This is the first of two blog posts on big(ish) changes that have happened in the Oikos world. I don’t need to post about these changes, but they are things that you will hear about and they deserve an explanation. The reason for this is that they are both changes that incur substantial cost, and one of my key business goals is to be able to provide good value services to the charity and small business sector.

The first change is a change in the equipment that I use. In short: I bought a Mac.

Apples to Apples?

I’ve resisted buying an Apple computer for a very long time, mostly because they seemed to be luxury devices that didn’t provide a huge amount of benefit over a PC. In fact, as I knew PC’s better, I was arguably more efficient and knew what I was doing more on a PC.

Shiny MacBook Box

Shiny Box

And yes, as a developer and someone with Unix and Linux sysadmin skills, I have dabbled with Linux, but despite claims about ease of installation and use of modern distributions of it, I have never found it to have the device and software support that I’ve needed to work efficiently and collaborate with others.

It was back in November/December 2013 that I started toying with the idea of at least upgrading my PC laptop. It was getting slower and slower and I sensed that a rebuild would take a lot of effort for not much reward. A solid state (much faster!) disk drive, RAM (memory) upgrade and an upgrade to Windows 8 were all under consideration, but the combined cost of these was high and I was probably better off just buying a new, faster Windows laptop.

But there was also the persistent recommendation of Apple computers from others in my field. Even in the charity sector, Macs seemed to be the tools of choice a lot more often than I had expected.  Respect for these devices seemed to be high wherever I looked.

Plus, there were some Mac-only software tools that I wanted to try out too. Even a wise and trusted developer friend of mine was going through the same thought process and was looking at buying a Mac too. We’d both come to the same conclusions.

So, just before Christmas, and after MUCH deliberation, I took the plunge.

Speeding up

And I will tell you this. I’ve not got any figures to back this up, but I reckon it has already paid for itself. Possibly twice over!

It’s AMAZINGLY fast. The time to boot up and wake from sleep is mere seconds. Heavy applications like Photoshop and Google Chrome (Heavy? Yes! I usually have about 20 tabs open!) are so much faster. Task switching takes no time at all. Plus, it’s lighter, more portable, has longer battery life, and lets me do so much more.

I don’t know exactly how much time I was wasting before while waiting for my PC laptop to keep up with my brain, but it must be a couple of hours a week. And the faster task-switching and more capable multi-tasking just make it easier to bash out the smaller jobs that come in and get straight back to working on the bigger projects.

I don’t know how much faster – if at all – the Mac is than an equivalently-priced PC. But I don’t think that matters. An equivalently-priced PC would still be seen as a luxury computing device.

And I’m now firmly in the camp that a developer like me, who runs lots of applications concurrently and who spends a lot of time at his computer, actually needs a high-specification computing device. It’s not a luxury: it’s a necessity that supports the work that I do on a day to day basis and makes me effective and efficient.

Weapons of mass construction

So yes, you may see me brandishing a Mac as my computing weapon of choice. In truth, I am slightly embarrassed about it. But I feel fully justified that the cost of this has more than been recouped by my business, and the purchase was also supported by my main client, Hands Up too.

My only real regret: that I didn’t do it sooner!