Switching from a Mac to a PC: Five lessons from an Apple fanboy

3. Switching keys can be hard (but you can reassign them in a pinch)

Macs and PCs (such the Acer TimelineX laptop, pictured above) offer slightly different keyboard layouts. Mac keyboards, for example, use a different scheme for producing accented characters.

The PC's keyboard layout is just different enough from the Mac's to make me trip up from time to time. The most obvious difference is the Mac's use of "Cmd" as the primary modifier key as opposed to "Ctrl" on the PC. I'm used to hitting "Cmd" to the left of the space bar, rather than "Ctrl" at the lower-left corner of the keyboard. I imagine I'll soon get used to it, but if things get too dire I can always break out SharpKeys to remap those keys. I could duplicate the Mac's key order by reassigning what the "Alt," Windows, and "Ctrl" keys do when pressed.

I've also had to relearn how to insert special characters with keyboard combinations. Macs offer persistent, system-wide shortcuts for foreign-language accents and tildes (for example, pressing Alt + n, then n again, gives an n with a tilde over it). Windows offers similar functionality (for example, ctrl + :, then u, gives a u with an umlaut over it), but those shortcuts don't seem to be consistent across the whole OS. Neither LibreOffice nor Google Docs, two popular word processors, seem to support these combinations, although Microsoft Office does. It would be a shame to have to memorize Unicode characters, or mess around with the "insert special character" palette, just to type accents when I need them.

3 of 5

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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