Well, I took the plunge. I bought an iMac. Interestingly, it was over two months ago, but I haven’t gotten around to doing any ham radio stuff with it yet. Too busy getting the rest of it setup for the business (Cube Rules).
I’ve seen a bit of software out there for ham radio on the Mac, but I haven’t tried any of it out just yet. What I have seen looks compatible with my interfaces I already have, including Log of The World — but I haven’t tested any of it yet.
Windows started to fail with the advent of the iPod. It was the first sense I had that Apple was about cool tools and not about big platforms. Windows was always about platforms, not making things work.
And work it was — I spent a great deal of time getting anti-virus software, cleaning registry software for performance, getting hard drives taken care of and chasing quirky problems that always showed up at the wrong time. Months would go by while searching Google for the Forums where someone finally came up with a solution that really worked. After searching hundreds of entries with the same problem identified as I would have — with no answers.
Usually the answer for a Windows problem was simple: reformat the hard drive. Right. Just what I want to do…
Then came the iPhone. The iPhone made it quite apparent to me that I didn’t need my Windows laptop with me when I went away except for DXpeditions and to access my business sites to enter in articles like this and doing maintenance work (which, of course, the passwords won’t export over to Windows so the K9JY site was down much of my vacation…).
Then, in a ThinkPad (I’ve always had ThinkPads here) that Kate uses started to simply lock up for no reason. First it was once or twice a day. Then it was every hour. Once it hit every hour, we made sure we had everything off the computer (I have always done backups, but when you have time to really look, you discover other stuff that needed backing up!).
Finally, the thing wouldn’t boot up at all. In the meantime, over the month this was happening, we had done everything except reinstall Windows and replace the drive. Well, once you get to that point, you have to seriously reconsider your assumptions about your platform.
And, to be fair, Kate and I decided not to go to Windows with the next computers we would get. As soon as we were ready to replace the laptops — in a couple of years — that would be that. I had no intention of going to Vista or whatever else comes up out of Microsoft. But the laptop giving up the ghost in just over a year means (to me) that everything is coming up crap — sure, Windows computers are cheap, but everything is so fragile in software and hardware components that the probability of failure is extremely high.
So, we walked into the Apple store and got an iMac. Then, two weeks after that, my laptop started having intermittent issues. Here we go. Except I went to the Apple store and bought another iMac for me. And, when we get enough dollars, we are getting two Apple Notebooks and that will be that.
And good riddance to the Windows stuff as well.
My level of stress in administering my business is much less since Apples arrived. I only have to deal with the infrastructure of the web sites and updating that software. Not updating Windows and the five thousand programs you need to really manage Windows. Not chasing after intermittent problems Windows cause that drive you crazy because all you want to do is your work, not administering Windows maintenance and troubleshooting.
Apple, of course, is not perfect. No company or software is. But the approach is quite different with Apple: a bulletproof operating system (yes, I know it isn’t bulletproof, but that is the approach…) with a set of other tools to get stuff done. It has been both more difficult to make the transition to an Apple (why, for example, does Office for Mac not look anything at all like Office 2007 and why doesn’t Microsoft offer Outlook in the package? Just mystifying…) and much easier to transition. It’s easier to transition because once you get the hang of the tools and get over that learning curve, you aren’t worried about whether or not the operating system will fail.
One of the last issues holding me back from making the transition to Apple was the fact that most ham radio software is built to run on Windows. And since I am much associated with WriteLog, even though I didn’t write the program, the whole DXpedition, contesting, writing about WriteLog becomes much more interesting.
But, all of that wasn’t enough to overcome my constant frustration with Windows and all the setup the software requires you to do to get anything to work. And, trust me, I know more about computers than your average bear. For me to get that frustrated tells you a lot about the state of the PC world.
So I’ve jumped the Windows ship and now look to do ham radio with a Mac. Any good suggestions on software to get going? I need it all — contesting, logging, Log of The World, digital modes, controlling a Yaesu FT-1000 PM and more. I’m ready to dive in.