The new Mountain Lion (ML) features in OSX required changes to the programming API and that resulted in a lot of vendors using ML as a release breakpoint. If you have the 2011 or 2012 version of a software package it will work pre-Lion, but if you want the 2013 version you’ll have to upgrade to ML. For me, that means buying a new MacBook as mine is on the teetering edge of not enough memory for ML. So, doing enough upgrade to run a Lion-only project means spending a lot of money to stay locked into the environment that otherwise doesn’t need an upgrade.
Or do I get a non-Apple laptop? I do more and more design work that would be easier if I could get to 3d apps on Windows, Visio, and other business-related apps. My Big Desktop Machine at home had always been some sort of UNIX workstation, transferring my data to a Big Apple Desktop worked nicely when OSX was released. I won’t lose any Mac licenses if I go to a Thinkpad, I can just transfer them to my other Mac and continue to use CS5, Omni tools, etc.
After a lot of looking and testing I ended up with a loaded Thinkpad XT220 — a laptop that can convert to a touch screen tablet. I spent twice what I’d have spent on a MacBook, but I think I came out ahead on the cost/features rule. Not only do I have a touchscreen laptop (that uses a stylus or finger), I have a dock with a DVD burner and a ton of extra ports, an external battery pack that gives me 9 hours of work time, wireless networking via mobile phone SIM, and a bunch of other features I’ve barely touched. (First app I purchased? VMWare so I could run an Ubuntu VM alongside Win7.)
What hit me during the transition and moving all my data (and life?) from MacBook to Thinkpad was not “Apple sucks” or “I love IBM” but “I needed and still need more change in my life”.
I still use Thunderbird and Firefox, but I’ve had to change a lot of my other daily apps. New address book, new calendar, new RSS feed reader, some new dev tools, new screen managers, new AIM client, and a lot of other little things.
Each of those “little” things brought change with it, and each change gave me a chance to step back and look at how I’d let Apple control my work environment. Sure, iCal was “free”, but like other “free” apps it cut into the Apple development market. Over in Windows land there are a lot more choices (that usually require a purchase) but I have more say in what I install and use on my laptop. Sure, there’s a lot of crap products out there but there’s also a wide range of 3d modeling, engineering, and other software that just isn’t making it to the Mac. Rhino 5 is going to be great for OSX users, but that’s only one of several high-end, high-performance modeling packages.
Even simple is not simple. I had to change over my RSS feeds and for the first time since we have had RSS feeds there was a chance to re-organize them. I deleted dozens of dead/zombie feeds that haven’t been touched in years and took the feeds I read and sorted them in a relatively different manner than before. NetNewsWire is still my favorite Mac app, but on Windows I had to find a substitute (picked FeedDemon). Moving to that substitute meant new models for reading, ordering, sorting, and finding my RSS news.
Calendar life also changed. I don’t know when this happened but Outlook really got cleaned up for solo/non-business use. It’s not the rathole I’m used to having at the paid office, it syncs with my phone and google and everything else.
Then there’s the new features that I’m still getting used to, like logging in with a fingerprint, real wireless networking with a mobile phone company, 6-9 hours of battery life, and something I’ll write about soon, way more buttons than any laptop needs to have.