Liz Strauss hosted a great Open Mic on the age-old Mac/PC debate the other night and I added my (extremely tardy) $0.02 worth:
It was a really interesting discussion, in keeping with quite a number that I have seen over the years [BusinessPundit’s final post on the topic was just hilarious]. If you have become comfortable with a European car, it takes quite a while before you stop turning on the windscreen wipers when you mean to turn left in your new Japanese car. No-one likes change …

Currently, I am running:

  • An XP laptop with Office 2003
  • A Vista laptop with Office 2007
  • A Mac G5 tower with Tiger and Office for Mac 2004
  • And a Macbook Pro with Leopard with Office Mac 2008.

But I am not a geek.

Honestly.

No really! We have to be able to deal with whatever our clients throw at us, so we have legacy stuff going back to Windows 98 and Mac OS 9 too. So, just in case anyone wasn’t listening – notageek, notagaeek, notageek [deep breath] notageek, notageek, notageek.

I spend about 80% of my time on Word, PowerPoint and Firefox, so once the app is open, I really don’t care what platform I am running on. But, I would have to say, having used the two main platforms in tandem for 15 years now; for the ease and flow of working, I prefer Mac. Far too much time spent on patches and security bandaids on XP to get it to its current (relatively) stable position. Vista is just dire. No amount of prettying-up the front end is worth the immense amount of time I spend waiting for basic functions to take place on this dreadful, dreadful OS. Vista? They should have called it Disasta.

I suppose, as in so much of life, it depends on what you need your machine to do for you. I usually have Word, Firefox, a mail app, PowerPoint and maybe a photo-tweaking app open at the one time and I want to be able to manage client files/folders and drag stuff around from app to app with zero hassle. I do not want MacAfee interrupting my flow 20 times a day as it has to on both XP and Vista, but rarely, rarely seems to do on the Macs and I A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y do not want to sit around waiting for windows to open and render – latest count on a brand new Dell Inspiron 1521 with an upgraded graphics card and 2GB of RAM was 22 seconds to open the control panel window under Vista. Someone explain to me how that is acceptable.

So which machine do I gravitate to when I’m not responding to client needs? Either of the Macs (as does my 81 year-old Silver Surfing mother).

When I pick up a hammer, I don’t want to have to enter into a protracted negotiation with it as to whether or not it feels like punching nails into timber today. My computer is just a tool. I want to not have to think about it any more than I want to think about the workings of the internal combusiton engine in my car. And I never, EVER, want to have to wrestle either of those tools into submission. Non-geek that I am, I’m a-veering Macwards!

Liz’s post with all its follow-up comments from the floor can be found here.

[Hmmmmm: When I was in College, there was always a healthy rivalry for new students between the various sports clubs at the beginning of every academic year. I remember observing fine, strapping healthy young men from the Karate club proclaiming that the Chinese martial arts were no good because they were too flowery and impractical. My quiet question to them was, “And how long have you studied both Karate and Kungfu so that you are qualified to offer that judgment?” “Eh, well I’ve studied Karate for a year and it’s great!” was a typical answer. I have listened to gibbering, foaming-at-the-mouth, die-hard advocates from both sides of the computer discussion for over 20 years now and I still ask the same question …]