Religious Advice

by Eric M. Burke

I've been venting in recent days regarding Windows Update problems. Sure enough, I received the following advice in an Email today:
"Dude, get a Mac."

Good Advice, or Religious Advice?

Macs are better, right? Well, here's the problem...

The advice is bad because it was offered without first asking for requirements.

I don't like advice like this because it presumes a particular solution without bothering to ask for requirements.

Possible Reasons to Stick with a PC

Maybe a Macintosh costs too much for me. Or perhaps I already have a huge investment in Windows software and don't want to purchase new licenses in order to switch. Or maybe I'm at work and am forced to use PC-only software. Or maybe I'm using a specific version of Java that isn't available on Mac.


2003-08-20 08:33:05
macs might cost more for you
But i trust you are including "total cost of ownership" into that equation...

With jboss

being built into panther server as well as the absolute finest blend of commerical and open source apps you too might say

"I do most of my engineering on my powerbook"

Just like James Gosling says:

It looks like you are from Saint Louie. I think they have an apple store there. Go there this weekend and the G5 should be in stock.

Good luck...

2003-08-20 08:37:56
macs might cost more for you
I think you missed the point of my BLOG entry. My point was about offering advice without asking full details about the problem needing solved.

I think Macs are great, and will probably get one for my next major computer purchase. But seriously, we're talking thousands of dollars!!! I won't be spending that kind of money on ANY machine for another year or two. My Dell is still pretty new and works like a champ.

2003-08-20 08:51:10
macs might cost more for you
what's that? a half a week's billing?

a few more book sales?


Best of luck...

2003-08-20 09:15:41
Cut your losses now!
If you already have a large investment in any non-Mac HW/SW, then you must repent now! Soon it willl be too late, and you will be forever blind to the inherent superiority of Mac for all things. The answer is always Mac. The answer is only Mac. Even for your employer. Your mistake is thinking that this is not about religion. Computers are just vehicles for Steve or Bill or Linus worship....and Steve is the right God...I mean Guy.
2003-08-20 09:52:15
or you just prefer keyboard
Advanced keyboard text navigation on the Mac is spotty at best.
2003-08-20 10:03:16
Maybe it's the only advice to give
Personally, as a Mac and Windows, and *nix, user, I think that's about the only advice I would have to give. As a Windows techie (and I was 'Windows only' until two years ago), my most common 'tech support' advice is reboot and/or reinstall. I can't debug, and the corporate folks who build the stuff are unlikely to listen to me (and may even charge me for the support call), so for some problems those are the only alternatives that might produce results.

It is common for users to wipe their OS and reinstall from scratch because of strange problems. That's a very painful process, but in all my years of experience with Windows it is still the only thing to do when Windows starts getting 'quirky'.

In my experience with Macs (nearly two years) I've found this not to be nearly as much of an issue. The only time I found myself re-installing the OS is in what turned out to be a hardware problem, and once it was diagnosed my AppleCare plan covered the whole thing. All in alll, I find that working with Macs is much less stressful, believe it or not. So maybe you can't switch... But that doesn't necessarily mean there are alternatives to solving your problem, unfortunately.

So I would say it is not 'religious' advice, and whether or not it is appropriate is up to you. But let me also add, many of the factors you mention deal with PC lock-in, and lock-in makes companies lazy. So when Microsoft has to deal in a world where there are several (equally good) choices, I think you will see a more intelligent and comprehensive strategy against worms and viruses, and their own sometimes buggy software. But if you don't help support the alternatives, if you don't try and break the lock-in, neither your situation nor Microsoft's attitude will change.

2003-08-20 14:09:14
Not That Bad
It's hardly "bad advice" if you had already (and with full knowledge of your personal situation) decided to follow it, even if you are, sensibly, waiting till your next natural upgrade, though perhaps a few more virus porblems may convince to bring that date forward.

There is, however, no excuse for spreading this "Mac's cost more" nonsense. Apple do not cater to the low-end, that is true, but if you work on, or even just spend a great deal of time with, your machine then your not talking about a few hundred dollar box.

Anyway, how much did this latest episode cost you at your standard billing rate?

And when you do get a Mac, do you want reminded of this article when you start spreading the gospel according to Steve?

2003-08-21 01:26:12
There's this river in Egypt...
After you've reinstalled everything, re-created lost material and upgraded to all the latest patches and anti-virus ware, I'm sure everything will run flawlessly, and all of this will just go away next week.

And don't worry about getting audited by the Software Police and fined several tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars because you had a stray cop of something somewhere. The chances of that happening can't be all that great.

2003-08-21 08:21:43
Who cares what the problem is -- just reinstall! :-)
As a Mac user for many many years, I agree that there is a problem in our industry (ALL platforms) of offering advice w/o understanding the problem.

Still, I have 2 things I gotta say:

(1) If the problem is endemic to Windows, buying a Mac is a perfectly good solution. If your Chevy has problems, buying a Volkswagon would solve them, correct?

(2) "Reinstall Windows" is one of the most common "solutions" to Windows problems. IMHO, that's also offering advice without understanding the problem needing to be solved -- people just know that reinstalling will, most likely, solve the problem.

2003-08-21 09:12:24
Solution that won't work
"If the problem is endemic to Windows, buying a Mac is a perfectly good solution"

If you are willing to ignore the very real constraint that I must run PC-specific software at work, then I guess a Mac will work. I'm not sure what we are solving here, but hey, Mac is the solution.

2003-08-21 13:48:30
Dude, install Linux :)
No new purchases required.
2003-08-25 05:33:29
Dude, install Linux :)
You've not even read the message did you?

Linux is no alternative to Windows and with the prevailing attitude (as sampled by you) it will never be.