MacBook(keeper) - Initial Impressions


2013 is going to look a lot different than 2012...for many reasons. 

One big change is the amount of time I'll be working within OSX.

I received a MacBook Pro not too long ago. Like anything new, there has been a learning curve. I can't convince my fingers that the Ctrl + __ shortcuts I've commited to muscle memory need to be ignored when they're near this new keyboard. I now have the other problem of trying to use my newly learned touchpad gestures on my PC. I know...nobody will be designing a ribbon to shed light on my huge problem. 

This past year has been a slow exodus from traditional bookkeeping software. I don't think I'll be done with QuickBooks anytime soon. There are just some clients where QuickBooks is the only choice. It's just too powerful compared to the cloud variations. I also don't see Profile, my tax preparation software of choice, getting usurped by anything online this year. Oh, how I would love to see that day...but I'm just not putting that day on my calendar quite yet. 

All of this means my location, hardware, and OS are becoming less and less of a consideration. I can, if necessary and in an emergency, get everything done with an iPad on a beach. I would never purposely choose that scenario for heavy bookkeeping. But if I was on vacation (let's pretend I take those), and a client called in a panic that payroll needed to be done in the next 2 hours, I could use something as simple as an iPhone with a decent data connection to get things done on time. 

Because of this freedom, I can choose my hardware and OS based on personal preference alone. If I sit down in front of a MacBook Pro and a Windows 8 laptop, and just ask myself which one I'd rather pick up and use long as I can get my work done on either one, I'm choosing the MacBook every time. 

Are there downsides? You bet there are. 

Macs, no matter what the zealots say, are far more almost every aspect. Yes, I know the OS comes with a lot of included software. Yes, I know Office is more expensive than iWork. Still, for the price of an entry level MacBook Pro, I could have picked up an entry level Windows laptop, an external monitor, external hard drive, a decent printer, and that copy of Office. My external monitor would even plug into the Windows laptop without a pricey adapter. 

I'm also finding the software I really like is more expensive on the Mac. That could just be because they're making higher quality software over here. So far I'm really getting into OmniFocus. It's a task management app that really stays true to the GTD methodology. It's by far the most powerful app of its type that I've ever tried. And, there are iPad and iPhone versions too. The problem is that the desktop app is $80, the iPad app is $40, and the iPhone app is $20. Maybe I'm just cheap, but that's a lot of money. 

In the end, it comes down to productivity. If OmniFocus makes me 5 hours more productive this year it paid for itself. If the MacBook Pro gets me cranking out blog posts and financial reports more efficiently, then the initial cost is no longer an issue. 

If you've been following my site for a while, you'll remember I tried this with Linux. I tried to do more of my day to day tasks in Ubuntu. And, just like the Mac, the only thing that was the big sticking point was QuickBooks. Unlike Ubuntu though, I'm not finding myself running into snags as often. Running OSX feels like getting a new car. The controls are a bit different, and the upkeep is a bit more expensive, but at the end of the day I still know how to start it up and get to where I need to go. Linux felt like learning a new language. The new language would have all the same functionality and flexibility I'm used wouldn't cost me anything to learn it...but it was going to be such an initial investment of time to learn it I didn't feel the end result would be worth it. 

So, my goal is to give my productivity a shot of adrenaline. I'm really hoping this change will be the key to that boost. And, as usual, I'll do my best to let you know how it goes. If you have any tips, especially if you're a bookkeeper or accountant using a Mac, I'd love to hear from you.