PC to Mac: The journey begins

A week ago I finally got my long-awaited hand-me-down MacBook Pro laptop from my son. As I explained way back when, it was originally configured to meet the needs of a developer, so it has a lot of capability — certainly far more than my old dying Dell. Faster processor, bigger HD, more memory. And perhaps best of all, it doesn’t overheat and shut down unexpectedly.

I’ve managed to remain reasonably productive, considering so many things don’t work as expected. After using nothing but PCs for 25 years, I’m fighting habit as much as anything. It’s been a matter of finding Mac versions of apps and programs I’m used to. If there isn’t a Mac version, I have to find a substitute and learn how to use it. My son has been a huge help. He cleaned everything off the drive so it was like new when I got it. He’d already installed the things he knows I use, threw in a new version of Office, picked up a bunch of handy widgets, etc. Then he was on call to answer every conceivable question, help me find new apps when I needed a particular capability, etc. Drop Box proved extremely useful for moving files from the old computer. And critically important, he got the Mac tied into my network.

Perhaps the most fun for both of us will be the fact that his new Mac came in yesterday. I don’t know what the model is called, but it’s the one where the computer and large monitor are in a single sleek unit; it looks like just a monitor. We both have built-in webcams now and last night shared a first for both of us — a live conversation. I know, I know, we’re late to the party, but better late than never.

Going whole hog, I’m also trying out a new browser — Chrome instead of Firefox — at my son’s suggestion. Also trying Adium instead of Trillian for instant messaging.

Lots of little frustrations. The only three-key combo I’ve ever learned is control-alt-delete, but Mac uses a lot of them. Instead of a single key clearly labeled “PRNT SCRN,” I have to remember a three-key combo (currently noted on a yellow sticky on my desktop). The biggest frustration is the delete/backspace/insert thing. Something is different and I can’t figure out what, but I end up deleting stuff unintentionally, or not being able to delete or insert, or typing in the wrong place.

It’s not as bad as I feared it would be. I’m still a bit hesitant to shell out for a new Mac version of Quicken after reading briefly about converting PC files to Mac format, because that’s one set of files I literally can’t afford to mess up. But I’ll have to get to it in the next couple of weeks. Meantime, I’m making progress every day and it’s keeping me out of trouble, not to mention out of the kitchen, out of the laundry room, out of the car, and off the Xbox.

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