February 28, 2011

∴ The Switch: Moving My Stuff to Mac OS X

I'm still not settled on which machine to purchase, but I've been thinking about the move from my Thinkpad for a while. Setup of a new machine used to be a multi-hour ordeal, but I've changed up how I use my machine so this time it should be fairly quick.

Most of the software I use is open-source and available in Mac OS as well as Windows versions. Installing those few applications shouldn't take long. My computing day is largely spent in a browser with a half-dozen tabs for mail, RSS feeds, weather radar, calendar, etc. Install the Chrome browser and it all syncs and opens automatically. All of my document files live in a Dropbox folder and will sync to the new Mac automatically, as well. Movies and music live on a storage array, or will shortly. There's not much else.

Many computer users keep all of their files on the local hard drive, though, and moving to a new machine can be a royal pain. Developers perusing the latest beta release of Lion, Apple's next version of Mac OS X, report (AppleInsider, via Gizmodo) that Apple's Migration Assistant tool has been enhanced to make moving from a Windows-based machine easier.

Migration Assistant is one of those technologies you wish Microsoft would adopt. The first time you fire up a new Mac, one of the initial screens asks if you're moving from an older Mac, and if so, whether or not you'd like to migrate your complete environment from that machine. Not just documents and setting, like the Windows Migration Wizard. User account, docs, settings, programs. You end up with very little to set up on the new machine. And, if you're using a Firewire cable (or the new Thunderbolt connector), it's fast. Apparently now that process will work for users moving from a Windows-based machine, too, though probably without the software transfer.

That's the Apple benefit. They refine the user experience to take away the unpleasant parts of using technology.