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[flagged] Why I'm Switching from Mac to Windows (2009-2018) (xahlee.info)
32 points by stargrave 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 61 comments

I’ve made the opposite switch this year, completely abandoning windows for my personal use. I still use it professionally, being in the European public sector you’re married to MS and it’s quite honestly a healthy relationship for a lot of reasons, but boy have I never grown used to Windows 10.

I really love unix, I probably should be using Linux instead of a Mac, and I did earlier in my life. But with age I’m growing fonder and fonder to things just working, like when my wife sends me an iMessage and I pops up on my Mac. We could probably get something similar working with some other setup, but as long as we stay working the Apple ecosystem, well, it just happens automatically. Just like popping a thunderbolt cable in hooks me up to my 4K monitor with no setup required and no problems when I swhixh between different modes. Something that took ages to get working in Linux and didn’t really work for all the apps that didn’t support the change of resolution.

It wasn’t always like this, I actually really liked windows especially 2000, XP and 7, but since then it’s been a struggle to stay with it. So my story is almost the polar opposite.

Like hardware, where do you find a decent high quality windows laptop with a trackpad that works for the price tag of a 13” MacBook Pro? Sure the surface book is a sexy machine, but it’s almost twice as expensive and it can’t connect to my 4K monitor or an external egpu? Sure the xps13 would make Linux easier, but it’s trackpad is worse and it’s build quality is risky (coil whine).

I’m not really a Apple fanboy. I hate the walled garden, as much as I love what it does, but everything else is just so much worse. What I really can’t imagine though, living within a windows 10 environment, even with git bash.

Plus, most Apple products are actually great value if you factor in their lifetime cost. I bought a used iPad two years ago. It must be four or five years old now.

It just got iOS 12.

Well it is not great at all considering how hard it is to repair current apple stuff. After 2 years of warranty you are just wishing it doesn't break. Don't get me wrong i have 6 year old macbook pro and its still a great machine. But i also know lot of my coworkers with new apple machines that break all the time. If you bring your machine 3times to repair shop in first year - well you can be pretty much sure something will happen very soon after machine is out of warranty period. And then you pay massive amounts.

Apple is basically trying to make subscription hardware with 2 year cycle. That's not nice value + it is also not ecological at all.

TBH Apple stuff is about the only thing you can repair as repair shops are nearly exclusively focused on Apple because of the large volume and long lifespan of their models.

Good luck getting a Samsung Note 2014 repaired (I tried) or a Lenovo laptop that needs say a mainboard or some BGA replacement.

While I don’t agree with how Apple restricts 3rd party repairs the reason they are the only one you hear about is because they are the only one with a 3rd party repair ecosystem to begin with.

I guess it depends on country. Probably in US. There is only one authorized service dealer in my country. On the other hand most of the PC market brands has lots of repair shops. And lot of them will do even old machines, hunt parts on ebay or china and repair with that. It's actually not that hard (the parts nofficial apple repair shops use are from china anyway). There are so many eshops where you just put serial number and get what you need.

There is big reason for this though. I am from quite poor european country where hourly rate for technicians is much much lower than in US so repairing lot of things make economical sense. In us this might make sense only for high end premium machines.

What do you find so bad on windows 10?

What I dislike is the telemetry, the fact that they install so much garbage by default and even when I remove it they reinstall it with the next update and I fear they will start pushing ads in the future.

Other than that I'm pretty happy with Windows for desktop and Linux for server.

If you want a trackpad as good as the macbook one there is no alternative. I really like the Matebook X Pro, it is a beast.

You mention some of it, I genuinely don’t want my OS to install short cuts for candy crush and mind craft when I’m not looking, it’s more than that though, because I really don’t like my corporate windows 10 either and it’s free from all of that.

We don’t even suffer from the faulty updates because we don’t roll them out right away.

I can’t put my finger on it, I wish I could, because it’s not terrible constructive to say that it just doesn’t feel nice to use. But that’s how it feels. It certainly also lacks the unix command tools. Git bash was a nice addition, though it’s hardly the same as a real unix terminal, but mostly it’s just that using windows 10 feels wrong to me.

I worried about the walled garden but to be honest it's been pretty benign since it was introduced. If I look at the software I've bought in recent years its nearly all been outside the store.

The only downside for me is the cost although you can mitigate that by avoiding new and selling on carefully when you have finished with it.

I did try quite hard to switch to Linux but it lacks the polish of macOS. It was better than Windows in most respects though.

> walled garden

In particular, it seems to me you can get all your data out if desired. Contacts are .vcf; Calendar is .ics or whatever; pictures in Photo are good old jpeg (and explicit exporting is supported); Music is mostly pretty standard formats and not DRM'd anymore IIUC (videos - don't know, never used); documents, ok, Pages/Numbers/Keynote you'd have to export into some other format, while MarkDown and LaTeX etc. of course are ok. Getting passwords out of Keychain Access might be a bit tricky?

You lose things associated with your Apple ID. This includes things like purchased content and other nontransferable items.

I only ever stream things now, I'm not interested in the hassle of owning, storing and backing up a load of films and music.

I don’t listen to a lot of music since I listen to podcasts while in transit and at the gym. I augment my music collection with free Spotify a little but would feel locked in to one provider if I didn’t own anything. The prospect of finding and rating what I like again would keep me with one provider, even if another’s price, content, or features were enticing.

I worry about that so I never buy anything that’s not transferable in the first place. I can count on one hand the number of paid apps I’ve bought in the Mac and iOS app stores combined.

> like when my wife sends me an iMessage and I pops up on my Mac.

Works the same on Windows. For Android Hangouts you just have to allow desktop notifications in GMail. But it's actually better, if you enable Google Voice, you can make phone calls from your computer, and you can receive phone calls on your computer.

> But it's actually better, if you enable Google Voice, you can make phone calls from your computer, and you can receive phone calls on your computer.

You can do this on macOS as well, via FaceTime.

Google Voice has the distinction that you can call any US line for free, and that you have a real phone number (which you can transfer out) that you can receive calls with on pretty much any device.

It's what truly allowed the iPad to be a big iPhone.

No, you can't. Can you call any number in the US/Canada for free? No limits.

My cell phone plan lets me do this, so yes? And I can of course call any other iPhone or Mac, no matter where it is in the world.

I doubt your cell plan works from any point on the planet with WiFi access.

I have Wi-Fi calling, so it kind of does.

Can confirm WiFi calling works great. I've used it in multiple points on the globe without cell signal. Telegram also is a drop in replacement for Hangouts and iMessage. I use it on Android as well as iPhone.

At this point in time Apple really doesn't provide a compelling reason to me to use them. They lack a ton of polish, podcasts, family sharing management, dongle hell, and uninspired hardware that makes a lot of trade offs in order to be trendy are why I'll be moving back to Android. I guess in the end for me that's just a better market fit.

To the linux v Microsoft v MacOS there's really little difference aside from gaming and MS Office. If you're running servers or coding an Ubuntu purpose made laptop or server will generally work. If you need PowerPoint or gaming then you need Microsoft, and if you like a Unix environment or own an iPhone then MacOS and dongle hell is your best bet. From personal experience I've had the most problem with Apple products but ymmv. I know people who've never had a single issue and don't mind the dongle.

Still on Win7 and no plans to switch to 10.

Pulse SMS is cross platform - it syncs SMS on your phone to a myriad of other clients in various operating systems.


It's a bit weird to hear this when Apple have stopped doing anything interesting in the laptop space for nearly a decade.

A decade? Off the top of my head, in the last decade Apple has pushed high-density and color accurate displays, fast SSDs, dropped the DVD drive, adopted three revisions of the Thunderbolt standard, and set the standard for most other laptop manufacturers.

Samsung launched the first mass market laptops with SSDs. I'll absolutely agree on their monitors, DVDs were already on the way out but it was a smart move for their target market. Claiming thunderbolt as a win seems a bit will since they are known for ditching their own standards often.

I can't say I'm seeing much innovation that isn't design related specific to form factor. Their software has stagnated, iTunes and Apple music are a hot mess of garbage. Aside from removing the headphone jack to force people into higher priced headphones, I'm having a hard time finding the value and the market seems to be agreeing.

Author switched in 2009, then switched back in 2018.

Author believes Apple is becoming evil because they intentionally slow their devices to force upgrades—not true, or, at the very least, not that simple.

The only thing “evil” about Apple is the pricing. No way around it, it’s getting expensive. But you also get a transparency and simplicity for your money (no telemetry, no ads, just dongles :) ).

I won't buy a Mac because of the hard-wired obsolescence. It doesn't help that newer models fail more frequently.

The title should have a (2009) in it. Then the website and the article make more sense.

There’s an update to the article that is somewhat recent; perhaps that’s what the poster wanted to showcase?

> Linux basically sucks the most. Most difficult to use. You spend several hours per week to get things to work. And linux is always some years behind in supporting any bleeding edge tech, Such as any hand writing recognization, speech recognization, voice to speech, addon devices, display port 2 monitors, USB 3.1 (or whatever latest), etc. You always have to spend few hours to research everything. Lots problems. But hey its free. What can you say.

Except for handwriting and speech recognition, I can't recall having problems with any mainline Linux DE in some time.

Have a workstation with two monitors on an Nvidia 1050Ti both via displayport, a Logitech wireless keyboard through Synergy to both a MacBook Pro and Linux, and the Mac is mostly there for MS Office (which could be the web versions).

Have not had to seek out drivers or do anything onerous config wise, except for when I went with i3 and wanted a specific look and feel. This is all on CentOS 7.5. Ubuntu and derivatives make it even easier, and even Arch is straightforward with Manjaro.

This does not mean that a Linux DE is as convenient to set up as Mac or Windows, but the author's description of desktop Linux is a bit dated.

He takes time to mention that Apple is bad because it “represents” social justice warriors? Is this article a joke?

I guess people really plug this much stuff into a computer, but I must be a low-end exception. Things that gets plugged into my Mac:

1) USB-C to lightning cable to charge headphones and backup phone 2) USB-C to Displaylink at work for screen and networking 3) TB3 -> TB2 (dongle) to Thunderbolt display at home 4) USB-C power cable

That’s a total of one dongle for my entire work and home life. Everything else is wireless by now.

Things that I plug in:

- headset adapter (no headsets use the Apple TRRS plug) - scanner - USB keyboard - USB mouse - foot pedals (designed for transcription tools, I use for gaming)

I could get wireless mouse and keyboard but my experience has been a never ending dance of swapping and charging batteries, which is probably why Apple moved to integrated batteries.

(2009) and back when a 3.5 year old Mac was worse than a current Mac.

FYI it's an old post and there is an update at the bottom of the page where the author says he is back to Mac...

These days windows + Ubuntu 18 on a virtual box are a great substitute.

Some might consider it better if you need to use excel (one of the greatest pieces of software ever)

It's the opposite for me: Linux (first Gentoo, now Ubuntu) with Windows in a VM for specific apps (tax software, AoE 2 etc.) I'm super satisfied with such setup for last 10+ years.

And OneNote which was hands down the only thing keeping me on windows until wsl came along.

I love OneNote too so I have to ask: what is WSL?

Microsoft if you're reading this this is your fault for not marketing enough.

WSL is windows subsystem for Linux. Think of it like this- say you have an 'ls' binary from UNIX machine. You have WSL enabled on your machine in Windows. Windows will start the ls process and the UNIX calls will be handles in windows. (the kernel has mappings).

It's possible, and actually its wonderful experience, to run full "linux" environment right from windows at native speed.

It's not perfect and one of the biggest issues has been file system speed but besides that and some other smaller issues its the absolute best of both worlds- OneNote + excel + outlook + i3

This is interesting to look back on from our current perspective. I don’t think I agree with the author’s recent addendum, though.

Which part don't you agree with?

Most of it.

> Like, never plug in a usb from a stranger.

This will not give you malware unless you actually run something from the USB, AFAIK.

> And linux is always some years behind in supporting any bleeding edge tech, Such as any hand writing recognization, speech recognization, voice to speech, addon devices, display port 2 monitors, USB 3.1 (or whatever latest), etc.

That’s an interesting definition of “bleeding edge tech”. Usually I treat Linux a place where operating system experiments are tested first.

> As far as using, now softwrae on Microsoft Windows is as good as Mac.

Disagree strongly, but that is my opinion.

> Apple is now as evil as every one, intentionally make your iphone slow when new iphone is out, etc.

Whether Apple is “evil” is a personal opinion, but saying Apple makes iPhones slow is a gross misrepresentation at best.

> also, new is the sinister social justice warrior. Apple and Google are representatives.


> This will not give you malware unless you actually run something from the USB, AFAIK.


> That’s an interesting definition of “bleeding edge tech”. Usually I treat Linux a place where operating system experiments are tested first.

I don't know about bleeding edge but even simple things like mic, camera are a hassled to get working - a friend has been using his phone for hangouts meetings for the last month because the mic or the camera would not work on his zenbook running Ubuntu. Don't get me started on audio on linux :(.

>> As far as using, now softwrae on Microsoft Windows is as good as Mac. > Disagree strongly, but that is my opinion.

Depends what software you want to use.

This is more relevant for people like me that use Linux as their main desktop, but you don't have to choose just one. Both Mac Minis(and Apple Laptops) and NUCs have good resale value. Get a monitor that can take multiple inputs and then get keyboard and mouse sharing software.

These days consumer Win10 seems to be a data harvesting tool and ongoing beta test.

This might be controversial but for me personally I switch off updates (and all the other telemetry), and make sure to have comprehensive backups; so far so good. Preventing Win10 from installing updates isn't always easy.

I guess these days exploits could come via from 0 day browser vulnerabilities delivered via '3rd party frames', uBlock origin is your friend here...

Win10 seems to be a data harvesting tool

What data specifically does Windows 10 harvest?

I'd like to know more about the telemetry myself, but I'm not that bothered as it doesn't apply to me.

I'd like to know more about the telemetry

So what do you base “These days consumer Win10 seems to be a data harvesting tool” on?

Switching off updates is very insecure.

Sure, so I would strongly recommend against it for everyone else.

That said I feel it gives me a more stable machine, the time between reboots is typically 3 to 6 months.

I try to use as little software by MS as possible to keep the 'attack surface' to a minimum, ideally only using the OS itself. Even my home LAN only has IP enabled these days.

Which is less secure: turning off updates and potentially falling victim to zero day in the wild, or turning on updates and having Microsoft install arbitrary crapware on your computer without your explicit consent?

Windows 10 can’t sort folders by size.. in 2018. You need a third party application.

Still rocking Windows 7, the fonts of Windows 10 just hurt my eyes.

Windows 10 + Windows Subsystem for Linux did it for me.

TL;DR Switched to Win in 2009. Switched to Linux 2011. 2018 - still don’t like windows and osx.

TL;DR precis - Author switched from Mac to Windows about 9 years ago, but is now back on Mac.

I'm a very satisfied WSL user after having made a switch 3 months back and I cannot imagine going back.

Can't believe this is flagged

I'm guessing it was flagged for not having a date. It was indeed a little confusing to read at first because of that. Also, it's just considered good practice.

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