Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mac vs. PC - I've Finally Got It

I've worked with computers since 1980. Along the way I've worked on very few Macs. My clients don't use Macs. Hundreds of individuals, scores of businesses, libraries and non-profits later, I've been asked to look at exactly two Macs.

Now, some of you Apple people are begging to jump in with "but they don't NEED service!", and I'll simply point you to a Google search for "Mac" and "problem".

Occasionally, when it's time to look at new computers, someone will ask me about getting a Mac. I've been at a bit of a loss to explain to people who've heard/read/believe a Mac will solve their computing problems that it's simply the result of a great rivalry and outstanding marketing campaign. Training and education - now *that* would go a long way to solving your computer problems.

So I thought I'd do some research about Macs and PCs. And I asked on Facebook and Twitter for people to tell me what it is that a Mac can do that a PC can't. Here's what some people said.

Mac people (aficionado sounds so... stuffy) will fall over themselves to tell you they don't get viruses or malware. Neither does anyone else if they pay attention, but that's another conversation. While it's true Macs aren't targeted for viruses and malware as much as PCs, it's not true that they can't get them.

They'll tell you Macs are so easy to use. Wouldn't anything that didn't give you any choices or ask to you make a decision be pretty easy to use?

One guy on Facebook even told me he uses PC software ON his Mac... to make it more PC-like, perhaps? (Thanks, Kirk - keep reading :)

There's nothing you can do on a Mac that you can't do on a PC. They both provide tools to do email, surf the Internet, watch videos on YouTube, make, edit and post your OWN videos, pictures and Great American Novel. You can balance your checkbook, save your recipes and grandkids' pictures and listen to music - Internet radio, cds, mp3s, whatever you like. iTunes works on both. You can even play Freecell and Spider Solitaire, though you have to pay extra for them on a Mac.

The best analogy might be that Macs are like Democrats and Liberals and PCs are like Republicans and Conservatives.

Macs tell you not to worry, they'll take good care of you. Just give us your wallet, because all this perfection costs money. Your money. Yes, Macs have always been much more expensive than comparable PCs.

Mac lovers, we'll make all your decisions for you and there will be no problems. Want a new program? Great! We'll form a committee, create something and release it in the next version of the operating system. Oh, you'll have to pay a bit more whether you use it or not, since it's for the good of all humankind.

PCs are pure capitalists. Anybody can build one, with parts they scrape up in the garage or at NewEgg. Anybody can sell one, and anybody with the desire can learn to feed and maintain one. Want a new program? Hey, so do a handful of others. Let's get together, build the code, release it to the public for their input and improvements and call it Open Source. Oh, you can download and use it free. However, the model works because people who like and use the free software make a donation to the people that built it.

Want more memory or a better video card? Grab it at Staples, or online. It'll be cheap and it will fit your computer if you paid attention to the specifications. Need some help? There will be a neighbor, or co-worker or grandchild that can help. Macs... not so much. You need to go through the Mac System and they'll charge you a lot for parts and more for the labor. Supply and demand means that the microscopically small demand for Macs and their parts will make them much more expensive. Oh, and pack up your Mac and take it to the store - they don't come to you.

Ok, I've had my Mac fun and veered dangerously into political waters and will now acknowledge Macs do have a certain draw for me.

They look great with that poodle you're carrying under your arm. And now I've got a poodle.


joanlw said...

LOVE IT!!!!!!! great!!!!! what else can I say.....Super!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Cath !! everything I 'needed' to know, but did not need to ask ... I did need a chuckle today, though !!