Trying to switch…

Trying to make the PC -> Mac switch and hitting some snags

I’m fairly platform agnostic. My first computer was a TI-99/4A, which was followed by a Mac SE, then a Powerbook 100, then a half dozen different PCs. I develop software for a living and have done so for IRIX, linux, Windows 95, 98, NT, XP, CE and now OS X too, so I know what I’m doing around computers.

I also do a lot of music and video stuff and even run a little indie label. A few years ago, I inherited a Titanium Powerbook 450 from a company I was working for that went under. It sat around my house for a while until one day when I was getting really frustrated with my main PC. I was trying to do some music editing on it and it was just not working. The audio was stuttering, it was crashing. This was an XP machine that I’d tuned for audio. I didn’t connect it to the internet, it wasn’t on a network and I almost never installed software on it. Yet one day it just stopped working right. I spent days trying to update drivers, check for IRQ conflicts, I even went out and bought a new firewire card. Nothing worked.

I spied my long ignored powerbook sitting on a table. On a whim, I hooked up my audio interface to it and installed the drivers (this was OS 9 days) and BOOM, everything worked! Most of the software I used was cross platform already, so I decided that my next computer would be a new powerbook. I decided to wait until everything I used was OS X compatible (I’d had my share of issues with OS 9). Finally, that day came and I bought the 12″ PB that I’m writing this on now. It works. Always. No problems. I run a ton of video and audio software on it, I connect it to lots of peripherals, and it never complains. I’m convinced that this is the superior platform for multimedia authoring, hands down.

I still was running a business though, and I was running that on my old Vaio P3 450 MHz laptop, but I was using that machine as little as possible. A major reason was that I used it to download my e-mail and occasionally surf the web which required me to have virus software that slows it to a crawl and makes it really painful to use.

This week, all three PCs in our house that are still plugged in stopped working. All for different reasons. I decided that I’d had it. I was tired of spending hours figuring out what was going wrong with the PCs in our house. I was going to switch off that old Vaio laptop for my old trusty Ti Powerbook. If I could do that, then I’d switch my wife too.

Now theoretically, it shouldn’t be that hard. The only software I use on my home PC is Outlook, Word, Excel, Access and My Mailing List Manager (an old postal mail list manger I use for my version of CRM). I already had a copy of Office 2004 that I’d purchased but not installed. I figured that it would take care of the e-mail, Word and Excel, which would be the majority of what I do.

Here is where it gets interesting…

This is currently no way to import Outlook PST files into Entourage. Microsoft is promising a tool, but it doesn’t exist yet. By searching the web, I found the way to do this:
1) Install Thunderbird on your PC
2) import your Outlook mail into Thunderbird
3) copy that folders that Thunderbird creates to your mac

Step 4 would be to import that mail into Netscape Mail or Apple Mail and then import that into Entourage, except right here I realized something very important: Maybe it is a bad idea to use a mail program that makes it hard to get your mail out of it. I’d learned a similar lesson months ago when I got an iPod and had to re-encode all my WMA files into MP3. So right here is when I decided that maybe I’d just use Thunderbird on the mac instead of Entourage. So step 4 for me is to use Thunderbird.

Using thunderbird would be awesome if it worked, but, for me, it just doesn’t. See my post on the thunderbird support forums if you care. So after trying to make Thunderbird download all my mail unsuccessfully for a while, I just gave up. I’d already set up entourage to pull mail from one of my accounts. I decided that if I could export the messages that I’d already downloaded into thunderbird, then I would just use Entourage (which is a pretty good mail program). Yeah, so I couldn’t. Entourage will only allow you to export mail in their own proprietary archive format. That is fucking stupid and extremely lame. That alone means that I won’t use Entourage 2004. I’d never tried the Mail program that comes with OS X. I started it up, set it up, immediately hated it and vowed to never start it again.

So now I’m stuck. There are other mail clients for OS X, of course, but they aren’t free and I don’t feel like installing each of them so that I can test them out. I’m hoping that someone will help me out with Thunderbird because I think that is the app I want use. I’m just bummed that it doesn’t work for me.

More later as I progress on my own personal switch campaign.

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