Why I Switched to OS X

I switched to OS X from Windows in late first quarter 2007. I sold my Dell 17“ single-core (Pentium M) notebook and bought a 15.4” 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro to replace it. I immediately started using it with Parallels Desktop 3 with XP Pro and XP Home virtual machines for work. My work requires Windows.

Parallels Desktop 3 has run fine for me since then. I’ve had the virtual machines go corrupt about three times but I always had backups. And no problems recently.

I recently jumped to VMware Fusion 2. So far, it’s been fine. I’m hoping it’ll give me better speed due to its dual-processor/core handling. I haven’t noticed a difference yet. But VMware Fusion 2 has been stable for the month or so I’ve been using it.

Now, why did I switch from Windows? The simpler answer is what kept me from switching sooner?

Reasons Not to Switch to OS X

  1. I didn’t want to miss my Alt- keyboard shortcuts for menu items. OS X doesn’t do them this way. I got over this quickly once I moved to OS X.
  2. I didn’t want to miss my second mouse button. I got used to this quickly.
  3. Slightly different keyboard. I adjusted. It took about a week.
  4. Directory Opus. Man, I still miss Directory Opus. It is the most wonderful thing about still using Windows. Path Finder, which I purchased immediately upon switching, doesn’t hold a candle to Directory Opus. In fact, I hardly use Path Finder.
  5. Beyond Compare 2. I missed Beyond Compare 2 for a long time after switching and knowing there was nothing like it in OS X kept me from switching for a long time. Well, I found DeltaWalker from the gracious folks at Deltopia and my pain is gone.

Reasons to Switch to OS X

  1. It’s really UNIX. Yum.
  2. Trayless, slot-loading optical drive on their notebooks. Superficial? Maybe. But important to me.
  3. Thin notebooks.
  4. No damned paint to rub off on the notebooks like on my Dell. (It took me two years to prove this expectation wrong — my MBP paint is rubbing off now. But AppleCare should cover it.)
  5. Borderless windows. Or single-pixel borders. Awesome.
  6. I was bored of Windows. I wanted a new system to explore and discover.
  7. Other reasons will come to me and I’ll add them here as they do.

VMware Fusion 2

There was a three-day MacUpdate Promo for Parallels Desktop 4 recently. That brought me back to the subject of whether I should upgrade from Parallels Desktop 3, which I use every single day. The upgrade options I would consider are VMware Fusion 2 and Parallels Desktop 4. Sun has some offering, but I’m not seriously considering it. Maybe next time I upgrade I’ll give it a try. I don’t mind paying a little money for a super user experience and blazing speed.

The reviews I read on Parallels Desktop this time, especially Amazon.com user reviews, turned me off of it. Their reports of problems with 4 but no problems with 3 really resonated with me, a happy Parallels Desktop 3 user myself.

So I bought VMware Fusion 2.0 from Amazon.com. There’s a rebate going but Amazon is not listed as a qualifying vendor. However, I priced all the qualifying vendors listed on VMware’s site. Every single one had the same price: $69. And VMware themselves were ten bucks more — for a download! I get a box from the other vendors but VMware had the gall to charge me more for less. So I LM for my VMware sales rep. No reply for days. I called back, talked to a guy who said he’s relay this to my sales rep. No one got back to me.

Screw it, I decided to buy from Amazon.com. Their price was lower than the other guys ($54 the day I bought) and there’s no bullshit and no shipping charges since I have Amazon Prime prepaid second-day shipping. Also, it’s easier to buy from Amazon than the other guys because Amazon’s purchase line is so good and I’m already set up for a quick purchase.

In the end, I calculated that buying from Amazon would cost me $12 more than buying from the guys with the rebate and including eight dollars shipping from one of those vendors. And no rebate hassle with Amazon — just a fair price today.

So I got my VMware box in the mail from Amazon and it had a blue sticker on the box that read, “$30 Crossgrade Rebate; Details Inside; Expires 6/30/09; ALA31045159”. That’s the best of both worlds! Thank you, Amazon! That means Amazon not only had the best purchase experience but also the lowest final price. Wow.

DeltaWalker Adds Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF file comparison support!

DeltaWalker 1.8.6, released this week, adds support for comparing Microsoft Office and PDF files. And it works fast. I’m totally satisfied with how Deltopia implemented this. I use DeltaWalker primarily in OS X and a little in Windows. DeltaWalker has helped me ween myself from Windows and do more work in my preferred environment, OS X. And Office file comparison support is yet another nail in Windows’ coffin for me.

I believe DeltaWalker is the best overall OS X file/folder comparison tool available — it just doesn’t seem to be the best-known yet. Now that DeltaWalker can compare Office files and PDFs, I hope its notoriety will start to catch up with its exceptional feature set and quality.

Just before I purchased DeltaWalker, the developers told me to expect Word/Excel comparison support soon. That was an important feature for me. Deltopia delivered on their promise. In fact, DeltaWalker’s support for Microsoft Office files is far superior to that of BeyondCompare 2.0 — BeyondCompare 2.0 relies upon a VBA macro to extract the text from Word and Excel files for comparison, which wasn’t especially fast nor reliable for me.

But DeltaWalker’s support for Office files has been super fast and bulletproof. And DeltaWalker’s Office and PDF support is part of the core product, not just a third-party extension like it is with BeyondCompare 2.0. And BeyondCompare 2.0 requires a separate download to get its doc/xls comparison support, which wouldn’t bee a big deal if it had proven reliable for me.

Do I Have to Own Microsoft Office? Nope.
Another benefit of DeltaWalker’s more dedicated approach to Office file comparison support is that it doesn’t require the user to have Microsoft Office installed on the machine. Which is awesome for users of alternative word processors, such as OpenOffice.org. Whatever word processor or spreadsheet software you use, as long as you save the files in xls/xlsx or doc/docx format, DeltaWalker supports them. This shows some serious professionalism on Deltopia’s part. A kind of caring for real end users that you usually see more of from open source developers and less from commercial operations.

PowerPoint Postscript
I didn’t focus on PowerPoint support in this article because I don’t use it. But it is supported by DeltaWalker 1.8.6 — quite comprehensively, I’m sure.