Virtual Light


I will preface this entry by saying that I was never really a Mac hater. Steve Marsh and I trade a few quips about the reliability and usability of PCs and Macs, all in good fun of course. Jokes and insults fly back and forth and we finish our beers and laugh. Then, someone has to take things too far.

When I received the postcard from Steve proclaiming my imminent subscription to Macworld I naturally assumed it
was a joke. That is until this arrived in my mailbox. On some list out there in the ether, I am now and will forever more be listed as a subscriber of Macword: The Mac Products Experts, thanks to Steve Marsh. After I got over the initial shame, it started me thinking.

Let's talk about Macs. I've used one exactly once. It was at NPS 2004 in St. Louis, I was using Steve's laptop to check my email, and in that aspect it functioned flawlessly.I cannot speak to the reliability of Macs, simply because I do not have the experience to do so. I'm pretty sure this is because I have never purchased a fully functioning, fully assembled computer, which Macs usually are.

I am a member of two very large portions of the populace, the poor and the frugal. My first computer was a used Vic-20 I picked up from a garage sale that was less than a year old. It needed some work(power cable) but once repaired functioned like a champ. I did not purchase another major computer component for, well, ever. Having built and operated PCs for friends, businesses, and relatives for the last 10 years or so, I am in no short supply of used, throw-away, second hand PC computer parts with which to assemble any number of frankenstein-like computers. One of which I have been using for the last 4 years without upgrade. Now, I can't edit video very efficiently with my mere 733mhz P3, nor does my 10G hard drive hold that much, but the thing does what I need it to and it doesn't complain. The best part about it is, I didn't pay a thin dime for it. It's pretty much 100% hand-me-down I put together with duct tape and love. I could not have done it with Macs for a couple reasons.

  • No one I know uses them except Steve.

  • They are a pain in the ass to assemble.

  • I would buy a whole Mac, but I am unwilling to part with any limbs, or my soul.

There is a spirited debate on the Internet concerning which platform is better. I can boil this debate down to its essence here for you:

PC user:PCs used to be worse, but now they are stronger, faster and out-perform Macs in every possible way, and do it for half the cost.

Mac user:You can't compare Macs to PCs, they are totally different architectures, except on the matter of reliability, in which case Macs win.

PC user:That dog used to hunt when I had Windows 98, but since I use Win2k my shit never breaks.

Mac user:You are a clod, and your computer is ugly, beige and boring.

PC user:Go fuck yourself, you single buttoned jackass.

Mac user:Well I never!

PC user:Because you can't do it with only 1 button.

Actually, you really can't compare PCs to Macs on any issue, not even reliability. Mac machines are made by Mac and their OS is designed for the narrow scope of architectures that Macs ship in. 3rd Party hard and software also has to satisfy only that narrow scope of systems to be considered 100% reliable. With PCs that just isn't the case. A cumbersome operating system coupled with a vast array of 3rd party software, hardware, firmware, spyware, malware and eveningwear makes it a jenga pile of technology just waiting to crumble. Yet it manages to keep going, and holds the vast majority of the market share. Is it because it's cheaper, has more variety, more software ? I can't answer that. I just know that Mac folks love their Macs, and PC folks like using their PCs.

What I did learn from my new issue of Macworld and the thoughts it provoked, is that I my computing philosophy is much like my mechanical philosophy.If I can't tear it down and build it back up again, keep it. If it costs me too much for parts, I don't want it. If it's shiny and pretty, I'll just get pissed when I crash it.

So thanks Steve, as I read each new issue of MacWorld it will remind me of the true gift he gave me this Christmas,the undying belief that Macs totally suck. It's something I will never forget.

Happy New Year !

apple sucks