Mac vs. PC (the Keith version)

Author’s Note: I wrote this originally a year ago fresh into my Mac era. It was rough! I’ve evolved a bit since then and, perhaps it is the cult of Mac, but things are fairing much better now. #gofigure – to borrow from Twitter:

So I foolishly bought a Mac computer before Christmas 2007. New Leopard OS X (10) operating system – full bells and whistles – a MacBook Pro laptop with the most memory and speed possible. Had to special order it since they don’t offer the full deal in the Apple Stores. Nope, it’s an order you can only make on the Internet. And it was fast to arrive (the only fast thing about it I might add). From the Mac-manufacturing plant home in China to a ship to a plane to my home in about three days. That’s a fast ship! But I digress … I really wanted a fast chip.

My PC CD drives crashed and it looked like repair would be useless. It was an old PC anyway and not really compatible for newer programs and even getting on the Internet. Long story short, I figured the Mac ads showing the difference between PC and Mac made sense … oh yeah, I’ve dealt with PC aggravation. Really, almost daily in my working professional life. Oh, it’s so true”, I said. “I must become an Apple convert because surely no one else would make another system so bad”.

Yikes, I’ve had nothing but the same aggravation on the new machine including: – having computer hangs – seeing the “rainbow ball of death” – having to re-load all of my software as the drive became corrupted – getting error messages that don’t make sense – buying software that won’t work on the latest operating system – discovering that software simply isn’t available for the system Do I need to go on?

The only issue right now that has prevented me from not throwing the freaking machine out of the window (I live 30 stories up) is the security issue. So far, it seems to be true that the Mac hasn’t got the same problems from Internet surfing that PC’s do. That’s true for now. But I fully expect within weeks (maybe days) that Macs will be inundated with viruses!

I think it comes down to a world wide conspiracy against people with “Mc” in their names. If I was a PcDonald or a MacDonald, I would surely be free of these frustrations. But no, as a McDonald I must live with the kind of issues that would drive any sane person to kill themselves.

You see, I must be insane. In looking at my overall expenses on the new Mac (5 grand) and the software purchases (1500 extra smackers), I could have bought a new PC for about the same price as the software and had exactly the same aggravation! I won’t tell you how I managed to order the machine without having the Internet because of the old PC machine breakdown. Nor will I tell you how many hours I’ve spent on work-arounds just to edit a 3 minute video clip of my band playing a song. Of course, I have no time left now to rehearse the band to make future clips.

Nope, I’ll leave you with the story of discovering there is a Mac cult out there far worse than any ruminations of Scientology or any other “ology ” you want to add. I purchased Final Cut Express to see if it would do the kind of video editing I need to do. I’m standing on the subway reading the (very slim) manual. I look up and some dude is smiling at me. A big grin. Do I know him? Maybe from work or a gig? He keeps on smiling and it’s obvious he wants to say something. He does: “A Mac eh?” He says. “Yes” I answer. And we ride happily on our way to the same subway stop (coincidence? I think not). All the while I outline my problems with the machine. His answer? “Well, that shouldn’t be happening. Not with the Mac.”

So it would seem it’s just me.

But at least I am now a part of the cult. I expect “they” may kick me out however. When, I don’t know. I watch over my shoulder at all times. But at least until then, I can say to anyone reading anything with an “Apple” on it: “Mac eh?” And just grin ear to ear and perhaps have someone to talk to on the subway. I’m sure in some cultures that would be well worth 5,000 dollars!

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Jerry M. Lineberry

I got my Mac Mini around the same time you got your Mac Pro and have had no major problems with it.

Cindy Lou Baker

I’ve pretty much decided the next system I get would be a Mac…because of the hype? Or perhaps the Mac commercials with the cute guy. Not sure. I’m just real tired of the viruses and the constant cleaning/restoring, etc. I’ve heard mostly good stuff. Maybe you got a lemon!

Keith McDonald

I probably should be clearer in my note. I really am loving my Mac at this point. It forces you to work smart. I guess the only caution I would say now is that it is not as perfect as the commercials imply. You do get hangs and crashes but less of them if you devote energy on the job at hand and not having all your programs open at the same time. Work the photo then go to the web page creation – don’t have everything open at once. Also and especially true for the laptop: keep the hard drive as free as possible. Back up and get lots of the stuff you don’t need off the machine frequently. Then the rest is more joy than PC including when installing programs etc. 1 paragraph of instruction vs. pages for PC.

Carolyn Paskel

I’ve been a Mac user since the 1980s. The Mac was the only reason I made the conversion from doing graphic design on a drafting table to working on the computer. Using a PC and trying to speak the foreign language of DOS was crazy! I taught communication design classes at the local community college for a while in the late 90s and early 00s. Our computer lab was all Mac. Inevitably, the only students in the class to have problems in the Mac lab were the ones who used a PC at home. I think the problem might have been that they slipped up and tried to use PC commands, and after a while the Mac just couldn’t take it any more and froze up. I love my Mac!

Keith McDonald

I should add I can’t believe no one else is getting hangs – that rainbow ball. I’m currently using a Mac (briefly) here at the office (vs. my own laptop Mac at home I was blogging about). Coincidentally, I am also editing some video here and similar things are happening to when I started with the lap top at home. I think it’s fair to say the more open space the hard drive has, the less likely you are to experience issues. That is also true of PC but I think anyone considering a Mac needs to know they will encounter a few processing issues too. It isn’t quite nirvana land. the higher the demand e.g. doing video – the higher the chance of hangs. That being said, I am glad I hung in with it since, using the PC most of the time at work, it is way more troublesome for all the reasons people are talking about. I wouldn’t go back to PC at home. So I am a convert – really I am –

Eric Jasso

I’ve had 2 computers for at least 8 years…some flavor of Mac as my design workstation and a PC for our shop billing system and Outlook email. This week IT came in and asked if I wanted to ditch the PC and run VM Ware on my Mac. It’s lovely! Windows runs better on my Mac than on the Dell PC! But even more impressive is my home setup. Our family of 6 has 5 Macs in constant use. The kids beat the heck out of theirs. In 9 years we’ve had ONE crash, one keyboard die (tea spill!) and one broken Firewire port. That’s ONE crash. Absolutely rock solid machines.

Keith McDonald

That’s awesome. Maybe I should move in for a while! Actually, I’m willing to bet if you tried to edit some video footage, say over 10 minutes long, with a few effects thrown in you would get a crash. I say that though only as having recently found the same thing happening on another Mac other than my own. I just want to maintain a caution that Macs are not perfect even though the adverts do imply otherwise. Of course, it could me me and a magic touch/vibe. I joke at work I should be in the quality control & testing side of our applications since I will surely encounter a bug no one else will.. Seriously :0)