Visual Lizard has been working on Apple machines since 2007-ish when we all upgraded from standard-issue Dell desktops to seventeen inch Macbook Pros. Every since then, Apple has released a number of Mac OS X versions, and each time I have upgraded my machine rather than formatting and starting clean. Though this has the advantage of not needing to reinstall apps and track down registration numbers, after half a dozen updates and the same number of years, my machine has inherited quite a bit of cruft.
Over this season's holidays, I decided to reformat and reinstall OS X Lion. The first time I have started fresh in years. I like to believe everything is booting up and shutting down faster because of it, but I have not bothered with any measurments so that may, admittedly, be just my rose-coloured perception. The most noticeable improvement was reinstalling my applications.
Services like the Mac App Store and Steam have made setting up a Mac incredibly easy compared to the old days. I did not have to track down CDs or registration numbers or manuals. I was able to log into a cloud-based store, find all my existing purchases waiting for me in a list, and reinstalled them with just a couple clicks. What used to be an arduous and long process has become a straight-forward series of over-the-internet restores... though it can still take a while depending on your internet connection and the filesizes involved.
It’s kind of remarkable. I’ve set up a couple of PCs and a few TVs over the last couple of years. Buying a new television and setting it up is far more complicated now than buying a computer and setting it up.
My recommendation to my coworkers and my own plans for the future is to, when given the choice, make app purchases from reputable cloud-based stores from now own. There are some issues with doing so, notably the Mac App Store's lack of demo versions and Apple taking a major cut from a developers profits, but it will only take you one time setting up a machine from scratch to see the advantage.