It's been almost a month since I got the PowerMac G5 that I am using now. I remember NetRyder saying that I should post about my experiences once I had spent some good time with it, so that's what I'm gonna do. Warning: I might have too much fun with this, so it could be quite lengthy. History I've been using PCs since the 486 that my family had a friend build for us back in the day. Next came a piece o' crap Packard Bell Pentium desktop, then a 400MHz Pentium II Dell Dimension. The night I graduated from high school, I won a 450MHz PIII Acer desktop at a graduation event that my school held. I took the Acer to college and had it for 2 years before buying an 800MHz PIII Micron. I used that Micron until just under a month ago when I got the G5. It was perfect timing because I was really starting to get frustrated with the speed of my PC, and a couple that I'm best friends with needed to sell their G5 because they are moving out of the country. So I got the Mac, a 19" monitor and Canon Multipass for $1600, paid out over time, interest-free. My experience with Macs up until that point was minimal. My first contact with a Mac was in 8th grade on a Macintosh Classic II. I would do simple word-processing and play my first multiplayer network game called Bolo. My best friend at the time had one of the first PowerPC desktops, a Performa with a CD-ROM... that was a big deal. I never really used it though, just watched with amazement as he would talk to people on the Internet at a speedy 28.8 dial-up connection. I probably touched 3 or 4 Macs during my last year of college when I worked as a network tech for my school, but all I did was configure the network details. Needless to say, I knew very little about OS X when I got the G5 a month ago. Experiences The first comment I'd have to make is that the thing is fast... very, very fast. Bootup is fast, login is fast, applications load fast. It's also very quiet. Second comment is this: presentation is almost as important as power. I'm pretty sure that Apple knows this to be true, because it's probably not a mistake that the user experience is so enjoyable. Everything... the packaging, hardware design, and operating system... is so aesthetically pleasing that you'd think that's all that Apple concentrated on. Luckily, everything works as nicely as everything looks. I'm using OS X Panther, and while I found myself emulating its appearance for the past few months in WinXP, it's nice to be finally using the real thing. The icons and the animations are outstanding. You can make XP look like OS X, but it's nearly impossible to make it function the same way. It took no time at all to learn the basic functions of the OS, and not too much longer to learn many of the advanced features that I was curious about. The System Preferences are set up nicely. The only thing that took a bit to figure out was that the firewall was located under Sharing. The built-in firewall is simple, yet customizable enough to fit my taste, and I must say that it is very nice not having to install a 3rd-party firewall application. Actually, it's very nice not having to install any 3rd-party apps for security purposes. Running XP I had to install a firewall, antivirus, Ad-Aware and Spybot to make sure my system was clean of crap. It's great not having to worry about all of that. Things I Love The integration of StuffIt into OS X - the automation of extracting downloaded files is great! Safari - I was using Firefox on XP, but I haven't even downloaded it yet for OS X because Safari does most everything I want. Installing programs - "drag and drop" to the Applications directory... that's it? Works for me! The few that do have installers are simple enough anway. Sherlock - Just starting to use it... the potential it has is amazing! View Options - Customizing different folders is much better than in XP. The Dock - Simple and functional. Stickies - I tried tons of 3rd-party apps for these in XP... Stickies are the best and they are built-in. Activity Monitor - Talk about a replacement for Task Manager. MS, take note. Fun GUI Apps - Konfabulator and CandyBar are great. There's a good reason why these and other GUI programs are being emulated on the Windows platform. iTunes - It's great. That's all there is to it. Check Spelling in Safari - It's built into the browser, and it should be. Take note (again) MS. FileVault - A nice security feature. No Crashes - I've had about 3 instances of apps closing on me unexpectedly, but not a single OS crash. I know I could list more, but these are the major ones, and this is getting long enough already. Things I Would Change Of course not everything can be perfect. These are a few annoyances that I have. Preview - It's great for PDF files, but I should be able to browse through pictures in a folder without having to select every one before opening the app. QuickTime - Pro should come standard. You don't get a dumbed-down version of WMP with Windows. And you really need to have a 3rd-party application to play any format of video. I'm using VideoLAN. WMP - It only plays WMV files? This isn't really Apple's fault though. No MS Publisher - I wish this came with Office for Mac. Again, not really Apple's fault though. That's about all I can come up with at the moment. Not many complaints so far. Conclusion Windows Longhorn will have to be pretty impressive for me to think about switching back to a PC. Plus, Tiger will have even more to offer so MS will really have to step it up with their next release. I'm really enjoying my Mac and OS X. Thanks to everyone, especially Dave, who answered questions for me starting out. I know that I will have more in the future, and hopefully I can start answering some questions myself someday!