Friday, April 25, 2008

It's a Mac Mac Mac Mac World

An article I once read was written like a "he said/she said" argument about Macintosh vs. PC computers. Each writer had a say, with the other making a rebuttal and then an additional comment. The final PC comment was that there were far more PCs in the world than Macs. The Mac writer replied that there were more cockroaches in the world than people, but that that didn't make them better. I've laughed about that article for years, and this week really made me feel again the joy of having my Mac, and the truth of that article.

I finally took my six year old Mac in for a tune-up. I have never had that done, but there were a few small problems and I wanted to know for sure if it was a small problem or a large one, and whether or not I could get another year out of the machine before getting a new laptop. It only ended up costing me $90, but the repair was done in Boulder, and meant that I spent a week without my machine ensconced on the special computer table in front of my easy chair.

To make my life easier, so I could still check email and blogs, pay bills, update my iPod and whatever else I needed to do, John brought up his PC laptop and put on my little rolling desktop. I'm really grateful. Really I am. Actually, now that we got my Mac back today, I'm even more grateful.

PCs are so annoying. Why do you have to hit so many keys to make them do simple tasks? Why can't you put a degree mark in a recipe's oven temperature
or put an accent mark over a letter in an author's name without looking up its ASCII code?

It seems that in the past ten years Microsoft has spent an incredible amount of effort trying to become as Mac-like as possible while still missing the point of the entire Mac experience. I remember the great decision at our corporation that perhaps the designers should switch to PCs. We did cost analysis studies, made projections, had meetings... Wouldn't it be better if we were all the same? Used the same stuff? After all, everyone else used PCs, so why support these other machines?

We went through everything, checking off the relative costs. At the very end of a three-month study, we contacted the three color houses we used to tell them of our pending decision. What did they all say? Sure, you can switch. We'll still accept your work. However, we will no longer guarantee that what you give us will match what you get back.

Say that again? Yes. When two people who don't speak the same language use an interpreter they never know if the nuances of their speech are quite accurate. So it is with 4-color processing on the PC platform. Windows is a shell that goes over the MS-DOS platform. Macintosh is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) form of Graphical User Interface, which doesn't use an interpreter at all.

So do I own a PC? You bet I do. I use it every year to do our taxes. And sometimes I play a game or three of solitaire if I'm down there waiting for something to print or come out of the dryer.

As I sit here typing this moderate rant, I notice that my nice little laptop realized, without any help from me, that it was time to back up my information. Without bothering me, interrupting me, or slowing me down, it's quietly sending changes made on my internal drive to a remote drive. Isn't life sweet in a Macintosh world?


sherrie said...

I love your title's reference to one of my childhood favorite movies. I must admit that I've been swayed toward the Mac-side by their very well done commercials. My family is starting to migrate that way -- a brother and a sister will not even look back since switching to Mac. I think my daughter might even be starting to like the Mac she bought a couple of years ago (she had some problems up front - nothing money for new software couldn't cure). We'll see, my day may even arrive, at which time I will give you full permission to say, "I told you so, what took you so long!?!?!?!"

Ri said...

I am a recent convert. Or perhaps a recovering PC-aholic? I still am not used to shutting down my machine for fear that it will take 20 minutes to start back up again, like my PC did. I love this wonder - my MacBook Pro.
side note you might appreciate: (my) John is getting many of the people (previous Xircom folks, including the owner) at his office to switch to Mac. They just bought him one - so we're both recent converts.

Kathleen said...

I'm glad to say that my old Mac is running pretty much like new after my $90 tune up. One of the USB ports is dead, though, which shows that the logic board has a problem, and could last five months or five years before it dies completely. Fortunately, we keep it backed up, so when we do need to replace it, all my data will be ready to just transfer right over to the new Mac. I can't believe you, John and Dirk are all MacPeople now. How cool. Read my new blog...

Ben said...

Of course, neither XP nor Vista run on MS-Dos... long gone are those days (thankfully).

You have to admit - Leopard is certainly prettier than Vista (and XP), and now that you can run Windows from a Mac, it's a much better value proposition than it used to be...

Almost in my price range... not quite, but almost.