Friday, January 13, 2012

Macbooks and the Technical Community

During this past week I was at one of the premiere conferences in the Midwest (Sandusky, OH) aka Codemash.  This years conference was absolutely amazing.

As you may remember from a previous post, One of my objectives was to take notes from any fellow Mac users and see if there were a few things I could learn.  

Truth be told, I didn't get much of a chance to talk to others specifically about their Mac usage and what they are doing with them. However, I did come back with a few observations (actually, I'm still here at the Kalahari as I type this- the Jiterry Monkey coffee drink is keeping me up).  First, I noticed that there were a ton more Macbook Pro's than I remember from any of the previous years codemash.  As I walked through the halls it anecdotally seemed like there were more Macs than not. I also noticed several 15" Macbook Pro's and a few "plain old" Mac Books. I also chuckled at how many "non Macbooks" I saw that had the Apple sticker on them (I have one on my work laptop, which sat in my hotel room the entire time. Fortunately, I never had to turn it).

I did speak to a few fellow Mac users. I didn't necessarily initiate the conversation, but occasionally I overheard someone say something to the effect of "wow, there sure are a lot of Macs this year. I guess I'm not the only one".  I usually would chime in, agree, and give a brief synopsis of my switching experience. I found that in almost every case, the reason provided for getting said Mac was because they got hooked in by the iPad, then iPhone, etc. Very similar to my own story.

I also had a chance to show a few interested people what you could do on a Mac as they watched me playing around with either Tweetdeck or Visual Studio. Many of them were already somewhat interested in getting a Mac and typically wondered if it was worth the extra $$. A few were also concerned about leaving Windows behind and wondered how good the experience would be running a VM.  I was able to tout my Visual Studio 2010 running in VMWare, Unity Mode. The two or three people that saw my ad-hoc demo seemed pretty impressed and basically realized that it's kind of a fun experience. You can run Mac and Windows concurrently and actually enjoy the quality and feel of your computer.  For me, it's really about enjoying your experience and being able to get your work done. 

I'll end this blog post with a note on self-improvement. While at Codemash, I went to a great session by Scott Hanselman that talked about handling information overload. Many of these concepts were already in place and I've learned over the years, but I also learned a thing or two. He spoke about finding a trusted tool and using it to reduce your "Psychic Weight", which is essentially a for-loop running in your head, keeping you awake at night because you can't stop thinking about it.  At work this has been Microsoft OneNote and it has worked out quite well. I don't currently have it installed on my phone or Mac, and I think it will do a great deal to help me reduce further "Psychic Weight" in other areas of my life. As I type this I am downloading the Windows version of OneNote, and will be installing this on my VM (the Kalahari wifi is a bit slow, but CodeMash is over so I don't feel guilty downloading). There is also a version for the iPhone that I plan on installing as well.

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