Sunday, March 30, 2008

How Apple Won Me Over

Once I left Linspire I was anxious to try Skype, Ubuntu and the Mac, all of which have, I must admit, been a welcome change from the last six-years' diet of start-up dog food.

Six months ago, my desktop computing looked like this:

Linspire/Freespire - 90%
Windows - 10%

Today, it looks like this...

Mac Pro Desktop & MacBook Air - 85%
Ubuntu - 10%
Windows Vista - 5%

I have a KVM that allows me to switch between my Mac Pro, Ubuntu and Vista PCs, and my MacBook Air goes with me everywhere when on the road or traveling. (To watch a video of me demonstrating Leopard and the Mac Pro, click here, or scroll down for a low-res version.)

So, how did the CEO of a Linux company, within six short months, wind up a die-hard Mac fan?

Here is my journey...

My first exposure to anything "Apple," was a few years back with iTunes and the iPod. Yes it was closed and DRMized, but I found myself not caring because it worked so brilliantly. I must have owned six or seven different iPods over the years, each more impressive than the last. I found the iTunes software to be easy to use, and buying music was just a click away, with even non-DRM MP3 files available today.

Next came the iPhone. Being so impressed with the iPod, I purchased my iPhone on day one when it came out, and have never looked back. I find the iPhone to be hands-down the best cell phone I've ever used, and by a long mile. It wasn't perfect, but it sure came closer than anything I had used before. I could, for the first time, REALLY surf the web on my cell phone.

Next, came the MacBook Air. We needed a Mac computer at our office to test our website's compatibility with Apple machines. So, I figured I'd buy a MacBook Air for the testing, and I could try using it when I traveled. Within a few days, I was completely hooked, so much so that I found my self avoiding my desktop computers running Ubuntu and Windows. In less than a week of owning the Air, I purchased a Mac Pro with 4 gigs of RAM and looped it into my KVM. I found myself using the Mac pretty much all the time. Unlike the first time when I moved to Linux, and had to force myself to use it, Mac was so smooth, easy, beautiful, and fun to use, it was hard to stop.

The Mac has everything I love about Linux (fast, secure, uncluttered, Unix-based, etc.) but the software and services were so nicely put together, not to mention how "beautiful" everything looks. The way everything integrates and works together, including the .mac services, is great.

I still appreciate the speed of Ubuntu, and how far they've come (for a free operating system, it's quite amazing), but for sheer joy in daily computing, I admit, I'm hooked on my Mac.

I'm sure some reading this will feel I've sold out and given up on the Open Source movement. Well, after six years, it's no longer my fight, and I just want a computer that's easy, fun and productive to use. I don't have the source code to my car, TV, Tivo, Sonos, microwave oven, refrigerator, or my tennis shoes, but because they just work, I don't need it. I'm no longer interested in using software to support a cause or movement. I just want to use software to get stuff done.

So, until someone comes along with something better, you can find me using my iPhone and Macs.


PS: Yes, I know John, you've been telling me to switch for years! =)

Click the below video to see me demo my Mac Pro and Leopard. Once it's playing, click in the upper-right hand corner of video to view full screen. For a Hi-Res version of the below video demo, which looks a lot better than the embedded one, click here.


Jay Kruizenga said...

Sell out? No way. Its all about choice - the freedom to choose whatever works best for the user. For you (and millions of others)... that happens to be MAC. And I know where you are coming from.

I use Mac because I am forced to in my line of work and yes, I do enjoy it. Unlike Linux, which still has a long way to go in terms of third-party support, Mac has all the support a user could ever need. Even MS-Office and MS Windows works on Mac! And.. should a user desire to run Linux.. that too can work within the Mac desktop environment.

There are many programs that I need that just are not available for Linux: Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, and FlexiSign Pro to name a few. All of these run on my Mac. And as you mentioned Kevin, the security issues involved with running a Windows PC are not an issue with Mac.

So no... I don't consider your purchase of a Mac a sell-out. I completely understand your reasoning. Linux is NOT completely ready for the desktop - Mac has been and is.

Great video demo by the way.

Jay Kruz

Kevin Carmony said...

Thanks Jay.

Linux continues to do some amazing things. For the server, it's by far the best choice, and for "some" desktop environments, it's an ideal choice. But for me, Mac has it all!


Jeremy Shaw said...

I also just recently purchased a Mac Pro. The Win2k machine with the video card I bought it 1998 just wasn't powerful enough for music production anymore.

If you have not already bought Logic Pro 8, I highly recommend it. It's got a great dollar per pound value. The effects, instruments, and loops it ships with are all solid. My only complaints are:

1. the score view is a bit limited.

2. you can not simultaneously use the audio out on the back of the mac pro and the headphone output on the front.

3. no native support for VST plugins

The second issue is really a hardware limitation, and won't be a problem when I upgrade to a real audio interface. Gotta pay off the mac first though :)

I need to save up for Aperture, Final Cut Studio, and the Adobe Creative Suite as well. But, iPhoto and iMovie are good enough for now.

Anyway, Logic 8 is the first major update/rewrite since Apple bought EMagic (the former makers of Logic). So I expect Logic 9 to be even more awesome.


ps. In case you didn't notice, under Applications->Utilities there is an X server. If you run that, and then login to your Ubuntu box like, 'ssh -X kevin@ubuntubox', you can run X apps remotely. Useful if you don't want to switch back and forth on the KVM switch.

pps. I'm not buying an iPhone until they support:

1. SDK (already done)
2. 3G (coming soon)
3. Video MMS (probably coming soon with 3G support)
4. Ability to pair my laptop with the iPhone and connect to the internet
5. bluetooth keyboard for serious text input (don't try to tell me you can type 80-100wpm on that thing).
6. bluetooth hifi stereo headset support (A2DP)
7. Ability to use the ringtone I wrote on my own phone

Ironically, the cellphone I bought for $99 does support all those features -- so I don't think it's asking too much for a $500 cellphone to support them too ;) In fact, *none* of those features would add any per unit costs to phone aside from the 3G support -- which they already plan to do.

With those features I could replace my current, much clunkier setup (LG CU500 + Nokia 770 + Dell DJ). If someone wanted to trade their iPhone for my setup, I wouldn't say no. But I am not going to shell out all that money *and* lose features I use at the same time.

Jeremy Shaw said...

Also, what software did you use to capture that video? It looks great.

Kevin Carmony said...

I used a Mac program called ScreenFlow by Vara Software. It's AWESOME! You can download the full version for free, and it just writes "DEMO" across any movie files you export.

It's SUPER easy to use (seems to be a theme with Mac software ;-). You basically hit record, and it records 1) your camera, 2) your mic, and 3) everything on the screen. When it's done recording, you can then edit, add effects, etc. Watch the demo on their website.


Chaks said...

Hi Kevin,

Good to see you have started using Mac. I recently purchased the upgraded Macbook and its just awesome. Everything works perfect, yes, it stays to the word PERFECT and I really love Leopard.

Now my Laptop usage is,

Leopard - 50%
Vista - 50%


Joseph "Arv3n" Thomas said...

Too right, mate.

I've long since abandoned Linux, as well as Windows XP/Vista due to my Mac mini. My old computer is now being used as a file server (OpenSUSE).

ICUL8R Boslick.