In Flux

Posted by Scott

I spent my first couple days designing on a Mac and I must say, I am now an official convert. I got all the keys and mouse behaviors tweaked to emulate the PC way of doing things (I can’t live without my right-click) and it’s finally all become clear. I feel like such a flake, I really had it set in my head that it was all about PCs and didn’t really want to listen to people who told me otherwise. All the Macs I had used in the past were other people’s and hence were set up to their liking. Also, they always just seemed really slow. This thing is really quick; not quite as quick as the PC but I am willing to sacrifice a bit of performance for the user experience and stability I have found in OS X. I know, I know – this is a huge flip-flop from my previous stance but I am completely willing to admit I’ve totally fallen in love with this operating system and I was totally wrong in all of my assumptions about it. I don’t think I will ever be without a PC (at least not for the near future), I still make music on the PC just because all of my projects and sketches are in Sonar or Vegas format which are both PC-only. But I want to start playing around with Logic and see how I like that as an alternative and perhaps make the switch all together over the next year. 

I feel like this all came to a head with my disappointment in Windows Vista. I had patiently awaited it’s release thinking it would be the new PC OS that would keep me going for the next 5 years, but in reality it turned out to be a dud on a lot of fronts. Meanwhile it seems that OS X has really matured into something incredible and the switch to Intel only made it that much more enticing. I made it through an entire night of designing without one hiccup or reboot in Photoshop which is very rare. All this time I had been attributing those issues to problems inherent to Photoshop, but apparently they were Windows issues as they have all disappeared. Another big part of this is color management. I have been using the Colorvision Spyder 2 system for a couple years now and it’s just such a headache to keep all the profiles in working order in XP. On the Mac it’s been smooth sailing.

I am not about to talk bad on Windows as I sort of feel like I am abandoning an old friend. It has it’s perks; but as a lot of you have said before, for design Mac just seems to be the way to go. So go ahead, bring on the I-told-you-so’s, I deserve every last one of them. Here’s to a brave new world, sans sleep learning.

69 Comments Leave A Comment


Casey says:

March 17, 2008 at 3:50 pm

I had almost the same experience as you. I hated using the old-slow macs they had on campus, and that single click mouse thing drove me crazy. But as I began using my mac at work, when I went home to my PC, the difference became night and day: No crashes at work on my mac vs rebooting my PC every 3-4 hours. I too will probably always have a PC MAC sitting side by side on my desktop, but my mac is my polished workhorse.


Antonio says:

March 17, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Scott, congrats man. I’m glad you’ve finally seen the light. Enjoy every moment of it cause it’s great. Here are a few must have apps that you should download:

Transmit (FTP)
Cocktail (OS Maintenance)
Linotype FontExplorer (Font Manager. Free and it’s the best.)
MarsEdit (WordPress Publishing App.)

Give me a shout if you have any questions.


Jay says:

March 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm

I used to be a PC-only freak until I was able to work on a Mac for an extended time. After that, I knew I wanted one. True, it’s still a computer, and PCs can do everything Macs can do (for the most part). But the whole interface is so much more intuitive. And it allows me to work much faster than before.

I’ve created a list of my favorite Mac apps, if you are interested, which might help you settle in a bit faster:


Wayne D. says:

March 17, 2008 at 5:46 pm

I too have a hybrid office. I use my PC for 3d modeling and the occasional PC game, and everything else (read important) happens on my mac. I think they have their own pros/cons. I would never lock myself to one OS or become a fanboy of either. Whatever gets the job done better, faster manner is all that matters – and for me it’s both. Mac + PC =


Dan says:

March 17, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Jeez, now I feel like I’m the last one in this field on Windows haha

I use Macs all the time for this stuff, but I can’t stand the window management.

Expose works great when you don’t have something like a task bar that groups all the files open associated with a program together.


Mike Gowan says:

March 17, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Scott, I’m glad you’re liking Os X. As you said, it has evolved and matured into some nice software. Im like you, I used to build my own pcs (and load them with Windows NT, that was a good os), and learned music production on Cakewalk, as well. I can see how the 90’s gave Macs a really bad name, even lasting up till now. The os used to be horribly buggy and slow. I think the real difference these days is in the programming methodologies of the current Apple dev teams, creating stable and light-weight frameworks for applications.


mike says:

March 17, 2008 at 6:42 pm

I always used windows machines, until I started going to school and all the computers were mac machines. my last experience with macs had been in like middle school and I hated them, but OSX switched my mind in about a weeks time. I still use PC at home (cant afford a mac, but next computer will be one), and its not like its some sort of horrible thing, but I def prefer to do my design work using OSX over XP/Vista.


Kain says:

March 17, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Scott, just get a mac already! :) If you really want to use windows again, make partition and install windows on your mac with bootcamp.


Scott says:

March 17, 2008 at 9:52 pm

to tell the truth I just don’t think the current mac hardware available is fast enough. I wanted to base the system on the QX9650 intel proc. which is obviously not an option with a mac pro. I also wanted to overclock and watercool, so I figured I would be needing to use custom hardware. I do want to get a mac pro, but for now I will run OSX on the custom hardware. I have been benchmarking everything and it’s been blowing away the numbers I’ve seen for top of the line mac pro setups.


Ryan says:

March 17, 2008 at 10:54 pm

Get boot camp, or run parallels on your mac and you’ll find that you don’t actually need your old PC there for anything at all, you can just boot into XP or Vista right from your mac.


Renzo says:

March 18, 2008 at 1:35 am

I can only say: WELCOME home!
I’m really looking forward to see the first result of ISO50 on a Mac…


PT says:

March 18, 2008 at 1:57 am

Haha, big move.

Yeah i must say, i’m quite happy with my Mac .. i find the interface a lot easier and i keep my folder’s a lot neater on OSX than my folders on Windows.

Eeep, i totally agree with your Vista comments. How disappointing.

Welcome to the revolution.


Paddy says:

March 18, 2008 at 4:02 am

Hurray! Another convert has seen the light.

I’m constantly singing the praises of OS X and it’s always good to see another person discovering how much nicer it is than Windows.

As far as great apps go, you should definitely get yourself

Coda (FTP, code editor and previewer) and
Quicksilver (Launcher)

Enjoy your new toy.


Bjarki says:

March 18, 2008 at 5:33 am

Be carefull of Logic….you will convert fully if you try it. Guaranteed.

No love for ableton live? to me that is perfection.


drew kora says:

March 18, 2008 at 5:38 am

Scott, you’re a rare breed of geek: Both a design/artist and an IT guy. Most artists prefer MACs because of the awesome design and no-fuss in-your-face interface. Most IT guys I talk to agree that Apple software is better, but these guys love to get inside the hardware and tinker so they say “…you can’t work on a MAC and build it up like you can a PC.” So artists and IT guys go their separate ways, but there you are on the fence faced with both realizations.

…of course, reading closesly I notice you’re a convert, not to macs, but to OSX. Given your hardware needs that totally makes sense. I’m glad you can run OSX on your PC. I wish I had the skillz to build up a PC and do that, too. Of course, I hardly need that much power. My MBP gets the job done.


Gen says:

March 18, 2008 at 5:46 am

hey Scott, congrats!

I switched to MAC about 3 years ago and have never looked back. OS X is truly an amazing operating system and it won’t disappoint you.


Aster says:

March 18, 2008 at 6:44 am

Hackinosh changed my life too.
And it is much faster than any windows.
Wellcome to the smooth OS.


Jason says:

March 18, 2008 at 7:00 am

When I made the switch (about 4 years ago), I thought I’d bounce back and forth between my Mac and my PC. 5 months later, I realized that I had not once turned the PC on!

I hated Macs until they allowed for a right click and a Delete key (note — not a Backspace key). Welcome to the system that embodies the same principals most of us love — good design. It’s an exciting moment indeed.



David says:

March 18, 2008 at 7:06 am

Whatever makes you happy! I think you will discover that it is just another piece of software. In the end, what we do has nothing to do with whether or not we did it on a Mac or PC.

Of course, I am a total mac fanboy and I’m actually cheering right now! Woo hoo! Seriously, I heart Ballmer. Mac Office 08 sucks ass and Office 07 for the PC rules. Plus, Microsoft Expression Studio rocks too.


Albert says:

March 18, 2008 at 7:41 am

Welcome to the OS X camp! As a long-suffering Mac user, I will concur that Macs OS 9 is not in the same league as OS X. What passed for acceptable stability then no longer applies. OS X is more or less bulletproof. Rarely reboot, rarely need to. It just runs. That kind of stability really enhances creativity! Have fun!


Alex / HeadUp says:

March 18, 2008 at 8:15 am

I really think that with Apple’s growing stake in the market nowadays, more and more people will begin to move toward a more usable and intuitive computer or product such as those offered by Mac.

And it’s not just in the PC market, look at how well the iPhone is faring against waves of competitors who to this day have been unable to produce a serious contender. Same goes for the iPod, vitrually untouched by the Zune or the Zen. The underlying concept here is something that Steve Jobs (who I identify much more closely with than Gates) has always emphasized in the products Apple brings to the table– the technology is a work of art that is easy and pleasing to use and takes the term “personal computer” to heart in every sense possible. This is a sharp contrast to a more utilitarian tool as presented by traditional windows-based PCs.

The funny thing about my Mac supporting is that I do not own, nor have I ever owned a Mac myself. My brother just got one, however, and I have given it a try a few times. Aside from getting used to using the open apple key as opposed to the control key and other minor quirks, it should be an easy and even relieving transition from the days of constant rebooting and task manager checking. I hope to get one very soon with a little saved money.

I now have no reason not to convert.


Nikki says:

March 18, 2008 at 8:57 am

I wasn’t gonna say anything before cuz you rock, but FINALLY!!! YES! Welcome to the other side :)


Ross says:

March 18, 2008 at 9:43 am

I agree with Bjarki, Ableton is great and works cross-platform. If you get used to it you won’t be limited t just one operating system. It’s really a great piece of software, I recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.
What’s even more great, a license allows you to install it on multiple machines and only limits you to “running one copy at a time.”
Enjoy the operating system!


col says:

March 18, 2008 at 9:43 am

you will soon realise how much you have been missing on a MAC in music production…….sonar is soo weak if you sit down and use logic, get over the learning curve and try to go back to sonar.. i dare you to.. double dare you…..


mrcury says:

March 18, 2008 at 10:00 am

Hey! First of all, thanks for this great blog and all your work. This is all very inspiring!

Secondly, good thing you went for os x, even if it’s a hackintosh. ;D I was actually kind of surprised when I found out you were on a PC… I thought all kick-ass designers were using macs! :)

Finally, contratulations! I’m sure you will be asking yourself, as I did, why it took you so long to finally make the switch. Hehe.


Julian says:

March 18, 2008 at 10:36 am

Congrats on the change over!
I started out on a mac about 3 years ago. I loved it…

Unfortunately the time came for an upgrade a few months ago…and my budget just couldn’t stretch to the £1800 required for a worthy upgrade.

I instead decided to build a pc – and for half the price I’ve built a machine that is far more powerful. I would have loved to get a mac this time, but I’m not denying that I love my new machine.

Building my pc has been a great project for me (I’ve never built one before) and I’ve learned such a lot. Also, I don’t seem to have had the many problems that everyone is having with Vista.

Enjoy your mac. Hopefully I’ll be able to afford another in a few years :D


Leggoz says:

March 18, 2008 at 10:50 am

At home i hava a PC…but at my internship’s I’m always a mac-user…as well on school…I just dont have the money to buy my own MAC…dammit..


David Lz says:

March 18, 2008 at 11:45 am

I’m an architect/designer who switched about a year ago (after switching from Mac to Windows/intel around 2000) and I thought I’d post a little question here since this thread is sort of the perfect intersection of designer/switcher/support posts… ;)

The only thing I’m not satisfied with yet is mouse sensitivity. I really had no problem with it on OS 7/8/9 or Windows 2000/XP. But OS X just doesn’t get it right. I’ve tried the Microsoft mouse drivers as well as USB Overdrive and SteerMouse. SteerMouse is quite decent and the piece of software I’ve used the last 6 months (I must say I *love* assigning exposé’s “show all” and “show desktop” to the side buttons of my Habu mouse), but the quest for perfect mouse control still lingers in my mind. Any better tips?


ralph fisker says:

March 18, 2008 at 11:53 am

i have the same question
as a pc user i get frustrated with the mouse sensitivity on my colleagues’ macs
it seems less responsive
must be hard for the pixel details?


BingeBOy says:

March 18, 2008 at 1:11 pm

ralph just change it in the dam prefs dude! there is also a app called mouse zoom or something like that which gives you even more controls.


Sarah S. says:

March 18, 2008 at 3:19 pm

yay. i love my macbook pro dearly. awesome there is another kickass designer that has discovered his love to the ever so amazing osx. :)
have fun! :D


griffin says:

March 18, 2008 at 7:29 pm

I just made the big switcheroo, too. You’ll need windows for:
– NetFlix instant viewing
– Gaming
– That’s all

What blew me away was how I’m using all of the same apps on the mac as I was on the PC.

Looking forward to catching your performance at Yuri’s Night.


Bjarki says:

March 19, 2008 at 4:29 am

People with mouse problems!!! I found the solution the other day.
I was on the way to getting severe carpel tunnel or something.
Small app called USB Overdrive. (only works for usb mice)
But in my search for this I came upon an article that described the mouse feel very well. “It is like draging the cursor through mud”
The cause apparantly is the mouse acceleration curve was changed on the new OSX.
Saved my life and probably the one thing that was bothering my switch.


Kelly says:

March 19, 2008 at 7:26 am

Macs are amazing…
I just got an iMac for Christmas..I know.. it’s not a Pro.. but Macs aren’t cheap.

Besides my intel based iMac is way faster than my pc that was rated higher according to its processor and ram and all that good stuff.
Macs just work.

Keep up the great work.. you inspire me.


Jefta says:

March 19, 2008 at 8:07 am

For a long time you were worlds biggest designer-on-pc’s marvel, but now using mac! would love your story.
I’m looking forward to see some new stuff!



iDave says:

March 19, 2008 at 10:17 am

We Mac users get pretty excited about switchers. As a recent discoverer of your site (and fan of your work), it makes it even more intimate. You’ll find there’s a great big community that loves to help out folks like you, so don’t be shy with questions. Although I think you’re finding the everday stuff is pretty easy to “get.” Thanks for switching!


ChrisJordan says:

March 19, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Just wait

one day you’ll get a “The Program Adobe Illustrator has unexpectedly quit”, and you’ll go back

I’ve lost several hours of work on these things. Plus all the ‘smart software’ built for stupid people always gets in the way, its dreadful.

I’ve been working on the same pc for about 9 years. all thats changed is the XP update, processor [4 years ago] and a new power box, and it handles everything i throw at it.

if you like it thats good i guess, be warned though.


aluxeterna says:

March 19, 2008 at 6:10 pm

I concur with ChrisJordan. Actually, this new 10.5 thing, for all of its really great upgrades (spaces is the best virtual desktop manager I’ve used), has been unexpectedly quitting programs on my fiance and I far more frequently than previous forms of osx. I know its still new, but we’ve each lost a decent amount of work over the past several months. She’s on the new ibook, I’m on the new imac at my work, and our experiences have been very similar. Also, Finder? BOO.

Granted, my windoze laptop at home causes plenty o problems for me, too, but I just want to put it out there that neither OS is a perfect system.


Scott says:

March 19, 2008 at 7:00 pm

I’ve found the Mac to be extremely stable. been working all week straight through, never rebooted once , never had an issue once. I know this is a limited amount of time but with windows, I would see crashes every time I did certain things. for instance, when I forget the name of a PSD that I need to find and do a search all PSD in Bridge and try to show all in thumbnail view, it would crash windows every time. so far in OS X I have been doing this with no problems.

What I really, really don’t like about OSX:

1. Window management: just plain terrible. No true maximize, no way to see how many / what windows are open within a particular app that is running. also, no tile or cascade? yeah, I know about expose’ ( f10, f11, f12), but those don’t fully address the issues, they just sort of make it a little better.

2. End / Home key functionality.. In a lot of apps they just don’t work. I ran the shell command to fix this by binding the keys, but that only works for certain apps (cocoa-based apps only I think?)

3. Finder and the way it handles directory structures / browsing. Just plain weird, I know, I come from windows so maybe I need to get used to it…. but from a purely objective standpoint it still seems a bit unintuitive.

those are minor gripes though. since I use this machine solely for design, I don’t really need all that many windows open at the same time and I am sure I will get used to all this.


mike says:

March 20, 2008 at 5:50 am

ChrisJordan said “one day you’ll get a “The Program Adobe Illustrator has unexpectedly quit”, and you’ll go back
I’ve lost several hours of work on these things.”

That’s why you should save often when working on important stuff regardless of what OS platform your working on.


David Lz says:

March 20, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Regarding window management: Yeah, it can be a bitch. I’ve arrived at a blend of exposé, spaces, minimizing and hiding windows that I’m happy with though.

Also! I found this great little app called Witch ( that is a great companion to the usual command+tab application switcher. Witch works on a window basis rather than app basis. I’ve put it on alt+tab/tilde for browsing up and down in its list. Free and worth it!


Andy W. says:

March 20, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Welcome to an enlightened way of life. I am forced to use both, and Windows just feels like the “bargain brand”. It just feels cheap, as if they designed the OS to just be good enough to get out the door. It is mediocrity in a box.
On the Mac, I FLY.
ON the PC, I CRY.


Abe Garcia says:

March 21, 2008 at 9:34 am

Workflow is definitely better on macs. I used PC for the longest time and wasn’t until I used macs at the places I worked at that I finally could not think of going back to using PCs. From what I heard though, I must be fortunate to not have to deal with Vista at all.


Adam B says:

March 25, 2008 at 8:55 pm

I was just reading the other day about getting OSX working on a PC. I’ve yet to sit down and try it. Are you able to Dual boot Windows/OSX or are you purely running OSX on your new machine?

I don’t really feel like formatting so I haven’t even sat down to try this, I was kinda hopping I wouldn’t have to.
My QuadCore PC at home blows my DuoCore Imac at work out of the water performance wise (I don’t really know whats in the Imac component wise), but ya I love the mac operating system, so much better.


Robin says:

March 28, 2008 at 2:46 am

I don’t understand how so many PC based designers have PCs that crash so often. In the year or so that I”ve had my Dell (running XP), I don’t think it’s crashed once. Seriously. Conversely though, in the design studio where I work, one of my Mac based colleagues has to reboot his nice, shiny new Intel Mac at least 2 or 3 times a week


Tor says:

March 31, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Yo Scott,
Get a windows mouse, they work flawlessly on a Mac. Right click works fine. Mac mice just plain suck, always have.

Love love your work. I bought a shirt. And a Tycho album.