I am now guilty of Apple snobbery.
This revelation came to me at work. It’s not that I think I’m better because I use a Macbook and OSX, it’s just that I now understand **WHY** people make “the switch”.
Ever since I bought my Macbook, I haven’t been on my Windows machine. It’s a bit out of date, which would lead me to snubbing it, and it’s also in the office, and the benefit of the Macbook is the ability to bring it anywhere. It goes beyond that, though.
One of the best features that OSX offers is Expose. It’s a feature in OSX that allows you to separate all of your windows. (See below)
The benefit of Expose lies in the way it quickly displays all relevant information so you can quickly get to and from any program you like without resorting to Command+Tab (or Control+Tab in Windows). Windows XP, the more stable, albeit long in the tooth version of Windows, does not offer anything remotely resembling this. I’m not as studied on Vista, so I can’t comment, but the way OSX does this has been a godsend.
At any given time, I have between 4 to 6 programs open, those being my web browser, email, NeoOffice, Adium, and sometimes Flickr Uploadr or some other. Command+Tab is a mess, though OSX displays exceptionally clear, beautiful icons when you use this method. Expose eliminates that, quickly bringing all of your windows up so you can look through them. Hover your mouse over them to see exactly what a window is.
This goes one step further when you use Spaces. (See below)
Spaces allows you to quickly create separate desktops so you can place items there. I’m currently writing this in desktop 2 while my email, chat program, Finder windows, and other assorted goodies are in desktop 1.
In conjunction, Expose can be used to move program windows from one desktop to another in Spaces. This requires only 2 button presses.
A final thing about Expose that has changed the way I organized and interact with my desktop is the “Clear the Desktop” mode. (See Below)
Under the Expose Preferences in your System Preferences, you can set up Expose to regulate specific duties to the four corners or keys that are pressed. I have “Desktop” selected for my lower left corner. When I roll my mouse into this corner, all of the programs move out of the way and I can immediately see and interact with my desktop, which includes allowing me to grab icons. At this point, I roll my mouse back over the corner. If the program I want to drop the Icon into isn’t in focus, I press my Expose key, highlight the program, press it again, and drop it. It’s that simple.
We use Windows XP at work and, while I have been a Windows user all of my life, the little things about XP that were a tinge of annoyance before have begun to feel like someone stabbing me in the eye, particularly in the way it handles program availability. Because I’m so accustomed to Expose and Spaces in the few short days I have been an OSX user, I find myself struggling with the XP interface and it’s lack of finesse. This becomes particularly annoying given the fact that I have far more windows open at work than I ever do at home.
Today, while working, it dawned on me that I hate Windows XP. I hate it with a passion. It feels like a complete step backwards. Working with the OS makes me think of the days I was working in DOS, trying to get things to run while maintaining some sense of sanity as the command-line interface spat out error messages that were nigh incomprehensible except by the most studied of MS-DOS users. OSX is just a cleaner, more usable interface.
I will be a snob. I can’t help it. I’m rebuilding our Windows machine, which is mainly used so my fiancee can do graphic work on a bigger monitor. I don’t see that happening too often, however. Unfortunately, I see us hooking our 19” flat screen to the Macbook and just using the Macbook for all our graphic needs while the Windows PC sits lonely in the office until it is eventually replaced with a beautiful 24” iMac. That is the way of the world… Apple has ruined me… and I think it has ruined me for the better. Lord help me, I’m turning into the people I used to hate… and I think I like it.