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.