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A month on Mac

March 25, 2013

Well last week I decided to get myself a Macbook Air.  I bought a Macbook about 4-5 years ago and enjoyed it, but I had challenges with compatibility and I just wasn’t being that objective at that time, but I still have it and use it now and again. 

Over the last week I have been on a Citrix training course, so while the trainer was rattling on about things that were a bit overly simplified (for anyone doing the basic CCA XenApp course, it really is easy!), I was rattling away on my new Air with much joy.

Now I’m back in work, for anyone that doesn’t know I work in a pure Microsoft environment i.e. no machines or servers are running anything other that Windows apart from a Google Mini but that is on its way out anyway in preference to using SharePoint for the content store and search going forward.  So I came in this morning, and on the way in I decided to set myself a little challenge:

‘Can I work from my Macbook Air for the next month?’

I’m quite objective when it comes to the Mac/Windows debate so I thought it would be a useful exercise and would also highlight where (if anywhere) there are problems using my Mac in a Windows environment, or also where there are benefits!  The only bit I am not doing is I am not going to join the Air to the domain.

I’m looking forward to this.  If anyone wants me to test anything specific, then let me know.




From → Apple, Microsoft

  1. How did this work out for you Mark? Did you end up sticking with the MBA?

    • It was an interesting test. It highlighted a number of challenges, but most were around the usage of the Microsoft Office package. It’s interesting and useful to note that you may create a document in Word 2011 and then bring into the office and open it on Word 2010 or Word 2013, and then the formatting just isn’t quite right. For instance a Word document constructed to be exactly a page on a Mac, in Arial font, take it to work open in Word 2010 and it’s now well over a page. I believe this is largely around the slight differences in fonts between Mac and Windows but it’s just annoying! The other challenge I had was with Outlook which I had mixed success with. It would open and read mails and do those absolute basics, but I started getting calendar issues where I couldn’t decline from the Mac for instance. The user interface just isn’t very good either comparatively. I tried the Mavericks in built Mail client, and that had numerous issues with not synching read items back to Exchange and no ability to turn off auto mark unread when reading in preview pane so I rapidly back tracked on usage of that!Microsoft are rumoured to be developing a new version of Office for Mac for later this year, and hopefully the above issues etc will be resolved and will bring basic Exchange functions like Personal Archive connectivity and generally bring it in line with the rest of the Mac ecosystem which is really very good.For the moment I’m running Windows with Parallels and the seamless Coherence mode is really an asset for interoperability until Office is improved.The Mac for everything else is brilliant though, so the choice for an individual has to be around how important Microsoft Office and interoperability on that basis is to you as an individual. From corporate perspective, consideration also needs to given to manageability as there are easy/built in technologies (GPOs etc) to manage windows devices and these will have limited effect on a Mac client.Feel free to ask other questions as this was just a synopsis!Mark

  2. Thank you Mark. Your experience very much mirrored my own and I was glad to hear it wasn’t just me. How is the battery life with running the virtual machine in the background?

    • With my usage, probably 10-15% more than normal operation but it’s seamless between Windows and Mac. For non techy, its v seamless. Get a trial of Parallels and give it a shot. I installed Windows 8.1 and Office 2013 and worked great. Even with Windows joined to work domain, very useful! Even tethered my mobile to the laptop and was using Outlook 2013 to manage mail all seamlessly really

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