Mac or Windows?

by Jonathan Gennick

Mac or Windows? Mac or Windows? I want to buy myself a new computer,
and all weekend I've been asking myself the question: Mac or Windows?
It's such a simple question, but everything I do with technology for the next
three or four years hangs in the balance. Which path I take affects the productivity
software I'll be able to buy, or not buy, it affects how easily I'll be able
to collaborate with coworkers and authors, it affects the availability of games
and peripherals, it even tends to drive whether I buy a PocketPC or a Palm;
the impact even extends to my cellphone.

Many have been faced with the same dilema, I'm sure.

Apple makes cool hardware, and their new, Unix-based OS X operating system
is, in my mind, a good thing. On the other hand, my first notebook computer
ever was a Macintosh Powerbook, which I bought back in the 1992-1993 time-frame.
I well remember the feeling of walking into a CompUSA and finding that 90%
of what they stocked didn't apply to me.
I remember not being able to buy
games for my daughter, because they were Windows-only. Apple is still a small
percentage of the market today, and its future seems a bit shaky from where
I sit. They sure don't seem to have a competitive CPU offering, and that bodes
ill for their future.

Related to all this, I just today upgraded the family PC from Windows 98 to
Windows XP Home. My first task was to reformat the hard-drive. When installing
an operating system, I find it best to begin with a clean slate.
That left
me in a rather interesting predicament: because my hard-drive was clean, the
Windows XP Home upgrade required me to prove ownership of a prior version of
Windows by inserting my Windows 98 CD. Only I didn't have a CD for this particular
box, because I'd bought it after Microsoft forced resellers to stop including
such a CD with their systems. Temporarily flummoxed, I inserted Hewlett-Packard's
(this is an HP box) recovery CD. Perhaps that would work? After all, Windows
98 is on that CD somewhere. But no dice. I couldn't prove to Microsoft that
I owned a previous version of their operating system, and the reason I couldn't
prove this to them is because they themselves deprived me of the means!
deprived me of the very CD for which they were now asking me. How ironic!

Dreading the thought of having to restore Windows 98 and all of HP's bundled
software (all useless junk) from the recovery CD, and then installing XP Home
on top of that mess, I recalled an extra Windows 98 CD in my basement. This
was from a Dell I'd bought before the ban on distributing operating-system CDs
with new computer systems (I run Linux on that Dell, by the way). I found this
old CD, shoved it into the drive, XP Home was happy, and I went on with the
install. Good grief! The things we have to put up with sometimes.

Now, the people who work for Microsoft aren't stupid. They know full well how
inconvenient it is not to have an operating-system CD, and they surely know
customers like me would be greatly inconvenienced after reformatting our hard-drives
in preperation for installing XP only to find that we then needed to reinstall
the operating-system we'd just erased in order to upgrade it. By getting their
customers, by getting me, into such a confusing morass, Microsoft shows
a complete and purposeful disregard for the people who buy their products
for those whose money keeps them in business. I'm insulted by, and resentful
of, such nonsense.

By the way, have you actually sat down and read a EULA lately? I hadn't, so
I read through the one for XP Home today, and it's horrible. It actually prohibits
me from connecting to my XP HOME PC via my network for anything other than file
or print services. Technically, that seems to mean I can't install something
like Apache and run a small website in my own house. It also probably means
I can't install Oracle on my PC for learning purposes, because then I'd be accessing
a database service, which the EULA doesn't appear to allow. The only
saving grace is Microsoft does not yet have the technical means in place to
enforce such draconian terms, but it sure does seem like they intend to head
down that path.

So what do I do? Mac or Windows? I feel like I'm faced with something close
to a Hobson's
. On the one hand, I'm very annoyed with Microsoft right now, so I'm
inclined to start moving away from them by making my next computer an Apple.
On the other hand, the Windows/Intel platform is the clear winner when I look
at performance-for-the-buck, and also in terms of knowing that I'll be able
to buy the software and hardware that I need two and three years down the road.
For that matter, software such as Visio, that I depend on now, is simply not
available for OS X. And then there's that hidden cost of switching: I'd need
to buy again software such as Macromedia Dreamweaver, Macromedia Fireworks,
and Microsoft Office, software that I already own for the Windows platform.

Maybe I just won't buy a new computer at all.


2002-12-08 17:28:13
I switched to Mac
I switched to Mac when the original iMac was released and never looked back. I am running that old iMac and a G4 733 now both using OSX10.2.2.

Like you I got fed up with all the aggravation of using Windows 98. I am a commercial photographer and never have had problems finding software for the tasks of running a business or producing my product, plus it is a pretty neat computer to have in the home. I guess XP is okay but I just find that the Mac hardware and software doesn't get in my way and makes me way more productive and keeps me in better humour.

Incidentally, I run a webserver and a mail server on my computer using software that is open source, not to mention some graphics apps and printer drivers. I truly believe that open source is the wave of the future and Windows will probably be irrelevant in about five years. Microsoft is it's own worst enemy.

2002-12-08 17:48:52
Go for a Mac
If you are into games, get a GameCube for $149.99 or PS2 or XBox for a little bit more. Most of the games are now either exclusively for one of the 3 consoles or released on consoles first, and PC games are really not worth the trouble of installing. Plus there are many very nice Mac only games (such as Bugdom, Nanosour, Otto Matic, etc), and more and more PC games are being ported to Mac OS X.

If you are into programming, you should definite get a Mac. While MS Visual Studio.NET costs $2500 or more, Mac OS X comes with more than a dozen professional programming tools for free (on top of the usual free Unix stuff like Perl, Python, Ruby, Tcl, vi, emacs, etc). As a C++ / Java programmer with more than 10 years working experiences with Unix (Sun Solaris, HP / UX, etc) and Windows, I would say Project Builder (supporting mixed C/C++, Objective C/C++ and Java) and Interface Builder are the best tools on any platform. And Apple is committed to Java and other industry standard, while MS is constantly trying to lock developers onto their proprietary platform.

For your existing PC software, there is always Virtual PC. I installed DOS, Linux, Win2k and WinXP on my iBook and frequently run more than one PC OSs (in full screen) simultaneously with OS X, and they appear as different machines on a network and can share Internet access. WinXP is a little slow, but Win2K feels like running on a real PC.

And of course, there are thousands free Unix software which either doesn't run or doesn't behave properly on Windows, and lots of nice Mac programs which are simply not available on Windows, such as iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, iDVD, iSync, iCal, Final Cut Pro, OmniWeb, etc.

If you are concerned with the performance of PPC, there is really no need. My lowly 700 MHz iBook just don't feel any slower than any GHz PC laptop, and its performance hardly degrade due to running dozens of applications continuously for weeks, unlike Windows. You never have to shut it down, it goes asleep when not used and wake up instantly with a keyboard press, and the batery can last more than 4 hours. In contrast, my PC running XP generally gets noticably slower towards the end of a working day and crashes once or twice a week, even though it's shut down everyday because it's just too noisy.

If the iBook is not enough for you, there is the GHz TiBook, or maybe you should wait for the mighty IBM PowerPC 970 which is coming to the Mac.

The choice is yours.

2002-12-08 19:26:39
Isn't it obvious?
I suggest you go back and read what you wrote in big, black, bold letters for everybody to see. The choice seems obvious to me. True, Mac software is harder to find in PC-centeric stores these days, but finding it online is a no brainer--and there's plenty of it. Plus, Apple retail stores are showing up everywhere. Add Virtual PC into the equation and the availability of software is simply not an issue.

Then again, if you really think that Apple's "future is shaky" I don't really know what to say. That just sounds like ignorance to me, and you don't strike me as an ignorant person. After all, people have been saying that for years.

So, if you'd rather give more money to a company that shows "a complete and purposeful disregard for the people who buy their products" that's your perogative. But you'd be ignoring the strength of your own argument.

2002-12-08 19:59:41
Dont buy either...
Get some friends and a life you knob!!!
2002-12-09 01:57:10
*nix or Windows?
If only for the purposes of breaking your binary deadlock, you might consider Linux.
After considering the possibility for a minute or two, you may find your choice is not Mac or Windows, but the *nix family or Windows.

Linux, Unix, Macnix, open source, heterotech, etc.
Microsoft, Microsoft, Monopoly, Proprietary, monotech, etc.

Take an abstract approach:
Consider the culture and business of technology in biological terms. You are god. Is there any value in biodiversity? Add some or take some away. Consider what is valuable, necessary, and good in biology and apply it to technology. Consider purchasing as a form of fscking with the gene pool.

Additionally, you might forget about what computer to buy now, and consider what computer to buy next time instead - after all, you don't want to buy a Windows machine now if the computer after that is going to be a Mac, do you?

2002-12-09 02:02:21
Are we talking about the good old Megaherz myth here?

Its strange, you know. Here I am browsing this article (and writing this reply) on an obviously crippled 700MHz PowerPC iBook when, less than 6ft away from me is a nearly-new 2GHz Pentium 4 PC....I must be insane or something! :-)

Now I'm not going to sit here and say that threre's no speed difference between the two, but in terms of actually using the iBook rather than the PC, I truly don't see any noticable slowdown. Your article appeared on both browsers at the same speed and rendered well on both. Ive used a wide range of software on both systems and speed-wise theres very little in it.

The reason that I use an iBook is because the whole user environment is just so much more pleasant. It never seems to get in the way of my objective or interrupt my flow of thought and, believe me, after spending each working day fighting with PC's to get them just to do the things they're supposed to, thats a 'feature' well worth paying a little extra for.

2002-12-09 02:20:29
I feel your pain...
I'll say here that I'm a long term Mac user (since '87) AND a long-term Windows user (since '91). A few years ago I migrated entirely to Windows from the Mac as NT4 (which I ran in conjunction with Openstep Enterprise/NT) seemed a far more stable and sensible proposition for serious use than the classic Mac OS - despite the inferior GUI. OS X, however, saw me returning to the Mac as at last Apple had an OS that provided the stability, multi-tasking and networking capabilities that I required. I'm glad I returned.

Whilst I'd agree that you get more apparent 'bang for the buck' with Wintel, I'd have to point out that a: purely from a personal POV I find that I am more productive on the Mac; and b: Mac hardware is a much better long-term investment; Macs tend to be far more reliable than the vast majority of wintel machines - and have a surprisingly high re-sale value. A two-year old Wintel PC is worth approximately zero, yet I recently sold a 2 year-old Mac (due to an upgrade) for almost 2/3 of what I paid for it. If I tot up my cost of ownership over the years, my Macs have cost considerably less to run than my Wintel machines. Agreed, the initial outlay is higher, but the long term costs are _much_ lower.

FWIW I still have a Windows box, but I find that as time passes I'm using it less and less. To be quite honest, I could easily manage without it as Virtual PC runs the few remaining Windows apps I occasionally need at a bearable speed. Frankly I don't expect to even need VPC for very much longer...

Agreed, Visio isn't available for the Mac - but Omnigraffle is, which serves _my_ purposes (if no-one else's) more than adequately - if you REALLY need Visio, and can't find something suitable that runs natively, then VPC is the other option. The vast majority of other software that you're likely to want is now available for the Mac - including a good range of games.

Ultimately I don't dislike Windows; it's a reasonably stable and usable OS that's only limited by a handful of poor design decisions (the registry, most notably) and a rather restrictive GUI - overall it's more than bearable. However, like you I very much dislike Microsoft's attitude - it'll be a cold day in hell before I agree to WinXP's EULA (I'm still running win2k and that's bad enough). It has to be said, however, that I also find that the Mac user experience is generally more pleasant - and a LOT less frustrating.

I think my current Windows machine will be my last - and frankly, there's never been a better time to make the switch to the Mac as the current range of hardware is better value than it's ever been...

Maybe it's time to give OS X a try? ;)

2002-12-09 03:03:49
Being a Mac OS X user not as bad as you think ...
If you go for Mac OS X, you will have access to all Mac and Unix software (both open source and quite a few commercial titles). As for games and external devices, Scott Kelby has some good advice. But I agree that the cost of purchasing the software you own again may be prohibitive.
Jonathan Gennick
2002-12-09 05:16:35
Isn't it obvious?
Yes, you have a point. Given what I wrote, why would I even consider Windows? That's a good question. The answer is that I don't want to cut off my nose to spite my face, so-to-speak. I honestly thought I'd made up my mind to go down the Mac path, but when it came to actually parting with the cash I began to reconsider.

It's like marriage. Either choice has unknown ramifications for the long term.

Jonathan Gennick
2002-12-09 05:24:47
To some extent, I believe the "megaherz myth" is itself a myth. On the other hand, I was just talking to my wife about this whole issue of CPU speed this morning over breakfast. Toshiba uses only 866-mhz Pentium III's in their Portege series; IBM also uses Pentium III's in their Thinkpad X series, but running at a tad over 1-ghz; the new tablet PCs mostly run at about a gigahertz or less, and none on the Pentium 4. What does all this tell me? People are paying top-dollar for the hardware I've just described even though it's not running the fastest and latest CPUs, and no one is complaining about lack of speed. Clearly we've reached the point where we can get perfectly good performance for most applications without having the latest and greatest processor.

If a gigahertz, more or less, is fast enough for the thin-and-light notebooks of the Windows world, then it most likely is fast enough for a Mac notebook.

So while I don't entirely buy into the megahertz myth, I'm also convinced that I don't need the fastest CPU Intel has to offer. After a certain point, it may be better to look at other features than just raw CPU speed. After all, I'm happily typing this note on a 450-mhz desktop, and, for the most part, I'm happy with its speed.

2002-12-09 07:21:51
Mac or Windows?
Get the Mac and don't look back! Even you will soon unlearn all those M$ habits and learn to live without registries, missing .dll's and the need to periodically reformat and reinstall the OS.
While M$ benefits from all those populist attributes(cheap boxes, WalMart support, MTV-level propaganda, etc.) an OSX box benefits from a better package: a real OS, design for the user, truly useful free software, and the real killer App - the Terminal!!!
An OSX Mac is the machine that SUN should have developed but never got their act around: a Unix box with a native Microsoft Office. Throw in the best media support, barring those few more piracy apps available only under Windoze, and you have a pretty wonderful platform.
Given the fact that Jaguar now runs most of the payware dB managers (Db2 in beta test at present) it may be a good choice given your areas of expertise. Maybe you can convince Oreilly to write a GCC/OSX/GNU book!!!
2002-12-09 07:29:55
how are you going to write 'oracle9i on mac os x pocket ref' if you don't go out and buy one of those tibooks? we are waiting for you to write this, you must go purchase a mac now.

look--you can go into an apple store now and 100 percent of what they stock will apply to you.

the unix-ness of os x is great--you can run x86 apps using darwin, etc. you can even run apps remotely.

if you want games, get a ps2. seriously.

and aren't they sexy? look at those smooth molded curves, the elegance of that thin screen. bask in the blue aqua glow.

how many people did you meet at oracle world that were singing the praises of their new mac hardware? compare this to the number that were extolling the virutes of their windows machine.

the choice is clear. actually it's shiny and metallic. and it's great.

2002-12-09 07:30:09
Different architecture
There is one thing I remember pretty clearly from the computer system design classes that I had to take while getting my degree: Comparing the rated speed of two processors in MHz is virtually useless unless if the processors are exactly the same architecture. Even processors within the same family (ie. Pentium I vs II, III vs IV, etc) cannot be directly compared. For example, the enhancements made to the Pentium II gave it far better performance characteristics than the Pentium. The difference in MHz alone could not account for the speedup. It was due to a number of architectural changes including cache sizes and algorithms, pipeline organization, etc. Then take into account the performance characteristics of the entire machine and it becomes clear that the CPU clock speed is just one piece of a very complex puzzle.

Now I don't know what the benchmarks say about the performance of Wintel machines versus PPC OS X machines (and I know that a fair benchmark is hard to come by). I do know that OS X is somewhat slower than some of its counterparts on the PPC platform, but then again it is often doing a lot more. Anyway, my point is that if you can barely compare the MHz rating of chips from the same family as it compares to the relative speed of the entire computer, you really can't compare the clock speeds across two distinct families (Pentium and PPC). The clock speeds of CPUs these days reminds me of the marketing that went into selling vacuum cleaners. Each manufacturer wanted to one up the competition so they boasted that their machine "had" more amps. What they really meant was that it used more amps and was therefore much less efficient. It's not a perfect comparison, but I believe that the heavy emphasis on the CPU clock speed is completely driven by the marketing departments at these companies. For myself, I would (and have) traded clock speed for faster hard drives and controllers. That is where you are really going to see an overall speedup in terms of everyday usage.

2002-12-09 08:06:34
The argument that there is no Mac software is so old. Yes, it's true that you can't go just anywhere and buy Mac software, but with catalog sales most items that you may want are just an overnight delivery away. For once I'd like to see a columnist make this simple point. The Mac vs. PC argument is crippled by this inertia, this attitude that "everyone else is doing it so why buck the trend." Apple as a company has made (many) mistakes, but it produces a good product as should be evaluated as such, rather than dismissed simply because of low market share.
2002-12-09 08:11:08
Linux. It
2002-12-09 08:13:39
Re: Mac or Windows
I have two Wintel boxes (desktop & laptop) and three Macs (2 desktop, 1 laptop). The Wintel boxes rarely get used -- maybe once a month or so. At least two Macs are in use all day, every day. In my particular case, the software I run on the Macs "just works" and the hardware "just works." On the other hand, the Windows stuff tries to make me jump through hoops to accomplish (what I consider) everyday tasks. That's the reason I switched.

Sure, I had to "repurchase" a lot of software; however, every piece of it was available as an upgrade/sidegrade from the Windows counterpart and the timing coincided with when I was going to be purchasing upgrades for the Windows stuff, anyway. Photoshop, Illustrator, GoLive, MS Office, etc had new versions to which I was going to upgrade, so moving to the Mac versions for OS X involved no incremental cost.

Besides, using iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto, and iDVD makes the Windows equivalents look sick (and they all came free with the machine). If you don't need MS Office, the AppleWorks offering bundled with the iMacs, eMacs, and iBooks blows MS Works out of the water.

2002-12-09 08:16:25
Linux. It'll take a while to learn, but it's worth it.
Take the plunge. Learn Linux. It will take a while to learn, but it is worth it.

You won't believe how much software applies to you & you don't have to go to the (insert favorite big box store here) to get it.

I hear your pain regarding platforms. Free yourself from vendor lock in on the software side & maybe dual boot your new machine. Win & Linux on the same box. That's what I did while learning Linux & if you're stuck reboot. It's not like you don't reboot now right?? And your daughter can play games.

Mac? Free yourself from Hardware lock-in too. I was on the phone with Apple support this morning (my laptop is an ibook) trying to get a replacement while its login board blew up for the third time. I'm hanging on them to decide my fate since I can't just go get new cheap hardware like you can with a beige box.

my $.02

2002-12-09 08:22:51
What do you want to do with it?
Lets forget speed here because I think its really relative to what apps you're using and what you doing with them. I'd be more incline to list up all the apps you really REALLY need on the Windows side. I'd then look up the mac version (and/or its close equivilant). Check the cost. Look into the possibility of buying VPC (lord knows how many database related programs there are on the PC side that doesn't exist on the mac side). One other key thing to do is definitely find a mac retailer near you and quiz the hell out of them. Be truly satisfied with your decision. This is a pretty serious decision because when it comes down to it, its your money ($1000+ ain't no chump change).
Jonathan Gennick
2002-12-09 08:35:05
Linux. It'll take a while to learn, but it's worth it.
It's not like you don't reboot now right??

Actually, I rarely reboot. I run Windows XP Professional, leave my PC on for days on end, currently have seven apps running, and often it's more. Reliability, using NT, 2000, and now XP, hasn't been an issue for me.

Jonathan Gennick
2002-12-09 08:41:31
The Mac vs. PC argument is crippled by this inertia, this attitude that "everyone else is doing it so why buck the trend."

I agree, that's certainly part of it. I'm used to Windows, and have used it for years. Switching will require more time and effort than not switching. But why shouldn't I factor that time and effort into my decision?

Apple as a company has made (many) mistakes, but it produces a good product as should be evaluated as such, rather than dismissed simply because of low market share.

I haven't dismissed Apple. I'm considering Apple, even against my own inertia. Oherwise I wouldn't have bothered to write my weblog entry. It says a lot for Apple that I haven't dismissed them out-of-hand, and in fact they are in the running for my money.

Jonathan Gennick
2002-12-09 08:47:56
how are you going to write 'oracle9i on mac os x pocket ref' if you don't go out and buy one of those tibooks?

LOL! Good point. But I probably won't write that book. Once you drop out to the command-line, OS X is Unix. And Oracle on Mac OS X's Unix is likely to be just like Oracle on any other Unix. Frankly, I'm even skeptical of Oracle on Windows books, because, other than a very few platform-specific items, Oracle on Windows is just like Oracle on any other platform.

Here's the irony of it all. During the summer, I promised myself that if Oracle released for the Mac, that I'd run out and buy one (a Mac that is). And Oracle is releasing their product for the Mac. Perhaps I should keep that promise.

the unix-ness of os x is great

I agree. Totally. That has strong appeal to me. Unix + GUI + Office is a very compelling combination.

Jonathan Gennick
2002-12-09 08:50:38
What do you want to do with it?
The tough part is that it's impossible to know now what I'm going to be doing with my new PC one year and two years down the road. Regardless of the choice I make, I close some doors and open others.
2002-12-09 09:36:47
I'm sorry, but if you're a technologist of any sort you need access to the whole range of technologies. I have my dualie mac and I'm in the process of rolling my own athlon system as soon as the nforce2 with built in video shows up. Get a dedicated gaming system for your TV to round it out.

I think the best layout is to have a Mac for your laptop and a PC and mac desktop with a switched monitor. With the parts for building a decent PC so cheap, there really isn't an excuse not to have one at all... oh and put Win2000 on it and just avoid licensing hell... (well, until sp3 anyway...).

2002-12-09 09:43:08
Lower long-term TCO
... is evidently not just founded on anecdotes -
the portal for this message is

Additionally, why continue to lock yourself in M$
software, continue on the forced upgrade cycle?

Personally, (admittedly, this is anecdotal) I hear
over and over the words 'pleasant' and "doesn't
get in your way" describing the macintosh
*in comparison* to Windows, including XP. I can't
help but notice the difference myself.

2002-12-09 09:59:00
Mac a dying platform?
Look around you on your own web site! Tim O'Reilly himself is using a PowerBook, is he not? And he's writing enthusiastically about Apple just about everywhere.

Slashdot users are singing the praises of Apple every day.

And at Geek events everywhere, showers of PowerBooks and iBooks are appearing as if by magic.

Apple is profitable, has billions in the bank, and still has fanatical followers, including the new crop from the open source world. They're not going anywhere.

It's true that you can go into CompUSA and find billions upon billions of programs, but quite frankly, how many of them are any good? And now the Apple Store chain has done an outstanding job at stocking itself with tons of available software.

Unless things have changed radically since I switched my upscale graphics software from the PC, a crossgrade to the Mac was no problem. I switched my Photoshop, Illustrator and other programs without any trouble at all. I would just keep my PC around for a while (its resale value's practically zero anyway) and switch to the Mac over time as you upgrade your old software. That way, you don't spend more than you would have anyway.

A lot of Apple users do complain about their company being more rapacious than PC makers, because there's less competition. On the other hand, you have to ask yourself if you want to support boring clone outfits that benefit from pumping out the cheapest boxes with the least innovation, or if you want to go with a company that - for all its faults - innovates like crazy.

This is why I have a visceral dislike for companies like Dell. They are parasites making bland boxes. They do not advance the state of the art in our industry one iota; they just make it a bit cheaper, that's all.

Contrast Windows XP's policy and 1984-ish registration with Apple's "Family Pack" for MacOS X: Upgrade up to five machines for a flat $199. That's a policy I can live with, and that's a policy my conscience can live with.

Linux is an interesting idea, but it closes the door to mainstream applications. I have to admit, though, that is not the main reason I've switched from Linux to the Mac. The main reason is that font handling under Linux is horrid, and the look of things is so crude, that computing is a great deal less fun for me than it should be. The advent of MacOS X showed me how hungry I really was for a computing platform that looked great, was fun to play with, and had compatibility with mainstream applications to boot.

Finally, if I were you, I would not close any doors at all. Who wants to do that? Keep your existing PC and put a Mac alongside it. I'll bet that you'll wind up using the Mac most of the time, just because it's a whole lot nicer.

Hope that helps.


(David Dennis uses a Mac at home, a PowerBook at home and at work, a Linux system at work, and two Windows machines at work. He spends most of his time on the Macs).

My apologies for posting anonymously; I don't have access to my home email address here at work, so I couldn't get my password).

2002-12-09 10:00:32
Mac v. Windows isn't the problem...
It's fairly obvious that, deep down, you want to switch to the Mac. The real issue is whether you'll be guided by the desire to get away from Windows or your inertia in staying with what you already know.

And on that, I think Jeremiah Cohick ( said it best -- ""Get out of your Windows world. It's not worth it."

2002-12-09 10:15:17
Not question of Mac v Windows
Ditto on previous log:
"Linux, Unix, Macnix, open source, heterotech, etc.
vs. Microsoft, Microsoft, Monopoly, Proprietary, monotech, etc."

Not question of Mac v Windows

Instead it, it is a question of Open v Windows

2002-12-09 10:23:07
Mac or Windows
Hmm - I have the choice of giving my money to a company that has no regard for its customers; a company that cynically disregarded piracy until it had become a monopoly and then began increasing its prices while suddenly caring about piracy; a company that illegally stifled competition and innovation. Or I could give my money to a company that leads the country in innovation, user friendliness, and customer service.

Yep - I can see where it would be a hard choice.


2002-12-09 10:53:26
So,the choice is between an insulting, invasive, buggy OS that runs fast, and a beautiful stable OS that treats you like an adult?

Look Apple is not going to go away, the company is profitable and their future looks bright to me. There is less software IN STORES than for PCs. But the amount of software that you can get via catalogs or the web is huge and growing amazingly fast, if the number of new titles on VersionTracker each day is a good measure.

Buying new software? Yeah, that's true, some have cross-platform deals, I don't know.

If having a truly hot processor is that important to you, wait a year. The IBM PowerPC 970 will be amazing.

If it's games you want, well PC wins that. Go for Windows.

Good luck.

2002-12-09 11:47:46
Mac or Windows
MS is a company NOT to be trusted. Period. You already mentioned the EULA. Why would you want to give them a dime of your hard earned money? I don't care what kind of market share they have. To patronize a company who has been found guilty of all sorts of crimes does not warrant my respect or money. Apple may have made a lot of mistakes in the past and I am sure they have not been the most honest company in the world, but they don't base their existence on lies and deception. I think it's sad that the average person never considers a Mac, let alone all the IT Managers out there with blinders on spending millions of dollars to now "rent" MS products, because they are "familiar" with Windows. I thought we Americans were an intelligent people. But when it comes to technology, we are rather easily duped.
2002-12-09 11:49:42
Sidegrade the software
When you switch, if you make the right choice, contact the software maker and ask to "sidegrade." You pay the regular upgrade price and they send you the Mac version. The maker don't care what platform you're ussing as long as you buy their software. Evene Microsloth. Sidegrading Office (or simply using AppleWorks to read/write Word and Excel files) is much cheaper than buy a whole new version. You already own the license, so just sidegrade when you wise up enough to Switch!

When you're ready - click here!
2002-12-09 11:57:59
Switching is a process, not a decision
First off, when most people ask themselves the question 'Mac or Windows?' they tend to imagine discarding the other platform completely. Even though they will still have PC boxes (and all the software on it) readily available.

Here is what I suggest. Buy a Mac, and keep your PC handy. Use the Mac for the basics (email, internet, Word Processing, etc.) while you get the hang of the OS, and use the PC for other expensive (or unavailable) add-on programs you own. Then, one by one, replace them with Mac versions or equivalents.

That way, your daughter can still play her games, you still have your programs, and by supporting Mac, you're also helping the company BECOME a suitable alternative to MS. (And we need one...)

This is, in fact, what I myself have done and I work almost completely on Macs now. I started about 50% on Macs, and went to Windows boxes for the rest, but nowadays I really prefer my Mac apps. Chimera's a great browser, Apple Mail's automatic junk mail feature is a real time-saver, Macromedia and Adobe tools all work fine, and I can even use VNC or Remote Desktop to remotely access my Windows boxes. And I get good use out of both the iApps and the UNIX/Developer tools that come out of the box as well. I ended up choosing Apple not for what it wasn't (Windows), but for what it WAS. (Easy to use, reliable, *consistent* UI, super-multimedia friendly, and UNIX!)

Think of it like learning to ride a bike. It's a bit frightening, and means taking a risk, but at the very least by having done it you'll have a freedom you never had before. You'll know what the grass is like on the other side. ;-)

Lastly, Apple is by no means doing poorly given their competition, and I believe over the next year they will beef up their processor offerings considerably. The speed issue is a bit annoying at times, but not really that bad. (I work with G4 Macs, around 700-800 Mhz.) The only real restriction I've found is that for video editing or compiling, it's best to minimize the number of other programs open. Virtual PC usage can also slow the system down. (This is really true of any OS, however.) For regular everyday usage, however, it performs just fine. =)

Hope this is some help to you in making your decision!

2002-12-09 12:43:10
XP... What a Joke
Being a long time Mac user, I had the opportunity to use XP for the first time (I use Win98/2000 too) and was amazed. On my Mac, I'm use to doing multiple things at the same time, running multiple programs... multiple tasks. I was doing the same with XP and the machine did nothing but crash and lockup. This was a high end PC used for 3D with lots of memory and HD space, not a consumer PC. It got to the point where I would do one thing, wait, then do another. With all the billions that MS has, you would think that they would come up with an OS that people can use. My Mac running OS9 was more stable than XP and could keep up... and OS9 is terrible at memory management.

If you are a serious user, I would look at either Linux or OSX. Both are rock solid!

XP is a joke.

2002-12-09 12:51:30
What do you want to do with it?
Thats one thing I always advise people buying a new computer *not* to overdo. Its the same attitude that has people forever waiting for that new, faster CPU to come out. You end up waiting forever when you get on with it and be using a new computer tomorrow. (The obvious exception is when you know absolute sure a new machine is on it way very soon.) Base your decision on what you have in front of you now. Its all you can do and then you can get on with it!
2002-12-09 13:05:23
What do you want to do with it?
I'm inclined to agree, but from a slightly different angle. Speed really ought to mainly matter to those with higher-end computing needs. Unless you're running something really computational intensive, you'll probably lose more time trying to figure out how to get something going than waiting the (fraction of a) second longer for some program to do its thing. I can't call which platform is better on that front as I use Windows too rarely to be a fair judge.

About the DB programs: I presume you're referring to the GUI front-ends, not the DB backends?

2002-12-09 14:29:52
echoing with a different reverb...
To follow along to many comments made here and defy Apple's marketing, perhaps your decision shouldn't be thought of as a "switch."

You already have one foot in one camp, an investment made on one path, a familiarity and software library for one platform. So perhaps rather than "switching," you should think of your process as "adding." I don't really think it's a Hobson's Choice at all.

I'm purely a Mac guy, by profession and personal preference, but I've said for years that the ideal scenario (if I had the money/time resources) would be to have at least one CPU of each platform. (That once would have been "of three platforms," but Apple's got Unix covered now...)

It's kind of like if you were keeping your current minivan, would your next car purchase be -another- one? Of course not. You'd already have one base covered, and be looking for a new investment with different utility to complement the investment that's still "kicking."

Add to this that the Mac investment has a practical lifespan of two-to-four times as long as the alternative. (I'm still happily running a 6 year old CPU with minimal upgrades.) Add to this that the Mac is virtually two platforms in one. Add to this that the Mac ships with some leading-edge media software (that would cost money otherwise to approximate) and has access to much more in the Unix world. The prudence meter still pulls to the right, even against that higher entry-level cost.

Then, in two or four years, when you're ready for another CPU purchase (or perhaps a laptop, at which Apple's entries excel), you're in the best possible position to KNOW which way to purchase next. At least partially because you'll then have had feet in both camps, and know which one is a higher priority to pull up and step forward.

Speed-wise, yes, there are issues, both in strict megahertz and the real-world performance of the next-generation GUI. Software-wise, yes, you'll learn not to buy off the shelf so readily, and learn not to mind. Compatability-wise, you'll have a few learning curves there (though those will be simpler when you have the two different boxes to experiment with yourself.) Company-wise, Apple's not perfect either, but there's a lot more pressure on them to try than on their monopolistic counterpart.

Money-wise, yeah, the bang requires bigger bucks - you're buying two products (hardware and OS, pre-compatabilized) from one vendor, but if your current Intel box can't ride out three or four years until your next purchase opportunity, you have to question the value of making another Intel investment to begin with.

It's -not- entirely simple. But it's not entirely a choice either. It's really more of an expansion, and since you're so well shored-up on one front, it could only be valuable to start shoring up on another.

It's a really cool exciting front, one that leads people to actually enjoy using their computers rather than merely suffering through them. It would be a "switch" you would, at the very least, be glad you -tried-, regardless of where you want to go in a few years.

In short, I just don't think you could go wrong trying something new, especially since you're not at all giving up something familiar.

In this way, not so much like marriage at all. More like the best of both worlds!

Jonathan Gennick
2002-12-09 16:03:14
echoing with a different reverb...
A very thoughtful comment indeed. Thank you.
2002-12-09 16:08:22
Je ne regrette rien
I don't regret getting my iBook at all. I have had little reason to feel that I have purchased an inferior platform. More and more I prefer Unix and this was a perfect blend for me, gread GUI and a terminal. Great way to learn more about command line administration.
As a student my needs are relatively light, word processing and long battery life are good enough. Macs do well, in my experience for battery life.
As for desktops, I can't say as though I am impressed with the power I see offered in the chips that Apple is using at this time. For laptops, definitely, but desktops, well, I am not so confident with Apple in that arena. I think that the newer processors from Intel are actually more capable now. Granted, they use more power but then who cares on a desktop? After all, it isn't like it isn't easy enough to get more electricity into a desktop.
Overall, if it is a laptop, there is no question in my mind what I will go with next time around: Apple. Were it a desktop, well, I would seriously consider getting something with an Intel or AMD, depending upon how much I wanted to pay.
Software. I cannot say what you will be doing in two years. The only thing that is sure is that you will only save money on software that is an upgrade. Anything new will be an initial purchase anyway for the platform you decide to use at that time. It would depend upon what you find yourself needing the most often. In any case, it might well be more expensive for you to switch to a Mac. I cannot say.
The final thing is the ethical dimension. Some companies are such that I don't believe they are ethical in their practices and I refuse to reward them when it is something that I have a choice in.
Ultimately, if you have the choice in your mind then I would say that over the next two years it is probably a good thing to get a Mac if it is a laptop. If it is a desktop and it doesn't directly impede your work or make a prohibitive switch tax then it would be something to consider seriously, if there is the added ethical concern. If it is of no concern to you then it is only a question of performance and potential software costs. Otherwise, I think that even though I might have to switch back in the future I would still rather pay even a couple of thousand more in two or three years, (hell, I will just write it off anyway), then to not enjoy what I purchased due to moral qualms.
Just as an addendum, it isn't that Apple has been a paragon of virtue, rather they are not of a size to directly harm me as much as certain other companies are. Namely, those that are seeking aggressively to remake the legal landscape in such a fashion that it doesn't allow for me as a consumer to enter into the equation any longer save as a source of income.
Additionally, a niche company seems somewhat more responsive as they don't have so much intertia to overcome.
Apple isn't going anywhere for at least a couple of years. So frankly, I would rather get an Apple now and enjoy the fact that I got a different kind of computing experience. Even were they to close tomorrow, I would still rather have an Apple. At least I would have a couple of years before I had to go back to being homogenized yet again. And if it cost me extra, it was worth it.
2002-12-09 17:16:38
Avoiding Microsoft
I've just bought an iBook and am very pleased with it. The hardware feels much better than that on the Dell it's replaced, and the sleep/wake cycle is instant (and reliable!) as opposed to the 10-15 seconds of angst I had before.

But I'm a Linux user really, and the *nix-ness of OS X appealed greatly. Add in XDarwin so I could run a lot of the free tools I was used to having to hand and it was really not a difficult choice.

What really decided me on the Mac, though, was that I did not want to have to buy another Windows laptop in order to delete Windows and spend time configuring new hardware which stands a very good chance of noit being supported by the Linux kernel. Dell buggered me up royally by changing the hardware spec on my Inspiron so that the sounds and the graphics weren't supported by the LLinux kernel at the time, and I just didn't want to go through that again.

Jonathan Gennick
2002-12-09 18:58:57
Avoiding Microsoft
and the sleep/wake cycle is instant (and reliable!) as opposed to the 10-15 seconds of angst I had before.

You know, I was actually trying that out in the store awhile back. The instantaneousness of Apple's sleep is astounding to me.

2002-12-09 20:39:57
The hardware feels much better than that on the Dell it's replaced, and the sleep/wake cycle is instant (and reliable!) as opposed to the 10-15 seconds of angst I had before.

Strangely, the only time I have a problem with the sleep/wake cycle is when I have my Microsoft natural keyboard plugged in. For some reason, it occasionally thinks that the left shift key is held down when it wakes up. It took me a while to figure this out the first time because the shift-click usually performs a similar action as the click but with a twist. For example, minimizing a window with shift held down causes the window to minimize in ssslllooowww motion. It takes over five seconds to get into the dock.

Anyway, I just thought it was funny that just adding one piece of MS hardware made the system take on one of the annoying characteristics of Windows. I'm not a conspiricy theorist... I just thought it was ironic.

2002-12-09 21:27:11
I no longer buy PCs with my own money
after I bought a second-hand powerbook ( year 2000 model) last year and found that I can do all the UNIX stuffs I want on the laptop with all the open source research code availabe, I no longer need to waste my life on the drivers, bugs, or virus( not a problem so far) of PC. The powerbook is my first Mac and I'm not going to waste my money on Dell like I did 5 years ago on their expensive Precision workstation. Macs are slower and more expensive, but not as expensive as my time adn not really slower when you count all the time you need to waste on the driver and bugs. I love my 3 year old powerbook more than the thinkpad A31P my company gave me. Anyone who thinks PCs are faster and cheaper forgot to count their own time wasted.
2002-12-09 22:45:30
Who's to blame...?
Man, I'm tired of reading "reviewers" who blame others for their own mistakes. Here, it's Microsoft who's to blame because you think it's "better to begin with a clean slate," yet you insisted on buying an upgrade version, instead of a full version suitable for clean installations. Or is it HP you're blaming, when it was you who bought a computer without a proper Windows CD included? Now, you're ready to jump to the Mac, when you already own thousands of dollars in Windows titles. Yeah, jump to the Mac. Apple caters to people like you.
2002-12-09 23:31:12
hoshi- MS SPYware
mac isnt spyware.
nuf said
2002-12-10 01:48:11
First off I should say that I'm a Mac fan, but I'm not really against Windows. I love and work with computers, my preference is to work with Macs but PCs can be fun too. I'm pretty impressed with XP even but, like you, I'm not impressed by MicroSoft's gestapo tactics when it comes to installing software. Apple just gave a copy of OS 9 and OS X to every teacher in America. Do you think you'll ever see MS do that?

Anyway the whole point of me writing this was to say that even though I primarily use Macs, I don't find myself lacking available software or other add ons. True, you won't find much at CompUSA but there's tons of stuff via mail order and there's so much high quality share/freeware for Macs it's amazing. I guess the gist of my message is that even though I've been a Mac user for years, I've always been satisfied. Sometimes pleased, sometimes less than pleased but overall, satisfied. If you decide to go Mac, I don't think you'll feel much Windows envy/nostalgia.

I'm writing this on a Mac PowerBook G4, one of the new 1GHz models with the DVD burner, and it is a real pleasure to use. Maybe not the fastest laptop around but it sure is nice.

2002-12-10 11:33:32
Become an "adder"
Instead of outright switching to a Mac, add a mac and keep the PC. That way, you'll have the Mac for everyday work and the PC for compatibility, when there just isn't any mac equivalent.
2002-12-10 12:41:22
you keyed right in on my main point: there's very little difference between unix-unix and mac unix. why would you not want to run oracle on a beautiful laptop with an extremely attractive user interface and the the power of unix?

i think you should keep your promise, and i'm not alone! judging from 24 hours worth of comments, it looks like a landside in favor of the mac.

2002-12-10 13:31:40
Mac's not as bad as all that.
I've just gone through that same, deep-breath decision of Mac or Windows (given that I already knew my old Win ME laptop was going to my Mom, adding wasn't going to happen). But I think you're over-estimating the cons of the Mac.

Productivity software and collaboration: If most people use Office, and even Microsoft provides a sidegrade, then this isn't a dealbreaker. And for the few major programs not yet in OS X, you can ususally get a good Mac alternative, or go the Virtual PC route.

Software in general: A trade-off. With a Wintel machine it's easier to get Office bundled, but you miss out on the better multimedia stuff; with a Mac you get the iApps, but pay extra for Office, or deal with a second-choice alternative.

Peripherals and CompUSA: It used to be that getting a Mac meant buying into a lot of proprietary, non-standard technology. Nowadays, though, Macs use USB, CD-RW, DVD-R, Ethernet, and 802.11b just like the Windows world does, so more things will work with your Mac. That, and there's a lot of stuff in CompUSA I wouldn't buy for Windows, either. :)

Handhelds/cellphones: I have to say iSync intrigues me. I like the idea of the ability to sync data between different components without necessarily being tied to a single PIM to bring all of it together (ie. Outlook).

Games: There are less titles available for Mac. Consoles are an alternative, but if you're a PC-centric gamer, Macs may not be for you.

Performance: Wintel machines do seem faster to me in the stuff that I do on a daily basis...which admittedly isn't Photoshop. But I could wish my TiBook 667 had the same near-instantaneous response times of the P4 1.8 I use at work.

Price: Apple is expensive, even for what you get. But I'm not sure that a Wintel "commodity" box is worth what I'd have paid for it either. A commodity is a product class that has ceased to be meaningfully differentiated, like ketchup. I'm not sure that's what I want in a computer.

I have to say that after all that, for me it still came down to Unix + GUI + multimedia + productivity. That, Windows couldn't beat. Period.

--rueyeet the anonymous but opinionated

2003-04-14 08:20:53
The Naive World of Windows.
Though I am only in the 8th grade, I am quite confident that I have no desire whatsoever to leave my comfy little Mac den. Coming to school every day and having to deal with their computers is ridiculous-- not too surprisingly, all that's taught in the "Into to Computers" class is Windows. When I bring in school projects done on our 1.25ghz dual-processor g4 desktop in Photoshop, teachers jaws drop like they had no idea you could make that sort of thing on a computer. It's actually kind of sad, how so many other kids are just floating in their simple naive world of Windows.
Granted, there are plus sides to Windows-- mainly the 3ghz processor thats now available. Mac certainly cannot compete in the speed area. But, at least Mac doesn't ask you endless privacy questions that really don't make any difference just when you try to check your email, and on Mac, especially OSX, you can have open a zillion programs and the thing never freezes up.
The only real downside I can note to Macs beside their speed is the beach ball-- the little spinning coloured circle you get when you do something the computer doesn't like. For all the fantastic aesthetic qualities Mac has that Windows is far behind in, you'd think they could've come up with a more attractive time-ticker thingy.

2003-07-25 07:44:46
People in this world are either shepards or sheep .... do yourself a favor .... don't be a sheep. In the words of Robert Frost:

Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference