Mac vs. Pc (really?)


                Mac vs Pc image
Just the other day I overheard a couple of guys in line at the grocery store discussing a particular item that one of them needed to connect a power adapter to a Mac laptop. A very special item that was not just a plug but this item was a magnetic plug that only Mac machines used. Well the other guy had a spare and did not mind if the other guy borrowed it for a while and I concluded that this piece of propriety hardware was of course an Apple product. I couldn’t help but mentioned it to the guy who needed this item and he started his rant how he was a Mac user from way back and would not consider using any other type of computer. Well I have been using a PC from the days of DOS but decided not to engage in any sort of debate about the pros and cons of these two types of computers. I just knew that this would be an effort in futility. Nothing would be accomplished except the usual stead fast positioning of one person entrenched in his opinion and the other doing likewise. So what’s the point?

I have noticed that you could profile each user by their own decision of what type of computer they use. Typically a Mac user is 1, Generally well educated in their particular field (as long as it is not computer science) 2, Does not care or is interested on the ins, and outs of the OS and/or hardware, but just wants a computer that does what they want when they want it, and 3, is financially well to do and is willing to pay the excessive cost of purchasing a Mac. There is also a particular camp of users who may have a genuine usage position that makes using a Mac paramount, graphics designers, videographers and artist to name a few. Apple does provide programs that produce superior results for these professionals whereas there has yet comparable program(s) that will produce similar results within a windows environment.

A PC user is generally a person who 1, does not mind configuring their computer in order to meet their needs. From adding hardware to installing the newest and latest programs, this kind of attitude just seems to go hand in hand. 2, is educated in the use of computers and understands what a computer is capable of. 3, is frugal in nature and is looking for the best bang for the buck. This last point is what I think drives the dominant market share of the Windows users over Mac users. I have to mention one group of users who predominately use the windows OS, gamers. Oh, we would like not to think that playing games does not have much of an Impact on what type of computer is preferred, but you have got to admit that gamers influence the PC market significantly.

 Most programmers, network technicians and web developers (like myself) don’t have a real preference of one type of machine over the other but do need a computer that will produce the type of results that is able to be used by all types of computers and browsers. Its seems like a moot point since with the use of a VM (virtual machine) you can have any kind of OS operating on your particular computer whether it is a Mac OS or a Windows OS (and yes Unix too). I have to say that I am more comfortable using the GUI interface of my PC (Windows) than a Mac but I think that is only because I use this interface day to day.

Like I have previously mentioned my preference is a PC because of the versatility of its hardware and programs that are available within a Windows environment. I have built from scratch my last two PCs. and if I need a new hard drive, no problem, just buy it and install, if I have a video card that needs an upgrade, go for it. When I needed a major upgrade to my system all I needed to do was a quick shopping trip to newegg.com to purchase all the hardware required, (motherboard, CPU, video card, case, power supply, hard drive…) and within a week or so I have a new PC with all the capability I needed and it did not cost me an arm and a leg.  

Likewise, you can also upgrade your Mac, with some limitations. Depending on what model of Mac you have, you too may be one of the fortunate ones who can install a new hard drive, CPU, ram, video card, even you mother board. There are several resources on the net that will give you “special guidelines” and instructions on the various bumps and curves you may encounter while attempting to upgrade your current Mac machine. While researching this subject I have found that one of the most prevalent opinions is “want to upgrade, sell your old Mac and buy a new one”.

This leads me to my next point. Apple is the evil corporation. I am not talking about Microsoft that has had that dubious reputation, but Apple. Please tell me why the cost of purchasing a Mac, and its various peripherals, cost so GD much. The plain fact is that making these parts and machines does not cost that much more that a PC, so why does Apple think that, we as consumers, can tolerate the excessive gouging of our collective pocket books. Maybe, it is because they can! Whatever the market can bare as the saying goes. If you just look at the subjective information out there you can see that Microsoft and Apple are in the same boat. Dig a little deeper into who owns what and I think you will see that Microsoft is invested in Apple corp. and Apple has investments in Microsoft. Remember when Microsoft was brought before congress on charges that its market share was approaching a monopoly status and that the company would have to be broken up into smaller companies. It was not long after that event that Apple got a shot in the arm from Microsoft in order for it to continue as a viable competitor in the market place.

With the various vendors who produce products for the PC and Mac market and the competition for those products drive the price for those products ever lower. We as consumers reap the benefits of innovative products, the latest and greatest programs and hardware technologies that have continuality advanced the capability of what is able to be done with these machines. The divisions between these platforms are becoming blurred. You can run Adobe programs on your PC (but Mac gets the nod) and you can run Word on your Mac. Want to run Safari to browse the web, no problem even though this browser was the IE for Mac.

So maybe what is really going on here is the difference in social status economically. Ford vs. Lexus, white collar vs. blue collar, home owner vs. apartment dweller.  I think that it is fair to say that Marketing has a great deal to say how we view ourselves and what kind of system we think we should have. Upwardly mobile, smart and well educated, got money to burn, great, I see a Mac in your future. Pragmatic, bargain hunter, entrepreneur, it’s a good bet that a PC sits on your lap or desk.

Wiki describes a computer as this;

“A computer is a programmable machine that receives input, stores and manipulates data, and provides output in a useful format.”

This of course is a simple textbook definition of a “computer”. It does not indicate if this machine is an Apple (Mac) or a PC. My point is, that a machine, is a machine, is a machine.. no matter who makes it and what kind of OS it may be using it is still just a “machine”. My fundamental hope is that all of us users who use these machines can enter into a discussion about our use of these machines and what we are able to produce, without the usual bias that tends towards an argument. Let’s all get over, my machine is better than yours because… Just let me know how the use of whatever system you are using is improving your life and what you are able to do with it. Let’s all use our collective intelligence to advance our understanding of the world and the possibilities that are out there, instead of degenerating into an arguments about why my machine (hence me) is superior compared to yours (you).

Now should I meet a person in a public or private setting and they want to discuss the superiority of their machine over all others, I will usually just nod, with a slight smile and a blank look in my eyes and not give any debate concerning the subject, but will be thinking to myself, “would you please, just get over it, I am really not impressed, where is the closest exit”.

Comments are welcome. Please make your comment, suggestion, or question, relevant to the topic of this blog. I will post all genuine responses. Thanks

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