I hope you'll all forgive me, but this seems to be the easiest way to reach everyone who responded to my other entires on this subject.
One of the amazing things about blogging is that you often don't know what will pique people's interest. In this case, I thought I'd be writing to the air, and instead, it's turned out to be the most interesting (to me anyway) discussion I've had in quite some time. So I'd like to sum up what I got from it and try to address the individual points made, but again, your perceptions may vary.
The first thing of interest was what seems to be the enormous price difference between Apple and MSFT-based PCs. An Apple would have to really be something special to cause me to jump ship – and it may be, but it appears that I have no way of knowing without buying one, and I've been disappointed by inflated expectations too many times now, not to mention how upset I'd be over spending a lot of extra money for a minimal ROI.
I'm also concerned that I'd be giving up some conveniences in favor of others, and I hate when that happens even with program upgrades I get for free. I mean, when you get used to something, you don't want it to vanish, you want it to be replaced by something even better. And in that respect, my first line of interest is the browser. I can't imagine that Safari even approaches Maxthon in terms of features and convenience. I've tried the others – Firefox, Opera, even that Google crap, and I found Firefox to be second best (for me), and I hasten to add that there are some things I thought FF did better. However, overall, I felt it didn't match Maxthon.
But see, I like the way Maxthon has the auto-hiding favorites sidebar as shown in the photo. As I recall Firefox has that too, but whether it was the bar itself or the way you access or manage your favorite links, as I recall, Firefox was clunkier, while Maxthon can be made sleek and fluid (note the narrow top bars. And since browsing is what I do the most by far, even minor annoyances are unrelentingly disconcerting.
Then, as I mentioned elsewhere, there's the enormous array of free programs. I've downloaded five today, mostly upgrades, and that's fairly typical. But owing to the comments of Mac proponents, I wonder if some of what I "need" is peculiar to PCs? I ask because a lot of what I grab for free involves tweaking and maintenance – programs that remove unnecessary and outdated registry items, for example. or the half dozen different spyware detectors I use. And maybe Apple computers don't need their disks defragged? There's a lot of maintenance I do almost daily. Unfortunately, a lot of it has become compulsive, and I probably only need to do it weekly at best – and it may be a contributing factor to the re-installation troubles I've had, one just doesn't know, and I may not be able to stop myself it it does.
What I do know is that when Vista runs well, it runs well. Or as Jeff puts it, "It's not that bad." In fact, since this last reinstall, I'm amazed at how well things are going. I still use dialup, having not yet been able to justify broadband expenses, but suddenly, pages are loading noticeably faster than ever. And I find I'm now motivated NOT to tweak anything, especially because I've learned that the more you learn about Windows, the more you don't know. As I've said, people seems to have wildly different ideas as to what constitutes an optimum tweaking value, and so this becomes the biggest and most vague area involving individual customization.
I'm especially impressed though by the fact that whether we use PCs or Macs, there seems to be an attitude that we're all in this together – not to mention that I've come to realize that what I think everyone else knows is not necessarily the case (I was very surprised that people didn't know about Maxthon, for instance). So Jeff has offered to be of assistance, and Schomer has even gone so far as to offer his discount. That's amazing to me. It makes me wish we could work this closely on life's bigger issues.
For my part, it will probably be a while before I buy another computer, and then there's the problem of networking should I be interested in ever switching to a Mac, and that's another problem I hadn't even dealt with in my previous entries. In fact, I hadn't even thought of it until now.
But I want to say that regardless of where this leads me, this has been a very enjoyable discussion. Although it has also caused me to realize why I discourage responses. It's not only hard to address everyone individually, and then it's even harder to be as detailed as you may want to be since what may be interesting to me could be very tedious to others.
Which is why I try to break the tedium at times with personal threats and insults. I figure that while it might make someone angry, he or she is at least no longer disinterested?! Then again, maybe that just what holds my interest?
Seriously though, I hope you all have a great Christmas, and your responses have been a marvelous gift to me.
Oh, and Jeff, yes, it was talking about the icon tray on the bottom right. Some icons just don't retain the status you assign them (show or hide)
Hat tip to Zak for advice on embedding pictures!.