Confessions of an Apple nut

I’ve been immersed in the Windows world for 30 years: top 1% of Windows experts at the Experts Exchange last time I checked, a SeniorNet PC tutor, a web programmer, and in a reversal of the usual scenario, my grandchildren treat me as the family IT guru. Despite that investment, a limited retirement income, and the Apple “hardware tax” barrier, I’ve migrated to the Apple universe, and I won’t be going back any time soon.

Why? Apple get away with overcharging for their hardware because they can, users like me keep coming back. The alternative might be cheaper, but for millions of us, it isn’t worth the sacrifice. 

It all started in 2010 when I succumbed to the hype and bought an iPhone 4. I was smitten in milliseconds. Before I knew it, I’d ponied up for an iPad and a MacBook Air.

iOS: Apple’s phone and tablet operating system.

The phones

Notwithstanding the outrageously overpriced iPhone X with its irksome notch and which I wouldn’t have a bar of, I can still buy a new iPhone 6S, 7, or 8 for a reasonable price. They leave the competition for dead. It’s not the hardware, it’s the operating system, its interface, its applications, and its seamless integration with other Apple devices.

The tablets

My iPad Pro 12.9” is beautiful. With the improvements to already good usability made with iOS 11, including split screen multitasking, and with a Magic Keyboard or Smart Keyboard Cover, at a pinch it can replace my mobile computer. iOS is more intuitive than the competition, it looks better, and there’s a better range of apps available. It just works.

MacOS

The same usability standard applies to Mac computers: everything just works. iMacs and MacBooks aren’t cheap, and the Mac Pro cost is eye-watering, but if you look at Windows machines with comparable specs and build quality, they’re not cheap either.

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Writing software comparison

Note taking apps

It’s all about me

I’ve made these notes to clarify for myself which apps I most need. It’s not an unbiased opinion. Your mileage may vary. Some people love OneNote for instance; I don’t get it at all.

I’ve evolved into an Apple ecosystem fanatic, so this is biased. Having said that, the choice of note-taking apps for Windows isn’t great and is one of the  reasons I’m an Apple nut. Typora for Windows is the only one I’ve found that comes close to Ulysses or Bear Notes.

Definitions

In case you don’t know:

Markdown

A lot of writing apps use Markdown. Many writers love it. It’s a shorthand way of formatting text styles. Its advantages:

  • When a Markdown document is exported to—for instance—Word format, or HTML, or PDF, or all of the above, the formatting is automagically converted to suit the new document.
  • Proponents point out that you can apply formatting without your fingers leaving the keyboard.
    • OK, true; but if you know your formatting keyboard shortcuts you can do that in almost any text editor or word processor.

This screenshot shows the markdown formatting symbols on a heading and an italicised word in Bear Notes:




Dark mode

Some writing apps, like most web browsers, allow you to switch to “dark mode”; i.e. light coloured text on a dark background. Many writers find it easy on the eyes and that it reduces eye strain.

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