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Eli Petkus
Eli Petkus

Posted on • Updated on

Story about getting out of Apple ecosystem. Somewhat.

Story time. When I was a quite a bit younger, I guess I was moved by an old movie ”Hackers” (I believe released in the 90-ies or so) which made me a strong believer in the Open Source community. That really impacted the decisions on software I was using. If I remember correctly - started using Ubuntu from version 6.06 called Dapper Drake. Well that and the fact I was able to run a couple of Lineage (MMORPG) clients with compiz and dual box it with less hassle over the Wine than on Windows XP. Not to mention the feeling of receiving an Ubuntu install CD in the post while still being a teenager and living in Lithuania. That was a big deal back then - but that is not the point here.

Fast forward a decade and I am studying Software Engineering in London. I remember at the time I just bought an Asus N53SV (top of the line laptop at the time) and of course I was running Linux (Arch BTW) and using all of the open source software for everything. Minus some games of course. But then something happened and I turned to the dark side and started using... OS X! To my surprise, I was in love with it, to the point where later I even got an iPhone. And the way everything worked through iCloud was just magic. No cron jobs to sync notes, reminders. Nothing - just create and it is all synced across all of my devices. Got my first Software Engineering gig and a company was using Apple devices too, so everything just worked. Living the dream.

Then I moved to another company, been there for a few years and decided to use company budget for a new laptop (to upgrade my personal MB Pro - edition with the crappy keyboard). And that is where my search began.

To get a new MBP was not an option - since M1 was just around the corner and I was already considering what will not work to do my daily job. Primary option was to get Lenovo T14s with Ryzen and 32GB of Ram to feed the whale (docker - looking at you there). At the same time I read about WSL(2) being really good for what it is, so got myself an old ThinkPad and gave it a fair shake. To my surprise - everything what I needed for my development machine... badum tss... just worked! As well as that - wanted to try a laptop with a touch screen and the laptop search got a bit intense. Long story short - due to chip shortages, required functions for hardware, etc I landed myself a Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390. Happy with the machine and all great. Or so I thought.

Silly me forgot one of the key, somewhat work related software pieces - notes and reminders (well, todo list part of it). At this point I was feeling lost missing all my convenience and the hunt for cross platform software began. As an immediate cross platform solution landed myself on using Microsoft Todo and Notes apps (since iOS apps for those are fairly decent ones). In the meantime, I changed job once again and company uses... Apple devices! So now I need something truly cross platform to work across Windows (personal laptop), OS X (work laptop), iOS device (personal phone) and my Linux powered tower PC. After trying multiple apps, electron versions and even progressive web apps I finally landed myself on using free versions of Notion and Todoist. The whole process took probably good 4 months. Yes I am that kind of person. Both Notion and Todoist apps have all the features I need/use and are trully cross platform. It is possible to get clients accross all paltforms I use. It would be great if Todoist would allow the “reminders” functionality on a free version - but I can live without it. Now, 3 months in and I can confidently say that I don’t miss my apple-only ecosystem. If only - all this situation reminded me to try new things as there are features on apps I love (e.g. markdown support in Notion!). It got to the point where I even consider upgrading my iPhone 11 Pro to Samsung Fold 4 (when it gets released). Moral of the story - don’t get blinded by the convenience of using something and think twice if that does not limit you in any way, as the search for replacement can be painful to say the least!

P.S. Really loved Obsidian notes app but $8 a month for sync functionality is expensive IMHO. I understand it is encrypted and everything costs these days but still!

Top comments (4)

raguay profile image
Richard Guay • Edited

My advice, don’t get too dependent of OSS solutions as well. I’ve been bitten by vapor-ware way too many time. Keep everything in plain text or markdown and sync with Dropbox or similar (they are ways to do your own). That way, all OS has a way to work with plain text and markdown (even diagrams using mermaid). I also like building my own solutions that I can expand and maintain. That works quite well.

dumboprogrammer profile image

Here I'm locked into OSS(open source software) ecosystem.Linux, KDE, GNU, Android, Lineage OS etc.From Laptops to thermostat, I just love the idea to see the root of what I deal with

dev_en profile image

is apple ecosystem really worth it... they just suck money out of u for each and every small thing

epetkus profile image
Eli Petkus

Depends. If you asked me back when I was a teenager, I would have said no. Later in life that convenience is saving a lot of time. Less time spent making "core" software working as you wish/need - more time spent with family or enjoying your hobbies, so the question then becomes - is it worth for you? Saying that - computers are one of my many hobbies. But even then - I much rather prefer building something I really like (e.g. tinkering with rails) rather than building bash scripts and setting up cron jobs.