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Presenting with a Mac

My name is Brian Kelley and I used to be a PC bigot. That was back in 1989. I was selected to attend the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics and one of the things about attending there is everyone has a work service assignment. Mine was as a computer lab proctor for SCGSSM's computer lab. No problem! I had been writing code in QuickBasic, Turbo Pascal, and Turbo C for a few years and had made some money selling door programs for BBSes. I was more than comfortable on a PC. But there was a problem. The entire computer lab was composed of Macintoshes. Boo! Hiss!

The computer science teacher, Mrs. Beverly Johnson, and I went back and forth on Mac vs. PC. But I faithfully went about my work service, learned what I needed to know to help others on those blasted Macs and somewhere along the way realized they weren't so bad. But you'd never get me to admit it. There were some things I really loved about the Mac. For instance, Word and Excel on Mac blew away Word and Lotus 1-2-3 on PC. The Word for Mac was the first WYSWIG version of Word and it made a difference when we were preparing detailed lab reports and research papers. We had better tools for graphing results and showing data on the Mac, too. So for everything science related, I used the Mac. For everything else, it was the PC for me.

Then two and a half years ago it was time to replace my wife's computer. She wanted a laptop, which would make it easier for homeschooling. I was tired of helping her install programs, managing security updates, etc. This was taking a few hours a month at the minimum, more so if the application installs were particularly bad. So when I went to present at a SQL Saturday in Alpharetta, GA, we went and bought her a MacBook, one of those shiny new ones with the aluminum shell. And I spent a little bit of time working with it, getting it set up for her, and showing her what I had done. And that was the last time I had to touch her MacBook for maintenance. In the mean time I had fought with Toshiba, HP, and Dell about the quality of their hardware. So when it came time to replace my aging Dell laptop, I went out and bought a MacBook Pro.

Two days ago I went to do my Windows Internals for DB Pros presentation at SQL Connections and there were a couple of cases where the box was just grinding on me. Now this isn't XP's fault. I know exactly what application is the culprit and I'm a gentleman so you won't get any cussing out of me. And if I talk about said vendor, there will be cussing. But unfortunately, I've got to live with this product on the XP laptop, at least until we replace XP with Windows 7. I can't wait, but I will have to, at least a month. So yesterday I brought the MacBook Pro. Now I don't have VMs installed on it, so I had to remote into a private server I had for one demo, but otherwise, my security presentation went flawlessly. The Mac was responsive, my remote presenter tool works just fine on the Mac, and Powerpoint 2011 is just sweet. There's really no going back now.

I know I'm not the first SQL Server guy on a Mac and I certainly won't be the last. And I'm really glad I switched. I'm still coming up to speed on the Mac and the right set of tools to use. I know my toolset for PC because I've been at it so long. But as I rebuild my toolset on Mac, I'll be more and more effective. As I told Steve Jones, I'm kicking myself for not having switched earlier, like when my wife did. Most of what I learned from '89-91 has returned. So I already know the shortcut key strokes. I have a bonifide terminal to do ping and traceroute and a whole bunch of other things. Application installs are simple. Application removals are even simpler than that. The interface is pleasant and intuitive. And stuff "just works." If you are a PC bigot like me, give a MacBook or an iMac a try. Spend some time at your nearest Apple store. But bring your wallet. You may just leave there a believer, too.

K. Brian Kelley - Databases, Infrastructure, and Security

IT Security, MySQL, Perl, SQL Server, and Windows technologies.


Posted by Steve Jones on 31 March 2011

I am very tempted to get a Mac. More and more I find PC people that really like them and I almost want to make a switch just to try them out. Good to know they present well on stage.

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