Sunday, August 16, 2015

My Sunday Feeling

About 5 years ago, at the insistence of my financial advisor, I bought an iPad.  And it has been a lot of fun and convenient to use.  I've read books on planes, email in hotel rooms, and used it to read my notes when I am at Catholic High.

But in the last 6 months the damn thing has started to show signs of imminent death.  It crashes repeatedly when I try to use interactive apps like Google or Facebook.  When it isn't crashing, it is painfully sloooooooow.  And typing on it has always been a pain in the ass.  

And so I started poking around to see what I could get to replace it. I didn't really need another computer.  The HP that an old girlfriend's genius kid had configured and ordered for me still works great.  But it's a laptop with a 17 inch screen.  So hauling it around is really not all that convenient.  

I generally resisted going into the world of Macs. First of all, the government world and the legal world are still pretty much PC.  And I was for many years a lawyer who worked for the government.  Mac documents couldn't be opened by PCs and vice versa.  I am assured by my lawyer friends that use Macs that this is no longer the case. But still, to this day, documents I send in when I write for the paper that are written in Word cannot be opened over there.  I have to cut and paste into email.  This makes no sense to me.  But it's the way it is.  

I guess the main reason I have resisted buying a Mac was that I didn't want to join the cult of Mac users.  When I first started looking at them some 20 years ago, I always had this feeling that anytime I powered one up some guy in a ponytail and Birkenstocks would materialize next to me to give me pointers.  That and my brother John, who is in the communications industry, told me that he didn't want me "fooling with a Mac."

But in all honesty, the laptops up until the HP I bought about the time I left the government were all junk.  The ThinkPad started falling apart almost immediately.  The Gateway wasn't much better.  I think I have put the Dell out of my mind.  The HP I bought about 8 years ago worked great until, out of nowhere, I got the "blue screen of death."   Like I said, so far so good with the current HP.  It's still plugging away.  

I liked all the apps that came with or I downloaded on the iPad.  So when the Blackberry started to die I bought an iPhone after the government decreed that they were sufficiently secure to work with.  And I have loved it.  And it syncs up with iPad perfectly.  

So, as any of my friends that offered me advice on the subject (bidden by me or otherwise) correctly pointed out, it wouldn't make much sense to buy a PC tablet under the circumstances.  And they were right.  Whether I wanted to be there or not, I was a Mac user.  

I didn't want another iPad.  I hated typing on it.  So I started looking a the MacBook Air.  It was about as light as a new iPad.  It wasn't much bigger. It would fit easily in my briefcase like the iPad.  It maybe cost 400 bucks more.

And it had a real keyboard.  So I bought one. And, predictably, when I announced this on Facebook I received countless "likes" and favorable comments as to the wisdom of my purchase.  Welcome to the cult of Macs.

So.  What do I think?

Not bad.  There are some things I really like about it vis a vis my HP.  It has a backlit keyboard which makes doing email in the early morning or at night easier seeing as how my vision isn't what it wasn't what it once was but my typing still is.  

I've sent and received documents to lawyers I am working on stuff with.  They open just fine.  The MacBook communicates with my printer just fine.  The Federal Court's electronic docket and the MacBook don't get along.  It will let me look at pleadings filed.  But it won't let me download them or print them which is a pain.  But as one of my lawyer friends said, there has to be a "work around" given all of the Mac users out there so she advised me to call the Clerk's help desk.  Which I will do.  I haven't tried the State court docket yet.  

The OS is really fast.  Surfing the net on this box is instantaneous.  It powers up quickly and is nice and bright.  

What do I not like?  Not really impressed with Pages, the word processing system installed with it.  Granted I haven't spent much time with it, but I've only used Office for the past 15 years or so.  I know where everything is on the screen.  And my resume and letterhead, pleadings and such are in that world.  I may try to open an old pleading or something with Pages and see what it does to it.  My doctor's wife uses Word for Mac.  He tells me that she likes it just fine.   So I may do that.  Or just stick to the HP for legal writing.  

For some reason I can't figure out how to name pictures I have edited with Photos, which is the OK photo editing software onboard.  iPhoto used to be great so I hear.  But Apple wasn't making a sufficient killing on it.  So I think they went in with Photoshop which you can get on a subscription basis.  The Nikon guy over at the camera store I use told me the other day that there's not much difference between PCs and Macs when it comes to photo editing any more.  Except Mac does seem to offer more opportunities for desktop publishing.  

They one app I hated in on the iPad and with the new machine is the Calendar function.  It is different across the iPad, IPhone and MacBook.  It's hard to enter data.  For example I was putting dates on the calendar for a case I am helping with in Federal Court.  I inputted the date for a first "alert" and a date for a second one for each event.  Once I hit "save" it would invariably switch the 2 events.  Which makes no sense.  And is a pain.  This happens on all 3 devices I own.  What a piece of crap.  

Botton line is that I think I'm going to like it for travel and for use in class.  It runs circles around the PC on the Internet and the mail works well.  

But I'm not going to quit using the PC anytime soon.  

Which I guess means I haven't completely drunk the Kool Aid served by the Cult of Mac.  


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