# Notes for Windows user using a Mac Part 1

OK here are the crazy list of things that my three "Just in from Windows" friends, Mark, John and Dave are having. Hopefully both are loving that M1 MacBooks (yes, I'm jealous, trying to hold out for the next generation coming this year, but I don't know!).

So here are notes from the many phone calls and chats I've had. The Mac is really different from Windows. I know, I spend a lot of time remember how Windows works when I crank up my gaming machine and backup Windows Surface.

So here are some quick initial notes in the a continuing series. I'm just going to jot them down every time I get a call.

Ok the first thing is deciding which of the models and what to get. Right now for the average user, the MacBook Air sure looks like a great buy. It is the same processor as the MacBook Pro yet is a bit cheaper. The main thing that you give up is two USB C ports. For most folks that isn't going to make much of a difference.

Also if you are an Education user, that is you are a student or educator in High School or College, you can get on the Higher Education Site and get a little more off. Or the other place to go is the Appleinsider Price Guides, they often have coupons. Here are the considerations:

1. These are sealed systems more like an iPhone than a configurable Windows machine. The main choice is whether you want a machine with 7 GPU slices or 8 cores for graphics, it makes little difference, but you can save $50-100 by doing a build that starts with the very cheapest MacBook Air and that adds the things below, you are getting maybe 15% lower graphics performance, but that should matter too much for a typical user. 2. So the first criteria are to get enough internal disk. I'd say that 512GB (so one up from the 256GB base) is probably the decent minimum. 3. Then if you are ever going to do photos and videos, you might consider the 16GB version. The 8GB system does however have really great performance for ordinary tasks. 4. Take all the savings above and swallow hard and buy AppleCare. If you are lucky enough to get an extended warranty with your Amex card, do that too. If you play your cards right, you will get two years (and maybe three years) of care. Apple really does a great job supporting their devices. We have computers that are 12 years old that are still running fine. 5. Finally, spend the$30 and get a transparent case. These are things of beauty, but it only takes one drop to dent them and that's a shame. I also normally run with a $10 keyboard cover so that stuff doesn't get into the keyboard and jam it. There are lots, but look at the reviews closely the Mosiso is a good example of one for the MacBook Pro, they have version for the Air as well. 6. Get a nice 43" television to be your monitor. In these COVID days having a nice home office matters and getting a good display makes a big different. Right now CES 2021 is happening, so models are changing over, but we've had great success with the Samsung Q60T which often goes on sale for$430. It is a 4K screen and really bright and nice.

That being said, what are the reasons to be a MacBook Pro, the main one is that it has four USB C ports on both sides and let's face it the Pro is a cool name. Otherwise, the Air is lighter and 95% of the machine of the MacBook Pro.

## What's all this then about Apple ID vs the computer account? And keychain?

Ok this is pretty confusing and Windows machines have the same problem. For legacy reasons, every MacOS has two sets of accounts. The first is your local account, called the "Computer Account". This is your login and you have to set a separate password for it. (And please stuff that password into 1Password or somewhere).

This is used when the machine is not logged onto the Internet and when you first start up. It encrypts the hard disk as well so no one can access it. You have to pick a user name and a password for this and *these are not* related to the Apple ID which you also have to create.

So some things to know:

1. When you create you Computer Account, you pick a name and isn't an email. So for instance Rich for me or DongleHead it really doesn't matter but you have to remember it.
2. Now pick a password which is completely different from your iCloud password. Really, you don't want to ever duplicate passwords. And please don't pick abcd1234 use a password generator.
3. Apple has a keychain that will remember this kind of stuff and you can use it in Safari and it syncs across all your devices. I do use it because it is secure and a backup to 1Password, so please use it.
4. One confusing thing about running both is there are now two password managers. so you will often see dialogs on your phone that give you a choice as they merge the passwords for both and show them to you.
5. Finally, they don't actually synchronize, so when you change a password you need to make sure both are changed. It's a bit of a pain, so for most folks, I'd say just use the native Keychain if you are only in the Apple world. If you have Android and others, then take the pain and use 1Password with Keychain as backup.
6. Finally, finally, keychain is designed to be hidden, so unlike 1Password, you can't browse the passwords in it easily. With Safari, it will just offer them automatically. If you really need to see them then start Keychain Access but I really don't recommend it as it is very techy.

## Do I need Mac Office or should I use Gsuite or Apple's Office?

Ok a great first question for most users is what should I do with the normal stuff like word documents and PowerPoint. I'm going to be a bit controversial and say that I normally just use Google Suite for everything. Of course I do have Mac Office (thank you Microsoft Alumni Association with the subscription to Office365), but I find:

1. Compatibility with existing Office document types is very good although I normally immediately convert the Microsoft formats to Google formats because I do a lot of collaborative document work.
2. Google Suite is free which is kinda nice although it doesn't work well if not connected to the Internet. As an aside, you can load Google Chrome and use it in offline mode if you want (but see the section on browsing).
3. Finally, the Apple products are Ok, but I find that Keynote while great really doesn't play well with PowerPoint documents. And if you are going to create pretty documents, you might as well use Canva which is far prettier.

Net, net, unlike a Windows machine, if you are willing to put up with a learning curve, Google Workplace (I think they call it now), does give you the cross platform work anywhere on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac (and even Linux).

## What browser should I use Safari or Chrome or Firefox?

Turns out I actually use all three, but if you are going all Apple with iPhone and MacBook, then using Safari makes sense. Most folks don't need lots of plugins and so forth and it is very fast. Plus the tabs are shared with iOS and it is more private. See below:

1. Safari. This is what I use most often because I use the tabs and things as a "to do" list. All tabs are shared between Mac and iPhone by clicking on the Tab Overview icon on the far upper right. You will see all the tabs open across all your devices and you can even close them and open on different machines.
2. The real limitation of Safari actually has more to do with Ad Blocking. MacOS has some great new protections, but I find that the best thing to do is to use NordVPN for more privacy and then to load an Adblocker. I've tried a bunch and I've found that Ghostery Lite seems to work really well.
3. macOS Big Sur finally let's you share extensions across all Safari installation, but I find a great list to be 1Password, Ghostery Lite, Grammarly (spell and grammar checking), Night Eye (does dark mode for Safari), Honey (finds discounts), Piper and Vimari.

### When I use Chrome?

Well the big knock against Chrome is that it is slow and big which are definitely true, but I do use it for very specific reasons:

1. First of all make sure to turn off all of Google's tracking and there is a lot of it.
2. But the big thing for Chrome is that the extension database is huge. Safari for security reason locks out a lot and it has such a small market share that many folks are not supporting it.
3. So here are the special purpose things I do with Chrome. First is Google Docs offline mode. I actually haven't used this with the pandemic, but if you turn on offline mode (it can only be on for one Google account), then it caches documents and you can edit on the plane.
4. The second is that certain plugins like Scrum for Trello work there or Fakespot which actually inserts review checking into Amazon purchasing which is really nice. So think of it as my specialty browser