I confess, I love Apple Macs. Six month ago I gave up on a PC at home. I was fed up with Windows; the constant virus updates, unexplained crashes and slowing down and too much time fixing it.
I had doubts about switching - was it as easy as people suggested, would it cost a fortune, would I have problems with receiving Microsoft Office documents, and would I have problems logging on to the surgery from home?
However, I had read great reviews of the Macs, many from ex-PC users, so I bought a 24-inch iMac that is beautifully designed and so cool. It is a one-box design with only one cable for power and built-in wireless networking. Add wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and the cables just fade away.
An easy transition
The 24-inch screen is a dream and shows my 12,000 photos and hours worth of video in all their glory. The full package costs over £1,300, but when compared with a similarly specified Windows PC, it really isn't that bad.
I bought mine from the refurbished section of Apple's online store, saving over 20 per cent.
I just plugged it in and it found and joined my wireless home network. Apple shops will transfer your data from your old computer, but I found it easy enough to do myself.
Macs come with a lot of software built in, including things like calculators, mail software, address books, webcam software for the built-in camera, and photo, moving and music software. All these features integrate well with each other.
I invested in two pieces of software to aid the move: Outlook2mac, to use the built-in address book easily; mail and iCalc rather than Outlook; and Missing Sync for Windows Mobile, which was needed to support my Windows Smartphone. I also found Mac versions had been supplied with some of my old Windows software, so I just installed and updated online.
Thanks to the Microsoft NHS deal I was able to buy the whole of Office for Mac for £20. With this I can open anything and create office documents that can be read by anyone.
There is a large online community with useful websites for new and advanced users as well as Apple fanatics. There are lots of freeware and shareware software to download and some software is originally designed for the Mac.
Six months on
I am very happy after the changeover. The Mac is more stable - I have had to reboot only once. Viruses are not usually targeted at Macs which is a great bonus.
Creating separate profiles for all users really does work well, so my sons can use it without being able to access any of my files.
As for home access to work, I log on via the Mac version of my PCT's Cisco VPN solution. I have been accessing EMIS, Outlook, Frontdesk and Docman from home with no problems.
I am so pleased I took the leap and I am looking forward to the launch of Apple's new Leopard operating system. Microsoft is also launching a Mac version of Office in January, a big reassurance that switching does work.
Dr Paul is a GP in Sandbach, Cheshire.
Moving to Mac
- iMac 20-inch, 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB memory £799, to 24-inch, 2.8GHz, Intel Core 2 Extreme, 2GB memory £1,459. Contact: www.applestore.co.uk. Look under Special Deals for refurbished kit.
- Outlook2mac att www.littlemachines.com. $10 (£4.90) to download.
- Missing Sync for Windows Mobile (MarkSpace). Visit www.macupdate.com $39.95 (£19.60).