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Mac fanatics

Anyone want to guess the size of Joel's Inbox by tomorrow  morning? Why mess with these people, Joel? Slow week at Fog Creek?

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

What? Huh? A PC/Mac flame war? I hope I didn't arrive too late!!

I followed his link to:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/zd/20020717/tc_zd/944359&e=1

Where I found this gem:

"Everybody is going to jump on the MPEG-4 bandwagon, except Microsoft," Jobs said.

Here's some other 'secret sayings' of Jobs which I am privy to:

"Everybody is going to start eating uranium, except humans." Jobs said.
"Everybody is going to start commuting using hot air balloons, except people who use cars or public transportation, bicycles, or walk." Jobs said.
"Everybody is going to become psychic, except people will less than three arms." Jobs said.

Ed the Millwright (a Mac enthusiast actually)
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

'What? Huh? A PC/Mac flame war? I hope I didn't arrive too late!!'

Their market share is too small to give a damn.  Even this is more work than I'd normally consider.

Greg Kellerman
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Free software zealots are probably worse.  They can send you 1000 identical emails in the time a Mac zealot can send you one.

anon zealot
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Hey...if "love" their computing experience more than the wintel crowd, more power to 'em. If it's delusion, that's even better. I think I'll buy one.

"asset"
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

I think more thought should be given to 'mac fanatics', rather than just dismissing them as sad or stupid.  After all, if we accept that in functional terms Macs are less superior to PCs running Windows then what's going on?

Clearly, Mac users are getting something else that PCs aren't offering them.  I would suggest that some of these things are:

Perceived ease of use
Perceived style and individuality
Perceived friendliness
A perception that Macs are more 'fun' oriented than work oriented (PCs)
A 'product' orientation - Macs are sold as 'products' rather than technology
'Designed' products over 'engineered' PCs

Rather than having the same old religious war, why not try and incorporate the two.  I think it is high time the PC world sincerely tries to adopt some of the design values of Apple.  Indeed this is already happening - look at the all the new styling for PCs with different colours, shapes, styles and look at Windows XP an attempt at style and character for the Windows O/S.

Apple shows how an inferior product (functional and 'power' terms) can compete through a design orientation and usability.  It also shows how these values can maintain loyalty against competing evidence.

We should <i>think</i/>before we get too smug.

Sherlock

sherlock_yoda
Thursday, July 18, 2002

I feel sorry for intelligent Mac users.  Macs can do really interesting things, but when you try talking about them religion is everywhere. 

Here's the advantages of Windows vs. OS X:
* apps
* hardware competition, and its advantages
* upfront price

I would never get an OSX box as my only home machine.  But if I had a conventional business, I would use OSX for the large majority of my machines, connected by PC Unix servers.  The TCO is likely lower; the productivity is higher.  Just buy real optical wheel mice for those who want interface speed.

Of course, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution.  Specialized apps and more technical users often require other choices.  And the caveat is that I'm a programmer rather than an admin; I don't know how simple it is to script the installation of software or upgrades across 100 OSX systems. 

the roger
Thursday, July 18, 2002

"I think it is high time the PC world sincerely tries to adopt some of the design values of Apple."

Amen. The iPod came out in November and is so compelling to many that not a single manufacturer duplicated it on the Windows side. So much so that when analysts started estimating that Apple could take 20% of the MP3 player market with Windows support, Apple has to do it themselves.  iPod for Windows comes out next month.

Apple designs their machines with a real love and passion. It shows. When most of the PC manufacturers try, they get it wrong with a splash of color here or an ugly shape there.

I'd love to buy a PC laptop that had the same design sense as a Titanium PowerBook or an ice white iBook. But they don't exist.

But the sad truth of the Mac side is that the religion has obscured the truth. I bought a Mac recently and ended up selling it. They're slow, underpowered and the legendary "integration" isn't really there unless you stick to only Apple applications.

But I love Apple. They push the entire industry forward.

That's a good thing.

Bob

Bob Crosley
Thursday, July 18, 2002

I have to admit that I have a Macintosh at home, it being the only type of computer that my wife is prepared to use. I thought the article made some good points, and there is no doubt that the Mac does tend to crash more than any flavour of Windows - at least for versions of the OS before X, which I haven't tried. This seems to be due to the fact that the OS provides no protection against poorly written applications. Having said that, and not wishing to sound like a fanatic, I think that the Mac is still a good deal easier for a non-technical person to use - my wife, for instance, learnt to use it very quickly, but still finds Windows quite baffling, and for some reason finds the concept of file extensions highly amusing. Maybe the relative shortage of applications is an issue for some people, but the Mac runs all we need - Office, Eudora for email, Netscape or Exploder for browsing, Pagemaker, Photoshop, and Virtual PC for those occasions when one has to turn to the dark side. My son occasionally complains about the shortage of games, but I'm glad of an excuse not to buy any new ones. One great benefit of the Mac's relative lack of popularity is the lack of viruses for it - the last time we had one was over 10 years ago.

Andrew Simmons
Thursday, July 18, 2002

I must admit that I actually like the fact that the maker of  my computer is interesting. Life would be pretty boring if everything was "just a tool".

pb
Thursday, July 18, 2002

"Life would be pretty boring if everything was "just a tool"."

Absolutely. I look forward to Apple getting past their processor problems with Motorola and producing some hardware that can really keep up. Between that and OSX's Unix stability, I look forward to trying a Mac again.

They are a joy to use in a lot of cases and they absolutely are easier to learn.

Bob

Bob Crosley
Thursday, July 18, 2002

OS X is a fine machine... but for most people it is still an early-adopter phase.  Apple's track record is pretty scary:  dumping free email after users got locked in, enforcing "digital rights" on DVDs you bought, hardware performance, etc.

Still, every client-side developer should definitely take a look at OS X.  Many times they implement features the Right Way.

anon
Friday, July 19, 2002

Here's something interesting for whatever it's worth:

> A recent Nielsen/NetRatings report shows Mac users are more educated,
live in higher income households and are more Web savvy than their
PC-compatible counterparts:

> http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article.php/1403581

That of course doesn't mean Macs are better -- Jaguars are also favoured by this group and are temperamental, inefficient and hard to find parts or mechanics for. I guess that's why OS X 10.2 is being called Jaguar.

In one of the Mac critical articles it mentioned that high end Pcs have faster system busses than high end Macs. While true, it neglected to mention that the Mac has a 64 bit bus.

PCs faster and more stable? Depends on the application, the particular PC hardware, and the usage pattern.

For music work such as digital recording, real-time digital effects, soft-synthesis, where floating point performance is critically important, the Mac currently wins over the PC architecture. But I won't make this claim for any other applications.

Seeing NextStep resurrected as OSX is a great thing but Apple has a long ways to go before they get their act together on OSX. Musicians are staying with OS9 where at least their software works and they can get sound in and out of the machine.

Steve Jobs hatred of the floppy drive is what did in NeXT and now that he has eliminated floppies from the Mac he is following that same stubborn path. Sure floppies are outdated but potential buyers of Macs have a problem with the no floppy included routine - not everyone enjoys cluttering up their desk with a lot of add on things and cables.

Also it's time for him to give it up and start including a two-button mouse with a wheel. The one button mouse is totally lame.

These two issues reduce the Mac's usability seriously.

But he won't do either of these sensible things since he think s that he is the only person in the world who knows anything about computers and he can't learn anything from any one else. That pomposity may be his undoing.

X. J. Scott
Friday, July 19, 2002

Think of the mouse issue as an 'interesting' design tradeoff.  One thing people don't realize is that it's extremely ergonomic.  It's also all you really need for the Mac.  It should come standard with all Macs, and the consumer should consciously buy a different mouse or pen for trickier maneuvering.  At least that is the Apple perspective, which to my mind isn't flawed.  Just different.

I work with many foreign people.  Windows requires me to install a different OS if I want German.  With OS X, a couple clicks is enough to make new menus speak German, Japanese, Spanish, whatever.  If an app isn't locailzed, you can specify what language is next most desirable.

That means you're not running into Joel's Hebrew Windows problems.

The only real problem I have with Mac is lack of freedom.  If Windows is rough sodomy, Macs are those sad codependent relationships.  Just make sure you don't get locked in, and you should be OK.

anon
Friday, July 19, 2002

"If Windows is rough sodomy, Macs are those sad codependent relationships."

Definitely the quote of the day.

Jeff MacDonald
Friday, July 19, 2002

Here's a couple of less positive reasons why Mac owners might be richer and more educated than PC users:

1) PC users have to be "average" simply because so many people are PC users. Only minority groups can deviate from the average.

2) Since Macs cost more, both initially, and in terms of the socal costs of not owning the dominant platform, you have to be richer in order to afford the luxury of owning one.

3) A very large portion of the Mac user base is people who are locked into the Mac from the 80's and the 90's. These people are naturaly richer and better educated than the general public, simply because they're older.

(Disclaimer: I was a big Mac user from '84 to '94, but since then I've been a PC user.)

John Palevich
Sunday, July 21, 2002

Hi John,

>3) A very large portion of the Mac user base is people who are locked into the Mac from the 80's and the 90's. These people are naturaly richer and better educated than the general public, simply because they're older.

I am interested in this statement because I develop for both platforms and am always interested in who my customer base is. Do you have some hard data on this or is it just a feeling you have? On the Mac side, my customers are far from wealthy & are mostly artists (though this is a function of the Mac software I develop). Many have recently purchased Macs for the first time, some because of frustration with the windows platform.

>2) Since Macs cost more, both initially, and in terms of the socal costs of not owning the dominant platform, you have to be richer in order to afford the luxury of owning one.

My personal experience has been the opposite -- I got my first Mac about ten years ago and have not upgraded it, though I will probably have to now if I want to develop for OS X which I haven't decided about. In the same time, I have developed for the PC and have out of necessity had to upgrade four times and have had to replace a number of parts and done countless nuke and pave operations. In the same time, all the parts on the old Mac are original. The cost of owning the PC is not just a little bit but substantially higher both in cost and time. There's been no doubt of this. However, I would be open to the possibility that with the stability of XP and so forth and the high speeds of both platforms nowadays, that this advantage might not be there anymore, though I'll still contend that the average Mac is better built than the average PC.

X. J. Scott
Monday, July 22, 2002

"with the stability of XP and so forth"

I use Windows... but I find it interesting how the latest and greatest version is always supposed to be more stable.

I read a link once but can't find it now of a study done shortly after the NT 2K release that compared the stability of various versions of Windows.  It concluded with some pretty good evidence that NT 3.51 has been the most stable version released.

I assume the association of stability with version newness is a marketing ploy.

Joe AA.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Not really.  From what I've heard, NT 3.51's stability came at the price of performance -- and guess how the market voted.

anon
Tuesday, July 23, 2002

"quick reboots are better than no reboots at all"?

Joe AA.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Well, it does say something.  Mac can get away with that to some extent.  MSFT can not.

Of course, upon hearing this Deadly Stability of NT 3.51, many of us considered it a no-brainer.  Of course, I'm in a segment who wants stability, which makes it rather astounding that NT can serve so many diverse people given all the tradeoffs to please the customer.

anon
Tuesday, July 23, 2002

I've had this funny thing happening which made me tell that Mac's are superior. We got Virtual PC for Mac and Windows. We ran NT 4 on in Mac 9.2.2/OSX 400Mhz G3 and Celeron 1 Ghz Win XP(Both have equal amount of RAM allocated). Guess what!!! we returned the Windows version of Virtual PC. Why? It was painfully unusable in Windows while on Mac it did what it expected to do even better.
I don't know whether VirtualPC has a problem but they should not as emulation is removed on x86 machine.
I never believed the MHz myth campaign that much. But this certainly proves something.

Cooler
Wednesday, July 24, 2002

It's also possible that Virtual PC is just not very optimized on the Windows platform. I know that VMware Workstation performs pretty well on Windows.

Frederik Slijkerman
Wednesday, July 24, 2002

"with the stability of XP and so forth"

As Dave Barry said:

"I bring this all up because now Microsoft has a new version out, Windows XP, which, according to everybody, is the 'most reliable Windows ever.' To me, this is like saying that asparagus is 'the most articulate vegetable ever."

Andrew Simmons
Thursday, July 25, 2002

'I read a link once but can't find it now of a study done shortly after the NT 2K release that compared the stability of various versions of Windows. It concluded with some pretty good evidence that NT 3.51 has been the most stable version released.  JoeAA'

Thats because EVERYTHING was kept out of Ring 0, aka the Kernel.  Stable but Slow.

Greg Kellerman
Saturday, July 27, 2002

Maybe it was slow.  At the time I was running Win95 on a 133mhz machine, and NT3.51 on a 75mhz thinkpad laptop and couldn't see any real difference in speed between the two.

Joe AA.
Sunday, July 28, 2002

> Thats because EVERYTHING was kept out of Ring 0, aka the Kernel. Stable but Slow.

I think it was only GDI that was moved into the kernel in NT v4 (maybe 3.51 was good, e.g. if you didn't want to run games).

name witheld by request
Monday, July 29, 2002

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