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Deliberatepixel / PC & Mac - The Battle of Our Time

PC & Mac - The Battle of Our Time

PC & MacI find myself in the middle of this battle frequently, which has also led me to understand that neither side supports those in the middle. If you're dual-platform, you're automatically going to get blamed for the collected faults of whichever manufacturer the people you happen to be with at the time is against. Unless you hang out with Linux users, and then you get blamed for both.

I believe I'm what can be accurately described as a "tech person." I studied computer science. I work in IT and web design. I have about three years experience with technical support in higher education. I'm the one the friends and family members call when their computers freak out.

And I am, for all intents and purposes, a Mac user. I didn't start out that way. I was rather anti-Mac for a long period of time, because I didn't know how to use them and it was a lot easier to condemn them than learn them. Over the course of my stint in tech support, however, I didn't want to leave all the Mac work to the one expert at the helpdesk. So I began to learn, and therefore love. Now, while my current office is Windows-based, I rely on my PowerBook almost exclusively. We're practically joined at the hip. My plans for buying new machines in the future don't include Microsoft whatsoever. Strictly Apple, or, when I'm feeling adventurous, Linux.

What does Mac have that poor PC doesn't? Plenty. I think the Macintosh OS is better designed, more intuitive and effective, and definitely more well-organized. Plus, it's less buggy, and less prone to problems. Truth is, I suck at troubleshooting Macs. Because, even in the helpdesk environment, I rarely had to.

There's also the visual design element, and I think it's this that is hardest to make clear to the "other side." No, it's not just because Apple "looks pretty." It's because Apple generally demonstrates the foundational design principle that form follows function. A designer of any sort - graphic, web, interior - will be able to tell you that the relationship between how a thing looks and how it performs is not a superficial one. That's what the field of design is all about. I believe in clean, sleek, functional designs in everything from websites to living rooms to computer code. Apple, mostly, satisfies that belief. (By the way, if you're interested in exploring that particular topic, read Machine Beauty by David Gelernter, it does it wonderfully.)

But while I prefer Macs in my personal work, I understand completely why Windows must be respected. It rules the business world. I support administrative professionals who work with the complexities of Microsoft Excel and Access, and I'll be the first to admit they know more about macros and merges than I ever did. Microsoft serves their needs perfectly, just as Apple tends to serve the art, design, and music communities. And then there's gaming. It doesn't only come down to which is designed better. The fact that different people have different needs is the most important factor. Right now, all of those needs just simply aren't met in the most effective way by one platform alone.

I'm always surprised by how violently defensive people can get about their particular preferred OS, though. The Cult of Mac is well-established, and they like to keep their boundaries. They also have a reputation - perhaps well-earned, perhaps not - for snobbery. But I'm mystified when the snobbery charge is leveled at Apple adherents by those who dismiss Apple with no actual knowledge of their products or individual users. How is this not the same principles of snobbery, just in reverse? If you're going to bash Apple, have some good reasons to back it up. And vice versa.

Or, as I mentioned earlier, you could just go Linux, and feel superior to everyone. I plan on at least testing that route soon. I'll let you know when I'm officially better than you.

And an Addendum

I can't resist the opportunity to highlight the actor who plays "PC" on the infamous Apple "Get a Mac" ads. You see John Hodgman on the Daily Show too, and he's wonderfully funny. His blog, Good Evening, follows suit. And although he plays a PC on TV, he's a dedicated Mac user.



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