although the IBM PC and its compatibles have come a long way since the ugly and arcane DOS command line, it still does not quite 'hang together' in the way the Mac operating system does.

Having said that, I must add that you are obviously not a beginner and that may make a difference, albeit a small one. If you are accustomed, for example, to closing a window by clicking on the upper right-hand corner, then on the Mac you will have to go to the upper left-hand corner.

That is not a big problem, of course. But there are other differences.

The Mac has a permanent menu bar at the top of the screen, while Windows puts it at the top of every window.

Other differences may vary from being slightly irritating to causing you to shout out things that would embarrass a sailor.

The people who usually become irritated with these kinds of changes are known as 'power users' (or perhaps I should say 'half-power users'). Someone who can dig deep into the system and tweak it to do a lot of interesting things usually enjoys this kind of 'game'.

Those who only go half way tend to get 'religious'. When this term is used for computer users, it is meant as a derogatory expression condemning people who blindly follow one system and have nothing but contempt for all others. This is not only illogical, it is stupid and unproductive.

I believe Microsoft has actually gone too far in trying to be 'friendly'. With Windows, it had to play catch-up with the Mac OS, and everybody knows that until Windows 95 came out, Microsoft had nothing of use to anybody.

Windows has improved steadily since then, but for me it can be just a little too fussy. It is constantly giving you messages, for example, and I find that irritating.

If I plug a new mouse in, it tells me that, and then sometimes looks for drivers or the like. On my Mac, I plug in a new mouse and it simply works. No comment, no fuss, it just works. The same goes with many other things.

Windows seems to want to talk to me all the time. I find myself wanting to shut it up most of the time.

For many years I have emphasised the fact that these little monsters are called PCs. A personal computer is just that: personal.

You should get what you feel you can use with ease.

There are books and websites that can help you make the switch from Windows to Mac if you need it. The Mac community is usually more than happy to help as well.