January 21, 2008

Is my PC still 45% better than my Mac?

Is my PC still 45% better than my Mac?

Well it looks like I'm going to need some help here.

I wrote a post recently about my lovely, brand new Macbook. I loved the look of it. I said how I thought the user interface was great. I said :
it's really really cool. It has instant wi-fi detection to identify and attach to unsecured wireless networks (However this isn't much good as I'm not wireless enabled yet and still have my old PC attached on my broadband connection). It also has this cool browser called Safari (But as I'm not connected to the Internet - see previous point- it's not much good) and a great little chat app called iChat which is fabulous for contacting friends if you're attached to the Internet (which I am not). It came preloaded with Microsoft Office for Mac, which I have removed because it's Microsoft, and Pages (which is the Mac version). It also came with Photo Booth which takes pictures using the in-built camera and allows you to manipulate them with effects such as 'squeeze' and 'stretch (My sisters three kids got a great kick out of that when I took it up home at Christmas).
I love it to death, I really do. I love the look and feel of it, the colour of it. I especially love the MagSafe power adaptor, But I also said I couldn't use it.

Having read a lot about Mac's from other blogs etc. I know there is very much a 'love/hate' relationship between PC users and Mac users. PC users tend to think PC's are better than Mac's, Mac users tend to think Mac's are better than PC's, and there have been many flame wars on talkbacks and forums about the relative merits of each system. So I was expecting
some quite vociferous views from both sides about my post.

I didn't get any.

(Actually that's not true. Two individuals chose to tell me how stupid I was for disliking my Mac because I didn't find it useful unless it was attached to the Internet. I think this kind of missed the point a little. I don't dislike it, I just don't find it as useful as my PC).

Mac's are sold as working "Right out of the box with the software you need and none that you don't" (Voice activated Chess, anyone?), and I couldn't use it right out of the box (unless it was to take weird pictures of my nephews with Photo Booth).

So let me tell you what I did: I took it to work.

I plugged it into the network and lo & behold... it allowed me to surf the net. Which is great (!). I went into Google Docs to update some things, but it said that the supplied version of Safari didn't support Google Docs. So I had to download Firefox (which is a good thing, I like Firefox). But I didn't have to download Firefox on my PC to make Google Docs work (even though the Mac "Works out of the box"). I wanted to send e-mail with the mail client but found I couldn't until I had configured everything for POP3 or SMTP (even though the Mac "Works out of the box"). I ended up using my existing Gmail account and ignoring the mail client. I thought I would use iChat but found it only worked with AOL or I needed to create a new .mac account (at $100 a year). So I downloaded Adium, a separate application (even though the Mac "Works out of the Box"). Never mind, I thought, I'll attach it to a big screen at work so I can see the screen a little better. But it wouldn't attach to a VGA display without an additional adaptor that I had to buy separately ($19 - even though the Mac "Works out of the box"?) I'm not even going to talk about the different little things I need to get used to that are Mac specific (UI differences, keyboard differences) because they all don't matter and I expected that to be the case when I bought it.

Anyway I'm up and running now. This post was completely written on the Mac using some of the tools I have mentioned above. So at least I now know it's useful and I can use it appropriately.

But I still need some help to make this beautiful machine work better for me. I need to know what I'm missing that everybody raves about the Mac for.

Now I want to reiterate that I am not a Mac-hater. I'm not even a PC-hater. I love and hate them both equally. I hate Microsoft for creating bloated operating systems and the software that has all those useless things you never really use or need but I love the wide range of software that you can get for it. I love the ethos of the Mac. I love the ease of use, the design, the cool factor. The fact that I don't have to worry about virus's. The fact that Steve Jobs and the guys at Apple are thumbing their noses at Bill Gates and the Redmond guys with every new piece of hardware they produce (although I'll reserve judgement about the Apple Macbook Air for the time being..), but I hate that fact that all I had was a cool expensive web browser when I thought I was buying into something more.

But what I need are some cool Mac users to let me know where I am going wrong. I've obviously bought the right operating system. Maybe what I need to do is read a few books on the subject (How about 'Switching to Mac for Dummies', or "Switching to Mac - The Missing Manual')?

Of course I've cruised the appropriate web sites and read the hype and the marketing pitches.

Should I invest in a .mac account? What will it really give me? Is Quicksilver the application I should have (even though it's only trialware and runs out after a set period of time)? What's the benefit of using the Mac mail application rather than something like Gmail or Yahoo mail?

Send helpful suggestions (rather than rhetoric or abuse) and point me on the right road to Mac salvation. I really want to make this work for me. So help me,


Photo1 courtesy Bradley James
Photo2 courtesy Aphrodite

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Original posting at Musings Cafe



  1. i am almost certain quicksilver is freeware.

  2. Hehe, this so funny! The thing is; I've recently learned that the Mac is just better. This sound just silly, eh? Love does not happen instantly for a lot of switchers but wait and see if you could switch back to PC in a couple of weeks, I'll bet you you can't.
    Let me first clarify that I'm not a in love with my Mac. I'm doing hardcore, heavy lifting professional graphics on my Mac, we are friends, even best friends, going back eons, but we're not in love. What I'm doing is not even possible on a PC so the Mac vs PC does not concern me, I don't think I really would have been in contact with this issue if it wasn't for my friends suddenly becoming "switchers".
    A lot of these switchers have started out exactly the same way you do, actually, even some loud screaming and cursing did occur when switching; what's better with this, I don't like the browser, where is the settings for this and that, what's so special! Well, I don't know, you're all using the Mac for totally different reason than I do...chatting, internet browsing, emailing instead for the Graphical workhorse I know and is the best friend with. But for some reason they have all ended up as fan-boys, all of them, the worst kind, no exemptions. They are all talking about how they just feel a little bit happy when using the Mac, no deeper explanations, just a little happier, and remember some of these are big men, some even with burly mustaches. So, again, judged by my experiences with my friends, I'll bet you you can't go back. You're going to catch this strange Luv Bug. And for some reason I foresee that you will use your blog in the near future for some severe fanboism without being able to really pin pointing what the difference is between Mac and PC. :)