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Drinking the Microsoft KoolAid


March 6, 2015 by Mike Hillwig

I’ve been using Microsoft Windows since version 3.0 and have worked with SQL Server in some capacity for the past twelve years or so. But I’ve been a Mac guy, too. I love my Macs. However, one thing was always missing–Outlook. Yes, Microsoft has had a Mac version of Office for years. But it just wasn’t the same. But I still loved my Macs–until Windows 8 came out.

People seem to hate major updates to Windows, but I think Windows 8 (or Windows 8.1 to be more specific) was a game changer for me. I don’t know why, but it just works for me. And when I present at user groups or SQL Saturdays, it just felt weird presenting on my Macbook Air.

My Mac Mini in the home office was starting to show its age, so I decided it was time for a bit of a technology refresh. I bought myself an HP Pavilion from Woot! and I splurged on a new Surface Pro 3. This is in addition to the Lenovo ThinkPad T440S I have for work. They’re all running Windows 8.1 with Office 2013/Office 365. So far, the only thing I feel like I’m missing is a good replacement for iPhoto.

While I was at it, it was time to retire GMail. I’ve been using GMail for years and was actually paying for Google Apps to get GMail to use my own domain. So I recently switched to my mail hosting to Office 365 as well. Google has a great webmail interface, but Office 365 is better. And using GMail with Outlook via IMAP kind of sucked. Now, I’m using Outlook with Office 365, and I’m loving it. It’s just like what I use for work. It’s perfect. Using a webmail interface works great when you can’t use Outlook. But if you can use Outlook as a desktop app, why not?

As for replacing iPhoto, I have more than 15 years of digital pictures and that library is close to 70 GB. This requires something fairly robust to manage it. I’m giving Adobe Lightroom a spin.

At this point, I still have a lot of love for Apple. I’m heavily invested in the iOS ecosystem. I have an iPhone, an iPad Mini, three Apple TVs, and the entire wireless network in my house is built around the Apple Airport. Last summer, I was having problems with my iPhone 5S and decided to give the Windows Phone a spin. I hated it. I went running back to the iPhone as soon as the iPhone 6 came out.

Some of my friends don’t understand why I would abandon my Mac. The simple fact is that I have made a career working with Microsoft technologies. Today, the desktop and server operating systems are so incredibly similar that keeping one platform just makes sense for me.