The future is here...
by David J Bilinsky
What’s New Pussycat? - Music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David, recorded by Tom Jones.
This morning I walked into the office only to be greeted by the “blue screen of death” on my office IBM Lenovo. Whatever had caused the crash had also corrupted the database of one of my most treasured applications. A couple of hours later I gave up and called IT in to try and fix things – who said (of course) that they would need my laptop “for a couple of hours” (translate – the better part of a day); but we can give you a loaner to use. I said: “Don’t bother... I have my MacBook.”
With the release of Snow Leopard, the latest version of Apple’s operating system for the MacIntosh, my MacBook just got better. Unlike Microsoft’s recent release of Vista, this latest release of the operating system is not only faster that its predecessor, it is also smaller. OK you say – Windows 7 is coming out and it will be a fairer comparison to Snow Leopard.
But really I think the real competition is not between Windows 7 and Snow Leopard. It is between Macs running Snow Leopard and Netbooks running Windows XP Home. Reason? IT departments will by and large continue to implement Microsoft’s operating system and stay with the devil they know – hence PC’s will continue to hold the lion’s share of the corporate market. In my view, the real battleground will be over the devices that are portable and which lawyers buy for themselves. And that is where Macs will be up against Netbooks.
These are diametrically opposite ends of the spectrum. On one hand you have Apple’s full-featured laptops with high-end components and a dependable operating system. On the other hand, you have stripped down, inexpensive devices that are really just aimed at reading email, browsing and basic word processing. The Netbooks are positioned at just providing enough processing to get you through a trip. The MacBook is intended as a full desktop replacement, that can be integrated into your Windows network via Microsoft Exchange integration and MS Word for the Mac compatibility. The MacBook will allow you to view video on a big sharp screen, synch with iTunes and your iPod and do all the other things you would like to do. A Netbook is a Chevy – it will eventually get you there but without a whole lot of bells and whistles. The MacBook is akin to a Cadillac – it ensures that you never need to make a compromise along the way and you will arrive in style and have power to burn along the way.
Personally I prefer my MacBook as I can centralize everything in one place and work from one machine. I have a fast processor (2.4 GHz core2 duo) and lots of memory (2 Gigs RAM), a sharp 13 inch screen and all the applications that come built-in on a Mac.
My MacBook allows me to move seamlessly from my personal to my professional life. For example, TimeMachine is an automatic backup utility on the Mac. Keychain stores all my passwords and user names. I can print any document to PDF automatically. iPhoto not only organizes digital photos, it is a photo-editing application as well. There are business applications as well such as Microsoft Office suite for the Mac (which includes Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Entourage – an email client similar to Outlook) that allow you to work seamlessly on the Mac. Randy Singer, the MacAttorney, lists over 170 native Mac applications for use in the practice of law (www.macattorney.com).
Which is the one for you? We know that GM has sold a lot of Chevys over the years as well as many Cadillacs. The good thing is that you have a choice... and can decide whether to prowl with a leopard or not.
The views expressed herein are strictly those of the author and may not be shared by the Law Society of B.C. David J. Bilinsky is the practice Management Advisor for the LSBC. Email: email@example.com; Blog: www.thoughtfullaw.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of BarTalk and is reproduced here with permission of both the author and the Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch.