Monday, October 7, 2013

Hello, I’m a Mac!

Originally Published: March 30, 2011
When I was at a school board meeting last week, someone came up to me with a question, which I felt would make a great blog topic. Although it has been debated since the beginning of time, well actually since the creation of the personal computer, there has always been the debate Mac vs PC.
I was sitting there before the meeting with my MacBook when the woman came up to me and asked how I liked my Mac since she was considering switching to one from a PC. She didn’t know much about them and asked what the benefits were over a PC. While I answered her question, I still feel like there are many people out there in her shoes. Also, I saw a poll on Facebook recently to vote for either Mac or PC, whichever you prefer.
I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible.
While I do use both PC and Mac, deep down I’m a Machead at heart, and plan to make all my computers in the future a Mac, as they had been since I was in high school. I’ve been using Macintosh computers since I was in kindergarten and they’re great machines. If I could learn to use one when I was 5-years-old, I’m pretty sure people of any age can learn to use them.
Instead of comparing and contrasting, I’ll just give the main reasons why I think they are better.
First, people tend to think Macs are complicated, but in reality they’re more simple to use than a PC. The example I used for the woman is when you want to delete a program on a PC. What do you have to do? Control Panel -> Add/Delete -> etc. On a Mac just go to your applications folder and drag the program to the trash. One you delete it, it’s gone and uninstalled. It’s that simple.
Also, while you can put applications/files/folders on the desktop, OSX has the dock, ever since OSX came out and OS9 was retired. It allows you to put the things that you use most right there in the dock for easy access, which you can make the dock/icons bigger or smaller and make it hide if you choose. Again easing the launch of applications.
Another feature that I’d like to point out is something that’s been in OSX since I believe 10.4 Tiger (current version is 10.6 Snow Leopard, with 10.7 Lion coming early summer), called Spotlight, a system-wide desktop search feature. It’s great because it creates a virtual index of all items and files on the system. If you click the icon (a white magnifying glass in a blue circle) in the top right corner of the menu bar, once you type in what you’re looking for, you can quickly locate a wide variety of items on the computer, including documents, pictures, music, applications, and system preferences.
Those are only a few of the great features.
Next, I’d like to talk a little bit about the operating system itself. Since OSX is UNIX-based, it has some advantages.  The first thing is after you use your Windows PC for a while, what happens to it? It slows down. Most of the time, I don’t shut down my computer for weeks or even a couple months, maybe. OSX never slows down, at least not for me. I never have to do daily restarts. I always just wake up my Mac and keep going the next day, etc. Another great thing about Macs is that I’ve never had a virus. Unless you are torrenting files, where you could possibly get something called a Trojan, something that steals information or harms the system, which there aren’t many, you will probably never have a virus on your Mac like you do on a PC. I’ve never used virus software for every Mac I’ve owned and I’ve been fine.
That last example is probably one of the top reasons.
I’ll try to finish this up soon, but I just have a couple more things to say. This may not be the reason why Macs are superior (well it is one reason in my mind at least), but I think it adds to the perfection of the Macs that the only computers authorized (licensed) to run OSX are those designed by Apple. Apple designs all of their hardware alongside their software so it goes together perfectly. PCs are built by 3rd party companies that get a license from Microsoft to run the latest copy of Windows on their computers and then most times fill it with their own bloatware (crap software). There’s no bloatware on a Mac that will slow it down or annoy you. This can all be solved if you just install a retail copy of Windows, which is rather expensive. OSX is only $30. Although a different gadget and OS, the iPad with iOS was designed the exact same way, hardware and software to blend seamlessly. All Apple products are so beautifully designed (the look) too, and that is something you don’t always get from a PC.
If you’re afraid to buy a Mac because you think they are too expensive, I assure you they have gotten much more affordable over the years. A new MacBook starts at about $999. If you want an even cheaper computer then you can go with the Mac Mini that starts at $699, and is still powerful. The lowest model has these specs:
  • 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 2GB memory
  • 320GB hard drive
  • 8x double-layer SuperDrive (Burn and play CDs/DVDs)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics card
  • Mac OS X Snow Leopard
These are prices for the brand new computers and the newest models. Apple sells plenty of last year’s models and refurbished models at a cheaper price. I know they’re certified and are well worth it if you want to save a couple bucks.
While you may be able to get a more powerful PC for cheaper than you can a Mac, for a little extra you get a machine that was designed from the bottom up, so it is esthetically pleasing, powerful, stable (OSX, I mean, I never have crashes), and will probably last double or triple the years as that Windows PC. My uncle had a Macintosh Performa Power PC probably from around 1997 until about 2002 when the iMac G4 came out, which shows that they do last. Plus, I used it for a couple years when I was in high school.
Another thing I will say though is that gaming is an area where in the past, PCs have had Macs beat. If you want an awesome computer for gaming, people always say that you need to buy a PC. I do agree with this a bit, but there’s some things you should know about gaming on a Mac. First, a lot of the newest games are becoming available for Mac. Second, you can run the latest version of Windows on your Mac. A feature called Boot Camp allows you to install Windows on your Mac so when you start it up, you can choose to boot into either OSX or Windows. Doing this, you can run many top games, especially on a new Core i7 Mac. If you are running a Mac though without Windows, you can always download Steam, which has many games available like the ever-popular game called Portal.
Next point, Macs get great battery life. Many of the MacBook/MacBook Pros have been known to get 7-10 hours battery life. You tell me how many PCs can do that?
Here is my last point. As I said earlier in this rant, OSX 10.7 Lion is coming out soon. The early summer release probably translates to June or July. It should be unveiled at Apple’s WWDC on June 6-10. It hopes to make Macs even easier to use by incorporating features from iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch). One thing is if you like the arrangement of icons in iOS, OSX will have that feature in the future. You’ll be able to just push a button and they will show up iOS-style and you can go through all the applications on your Mac. You will even be able to make iOS-style folders. How easy does that sound? Another Lion feature already available through the OSX 10.6.6 update was the Mac App Store. It’s just like the App Store for iOS, but you can now easily download apps for your Mac the same way. Lion will give you even more reasons to look at a Mac is you require simplicity.
Sorry, almost left this out. If you’re worried about programs on the Mac not being the same, I assure you’ll be fine. Macs now have most of the same programs as a PC, including Firefox, Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, Flash, etc. Apple has their own office suite as well called iWork. They even run most design programs like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign better.
So, in the end,  if you’re curious about what all the hype is about with Macs, don’t be afraid to try them out. I’m sure you can afford one in the long run and you’ll be surprised when you find out how easy they are to use (and getting easier). They also have great support, all you need to do is walk into an Apple Store and talk to one of the geniuses at the Genius Bar. They’ll gladly help you with your problems.
So, are you a Mac or a PC?

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