I've been playing with my Powerbook for a couple of weeks, and I thought I'd share some of my impressions coming from Windows for so many years.
Overall, I could not be happier. The Mac has a style all it's own, a style Windows seeks from a distance. It's small things, like anti-aliasing and fluid screen savers, that make the Mac so... creamy. Nothing on the Mac looks like pixels, everything is colorful and smooth, you forget that you're looking at a screen. It really reminds me of how movies portrayed computers several years ago, everything moved and spun in ways that were unrealistic. I used to laugh. But the movie future is here.
But, there are problems, things that drive me crazy, and it wouldn't be a Grumpy Gamer article with out a list of things I hate:
1) No two button mouse with a scroll wheel. Now, I know we're getting into religious territory with Apple on this, but they need to wake up. A one button mouse is next to useless. I hate having to hold down the control key every time I want a contextual menu to pop up. And, one of the greatest inventions of our time has to be the scroll wheel. Apple's reluctance to make a spiffy Mac mouse with these two features boggles my mind. Has Steve Jobs ever used a real mouse with a scrolly wheel? I assume he uses an Apple mouse on his Mac. Someone should give him a two button mouse with a wheel, and tell him to ignore the bad industrial design and crappy plastic, because when Apple makes one, it will be great and win all sorts of awards and cost too much.
2) Windows that are not in focus don't seem to get any mouse events until they are clicked on, but the click event is not sent to the Window. What this means is, if you click on a window that is not in focus, you have to click twice to get something to happen. The first click (even thou you are clicking on the button) brings the window into focus, but does not activate the control. I find my self waiting for something to happen, then clicking a second time. This is complicated by the fact that title bar of windows in focus and out of focus are very similar.
3) No first run games. Everything new that I want to play is on Windows, include lots of good stuff on the web. This is the only reason I still have a Windows machine. This really isn't the Macs fault, the machine is more than powerful enough, it's Apples fault for not recognizing the power of the game market years ago. Microsoft did, and they built great tools, had huge game developer conferences and supplied us with a lot of support and hugs and kisses (well, maybe that was just our contact, he was kind of strange). Apple, on the other hand would send the "Game Evangelist" of the week to our office to tell us how much they believed in games on the Mac. Two months later, someone else would show up and introduce themselves as the new "Game Evangelist". It became a joke after a while. I don't know if anything has changed in the past 3 or 4 years. They might be better. A goal of mine is to have my next game release on the Mac and Windows simultaneously. We'll see.
4) The one huge improvement that Microsoft made when they ripped off the Mac was moving the menu bar to the top of each window, rather then the top of the screen. While sitting at my desk, I run with a 1600x1200 monitor, and it's a long way for my eyes to move from the current window to the top of the screen. It also means that you have to change window focus in order to see what options exist on the menus of other Apps. What is double annoying is that most Apps use toolbars, and they are attached to the window, so they're splitting their functionality into two areas. Ick.
5) What do those three buttons do? I find the three stop-light buttons to be very confusing. The Red one with a X in it, that is OK. You click that when you're done with the window and you want to use your changes. The Yellow is for minimizing the window and the Green one is to look pretty. I guess. Not sure what it does. Seems like it would be the OK button, and the Red X would be the cancel button.
6) I really hated the Dock, but now I love it.
7) It's very annoying that when you close the window of an application, it continues to run, with the only indicator being the menu at the top of the screen. Based on my Windows experiences, I expect the App to quit when the last Window is closed. Now, in fairness, it doesn't really matter that the App is running, UNIX is really good and dealing with memory issues and dormant programs, so I guess I should just get over it.
Oh, and speaking of UNIX, it is so nice to have a real OS under the hood. I love being able to move from a luscious GUI to a down and dirty CLI. I struggled to get jobs to run under Windows, but now there is cron. And bash, and rsync. I do worry that Apple's "Computer for the Rest of us" is not any more. I do wonder how a computer novice would deal with UNIX if they ever had to drop into it. Maybe they never will. Me, I have a floating transparent Terminal up all the time.
But I'm a geek.
If you're a true Windows fanatic, understanding the Mac can take a while. It's kind of like your first day in Paris. It's strange, scary and no one speaks your language. But after a few days, you start to recognize the beauty and sophistication of it. Windows is like going to the Paris hotel in Vegas.