Today I did something bold, irresponsible and costly - I, a Microsoft Employee bought an iMac. The reason I did this was mostly due to two things:

  1. All my creative friends kept saying "Man I can't live without my mac, don't know how you survive dude, especially working for Microsoft" (it's their way of putting a dig at me).
  2. We bought 2 laptops for the team, and Shanemo & Michael are hard to pry the MacBook Pro's from, so it was either get one of them fired or buy it.

So here I am, owning an iMac while drawing a pay check at Microsoft. I can't but help the feeling I am hurting my stock options somehow, but the rationale in my head is that "We don't make PC Hardware, we make Operating systems - and other things".

Purchase Experience

Ok, so I spent $3,000 (AUD) on the thing, and I must admit for that much I could get a screamer of a Desktop PC (I have a wholesale account) that would pretty much have small villagers lining up to worship it.

Once I got over the initial shock, handed of my credit card we began to make small talk. I asked the saleswoman "Should I wait for Leopard?"

She replies: "No, I'd wait until February as I personally want to wait until few other products are working on it, like my cannon drivers and Adobe CS3 Photoshop" as she was a photographer.

Nice to see salesman use that line in a Apple store - as well as PC Store.

As I was buying it, I noticed a couple came in with Parallels issues. They also then proceeded to argue with the salesman that Windows doesn't work properly (which caught my interest). Turns out the Salesman had promised that Office 2007 would work perfect on the system and sadly the couple had a low spec machine that required more RAM (some for the OSX and some for the virtualware of choice).

As I then took out my credit card, she noticed my Microsoft ID was in my wallet and asked "Oh so do you work for Microsoft?"... I didn't know what to say actually (first time i got spooked by that question). If I admit yes, then she may charge me more I kept thinking?..

"Yes, yes I do..."  I replied.

Saleswoman: "Cool, can't say I understand what you guys do but I love my Apple and that's all I'll say on that matter"

Why do people always feel the need to pick a fight with us Microsoftonians.. do we not bleed the same blood? does a stapler thrown at her forehead not leave the same bruise? heh.. (sorry, but it irratates me the blind brand hatred at times).

Installation Experience

DSCN1768We've all mostly seen the ads. The smug Apple guy makes a point of just unpacking the box, plugging it and walking off to do other things, meanwhile the PC guy has to do allot of work. 

I agree, the Apple experience did shine here, I not only was surprised to see just a monitor (somehow I had it in my head that I'll have some kind of small little desktop console of some kind) but it was a case of slotting in the power cable, hooking the mouse and keyboard up (heh, I thought I had to plug the mouse into the back of the monitor when I released there was a USB input on the keyboard.. such a dumbo).

That was it really for the hardware. I found the overall install experience for OSX Tiger to be pretty damn  smooth and effortless.

I did laugh though to see once the Wizards were all done and dusted, "Software Updates" that required patching. Ahhh sweet justice, yes Windows Vista does it but so does OSX! so neh!.

Finding My Feet

I must admit, once all the dust was settled and patches had been made, I started to just look around the operating system and see what I could get up to ($10 says I break it within 20mins of use). Thankfully my kind friends on Twitter.com (i.e friends in my list) were eager to help me get the must-haves of OSX.

I was given this link by AndyJ - http://tinyurl.com/lgzoa

I found the whole Install experience on OSX to be weird. Firstly you download the file it gets stored on the desktop, and then you install it, go through the wizards and ...well..wtf did it go?

Figured it out eventually...

I played around with iPhoto and iMovie and the camera quality was amazingly good. Very impressed with it actually.

Productivity Experience

Look, I'm a .NET developer type guy now, let's not beat around the bush. I need my Visual Studio 2008, Expression Studio and most important of all - beloved Silverlight. Let's see how this iMac culture really performs in "Virtual Mode".

I went down the Parallels path. It was a seamless install experience, Windows Vista appears to run really smooth and Visual Studio 2008, Expression Studio and Silverlight perform really well. Quite impressed!

I then loaded Adobe CS3 Master Suite. Ok, so I'd not do that if I were you as performance wasn't initially good.

I was then told by Andrew Spaulding (Adobe Staffer I know locally - good guy) to try out VMWare Fusion.

It works, but I must admit the VMWare vs Parallels doesn't feel as smooth. I notice that I can run stuff like Adobe CS3 Photoshop quite fast. I noticed that Expression Blend etc works but in reality It's hard to pick a winner here as both have faults and issues. I think I'll need a few more days of playing before I settle on a definite winner.

One thing that does annoy me is that I just bought Adobe CS3 Master Suite and I was thinking "surely the serial numbers can work on both? ie so long as I only use it on one computer at time thing?" sadly no. Pitty as that would of been good.

I'll expand more on Productivity as the days roll on, but initially first day of owning it seems pretty amazing.