Richard Hart

Head of Something @ Somewhere
Kent, UK

My Music
My Photos


A month with the mac

It’s been pretty much exactly one month since I got the iMac and still when I sit at work I day dream of getting home using it. Since then, Apple fanboy level has reached factor 11 for sure. The main factor for switching when I did was the release of the 3.06Ghz iMac. I really didn’t want to “downgrade” from my PC to a slower machine. So with the release of the latest iMac there was no excuse not to. I ummed and arrrred for quite a while before just sucking it up and getting the thing, but from the moment I heared the startup chime, I haven’t looked back once, not even for a nanosecond. Ok, that’s a bit of a lie, because I did look back… I looked back and laughed.

When I initially made the decision to switch I was prepared to put up with niggles or annoyances to see if OSX was really that good and without hesitation, I believe it really is. There was a time when I would mock Apple advocates. I mean come on, Apple mice have one button! I remember the first time I used one back in ’97 and having to maintain a few of them in the office. Yeah they looked great, but back then I wasn’t interested in the atheistic side of stuff so much. They seemed to cause more problems then it was worth back then. Windows 95 and Mandrake Linux were enough to satisfy me. Fast forward to a few years ago when I started taking an interest in conceptual and coding elegance, clean and simple UIs and above all else usability being the core of any product. After years of make doing with the clunkiness of MS interfaces, I longed to feel good about the tools I was using. Using a computer shouldn’t be a chore, it should be a delight.

So it all began with those pesky Rails videos…

I don’t care what anyone says about scalability or whether it’s “enterprise” ready, but Rails rocks, if not simply for the fact that it opened my eyes to how coding should be. After years of living the code -> compile -> test endless loop, Rails was like a fresh of breath air. I’m a neat freak and Rails was the cure to my itch for a cleanly defined standard to creating a webapp. These bits go here, those bits go there and here’s your finished web app. Tasks took a fraction of the time to achieve in Rails compared to Java and Struts. It was earth shattering. And that’s where the videos came in; I would watch videocasts and everyone was using Macs, and the more I watched the more I’d get a glimpse into the life of a Mac user. It felt like everyone doing all the cool stuff was at an Apple party and I wasn’t invited. Then the more I looked into OSX and its applications the more I saw that the people developing on it and for it really cared about the stuff that mattered, the kind of stuff taken for granted on other platforms. Apple people are the sort of people who care if the corner of a bevel isn’t rendered properly. Anal? Yeah of course, but it’s that attention to detail that makes OSX such a pleasure to use.

I know I annoy people with my fanboyism and I feel the urge to defend Apple at every opportunity, but the same people who like to point they can get a better spec machine for the amount I paid are the same who like to poke jibes at Rails but don’t have the guts to try either. I just smile and day dream of getting home to my iMac.