Technology

Why Your Next Business Computer Should Be a Mac

I’ve been a fan boy since my friend Bill purchased me an Apple TV. Before you knew it, I had a home full of Macs and my business is now all Macs. Coming from the PC world, there have been some challenges. A couple examples off the top of my head… no macros in Office, no Microsoft Access. That’s a pretty tiny list, though. The advantages of a Mac are turning out to be far greater than the disadvantages of being a Mac in a PC world.

With the latest hardware and software, Apple has been driving home some incredible features that are fantastic for any business.

The first is AirPlay. With an Apple TV for $99 and any widescreen TV, your office now has a place to seamlessly present what’s on your laptop. With the latest version of OSX, Mountain Lion adds an AirPlay button on the menu bar. Click it and your screen is displayed. You can even play video and sound!

AirDrop is next… part of Mountain Lion’s Built-In Sharing. Our client, Tinderbox, came by to edit some files. Rather than emailing or placing in a shared cloud folder… AirDrop simply allowed him to send the file directly to my Mac. AirDrop lists all the Macs in your vicinity and allows you to send and receive files (with permission). Awesome feature!

Time Machine is the easiest backup system ever. Put a Time Capsule on your network or just share a drive somewhere… and you’ve got a backup location for Time Machine which effortlessly backs up your Mac.

Apple has always had great tools to help you migrate from one Mac to the next, but Migration Assistant is simple and amazing! I recently bought a new MacBook Pro and needed to get al my apps and files over to it. Boot up with the Option button pressed and a simple wizard asks you if you want to restore from a Time Machine, re-install Mountain Lion fresh, or copy your files and apps from another Mac. Within an hour I was up and running!

Keep in mind that none of these network features actually require a network administrator and difficult configurations. As with most everything that Apple produces, they just work.

14 Comments

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      Excel seems to run slower on older Macs, but it’s blazing on my newest MacBook Pro. The disadvantage is that VBA and Macros don’t run on a Mac (unless you run it in Windows… which is possible, but defeats the purpose of having a Mac!).

  3. 4

    EXcel runs on Mac and so does Numbers ( Mac version of excel). WIth numbers you can export and edit excel spreadsheets and save them in excel format. Easy!

    • 5

      True @twitter-15194414:disqus, but unfortunately the version of Excel on a Mac doesn’t include VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) or Macros… that’s a big gap in functionality!

    • 6

      Modern, moderately popular computer operating system has Excel-compatible spreadsheet program available. An astounded world holds a three-day carnival in celebration.
      In other news, sky is blue, water is wet.
      I had an Excel load/edit/save compatible spreadsheet on my 90s-spec PALM PILOT and mid-noughties symbian-based PHONE for pity’s sake.

  4. 7

    Ehhh … let’s say I’m not convinced so much here.

    Airdrop sounds a hell of a lot like the file sharing features that have been built into Microsoft Windows for a little over twenty years now, and that we regularly use in our Windows XP / 7 based office. I’m having trouble seeing it as a USP for the Mac. And even if that didn’t exist, it’d be pretty easy to do the same thing either with a $10 bluetooth dongle plugged into a USB port on the desktop, and the built in (and unfettered) BT features on basically any PC laptop (certainly, it’s something I’ve used a great deal to send files to and from a phone which had bluetooth but poor USB connectivity, with both laptops and dongle-equipped desktops)… or even easier still, sneakernetting with a sub-$10 USB memory stick or SD card.

    Airplay … OK, not bad, but you still need the host to have an Apple TV set up and connected. It’s probably not too difficult to do similar with any old junk PC/laptop connected into the HDTV’s VGA input plus the Remote Desktop Sharing feature (also built into Windows since at least 2K, if not 9x)… and in an office environment I can’t see there being very many HDTVs about that don’t either have a half decent business PC (or indeed a dedicated Mac) connected up, or an embedded Windows machine built-in (in the case of digital signage boards). There are also wireless display beaming devices available for PCs – in fact, any device that puts out a VGA, RGB or YCbCr hi-def component signal (and in some cases HDMI/DVI, or composite) regardless of type, operating system, drivers or software – for not much more money. Modern Smart TVs can probably do something along those lines via ethernet (and therefore wifi) too, but at this point I’m not going to put any money on it…

    Time Capsule … I don’t want to dig into it too hard, but it always sounds overrated to me. I’ve bought cheap external hard disks before that come with very similar auto-backup software, and I bet if I bought a generic NAS device it could do exactly the same. Modern networked versions of windows can be set to auto archive previous versions of files on a backup server drive for those “oops” moments just the same as they can with TC (in fact … can you actually extract single files out of it? Last time I had direct experience you had to roll back the entire computer…) – yet again, I’ve used that facility on my own workplace machine after a careless mistake, and it was indeed fairly seamless… right click on the folder in question, go to the “previous versions” tab, and have a poke through until one containing the missing file was found… then copy said file into the current version of the folder.

    Migration Assistant – OK, you’ve got a point there. I’d quite like that for my own computers (as it is, it’s not actually that big a pain to hook up an external drive, copy the relatively small amount of documents and other data files that live on the internal disk over to the new machine (or even just drop them on a small stack of DVDs), then re-install the few programs I still use out of the great number that have been installed down the years then gradually forgotten about). But that’s going to be far more relevant to a home user or someone in a small and fairly disorganised office than any kind of decently sized business with its own network and servers, where any sysadmin worth their salt will be working with standardised operating system drive images anyway.

    Is it actually a benefit that these do away with a network administrator and any kind of systemic discipline or organisation for your office network? Anarchy of that type tends to lead to sloppiness, lack of disaster recovery ability, insecurity and application cruft, without actually contributing anything to productivity.

    • 8

      Airdrop is quite different than folder/file sharing on a PC. This requires no network… just another Mac within the wireless range. It’s quite nice! Anytime I’ve done filesharing with a PC, I’ve had to get a user login on the corporate network and added to their group before I could share anything.

    • 9

      your missing the point mark. They just simply work, not setups, control panel (except for the permissions). I was a pc guy for 20 years and after being the sys admin at work and then coming home to be a sys admin for HW at home, i got tired. Spent the money on macs and never looked back. No more blues, pinks, whites or blacks. Macs just simply work w/o any admin skill needed. At work we got the option of ordering Mac or PC. And i went with mac, because i can always run windows within VMware. PC’s are going away because the HW jsut simply needs to work w/o having a BS in CS.

  5. 10

    Well, windows run on a Mac runs faster, smother and does what you want better than a PC. So with that in mind and what a Mac can do better than a PC, why not have both worlds on a better machine. In the end you will find you use the PC portion less and less.

  6. 11

    Airplay is no big deal either. My 5 year old PC tablet can stream all my Media center files to my 4 year old Sony Network Player. Yawn.

  7. 13

    This seems like another ‘fan boy’ big up to Apple. But there’s a few things wrong, for instance, Mac is short for Macintosh, but there is no Macintosh computer anymore. A “Mac” is a PC, it’s the same hardware just in a shiny case, and costs 4 times as much. I think the difference you’re TRYING to show is that MacOS (i.e., the Operating System) is better than Windows for business use, yet you failed to point out any real reasons why MacOS is better for a business user.

    Here’s why:

    1. AirPlay requires you to BUY extra hardware, and most companies don’t have Apple TV setup, which means if you get an AirBook or something then you’ll be unable to actually share what you’re doing on any big-screen when you travel away from your dedicated TV. Most projectors also fail to display your screen properly and drop to a 1024×768 screen (at best, usually 800×600 though), this gives a poor viewing experience, and is typical of anyone sharing their desktop with others – i’ve not come across any business that has an Apple TV yet.
    If you were to share your window desktop, those same projectors will let you use 1280, 1440, 1600 or 1920 without a problem – so why does the same hardware fail to do this, just because you’re using MacOS? I think the question answers itself.

    2. AirDrop is basically the same as the auto-detection within Windows that has been there since windows 2000. Any machine on the network that is sharing anything publicly will appear in your “My Network Places” area, you don’t need to do anything to get this, it just works! If you want to send something to someone, just drag and drop in to that folder, but you can also browse their files at the same time.
    If they’ve locked out permissions (most Administrators will disable this in their base image), then they can just give you write permissions to their Public Documents folder in a few seconds.

    3. Time Machine sounds like a rip-off of the long-running windows automatic backup (since win 2000). But the windows one will only backup the system files, if you want to backup your personal files, you’ll typically have a way to do this with windows server software that the user will not even need to know about – it’ll just happen.
    If you want to do personal data backup though, then it’s just as easy to do this in windows as it is to do it on MacOS, simply attach a drive to your machine, or a NAS to your network, and they’ll come with the relevant software to get your backups running… There’s also hundreds of Cloud Backup strategies out there that are pretty cheap and even easier to use.

    4. Migration Assistance in a business is a waste of time, because your “Admin” will just install an image on the machine, and all your personal/work related files will have ALREADY been backed up elsewhere… And will be available to your user no matter what machine you log in to. Windows has been using roaming users since windows 95, which automatically backs up data to your network. Such tools as briefcase used to allow you to keep files in synch between offline and online modes too, and that was available in Windows 95!

    • 14

      It appears as a “non-fan boy” you haven’t utilized these features, @facebook-100000630323259:disqus. 🙂
      1. I said it required $99, but you made my point. Why would a business spend thousands on a projector instead of simply installing a nice HDTV and AppleTV? That’s why I recommend it.
      2. No, I’m afraid it’s no where close. There is no need to set permissions, be on the same Windows network, etc. AirDrop allows any Macs within vicinity and connected to the same wireless to share files.
      3. Again, if you actually ran the software, you’d see the difference.
      4. I’ve worked for dozens of businesses and only a couple had the proper sync and shared network folders you speak of. Again, this makes my new Mac an EXACT copy, while the hardware has been upgraded underneath it.

      I’m not speaking as a guy that doesn’t have experience in both. I have a monster Windows system at home with an XBox 360 for entertainment. The Windows experience is NOT the same. Mac and OSX features simply work better, faster, and easier than Windows. I was a Windows user for over a decade. I’m afraid I’ll never go back. My friends who used to chide me about being a “fan boy” have discovered the same.

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