Why I’m a Mac
The recent Microsoft TV commercials have spawned new debate on Mac vs. Windows. After a 10-year hiatus, I have been using Macs as my primary computers for the last two years. Here is my list of what I like and don’t like about the Mac.
What I like
I’m more productive on the Mac. With a Mac, most things just work. Install a new program, and it works. You don’t have to reboot your computer. No driver conflicts. With Windows, there’s a constant barrage of system updates and reboots. I generally go about a month between rebooting my Macs. With Windows, it’s hard to go more than a few days without a mandatory reboot.
The Mac is generally faster. Windows computers are buried under various security programs (antivirus, antispyware, etc.). These things tend to really bog down a system.
It’s also easier to maintain a Mac system. Backing up a Mac is super-simple, and I’ve been able to upgrade drives in a couple of hours. Upgrading Mac OS X is pretty easy, too.
I also love the way Mac software is sold. Most basic programs are quite affordable, and are often sold in “family packs” that allow you to install the software on multiple Macs. It’s rare to find ‘family packs’ for Windows software.
What I don’t like about Macs
#1 gripe is the lack of software and hardware. Not just obscure products but mainstream ones, too. Consider Quicken. Quicken for Mac hasn’t been updated in years, and the new, “Quicken Financial Life for Mac” is still vaporware.
My wife loves to print homemade greeting cards. But the greeting card program she uses has been orphaned. We looked at a few online sites, but they require ActiveX plugins that are incompatible with the Mac.
Same thing for hardware compatibility. I like my HP networked all-in-one print/scanner/fax. But HP was very slow in releasing drivers for OS X Leopard, and I fear that they may never release drivers for OS X Snow Leopard.
I also don’t like the fact that many models make it difficult to do basic memory and disk upgrades. I cannot upgrade the disk drive in my iMac without a complex disassembly that violates the warranty. Upgrading the disk on our Apple TV was not easy (and I found many errors in the hacker instructions online). Upgrading disks and memory should be an end-user task, and it’s annoying when Apple does not support this.
But given a choice, I’m not going back. I’d rather keep my Mac and run Windows under VMWare when I need it.