Newspaper In Microsoft’s Back Yard Offers Tips On Switching To Mac

Switcher Mania must be spreading: An article appearing in the Seattle Times over the weekend provided a list of steps intended to ease the transition of potential Switchers. We take extra note of this due to the subtle irony of Seattleis position as power center for Microsoft itself. Microsoft is based in Redmond, Washington, a suburb of Seattle.

The author of the piece splits his suggestions into five sections: "Select the hardware," "Select the software," "Move files," "Polish the environment," and "Learn the equivalents." The author also praises the iMac, including positive references to its lamp-like qualities, offers Microsoft Office alternatives, mentions the relative ease of cross-platform networking, and plugs VersionTracker and Gimp-Print. Excerpts from the Seattle Times article:

Select the hardware. Macs are available in five basic models: the iMac, the eMac, the G4 tower (all desktops) and the iBook and PowerBook (notebooks). The one with the greatest cool factor is the iMac; it looks like a fashionable lamp and has one of the most comfortable keyboards available.

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Select the software. Which will mean, in many cases, Microsoft Office. This is slimmed down from the PC version, to Word, Excel, Power Point and (Outlook equivalent) Entourage.

There are a few MS Office alternatives, such as AppleWorks or ThinkFree Office (www.thinkfree.com), but Mac Office is one way to make the new place look like home.

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Move files. Move2Mac offers some simple shortcuts, but many people will want more control (and wonit want to move every file from their PC anyway). After you determine what to move, you need to establish the best connection. This will depend on the machines.

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Polish the environment. This also depends on the PCis configuration. Name brand peripherals with USB connections will automatically install on the Mac, so thereis no reason to replace your three-year-old Hewlett-Packard Deskjet. You might want a new scanner, but wonit necessarily need one. If the drivers donit start automatically you can visit www.versiontracker.com or gimp-print.sourceforge.net for the latest updates.

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Learn the equivalents. This is a combination of trial and error and instinct. The Dock (Mac) and the Start button (PC) are rough equivalents, likewise System Preferences and Control Panel. The basic window controls are a little different, and the Mac places the up and down scroll buttons together rather than on opposite sides of the window. While this preference is configurable, the Apple way is better. Switchers will find a lot of these little advantages as time goes on, and they add up after a while.

You can read the article in full at the Seattle Timesi Web site.

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