I Used A Mac, And I Liked It
Posted on 05. Aug, 2008 by The Gimcracker in Gimcrackery
I spent all last week in a cabin in the woods stuck using someone else’s Macbook Pro. I have never been a Mac user. I know some of the differences in the OS, but I’ve never learned how to really use one. I have sported a PC since I was 10.
Having to suddenly switch from PC to Mac for a week is probably like being thrown into a country where no one speaks English. It’s really hard to discipline yourself to learn another language if you can just go back to English whenever you need, but if you are immersed in it you will find that you are much more capable of picking it up than you once thought.
It’s the same with learning to use a Mac. In the past, when I got frustrated trying to complete a task, I just went and did it on my super-beefy Dell XPS gen 2 (don’t laugh, I know it’s 5 1/2 years old). Then I’d knife a few counter-terrorists as a victory celebration.
Last week I didn’t have that option, so I was literally forced to learn the basics of OSX or Puma or Liger or Bumblebee or whatever operating system Apple just released. Yes it was frustrating at times, but that frustration forced me to figure things out. And once I started to figure things out, I … liked it.
Know why? Because stuff JUST WORKED. I’m serious, the computer would never just hang up on me. It always told me what was happening. All the programs worked together, blissfully unaware that they were drinking from the same memory pool and using the same resources that 10 others were. And I was on a dial-up connection to boot.
At this point, 3 out of the 3 total people reading this article are hovering their mouses over the “close tab” button in their browsers. I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t even read an article with this title, so that was your first mistake.
You know what doesn’t JUST WORK? My PC. I tried backing up my music from my laptop to my external HD to my desktop, and when I pasted the My Music folder into the “Brian\Users\” folder in Vista, it made a duplicate folder instead of copying over the old one. Only then did I realize I wasn’t looking at an actual directory structure even though I was using Windows Explorer.
I know, right. WTF? I had to give up because it wouldn’t let me rename the folders because I didn’t have admin permission even though I am the sole proprietor of my own computer (i.e. I am an admin dangit).
I’m not saying a Mac doesn’t crash – the Mac I was using did crash once. I’m not saying Macs are good for everyone – some people like to play games, and if they have a Mac they’re obviously limiting themselves. And I’m not saying you will like a Mac when you use it. Some people just don’t appreciate user interface. These are usually the same people that have messy houses, disorganized sock drawers, and 5 year-old wardrobes.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Mac is more of an accessory and tool for your lifestyle, and PC is more of an accessory and tool for your work life. That is exactly what Mac has been telling me for the past 5 years, I just haven’t been listening.
When I got home from my week of slim, sleek, bright, colorful, gay Mac using and fired up Vista on the old Dell XPS frag-box beast of a mainframe, I found myself having much less fun and much more frustration*. Is using a computer supposed to be fun? Here’s my quick answer: yes, if you’re using it at home. And yes, even if you’re using it at work, but sadly this is just not possible when you are a Microsoft web developer.
In summary, I want to point out that while dealing with media files on an OS I had only used for a week, I was able to get tasks done much more quickly with fewer errors than I was able to get done with the exact same media files on an OS I had used my whole life. I don’t care what facts and figures you throw at me, that right there is proof that Macs are not all bad.
If you have the money and you don’t care about ever ever evAR customizing anything on your computer, a Mac is for you. Finally, please don’t tell me you don’t buy into the whole “lifestyle” thing. Consumer electronics are all about lifestyle. This isn’t 1986 anymore.
*Note in this context the word “gay” purely references style, not sexual preference. I like small words, not big words.
1) Is the title of this post another obscure attempt to bring in the teeny boppers and middle age men who might be searching for “i kissed a girl and I liked it”, ala Katy vs. Zooey?
2) It just works. I told you.
3) Glad you had the chance to mess around with one. They are pretty slick.
“…into the “Brian\Users\” folder in Vista”
That’s your problem right there. Vista is the turd that Bill Gates pooped out before he left MS. Maybe the next OS they come out with will be better, but I will never EVER upgrade to Vista on my home computer. I use it and hate it every single day at work.
And, as for Macs, you are right that they aren’t 100% terrible. They don’t play my games though, and that is the most important thing to me. Plus, having an iPhone has convinced me beyond a doubt that I never want to own another Mac product. Not that I don’t love me phone, but simply that if owning a Mac computer is like owning an iPhone I would not like it. I don’t have time to get into the details here, just suffice to say that it’s like living in a communist dictatorship. PC is like a restrictive democracy. Linux is like a confusing republic with a steep learning curve. Since I can’t climb the learning curve right now, I’d rather live in the democracy than the communist regime…
2- Yes, for mindless sheep who want no control over something they buy and own, it just works!
3- So are pythons, but that doesn’t mean you should buy one.
A mac would be a great laptop to buy for your “lifestyles” and your “medias” but if you want to change anything, upgrade anything, own any of your music, etc. you might not want to leave it up to the evil geniuses over in the swanky Mac store.
I wonder if Macs run Heros of Might and majiks?
@Brad: believe it or not that title worked its way out of my subconscious. It was only after I was finished writing the article that I noticed the reference, and I liked it so I kept it.
@Chris: I’m merely comparing two things here – Mac vs. PC. I’m not trying to make any deductions as to which is better, I leave that to the reader. But here is yet another example:
I had a Dell Jukebox that I used with Musicmatch and I kept my music library in Windows Media Player. The experience with all of the above was absolutely horrendous. I’m on my fourth DJ which still doesn’t work right and is slow as heck, and WMP is not able to organize my music library the way I’d like.
I also have had an iPod for a long time, and it has never broken, never acted up, and never failed me one bit. I also use iTunes which has never broken, never acted up, and never failed me.
Once again, if you can get past the closed system of iTunes and the .mp4 format, Mac once again KILLS PC. I’m not saying you are required to get past this, and I can understand if you don’t want to, but if you CAN get past it, you will know what I’m talking about and join the Mac camp. Trust me.
@Jesse: “A mac would be a great laptop to buy for your “lifestyles” and your “medias” but if you want to change anything, upgrade anything, own any of your music, etc. you might not want to leave it up to the evil geniuses over in the swanky Mac store.”
Exactly my point. Half the world hates Mac and half the world hates PC. Why am I the only one that can see the good (and the bad) in both? Here’s an excellent blog post I found that touches on this exact subject.
When I first read the title for this blog I thought it should have finished with “I hope my PC won’t mind it.”
1. I do own my music. In fact, when my HD died last weekend I just hopped on over to iTunes and wrote a little letter explaining my situation. The let me re-download my entire library for free (and over my 5+ years with apple that’s at least a grand in music purchases). In sum, Apple is totally able to help customers and I can move my music any old place I want. Limit. Less.
2. Customization for realz. I just tricked out my laptop. New HD doubled my space and I quadrupled my RAM. Oh, and put Mac OS Leopard (or bumblebee) on as a sleek finishing touch. My two year old black Macbook is rolling with the big boys now. And I did it all by myself.
3. Games. I played WoW on the Macbook while it was plugged into my 17 inch HD widescreen monitor with super fast mouse and keyboard. Nuf said.
4. Oh, and Mac workplaces..not as mythical as you might imagine. They exist. It’s my dream to find one such haven, infiltrate the ranks, and never, ever leave.
5. But mostly I’m glad you saw that they weren’t all evil. They do just seem to work. I still don’t get why most PC users hate on them for that very reason.
@Phil: man why didn’t I think of that. It would’ve gotten like a quarter more laughs. Beer me that humor sooner next time.
@Emilee: good point about the games. Note that I wasn’t referring to a Mac’s abilities to run a game, I was referring to the number of games available for a Mac versus a PC.
I know there are Mac workspaces out there, but again just not nearly as many as PC. Unfortunately. However I believe graphic designers, media companies, and Hollywood have all sold their souls to Apple Computer, Inc., so if you get into one of these industries you would have a much better chance at realizing your dream.
I do want to point out that for every PC user who hates a Mac there are 5 Mac users who hate PCs. Once again, they need to read the link in my last comment.
Seems like a lot of people aren’t aware that DRM-free music in iTunes costs the same as DRM music.
Of course, not all people had $1500 to blow on music. And for that, Thanks to Slickdeals, Facebook,and Brian McCulloh, who worked hard for me on a 3-for-1 system.
What a great way to spend your last week of work at Butler. I can only hope mine will be as glorious.
Great post! Not great because you now like Macs, but great because you have a balanced approach. I love Macs, and I support Windows at work, and like many things Microsoft. You showed the strengths and weaknesses of both and that’s refreshing, rather than the PC vs. Mac debate. While Windows is the staple OS where I work, several of the CEOs and Trustees have started getting Macs…and they love them. Since we’ve started building Macs for them, we’ve gotten NO calls for support on their machines. Average call time for a newly deployed PC? 24 hours. Happy doctors and CEOs make me a happy technician. That’s enough proof for me. I like Macs, I own one, and I like some things about Windows. There are pluses and minuses to both, but overall I prefer the Mac.
Thanks for a great post. Glad you enjoyed the Mac. She misses you. She misses your musk…
She was good to me. I’ll have to send her a thank you card and some flowers as soon as I get a chance. Could you say hi to her for me?
I didn’t ever say MS was better than Mac did I? I hope not. They are both horrible…
I like what Luke said. I think all people who don’t absolutely need to do crazy special things on their computer (grandmas, wives, bosses, sales reps, art people, er… everyone except computer programmers really…) should use a Mac. This would really help the IT dept. out a lot. Of course, Macs have terrible issues connecting to windows shares and the like, and they insert weird “.whatever” files everwhere (if you look from a PC), which can lead to much IT frustration (our IT dept. has lots of trouble getting Mac & PC to play nice).
But those frustrations are NOTHING in comparison to the idiocy of having to devote one afternoon a week to type in the root password on people’s machines to update their iTunes software (I think Mac releases a new version once a week just to screw with Vista users in corporate settings).
Ok… there’s my two tuppence…
So you believe 99.1% of the market share of operating systems is horrible? I would hate to work in a field where I hated 99% of the industry.
Meh… Horrible is a relative term. 99.999…% of human beings are horrible compared to Jesus, and I don’t hate being human.
In that respect, I have a better chance of liking my operating system than liking you.
So, really, it’s not all bad.
I am scared of you.