Back home in my international school in Indonesia, things were really different from Imperial in many ways. One of the most striking differences was the reputation of owning a Macbook. Would anyone here at Imperial even believe that my school in 2015 had actually proposed a rule “strongly encouraging” (practically imposing) the use of a Macbook as opposed to any other device? A lot of parents actually complained against this new policy and drafted petitions against this imposition and as a result, the school silently softened its stance. Nevertheless, my school has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for two consecutive terms (6 years). Apple Distinguished Schools are “centers of innovation, leadership, and educational excellence that use Apple products to inspire creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking”.
In short, this meme below captures essentially the mindset of most people in my school:
At Imperial Scenario
The tables have turned quite dramatically for me after starting my course at Imperial. It was the first week of term and my programming lecturer conducted a poll on windows vs mac users. To my surprise, I was in a minority! It did make me feel a little proud at first as I naively assumed that I was in the ‘elite club’.
A week later I began to feel out place. I realized that a lot of the software requirements for the various modules of my course we’re far more efficient for Windows users rather than macOS. I took it lightly and began to heavily rely on the lab desktop PCs to do all my work which involved software such as LTSpice (a circuit simulator used in the Analysis & Design of Circuits module), Quartus (programmable logic device design software produced by Intel). Luckily, Virtual Box (for the virtual machine which you would need to do all coursework related to C++ programming) worked (despite being laggy!). With this, I was now using two operating systems- macOS and Linux (through Ubuntu on my Virtual Box).
The Holy Trinity
Weeks went and I realized I wasn’t able to work on lab software in my room and that I was too reliant on the college’s desktop computers. So one fine day I made a big move and decided to install Windows 10 onto my Macbook Pro, using the Bootcamp utility that lets you switch between macOS and Windows (clearly showing that Windows is an academic necessity!)
And now I have the holy trinity: Windows, macOS, and Linux all in one device!
Best advice for prospective students doing EEE/EIE:
- If you don’t have Windows and are a Mac user, definitely install Windows using Bootcamp. This will make the start of your term a lot easier, as most of the software you will be using is more suited for Windows.
- Linux is the most computationally advanced of the three, so make sure to get familiar with Linux (preferably using Ubuntu 64) alongside getting a headstart on C++ programming so that you are ahead of the game when term starts!
- Remember that another benefit of Windows-specific to Imperial is the access to Imperial Software Hub – a web-based tool that provides access to course specific software applications and can be used from computers on campus, or from your own personal WINDOWS device!
And last but not least, a meme!!!