Wednesday, July 16, 2008

windows versus mac: the final showdown

i like to think of myself as a fairly savvy computer user. i've used them extensively for pretty much my whole life, and i have what i would describe as a somewhat above-average grasp of their workings. i've gone through quite a few computers for work, personal, and school use, including a number of PCs and, since 2004, two macs. therefore, when i state my personal preference for macs over PCs, i think i'm fairly justified in my reasoning (more on that later).

what i don't understand, however, is the RIDICULOUS animosity that i've gotten from BOTH mac AND PC users whenever i mention that i'm using one or the other. in short...can't we just grow up? i mean, really. it's gotten ridiculous.

i try to be fair to both sides, and if someone asks me for advice on a system, i'll tell them honestly which i think would be better for them. my mother recently bought a monster of a dell XPS system, and she had her reasons, which i respect. i still have my dell XPS laptop. i can coexist! it's okay. but when i'm typing away happily on my macbook pro and someone comes along to say something like "oh. you're on a MAC." i can't help but be confused by their tone. um, yes. yes i am. and when i ask for some explanation as to why they loathe macs? i tend to get some sort of huffy "they just suck" sort of response. am i the only one who gets this?

now, to be fair, i remember being REALLY annoyed before i had a mac by the super snobby responses of mac users when i complained about PCs. but i will say that i've gotten it MUCH worse from PC users since buying a mac than the other way around. best as i can tell, there are two causes to this mac-directed hatred: jealousy, and preemptive strikes being made by those who have been sassed by mac users in the past.

the jealousy, i get. macs tend to be more expensive, yup. seems to be harder to pirate software, so you actually have to buy what you use. in my mother's case, same of the (old) software she uses for business isn't available on macs, and because she's not willing to use a windows bootcamp/parallels type solution, she feels as though she is denied use of a mac. i understand these concerns (although i happen to think them not insurmountable). but why take them out on me?

with respect to the second issue...this is a real problem that seems silly at its root, but is in fact based in some actual negative perceptions that will take a bit of work to erase. i even catch myself, at times, shuddering and complaining loudly at the thought of using a PC, because even my (very expensive, not that old) dell takes forever to load, always has, and seems to inexplicably die on me all the time. i think there's a fine line between expressing my own frustration and criticizing others for the choices they make, so i, for one, will do my part to try to navigate this line with greater care. i don't intend to make PC users feel bad, but i do think that apple has thus far provided a much better computing experience for me and has been worth any additional cost.

now, i've had problems with my macs (several thousand dollars worth, in fact), but everything has been taken care of promptly, politely, and, in almost every case, at absolutely no cost to me (even outside of apple care!) by real, live, intelligent, friendly people i could sit down and talk to at any apple store. no millions of phone prompts, no people adding my name into EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE of their lame script ("i understand your frustration, X. why don't we work together to solve this, X.") so they sound like some terrifying 2001 robot. no, i'd take the genius bar any day over what i've been through with dell, HP, and everyone else.

mac isn't perfect, but it's my preference. aren't i allowed to have that? i think i should be, and i think you should be allowed yours. and if our preferences differ, we should be able to reasonably discuss our differences of opinion, if they come up, in a logical way, with articulated reasons. if you can't do that, or if you need to resort to attacking someone else to validate your own beliefs, you really, really need to reconsider the sort of stock you're placing in your computing platform allegiances.

oh, and much of this same concern cross-applies to linux users. :P

so, the moral of the story. if you want to talk to me about my computing choices, awesome. if you want my advice, i'll give it! i'll remain strong in my own opinions, because they've been formed after a LOT of experiences on both sides of the table. but please don't see the apple on my laptop screen as a license to harass me, and i'll do my best not to throw myself to the ground in a fit when you mention PC troubles (and i have horrific visions of neverending kernel panics appearing as i try to load a website). we can be grown up about this. i hope.

(oh, and by the way: most of the people who make fun of me for having a mac have either gotten one of their own since then or are planning to. heh. heh. heh.)


Prometheus said...

Hey, don't you know the old expression: "everyone is entitled to my opinion"?

Now it happens, in this case, that my opinion is the same as yours (for the same reasons), so well done I guess!

Prometheus said...

Oh yeah, also, your title is annoying because it made me start singing that terrible 80s song in my head. Evil, evil woman....

frescasaurus said...

hahaha, yes, but that's the final COUNTDOWN...which i ALMOST did, but i decided not to be that cruel.

evidently my efforts were in vain. ;)

Ian said...

Virtually everyone I know who 1) uses a computer for much of the day and 2) has the means and 3) a choice in the matter has acquired a Mac.

Some people just don't use computers very much. For them, the advantages of Macs to Windows will be less pressing. I understand these folks not bothering to get into the issue.

By "means," I'm talking about price. Macs don't and never have competed on price. I think some of them are quite affordable, but the truth is, you will always pay a premium price because Apple considers itself in the business of making premium products. BMW will never compete with Saturn on price and this is not a problem for BMW.

But most pervasive is, I suspect, choice. Most people who use a computer professionally have little choice in which one they use: They use the one in the office assigned to them. This is sort of a sad life to begin with, but it doesn't make platform choice a live option. I would suggest solving this problem by seriously considering quitting any job like this.

You show me a regular computer user with some money and choice in the matter and I will show you a Mac user.

CJ said...

As I recall....when we were speech peoples, YOU made fun of my mac.
I think that my favorite response PC people give about macs is that a mac is more difficult to use and less user friendly. that always makes me giggles.