Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Apple a Day?

My computer is sick, exposed to heaps of viruses, trojans and whatever else while plugging into a hotel computer network.  So, of course, my Mac friends recommend moving to Apple computers.  Their smugness probably does more to turn me off than the relative values of PC vs Mac machines.  But they have a point, so why do I resist mightily?  Why do I not join the Apple world of virus-free computing?  Why stay with the more flexible but complex and dangerous world of intel/microsoft?  Let me consider the possibilities:
  • It might just be a matter of time.  Mac's are not invulnerable to viruses but since the market share is small and more people seem to resent Bill Gates, more folks write viruses for Microsoft.  If I move over, it may just be a small breather until Apples gain the focus of the nasty folks (and what pieces of work these bastards are.  I am inconvenienced but it makes them no money and they don't even know me, so what is the point other than to compensate ...?)
  • PC's are cheaper.  Yep, still are, after all these years.  And there are heaps of choices of the various pieces--which monitors, keyboards, trackballs, software, etc.  So, PC's still win the price/flexibility argument.  But then again, I am buying my work machine with the school's cash, so this probably does not matter to much right now.  
  • Compatibility--path dependence is a constraint.  I have two other machines in the house (wife and kid; no, the dog and the cat are computer-less and pretty resentful as a result), so if I got a Mac, it would not be the same flavor as the other machines.  This used to matter more when there was less sharing/swapping/compatibility than there is now.  Still, the new computer would be an outlier.
  • Learning a new system would be a pain.  Macs are supposed to be intuitive and easy to learn.  But I have ingrained habits and ways of working with my machines.  Of course, I will soon have to learn Windows 7 and Office 2010, so this point is largely moot.
  • The costs of PC-ness are a yearly bout with viruses and other challenges.  Sure, it pisses me off for a weekend, but I have survived.  I have not lost any data, and the computer techs at McGill should be able to clean it what I have not been able to eliminate.
  • Apple people are annoyingly smug.  They are hipsters.  Do I really want to become like them?
  • I am lazy.  Doing things the same way is the least work in the short run.  And in the long run?  The machines will be controlling us. 

1 comment:

doug gibler said...


Apples aren't more expensive, if you compare each model to a similarly capable PC machine. I use Macs for travel (a macbook air and a 17" macbook in the home) and a PC in the office, and they're completely compatible on all programs I use (MS software and TeX). I work out of Dropbox and can pull up the files easily on both (they also sync well with my iPhone). Yes, Macs are completely intuitive... they're super, super, super easy to use.

I prefer Macs, I think, just because they're built better. Their OS is better, their hardware is noticeably better. Perhaps the paucity of viruses is due to market share, but it really could be better tech. It's hard to tell. Macs also seem more easily mobile, though there's nothing specific I can point to for that argument.

Overall, Macs are a lot more fun to work with.

Oh, and I'm not trying to be smug, and my kids will assure you I'm no hipster!

Anyway, good luck with your system.