I MAde The Switch

 
 

Before I moved to a Mac, I had to do an inventory of the tasks I did most often. I had to be sure there was a way to do these things without a hitch: after all, I was trying to save time and running 2 machines isn’t exactly ideal. So here is my inventory list of tasks and the software I found as an alternative.

Office Tasks

This was fairly easy. I had already abandoned Microsoft Office ages ago. Well, actually I’d been using Office 97 for years, on a student license. Never did move on to the newer versions and even removed them if they came bundled with a new machine. When I read an article about Open Office I tried it, liked it and never looked back. It is free, does the job (unless you need to convert some insanely complicated Excel-sheet or mailmerge-task you designed in Office) and is available for both PC and Mac. So that was easy! Also, Apple has a iWorks, which is supposedly quite good and plays nice with MS Office documents nowadays.

Webdesign

Tricky, that one. I imagined Dreamweaver was right out. Turns out it was available, but I was still using version 3 and had no intention to upgrade and pay for it again. Then again, I only ever used it for coding html tables (as I am lazy) and anyway, most of my sites were Wordpress-based now.

Too bad I couldn’t take Paint Shop Pro with me: I never could get used to that Mac-equivalent (or it’s price) or even the free GIMP. But good news: you can actually run Paint Shop Pro natively on a Mac with something called Crossover. Or use VMWare to run your old machine. Or just knuckle down and get Photoshop, I suppose. At least with Photoshop it’s easy to find tutorials and help. Or try the very reasonably priced Pixelmator.

I’d also miss UltraEdit, but these kind of enhanced texteditors are a dime a dozen. TextWrangler works for me. (Update: UltraEdit is now available for OSX.)

Audiorecording and editting

Now I know many professional studios run on Macs. Thing is, I’m pretty attached to CoolEdit. The only free alternative on OSX was Audacity and although I tried it, I just could not get used it. It is ugly as sin, for one thing, and also I can’t scroll to zoom. Since I earn a living as a professional voice-over, this might be the most important thing I do. (It’s either that or online banking, I can’t be sure.) Other software was way too complicated or expensive or looked promising but I couldn’t find an illegal version. (I’m not above that, you’ll find. I will pay for stuff I like and I even donate to cool free software, but I’ll decide when that is, thanks very much. No bigger waste of time than working with poor or buggy software.) I hear Audition for Mac will soon be here, but again that won’t be free. (Update: also, it was crap.) I’ve never paid more than 30-40 bucks for software and I’m not going to start now.

This is where I got stuck. There is no decent, free audio software for the Mac! Audacity you say? Let me tell you that Audacity is what CoolEdit Pro used to be before someone dragged it into an alley and gangraped it, then bashed in its skull and left it for dead. Audacity is a piece of crap. I hate it.

There’s also professional (read: expensive) software for audio editting and Macs are famous in the audio industry. However, that software has a learning curve like the Matterhorn and is about as userfriendly as fucking a cactus. (Adobe Soundbooth CS5 comes to mind. I couldn’t even get my freakin’ microphone to work with that one. 10 years in the audio business, you’d think I’d have had occasion to plug something in before. Someone at Adobe deserves to get his kneecaps smashed. And his face, for good measure.) Also, your software is likely to come with a USB dongle or copy protection, which is annoying. And you’ll need to remortgage your house.

Update: I kinda like WavePad now which is free (in a limited version) and seems to have all the basic functions I need. But whenever I’m working time is money and I can’t be bothered to get it configured juuuuuust right.

Then I read about Bootcamp, which allows you to run Windows on a Mac. That was anathema to me for a while. But I realised my PC was actually very noisy. I actually had to filter out the fan from any recordings. I’d be much better of running Windows on the Mac Mini to record and edit in CoolEdit and then rebooting to do the rest (uploading, invoicing, ordering coke and hookers online) on OSX.

Even better: I was told VMWare had actually evolved into quite a good product by now I ran some test and even on my Mac Mini a windowed version of XP ran perfectly fine. I could even edit in CoolEdit, though recording (I use a Samson C01 USB mike) wasn’t perfect. Still, that’s why it was called a mini. I’d get a proper Mac if I decided to move, which would be much more powerful. And if not, I’d dualboot. That was it. I was switching to a MAC! Read on.

I Switched To Mac - Preparing to move

If you’re fed up with Windows, scared of Ubuntu and thinking of switching to a Mac, why not take advantage of my experiences in moving to this new platform? I was a Windows expert. Now I’m a Mac Newbie.