For a long time I was using a Mac at my work. I’ll freely admit that I am a Mac person. I enjoy using them and I know how to make them do what I want. Recently I moved into a new position in which I was given a Windows machine. It’s been a bit of an adjustment and I still prefer Mac over Windows but it really hasn’t been so bad. I’m not as proficient on a Windows system as I am on a Mac but I’m learning and slowly but steadily I’m getting up to speed. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses but this post isn’t really about Mac Vs. Windows or whatever, it’s really about commitment. The problem that I think most people have with technology is that they mistake usability with familiarity and they aren’t willing to commit to become familiar with a new piece of technology. I’ve heard and seen it so many times, people saying that some piece of technology is bad but they really don’t know or say why. If you ask them to elaborate, the reasons that tend to pop up have to do with their own familiarity to another piece of technology.
My own approach to technology is if you really want to learn it, you have to commit to using it and learning about it. It’s nice to stick to the familiar and it’s nice when there is a standard that works across technology but that’s not the way it always works. Technologies are spread all across the spectrum. There can be 20 different applications that all do the same thing, but the usability ranges from Fischer Price to rocket science. You should use whatever fits your needs and work style the best, but don’t start knocking other pieces of technology because they don’t work for you or you’re not comfortable with them.
If you really want to learn a new piece of technology you have to let go of the familiar and be willing to commit and get over the initial hump of the learning curve. It won’t be easy and there will probably be some frustration but once you start to get your stride you’ll find that the new tech might work better than the old familiar tech. Kids will ask me sometimes whether they should get a Macbook or Windows laptop for college (I get asked that all the time). If they use Windows and they ask if they should go with a Mac I will say to them:
- What do you use now?
- What are you most comfortable with?
- Do you know how to use a Mac?
- Are you willing to really learn how to use it?
- Macs are not Windows machines, they don’t work exactly the same.
- Only go with Mac if you are really willing to commit.
This same list also works the other way, if the student uses a Mac and asks if they should go with a Windows laptop (the number of times I have been asked this I could count on one hand).
If you are going to go with a new piece of technology you should take Yoda’s advice, “Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”