Sensible Windows vs Mac debate (NO FLAMES, please)...

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Jot
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Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:41 pm Post

It is rather extraordinary how people get attached to a tool and how the tool works.

I've been a looooong time PC user. I've still got one. It's called "Ted" (short for sh*t head). I hate Ted with a loathing I keep just for him. There are a few tasks that can only be performed on Ted (using the work network from home and a few other web related minor things) so he stays, even though we're barely speaking these days. Ted's top of the line specs, XP pro, firewalled and virus & spyware protected and he runs like a shot dog. I use PCs exclusively at work too. Thankfully, my work PC is marginally better than Ted, though it has to be rebooted a couple of times a day. I'm only a web developer, honest I don't do anything that should break them.

A few years ago, when Ted's forerunner gave me just one blue screen of death too many, I went out and bought an iMac in a fit of pique without knowing anything about them. Never even used one. I had many wonderful hours trying to figure out how the heck it worked (PC users never read manuals, it's sort of a rule).

Now, my fave feature is that I can't upgrade it myself. It's wonderful. I've never spent a weekend "working" on my macs (I've also got an iBook, which I adore with a rather disturbing passion), not that I've had to, of course, but I love that it's not an option.
Ted is due for a decoke & valve grind (every few months) and just thinking about it almost makes me cry.

I'm sure I had a point, but I've lost it. Anyway, nowadays, I much prefer the mac. I just can't be bothered with my PC anymore. I guess I could turn it into a Linux box but it's just such a lot of effort...and I'm at a time of my like when I'm old, I'm grumpy and I just want the darned thing to work without having to nurse it for hours (or days).
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howarth
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Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:48 pm Post

KB wrote:By contrast, the Windows development forums I used to frequent were a little harsher (although they also had their fair share of helpful folk). There is also the problem that because so many people develop for Windows and frequent the forums, when you are starting out it is harder to get help simply because of the sheer amount of traffic.


For me, that hits the nail on the head. Geographers and sociologists have known for a long while that villages are friendlier and more functional than cities. For quality of lifestyle, low-pop beats high-pop every time. That's why Portland is a nicer city than Seattle, though personally I prefer Corvallis. [ducks latte-slinging Portlanders] I prefer Mac as a platform because it has a small market share, is not the backbone of business, and uses the GUI to reach folks with some right brain to spare. I like the greater success Apple has achieved in recent years, but I dread the day that it gets too big and rich. Staying small means greater flexibility, innovation, and support for independent developers.

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werebear
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Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:21 pm Post

Siren wrote:I have no idea why my iBook makes me feel something akin to love or affection.


I've heard this sentiment many times about Macs.

Never heard it about a PC. PC users say, "It's a box. Nice keyboard, good price, etc."

I'm inhouse IT for for a dozen PC's, mostly XP, some lower. Different manufacturers, different monitors, different RAM sizes. The users range from pretty competent to pretty clueless about how the machines work. They all just want the software to run as they go about their tasks.

And not a week goes by that one of these machines doesn't do something inexplicable; Word is now trashing a document loaded into it, someone can't get into a part of the network they got into just yesterday, Internet access is mysteriously slow. I say it so often I should just have a button made & point to it, "Let's reboot & see what happens."

A lot of the time, that fixes it. The rest of the time, I go into the operating system and fix whatever mysteriously got trashed. And the person always asks me, "Why does it doooooo that?"

And all I can do is shrug and say, "It's Windows."

Why don't they just reboot themselves? A lot of the time they do. But there's a reluctance to lose what is now in limbo, there's a reluctance to interrupt a busy day to take the computer down and back up again, and most of all they resent the fact that they have to do it at all.

As I do. My own theory stems from the days of split memory juggling and the tedious procedure of RAM and peripherals in PCs from the days before Microsoft bannered Plug N Play. I'm sure it's better now. But it's just this: Microsoft software, and stuff that runs on it, has an interior problem where the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing. A lot of the time it issues contradictory instructions, and the system whacks out.

Some of this is inevitable; MS has to deal with who knows how many manufacturers, infinite layers of software upgrades, patches, fixes and workarounds.

I know more about the machines than anyone except our tech guy, who knows a lot more about security and networks and does the heavy lifting. And he's baffled by some of the things the machines do. He just shrugs and says, "It's Windows."

The only people I know whose Windows systems are not constant trials to the user are people like him, and in a smaller way, me; somehow we've internalized the way the machines like to be used and we have fewer problems. But the average user? They hate their machines.

There have been times I've leaned close to my PC monitor and whispered, "You know, I really hate you."

And in contrast, I love my Macs.

I smile when I see them, sometimes. Sure, it's inexplicable. Sure, I complain in front of a PC person who knows enough to say stuff like, "Well, the interburgers must not be set right, or you've got permission issues where a machine doesn't have the flinghy patch, or somebody is running a flong while someone else is running a krongo."

Yeah, I know a lot of that. And, heaven knows, I fix a lot of that.

But I just hate dealing with it. And fortunately, at home, I don't have to.

Just one final thought; last year the office bought a Mac for desktop publishing. And I capered and smiled and said to the VP supervising it, "You know what's going to happen now? You're going to want a Mac."

"Oh, I don't know, I do so much stuff for work on the PC, it's what I have at home, it's just a tool..."

A month ago she got a Mac laptop with a PC side. And when I went to fix a problem with the PC side, she said to me, "We've had the Mac for a year and don't have these issues with it. So I find myself not using the PC side unless I can't avoid it."

And I just smiled.
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kewms
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Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:56 pm Post

I was a PC user until about six months ago. Since I have a fair amount of expertise and my husband's a network guru, I've never really had the nightmare PC problems that some people complain about. (Well, not since I switched to Win 2000...) I always sort of rolled my eyes at the Mac fandom. PCs aren't that bad (at least for me), I thought, so how could Macs be that astoundingly good?

Then I switched. Mostly because I like the hardware, and the advent of Intel Macs lowered the software hurdle substantially.

Now I'm becoming one of those obnoxious Mac evangelists. OS X just works. Seriously. Yes, PCs have more software, but that just means you have two dozen mediocre ways to accomplish sort of what you want. And none of those programs work with each other. Evil bloatware that it is, Microsoft Office really does represent the state of the art in PC software integration.

Nothing in the PC world even approaches programs like Scrivener, DevonThink, or Quicksilver, to name just three. I reverted to my PC laptop for a week for a trip. All the software I've used for years was still there, but it was like working with one arm tied behind my back.

But there's no way to explain any of this to PC users. They're like the people in Plato's Cave, unable to believe that there's a different reality out there.

Katherine

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Khadrelt
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Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:39 pm Post

I think a lot of them believe that if they ignore us we'll go away...

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Juddbert
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Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:49 pm Post

My desk. Let me see now.
A Sony Vaio Z1 laptop running XP - a rather nice, if now somewhat dated laptop that really needs a clean install to lift performance from the crawl that now predominates any attempt at serious use.
A Sony FX301 running (Ha! That’s a joke!) Windows Multiple Errors - I’ve kept this laptop simply to give Xubuntu a try, but my procrastination has become entrenched over the years, and is now more accurately defined as chronic indolence. I do wonder if I’ll ever get round to it.
An Apple PowerBook G4, mit OS X 10.4 and all the trimmings. Sheer bliss! Apple folk are so inventive. There are a few instances where Tiger doesn’t quite ring the bell (and I do mean a paltry few) but, for those rare occasions, a plethora of elegant solutions are but a Google away. Ben Willmore’s Isolator, for example, or the HUD inspired Overflow. Leopard will integrate these ideas in to the Apple OS, but they will still remain excellent utilities. For applications there’s (dare I say it?) Scrivener, or Will Thimbleby’s LineForm, and I’d recommend trying TimeLine as well. Intuitive and elegant software that is, above all, so eminently usable. What dumbfounds me is that, in these examples - and they are by no means unique - the conception, creation, programming and on-going development result from the singular dedication of an individual. Eat that Redmond!
As an engineer, I need Excel and Word in order to play with my playmates. I simply can’t avoid it. I’d rather be mooching around in Mellel, doodling about in DevonThink, or finding divers other means of perpetuating task avoidance. But I cannot deny the fact that Scrivener has become my nest. This is where the twigs are gathered, woven, embellished, utilised or discarded. With such distractions, is it any wonder that, when I do visit Windows, it is with as much enthusiasm as when I’m forced to revisit London?
That’s it! Windows is London! All bustle and bluster and “Oi! Wot you lookin at?â€
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halfbaked
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:24 am Post

[quote="Juddbert"]
That’s it! Windows is London! All bustle and bluster and “Oi! Wot you lookin at?â€
Moderation is for monks, enjoy your passions! - R.A. Heinlein

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Juddbert
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:26 am Post

Cornwall sounds blissful and I've never been to London let alone the UK.

Blissful? Yes, I think it is. My analogy was whimsical but, on reflection, it is close to the mark. OS X… the Apple way of doing things - there’s a rhythm that you tune to and, without realising it, feed on. Cornwall has the longest coastline of any county in the UK. A long thin peninsula, you’re never far from the ocean and its rhythms which, again, you tune to and feed on. For me, those rhythms are akin to endorphins that both excite and satisfy. Cornwall does it; OS X does it. An addictive business, this living lark, isn’t it?

I’ve been reading Rayz take on the Windows v OS X issue with some interest. In the main it’s a cogent argument, though there are lapses:
But these days, Macs are just PCs, and they're no longer the best you can get, or the most innovative.

If this is true, then why are so many PC users switching to Macs? Why are the likes of HP and Sony loading the High Street vendors with MacBook Pro clones? I do have some unease about Apple’s current marketing strategy and their dated product line, but I’m certainly not so dismissive and sceptical as to agree with that statement.
The whole notion of tabbed windows was actually invented by Microsoft, so I'm not going to give anyone else credit for that one. IE actually has had tabbed browsing for years, but only as a plug in.

I seem to recall that they stole the idea from Opera but, hey! The whole industry is riddled with imitation, plagiarism and, well, blatant theft. It’s what we humans excel at. If you go back to GEM, or the Amiga 5000 GUIs, it’s not difficult to follow the route map.

I’ve surrendered my PCs without a second thought as age has got the better of them. But I know it won’t be like that with my PowerBook. It’s become a friend and confidante; we share time together. How sad is this?? Ah well, that’s Apple for you. :wink:
Can't write right. Don't care neither. Er...either.

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vic-k
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:58 am Post

[quote][But I know it won’t be like that with my PowerBook. It’s become a friend and confidante; we share time together. How sad is this?? Ah well, that’s Apple for you. quote]

Hi Judbert,
When I bought my first MAC (a BW G3), in 1999, my youngest daughter told her best friend`s dad.

He`s the manager of a small software company, in Stockport, and a programmer himself (PC only).

According to my daughter, his immidiate response was, "Oh shit!"
When she queried his negative response, asking him, 'Why, aren`t Apple any good?" he answered, that on the contrary, they were brilliant computers. The problem lay with the people who bought and used MACs. "You see Sarah, Mac owners are known to lock themselves away, on their own, with their MACs and talk to them. And rumor has it, that concerned family members and friends, with their ears pressed to the door, have heard strange and bizarre voices answering them".

So you see Judbert, your relationship with your MAC, isn`t sad, it`s normal, it`s par for the course.

When you bought your MAC, you didn`t buy a computer, you bought into a `whole belief system`.

Take Care,
Vic.
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

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Juddbert
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:20 pm Post

So you see Judbert, your relationship with your MAC, isn`t sad, it`s normal, it`s par for the course.


You may well be right Vic, you may well be right. :)
Can't write right. Don't care neither. Er...either.

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KB
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:58 pm Post

Ah, Cornwall. I live in London (yes, as I write this I can hear police sirens dopplering past my flat) but Cornwall is my refuge every summer. Bodmin Moor is the home of my other half's parents. I love it. We spend our time eating out at the Jamaica Inn, walking the moors, sunning ourselves at Rock and listening to the locals bemoan their plight in Padstowe. Love it.

Ha! Take that Portlanders! Now it's the turn of the Brits to waffle on about local things ("local" pronounced League-of-Gentlement-stylee, obviously).

Best,
Keith

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Sean Coffee
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 8:39 pm Post

I find the "who's better" debate kind of ridiculous.

From an "art" perspective, Apple wins hands down. Of course Macs are better -- prettier, more stable, more elegant in virtually every aspect. Apple makes an OS that runs only on their machines. They answer to a relatively small and demanding user base. They are the culmination of a single (and singular) vision. They have no need to compromise their OS to accommodate hundreds of millions of people. Hell, even their trade shows are more fun.

On the commerce side of things however, MS, of course, has had that wrapped up for a decade. Microsoft may be Apple's rival, but Apple is not Microsoft's. At best, Steve is a thorn in Bill's side.

Mr. Jobs and his ad agency have wisely chosen to pretend that there is still a debate raging. It's convenient and profitable to have a bad guy, a fixed point of comparison -- but I imagine that most Windows users see the whole thing as kind of odd, if not obnoxious. We Mac evangelists must seem like patrons at an Olive Garden, complaining loudly because it's not The French Laundry.*

Apple is small and elite and narrowly focused, and I want them to stay that way.** I wish them continued success and growth -- but I hope they never do much better than peeling off a few more market share points from MS.

I agree, Apple lovers, OS X should be the OS of choice for everyone in the world. God forbid.

*Sorry for the U.S.-centric example, rest of the world. I'm sure you get my point.

** That goes for Scrivener too, Keith!

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Khadrelt
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:44 pm Post

Sean Coffee wrote:At best, Steve is a thorn in Bill's side.


All the same, I don't doubt Safari for Windows might be making Microsoft a little nervous.
And that, my Liege, is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped.

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Juddbert
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Thu Jun 14, 2007 10:33 pm Post

KB Wrote:
Bodmin Moor is the home of my other half's parents. I love it. We spend our time eating out at the Jamaica Inn, walking the moors, sunning ourselves at Rock and listening to the locals bemoan their plight in Padstowe.

Jamaica Inn… Funny how we’re back to authors, isn’t it? Real du Maurier country! I drove past yesterday, detouring from the A30 to follow the old road through Bolventor, then headed over toward St Neot to take in the views at Colliford Lake, back around towards Hawks Tor as the sun was sinking, and I picked up the A30 again at Temple. Wonderful light! Sound familiar Keith?
I live ‘way down west’, about eight miles from Lands End - I won’t name the hamlet, but recently someone did over-paint the village sign with the legend “Royston Vaseyâ€
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halfbaked
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Fri Jun 15, 2007 2:49 am Post

A good thread is like plant that needs love. Plant it and with the right attention is grows into something to admire. Then it matures and goes dormant, waiting for someone to pay attention to it and suddenly it's bright and beautiful again.

Love a good thread, especially when it splits and goes in three directions at once.

Iain
Moderation is for monks, enjoy your passions! - R.A. Heinlein