Having started with DOS 2.1 and worked our way through Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows NT, etc., etc., Microsoft has laid out a clear path of improvement for us with each new iteraIon.

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This success has brought 2 problems. First being such a dominant force Windows is the target of endless malware and viruses - it just provides such a good return on investment. Secondly, our expectaIons have been raised to the point we expect significant advances with each new version.

The eye opening happened with VISTA. While it tried to address both the security issues and provide significant advancement - it fell well short of its target. In doing so it opened the door for other products to get their Ime in the limelight. At Mermaid Enterprises we suffered through 6 months of VISTA, and then acIvely started looking at other opIons. The 2 that jumped out were, LINUX and Apple’s OS X. We took one of our VISTA machines, and HP m7760n (Intel E6400 with 4GBs of ram) and converted it to UBUNTU, and another to a hacked version of OS X (so it would run on a standard PC) to compare the performance and end user experience. What an eye opener!

Both LINUX and OS X offered an improved end user experience. The consistency of response Ime and the stability of the operaIng system made both systems a pleasure to work with. We conInued these tests for 3 months. ADer 3 months the decision was made to migrate to OS X. While the LINUX machines performed excepIonally well, the level of technical support required to maintain them was greater and also the lack of MicrosoD’s Office products for the pladorm made it a difficult fit in many circumstances.

Our experience with OS X on a PC pladorm showed us an enormous performance advantage over Windows. During the evaluaIon, the OS X machine rouInely ran a Windows XP guest machine (under VMWare’s Fusion) and both the windows machine and the OS X machine provided excellent end user response Ime, for the most part you would not have even known they were running simultaneously.

The stability and consistency of Apple’s OS X is what a Windows user noIces most right off. It was not uncommon to leave the OS X box running for weeks without rebooIng. And while the OS X interface is different from Windows, it was very easy to learn to use, and extremely funcIonal.

With the decision made to embrace Apple’s OS X, it came Ime to decide on the machines to use. As you have to by an Apple computer to run OS X (legally), your opIons are limited to what Apple offers. But there is a wide selecIon:

• iMacs: all in one computers

• Mac Mini: ultra compact design desktop

• Mac Pro: ultra powerful and expandable desktop

• Macbook: laptop

• Macbook Pro: high end laptop

Mermaid Enterprises uIlizes almost all of these models. iMacs are used and recommended for most users. We have found the Mac Mini makes an excellent server. The Mac Pro’s, with support for mulIple mulI core processors are a power users delight. For the mobile crowd either a Macbook or Macbook Pro can be uIlized (there is an ultra light version as well, the Macbook Air).

Mermaid Enterprises made the shiD to Apple 2 years ago. Since then MicrosoD has come out with Windows 7, which we have worked with, and have found to be a huge improvement over VISTA, but unlike the change from VISTA to OS X, OS X to Windows 7 offers nothing to induce us back into the fold. At the same Ime, the LINUX offerings conInue to improve and may well be the pladorm of choice in the not to distant future.

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