Monday, April 9, 2007

Tech Stuff: Mac vs. PC

Since I'm a technology buff, I always have people asking me the question, "Which is better, Mac or PC?" Most people expect that I'm going to say how much I love Macs and how Windows is just terrible in comparison to the ease of use and simplicity of the the Macintosh operating system, OSX. The truth is that I fall somewhere in the middle of being an Apple fan, and appreciating the benefits of Windows as well. Let me explain. While I do know quite a bit about computers, I am not a programmer or someone who likes to dive into the inner workings of every program that I use. Mostly, I just want it to be simple to figure out, and even more important, I like it to work. So, the Mac seemed like just the thing that I was looking for. I had purchased some Macs for some staff members who used them primarily for video editing and graphics creation and they raved about them. So, I bought my first Mac 3 years ago. Once I got started with it, I have to admit that I became disillusioned pretty quickly. Since I had been told over and over that Macs were so much easier and simpler to use than PC's, I guess I had my hopes up pretty high. As it turned out, I didn't find it any easier to set up and use than any PC I had ever been on. And then I was having to learn a whole new system of organization of files and programs that didn't really seem any simpler than the other system, just different. I suppose if I was using my Mac to edit videos or create graphics, I would have realized the benefits of it fairly quickly. I think there are definite hardware and software advantages in the Mac if these are your primary uses. However, I have come to realize that the benefits of having a computer that's good at editing videos doesn't help you if you never use it to edit videos. :) I had also been sold on Apple's iLife suite of applications. But, with the advent of subscription based music services (click here for my post on those), I was frustrated because iTunes doesn't offer it, and no subscription services work on a Mac. Also, iPhoto is an excellent application for organizing photos, but I have been using Picasa on my PC and find that I like it better, and it's a FREE download from Google. The other frustration that I've had with the Mac is that there are websites that simply won't work with it. Now, to be fair, this is really the fault of the site owners, but to me I just want it to work! If I want to pay for my kid's school lunches on the web, I can't do it on the Mac. And this doesn't even include the many programs that I've thought about purchasing, but aren't compatible with the mac. So, my answer as to which is better is a complicated one. I usually recommend a PC to users who are not "power" users and will primarily be surfing the web, organizing photos and music, and creating simple documents. For those who are more serious about video, or just want to be among the Apple elite, you will probably love the Mac. I'm sure there are Mac lovers out there who will think that this post amounts to heresy, but I'm just giving you my experience. Feel free to tell me yours.

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