Starting in the summer of 1982, Apple came into my life. With an Apple II+, an Epson MX-80 printer, and AppleWriter II, I was off to the races. Apple, the company, went on to consume a big chunk of my life. I dedicated over twenty years of my life to convincing people that using an Apple computer was the best way to have a productive relationship with technology and the data generated by it.
Even after my career at Apple ended in the summer of 2004, I continued to use Macs. Sometimes I was the only person using an Apple product at a meeting or even where I worked. As I have written, I think I managed to thrive while using Macs. I always felt that using a Mac kept the computer out of my way and let me get more things done.
For the last eleven years, I have been living in a multi-platform world. Sometimes it was because I wanted to and other times it was because I had to use something other than a Mac. Almost every day during those eleven years, I have spent time on a Windows computer and on a Mac. In addition on a majority of those days, I have also used a Linux computer.
I lived through the birth of Windows XP, the pain of Windows Vista, the relief of Windows 7, and the somewhat discordant world of Windows 8. I have used every version of Apple's operating systems that has been released from Apple DOS and SOS through all the versions of the orginial Mac OS and OSX.
I have come full circle and the company where I have worked for the last few years does most of its work on Macs. Apple was truly at the center of my digital life for many years. I used .Mac, iPhoto, iDVD, and even briefly tolerated iWeb. While never a real fan of iWorks or Apple's attempts at the cloud, I have been using both for years.
In a certain respect working for a Mac-centric company at this point in my life is unfortunate because I am as unhappy with Apple products as I can ever remember. The Apple platform now seems to get in my way so I am downsizing Apple's footprint in my life.
Having said that, this is in no way a rant again Apple or its products. It is more a list of what has pushed me to my decision and my first steps. I still have two Macs, but my reading of the tea leaves tells me that I am no longer one of the users that Apple targets. I do not have an iPhone or an iPad and my only iPod is an original one that I won from Apple for being manager of the year.
I am convinced that the best way to have a healthy relationship with technology is to keep Apple and its products on the edge of my digital life. I make heavy demands on my technology. Apple does not seem to be interested in power users on a budget.
On a more fundamental level, I am little upset that Apple shows little consistency in the treatment of my data. Perhaps the screen capture at the beginning of the post says it best. Today it is easier for me to work with a combination of Microsoft and Google products.
None of this means that Apple products will not work for you. If you love Macs, your iPhone, and iPad, and are happy with the direction of Cupertino, you probably do not need to read any further.
However, if you feeling a little pressured in the Apple world, you might take some comfort from where I am headed with this next series of posts.
That Apple no longer makes products which fit my needs is something I have suspected for a long tme. However I will now go a step further and say that Apple's software products are mostly uncompelling and while some like iCloud are slightly better, they still are not very capable. I cannot comment on Apple's intergration with their mobile products but I am pretty ticked off with iCloud being tied to Yosemite for Macs. Google, Microsoft, Box, Dropbox, and almost anyone you can name does a better job with the cloud than Apple.
Beyond that, Apple's lack of consistency, openness and compatibility in its applications is beyond frustrating. I have had it with the confusion and extra steps required because much of our company's earlier work is in iWorks 09 and Apple latest versions are not completely compatible. While iMovie is still probably the most capable free product out there, I really hate that I seem have to relearn it the few times a year that I make a movie.
The last straw is Apple's attempt to force me to Yosemite on my Mac Mini because I upgraded on my iMac. It is an extra irritant that even today's Microsoft would not try.
That iPhoto is scheduled for the chopping block only makes me feel good that I abandoned it long ago. That Aperture is gone confirms my decision to stick with Lightroom in spite of buying a copy of Aperture a few years ago. Much of what I am seeing could have been predicted by Apple's treatment of the content that I entrusted to it years ago with its dot Mac service. I lost many websites and still have photos with screwed up names because Apple's web tools renamed them beyond recognition.
When you use products side by side every day, you notice things that others might miss. My I5 MacMini was always slower and more problematic than my I5 Lenovo tower. That Windows remembers the last place I have looked saves me time and I find renaming files simpler on Windows. My Windows computer also connects more quickly to my new NAS. I have gotten used to Windows 8 and I expect the next version of Windows will be better. I no longer have that hope for OSX where I find search does not work like it should. I have one HP printer which I have installed multiple times on the Mac. It usually works for a few days and stops. It has never stopped working on the Windows computers in the house. All those things are nits, but they figure in making a technology decision.
Evaluating the technology that you are using and how it meets your needs is probably not something most people take seriously, but it is important to me. I take lots of photos, build websites, write books, and spend a lot of time writing or creating information about fiber networks.
As I wrote before the holidays in No Apple Under The Tree This Year, my wait for Apple to address its core computing markets is over. I took an important step during the holidays. I ended up ordering a 16GB Lenovo with a 2TB drive, DVD recorder, keyboard, and mouse for $800.79 tax included. I had planned to a 32GB model but they were sold out so I ordered the 16GB model with a couple of expansion slots for RAM. Even with buying the extra memory, I will still have a 32GB Lenovo system for around for $975. Fortunately Lenovo unlike Apple still believes that products should be upgradeable.
My plan is to move much of my non-work related computing to the Lenovo. Migrating from my I5 Lenovo was pretty easy. I signed into my Microsoft account and it moved all my mail, contact and printer settings over without any problems. Signing into my Chrome and Firefox browsers also moved over much that I had used on the old computer. I did end up installing Start8 which I have on my other Windows 8 computers. I also copied over a hidden folder from Postbox and let Postbox re index my inbox overnight. I use Postbox as a second mail client and a very powerful mail search engine.
Step two was signing up for the photographer's version of Adobe's Creative Cloud. This means that I will slowly migrate from Pixelmator on the Mac back to Photoshop. I was already using Lightroom so this just gives me the latest version. I never completely quit using Photoshop. I just had a very old version.
My MacMini with its almost full 500GB drive was part of the reason I bought the new Lenovo. There was not room to do much of my photographic work and keep all of my company work going. However, I got lucky on that and my son solved the storage problem for me. He gave me a Synology NAS that he is no longer using and a new Gig Ethernet switch. After getting it set up, I did a test copy of over 3,600 photos. The copy took less than two minutes.
I quickly freed up 15GBs of space on the MacMini. That gives me enough room to run my VMWare Fusion version of Ubuntu Linux once again. I'll probably do that until I have time to convert my old I5 Windows box into a Linux machine ether by way of VMWare or with a direct installation.
Having almost 11TBs of raid protected storage has made some decisions a lot easier. Today, I took down my I5 iMac running Yosemite. With more breathing room on the MacMini, I really don't need it and it is one less version of Pages and Keynote to worry about when working with files. I did not find Yosemite compelling.
If we can eventually move all our business work to the latest versions of Pages and Keynote, I can delete iWork 09 from my hard drive. That might not happen for a while based on the way the new versions of Pages are handling old Pages documents.
At this point, I have Office 365 on my Windows computers and Office 2011 on my MacMini. We were using the iCloud version of Pages to do joint editing of simple documents like press releases. That stopped yesterday when I found out that one of the sharing links led to a blank document. Fortunately I had a downloaded version of the document as a backup. I have never had that happen with Google drive which I used for almost all my ReadWrite articles.
Pictures will be handled on my Windows computer with Picasa and Lightroom. Most of writing for the web is handled with the browser version of Draft so can be done on either platform. Books will be done in Word and can also be done on either platform.
Most of my websites are WordPress based so that is also browser based. A few are created by RapidWeaver and some hand-coded with TextWrangler but I am confident the Mac can still handle that.
In sense my computing life is a flip-flop of what I often saw when selling Macs for Apple. In those days it was not unusual to see someone using a Mac at home for personal use and a Windows computer at work. For most of my personal things except a couple of websites, I will be using Windows. When I do work for our company, I will be using a Mac.
However, the Mac that I'll be using runs Postbox for mail, Chrome and Firefox for browsers. I will still use RapidWeaver, TextWrangler, and Fetch. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote will only figure in my day job. I offered my wife a MacBook Air for Christmas, but she chose a Chromebook. So far she is very happy with it. However other than battery life she also has few complaints about her five year old HP I5 laptop running Windows 7. It has been very reliable.
I will be on the lookout for an Apple product that will thrill me and a revitalization of OSX but I am not holding my breath especially if they are headed in the direction of a MacBook Air with even fewer ports. It was over eight years ago when I bought the last Mac that I thought was a great buy.
I thought about Apple's obession with no ports and no DVD drives as I stuck my TurboTax into the external DVD drive I had to buy for my MacMini. Good thing TurboTax comes in both Mac and Windows versions.