Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Why I still like and use OS X with a passion

I am reading some posts from folks who feel quality problems with OS X are forcing them to leave OS X or have great concerns about it:
  • http://wozniak.ca/why-i-quit-os-x
  • http://www.marco.org/2015/01/04/apple-lost-functional-high-ground
While I agree that there are some important bugs, I want to point out how I feel Apple is looking out for its users. 

It reminds me of a discussion of being poor vs rich vs being alive long ago (as a king).  Forgive what is likely to be a not-so-short digression on living long ago vs now:
  • Food: Maybe kings could get spices, food, nutrition, variety, and have a fairly continuous food supply, but not most other people.  Famines were not uncommon.  Spices were for the wealthy.  Sailors got scurvy.  This is not so much like the lives of most of us today.
  • Facilities:  Kings did not have what are common facilities today: refrigerators, microwave ovens, hot/cold indoor plumbing with safe drinking water, indoor bathrooms, heater/air conditioning
  • Health: Medicine 200 years ago was something like leeches and prayers compared to now.  We have vaccines, antibiotics, and a whole system.  Live expectancy was vastly less than it is now, even for kings.
We quickly forget what we did not have not so long ago.  We often stop appreciating what we do have.

For me, OS X is an amazing environment to work in.  This experience is not completely separable from the hardware.
  • I can do my work from a Macbook Air - a tiny portable computer.  Never before the Macbook Air could I use a tiny portable for all of my work; previous machines had not enough compute power or RAM.
  • Apple's work in OS X to save battery life and save RAM is something we should celebrate more.  Compressed memory, the ability to see applications taking battery life, the creation of modes that allow applications to be efficient, and rewriting Apple's apps to use that efficiency are amazing!
  • The security focus and capabilities in OS X are also amazing.  Apple's focus on sandboxing goes beyond other vendors in most cases.  Safari not even running some plugins without permission saves power and keeps things more secure.  Apple is also making judicious security patches that do not take 1+ hours to deploy (ahem - Microsoft).  I have never had malware running on my machine to my knowledge, and I have never had another mac user that I know relay to me that they have had such a problem.  I did have malware of many kinds affect my use of Microsoft over the years.
  • Continuity and handoff - Apple has made the experience of using my other devices with OS X so much more usable.
    • Text Messages:  I had already used messages on my computer in place of typing on my iPhone much of the time.  Does anyone think about text messaging before iPhone?  So many people just used feature phones and the old phone keypad before iPhone, but even those with smartphones before iPhone had a vastly inferior experience.  This just takes it to a much more usable place!
    • Phone calls - I just use my computer instead of pulling out my iPhone.  It is handy.  Or, I can refuse a call and send a text reply.  This is amazing during meetings.
    • Airdrop between OS X and iOS has been really helpful in many instances for me.  iCloud will take that to an even better place as I do not have to even copy files; they are just there.
    • Even before these new features, having my bookmarks reliably sync'ed to my desktop and iPhone was great and helpful!
There are many other things, written about many time by many people, about how great OS X is.  I just think it is worth remembering to be happy about what amazing progress and innovative technology we do get to use every single day.

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