Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why a Mac?

My buddy Frank (aka "Grits") asked me a great question today, "why am I buying a Mac?" This is a pretty good question and actually I think there are several answers. Ultimately, it's come to a tipping point now where the amount of things I can do with a new Mac has made it pretty clear that it's going to be a useful tool. The first introspective question to ask myself is, "Did Steve Jobs just finally make this sound so cool that I *had* to get one?" That answer thankfully is no, and I think it's winning on it's own merits as a computer rather than a success in marketing on Apple's part. (Although, they sure are good at it!)

Here's my main plan for it:
  • New Website development
    • I want a new website for
    • I want it to look like an Apple-designed website, cause that's what everyone wants websites to look like these days!
    • I want a pretty good WSYWIG editor, I want the design already mostly made for me, so I can focus on content and have the "looking good" and functionality portion of the website already done for me
    • If I want it to be Apple-y, then using a design package on a Mac makes sense, and there are a few that I really like already that are cheap and look good.
  • Guitar recording
    • I really want to get back into recording and posting music on my website and blog
    • I can buy Sonic Foundry or something for my PC, but GarageBand really knocks it out of the park and is free with a Mac Mini. So I may as well just get a Mac Mini and use GarageBand.
    • GarageBand also has some cool lesson stuff which can help me improve my jazz scales and so on, that rocks.
  •  App Development, Objective-C practice
    • With the rise of the iPad, it's looking like Objective-C is becoming a more important skill to have, and what better way to have that than do some app projects.
    • I could learn Android and so on, but I already know Java pretty well and Objective-C looks like a bigger hurdle. Also, as fast as Android is moving, the tablet market has really been won fair and square by Apple, and at their price point they are still destroying the competition with the iPad. So if I'm gonna learn something, I should learn the Mac format. If Android turns the tables later, I can always pump up my existing Java knowledge if needed. This is all for fun and gaining experience anyway.
  •  Video Editing
    • I gotta say, iMovie is awesome. They have some really excellent features for a FREE software package and it's about 100x more feature-rich than Windows Movie Maker. With all the traveling and video footage I'm doing lately, iMovie will make for some more interesting final products.
    • My Canon Rebel T1i actually films in QuickTime MOV format. So using iMovie to edit and save back to MOV means one less conversion in the pipeline and therefore a more crisp final product.
  • Linux backend
    • This is pretty nice. Yes, I could always dual-boot my existing PC and put Ubuntu on it, but it's nice that Mac already has this.
  • Joining the club
    • This is of course the less tangible excuse to buy a Mac, but it's definitely in there in a way
    • This is less of a "join the pop cultural Mac revolution" and more of a "if people are switching over to Mac, they are probably doing it for a good reason."
    • For me, the reason is mostly access to excellent Mac-only software. For years I've wanted to use GarageBand and it just keeps getting better and better. iMovie '11 has some astoundingly good features too. Also, Keynote makes some really solid presentations and I ultimately like the look of Keynote presentations better than PowerPoint. If you want to present as well as Steve Jobs, use the tools that he uses. :)

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