Let's have a cage fight

SO. I am actually working on a fabulous and thought-provoking post that will come out on Monday and which you absolutely must weigh in on because I'm sure it's something we've all thought about. (Quite the teaser, huh?)

But first. We had a bit of a computer scare recently where GH's computer freaked the heck out and tried to pull some of that classic Dell/Microsoft Hate where it threatens to erase your entire life and then slap you across the face and then call you fat and THEN pee in your cereal. And please keep in mind that GH is the boy who kept every single scrap of homework he's ever completed, every bill or statement or credit card offer that has ever been mailed to him, every broken bit of every toy or trinket he's ever owned, you get the idea. Now imagine what his computer must have been like. He has 2 or 3 external hard drives and I'm pretty sure that 70% of what's on there must be crap. Crap that he will defend with his very last breath.

During the time of trial where he scrambled around frantically trying to find a way to get his computer back up and running WITHOUT deleting all his files, he was stuck using my laptop. Which made him even more suicidal than he already was. He started making noise about how I need a new computer, and I said that one day I will buy myself a nice Mac.

Which is when he freaked completely out and went off on this rant about how will never own a Mac in life ever and how he hates them with a blind white-hot hate. This was a surprise to me, because I know a lot of people who really love their Mac computers. And GH does things like video editing on his, which seems like kind of a Mac thing to me. But he says that their customer support is horrific and he had a terrible experience and he will never, never, never, etc. own one. This while his own, dead PC is busy drawing nasty pictures of his mother, and while my Satan-filled one is taking 8 minutes to start up Firefox because it is busy looking at porn and sending bomb threats to elementary schools.

So. Let's have it. Mac or PC, people? Name-calling and chair-throwing is just fine as long as it's not directed at me.


Janssen said... [reply]

My husband has a PC and I have a Mac (he used to have a Mac until it finally died).

And I love my Mac with a fiery passion. The battery died last summer and I found out that they'd recalled them, put in my address for a new one and had it in a few days.

My husband's motherboard died just a year after he got it and they replaced it for free. Easy.

I like that I just don't really have to worry about viruses as much and I like that it's small and light and has a long lasting battery that I didn't have to pay an extra $200 for and that the cord is totally small and portable and that it's just easy to use.

Musings of the Mrs. said... [reply]

I had this exact same discussion with my husband, right before we decided on a new PC. He also does video editing, and I was shocked at how opposed to Mac he was (when I met him, he had one). He said the same thing. Bad customer support, expensive for the "cool and popular" name, etc. I need a PC since I do work on this computer and we are a PC based company, but I do think those Macbooks look pretty.

Cicada said... [reply]

I'm for mac. It gives me a sense of being better than everyone around me.

Murray Terreno di Amore said... [reply]

I just don't get how a Beatles lover can NOT be a Mac lover, I didn't know they could be mutually exclusive aspects of the same individual.

I am let down.

BEFore said... [reply]

One of the main things you look at in this decision is whether or not you like OSX. Because that's only (ignoring hackintosh gray areas) available on OSX.

Some people prefer the OSX interface. Some don't. (I don't, but I can see the appeal.)

Apple also tends to be more of a closed system. Your hardware upgrades/replacements are much more limited and will often involve returning your computer to Apple and waiting for it to be returned. (Some people count this as a positive.)

If you run OSX, you are also a great deal more limited with what software you can buy. (There are some interesting options for running Windows programs.)

From a hardware side, they're reasonably prices IF you want the exact hardware they offer. However, there are no options for super-cheap hardware which is why you can find a brand new Dell or HP laptop for $500 but good luck finding a new Apple laptop in that price range.

Apple does bundle a lot of software with OSX, but if you don't want THAT software, it's not really an added value.

Windows computers can come from many sources, or can be built from parts. There's a good deal more competition that usually means lower priced offerings. You are also more likely to be able to run down to Walmart / Target / BestBuy and get a replacement part/upgrade. (Similarly, Windows software is easier to find.)

Of course, with a larger base of supported software comes a greater chance for hardware issues (which cause the majority of Windows crashes). If you have quality parts (and don't run CRAP) Windows can be extremely stable.

Which brings us to....
The number one problem with Windows tends to be that it's easier for people to screw it up. Older versions of Windows made it super-easy to accidentally install crap software. Think all those toolbars, desktop decorations, etc that people install. Most are sloppily written, gather information for marketting, and leave your computer more open to hackers. OSX does not have nearly this problem due to their much smaller market segment. Vista has made things somewhat better by requiring an aknowledgement when you want to install something. (OSX does this too). Of course, this is one of the things people complain about the most. (To be fair, it's a bit over-protective.)

Apple - OSX, think of it as a closed system with some customization options. If it breaks, you'll probably have to have Apple fix it.

Windows - Lots of options (hardware AND software). You can shoot yourself in the foot more easily, but you can also usually get help from someone you know. Cheap is an option.

In the end, it's still a personal choice in most instances. (There are a few times when one or the other is required for a certain task.)

BEFore said... [reply]

(Wish I could edit this in instead of making a new post.)

>I just don't get how a Beatles lover can NOT be a Mac lover

You are aware of the legal battles between the Beatles and Apple... ? :P

Murray Terreno di Amore said... [reply]

That's just about money, To me, the spirit of the two are the same.

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

If I were more into sound or video editing (which I sometimes miss doing, and is on my list of Things to Do When I Have Gobs of Time), then I'd probably be all over a Mac. I much preferred using Macs to PCs. Back in the day.

However, I'm currently a PC user (except my glorious iPhone), and am happy. It does what I need, is generally cheaper, and life is good. I'll probably stick with PC for a while yet.

Mrs. Hass-Bark said... [reply]

I switched to Mac when I got to grad school because I was sick of my fairly new Dell laptop tanking on me all of the friggin' time. Turns out that the problem was the Dell laptop. Mr. H-B has a PC desktop (Dell) that kind of craps on him sometimes but is mostly awesome, and a PC laptop (Gateway) that has been totally fabulous.

So, the moral is: check out Consumer Reports' reviews of computers. Apple laptops are great, but quite spendy. Dell laptops suck and aren't even in the ratings. Dell desktops are good and fairly inexpensive. I think Gateway and HP laptops are high in the ratings as well.

That being said, I really like Mac OSX. I'm not someone who does a lot of fiddling around with my computers. I want a reliable machine that does what I tell it to without a lot of porn-looking and bomb-threat-sending business. I have been very pleased with my laptop (going on four years and nary an issue).

I am in the process of upgrading to a refurbished PowerMac tower (makes Mr. H-B feel better to know he can fiddle around with it if necessary) because I need a lot more hard drive space for dissertation data. Plus, I'm not going to need to be as portable once I'm locked in my home office writing page after page of a dissertation no one will ever read.

JackJen said... [reply]

We like what we know best, perhaps. Though, Consumer Reports is basically tongue-kissing Apple, judging by their reviews....

So maybe Consumer Reports knows Apple in the biblical sort of way.

During his undergraduate years, my engineer husband was required to get a tattoo on the inside of his eyelids that Macs were of the devil.

Side note: can a Mac run linux?

sakhmet said... [reply]

I'm just going to come out and admit that, based on my usage patterns, my computer is basically a word processor that connects to the internet and the real reason I bought a Mac is because I am totally suckered by the advertising and I think they're hott.

Catherine said... [reply]

I, too, have a PC-living husband who SWORE he'd never own a Mac. Luckily, I bought myself a shiny new Macbook 6 months before we got married. About two years ago, his PC laptop died and he was stuck using my Mac for a while. I kid you not, in two months he was willing to admit the benefits of a Mac.

Now, he still replaced his PC with another PC (which we've have already had more problems with than we've ever had with my Mac), but I think that's more out of principle than anything (plus he likes computer games and they always come out for PC first - don't get me started on the nerdiness of the priority!), but he will at least recognize that the Mac is a good machine. Which, for him, is a HUGE deal.

j said... [reply]

I've owned a number of PCs in my time and use them a lot. I always hear good things about Macs, but haven't had enough problems with PCs to make me want to switch. When I use other people's Macs, I miss my right mouse button, and feel like a fish out of water. I do love iTunes and my iPod, and if it came down to it, I suspect that I could learn to use (and perhaps love) a Mac in a matter of a few weeks, but for now I'm happy with Windows XP.

Bridget said... [reply]

My husband and I have an interfaith marriage. I'm PC and he's Mac. It's worked pretty well. So far.

Giggles said... [reply]

I have never owned a Mac, never will. But they keep sending me emails asking about my last customer service call with them (I had to use them for a previous job). So I fill out the survey and tell them how suck-y they are and how much they are a load of crap. And then in another month or two they send me the same survey so I fill it out all over again.

Pure PC for me, won't even own an iPod. Just found out that my boyfriend's brother is a Mac person though. We are still working through that issue.

Kimberly said... [reply]

My lover bought me a Mac laptop last year after my Dell died, and I love it. I have a PC running XP at work, and it's fine, too, but I hate Windows Vista with every fiber of my being.

redlaw said... [reply]

i used PCs my entire life till last christmas, when i switched to a mac after yet another PC crash. and while i have had no problems with my mac and generally love it, i kinda secretly think there isn't that much of a difference between PCs and macs.

i'm one of those people that does limited graphics and web stuff so my primary computer uses are word-processing and internet-surfing. i think both PCs and macs allow for those basic activities with little to no problems. in the past, i hesitated to make the switch because i'd always heard what a pain in the @$$ it was to get windows to play nice with mac and how documents wouldn't transfer, etc. i'm happy to say i have had absolutely no problem with that.

and, cross my fingers, i have yet to have my mac die on me, which is more than i can say for several of the PCs i've owned (you know who you are, you rotting pieces of junk in my basement).

but in the end, as long as you're happy with what you have, i could care less whether you own a PC or a mac. man candy, on the other hand, is a mac cult member and i swear, he was brainwashed at some point.

ps - i really love the ichat option with the little video camera above the monitor but i guess PCs are starting to come with that as well...

jeri said... [reply]

We actually have both computers because our vinyl cutter has to run on the PC. But I have a Mac for myself. I love it because:

-it is not prone to viruses

-you don't have to go through the long, drawn-out installation process every time you get a new font/program/piece of hardware. It sees a new thing and runs it. Same with new internet connections

-it is beautiful to behold

-watching movies on it is nice because it has a big extra-wide screen. I keep it by the kitchen and use it like a TV

-because the processor and monitor are the same unit, I can unplug it and take it from room to room without moving monitors, towers and all that nonsense

-the colors on the screen are very true. When I get a picture printed it looks like what I saw on the screen. Very important.

-I've never had a problem with hidden, self-installing adware

-did I mention that it is a lovely little machine?

jeri said... [reply]

I did have to get a right-click, track-ball mouse for my Mac. The Mighty Mouse just doesn't do it for me. That's my only problem.

BEFore said... [reply]

>Side note: can a Mac run linux?

Of course. Mac computers now use the exact same internal components as a PC. In fact, OSX is based on a *nix variety. You can also run Windows on a Mac.

>-it is not prone to viruses

This is a common misconception. There simply aren't as many viruses for the Mac, and historically the default settings were more secure. (Vista has much better security due to not running everything as administrator by default.)

> -watching movies on it is nice because it has a big extra-wide screen.

Widescreen monitors are becoming standard, and are available on all major desktop operating systems.

> -because the processor and monitor are the same unit,

Also available with all major desktop operating systems.

> -the colors on the screen are very true.

If you use a computer (of any kind) for serious photo work, you should calibrate the monitor. (Again, all major desktop operating systems.)

> -I've never had a problem with hidden, self-installing adware

(See previous virus notes.)

> -did I mention that it is a lovely little machine?

This is the important one -- if you're happy with it, great! :)

Cicada said... [reply]

The mighty mouse definitely needs some work. It's not cool to spend a bunch of money on something whose track ball will break within a year. But I dearly love the fact that my mouse has a left click, center click, right click, AND squeeze click. AND that I can assign different flashy AND useful functions to those buttons.

I am in the creative fields, which is one major reason I use mac. I understand (though perhaps this is brainwashing) that adobe creates its programs with macs in mind, so they run more efficiently on a mac.

I have only wanted one program that I couldn't run on a mac. Everything else I've needed is available to me. This is because I'm in the creative fields though. In other lines of work you'd encounter this problem more often.

I do dearly love my little built-in camera. And because I value good looks and good design, mac also fits me in that way. There's a reason you don't see PCs in home decor magazines.

But here's something weird. There's a lag on my caps lock in my two newest macs that wasn't there on any older macs I've worked on. WTH? I usually start typing before it kicks in, and 9 times out of 10 I have to delete what I've typed, hit the caps lock again and more deliberately and retype. I'd think this was an isolated issue if it weren't a problem on BOTH my new macs.

Sean said... [reply]

I've used PCs for years, but as soon as my scholarship money comes in I'm switching to Mac. Because I am a complete sucker for Teh Pretty, and I have an iPhone that isn't playing well with my PC. And my iPhone has become my life. Whatever it wants, it gets.

Scully said... [reply]

I got a Mac nearly a year ago and I love it dearly. It is my baby and I refer to it as 'Baby' even though I think naming inanimate objects is ridiculous. My brother, the computer guru doesn't like the Mac operating system, but isn't quite to the white-hot hate of GH. So one vote for a Mac. And he doesn't have to use it if he hates it, right? It doesn't mean you can't own a Mac, right?

MidCityGal said... [reply]

That's funny that GH is worried about customer service with Apple. Only PC users worry about the customer service because only PC users need it-- Apple never does. (No offense to GH.)

Seriously, Mac's are awesome. I will never go back. I like that it is just intuitive to use. It "thinks" like a real person would, not like a computer, if that makes sense.

Murray Terreno di Amore said... [reply]

I really don't mean to come off as a snob, but the only reason I think there is a debate here are 2 real legitimate reasons.

1. People that say that Macs are too expensive don't know about the Mac Mini:


Yes it's not an 'awesome' customizable transparent PC tower that you can put blue florescent lights in. BUT it can run both Windows AND OSX respectively. Yes, it doesn't come with a monitor, but a decent monitor is not hard to come by.

2. You only want a computer to be a word processor.

If you use the computer for anything else, even if it is just for the internet, the peace of mind that comes from the virtual lack of viruses out there made to infect macs, is liberating. Also why don't people get why it is so counter intuitive to not mount cds and external drives or thumb drives to the desktop. I hate ti have to dig to find them on a PC.

Again, this really should be a non- issue, kinda like which is better:

Peanut butter and chocolate, or peanut butter and tuna fish.

Audra said... [reply]

I am cheap- so I do PC- get 'em cheap through internet or black Friday deals. (For once I have the shortest comment!)

Maree said... [reply]

MAC. My geek husband was ANTI-Mac until he started working for Sony and used sever co-workers' computers. He's converted. I used to be a teacher, and I don't speak computer--Mac is user-friendly. Have stupid Windows on my Mac too. I have a mini Mac. My first-ever computer of my very own. LOVE It!!!!! Part of Hubby's previous bad attitude is that he chooses to support open source software--yep, something about Apple/Linux hooked him (Remember I don't speak compuer). He's got a Macbook; I've got a Mini Mac, and if bonuses happen this year, maybe I'll have a Macbook soon. The only thing I don't have that I'd LOVE is a built-in camera.

AmyJane said... [reply]

We have a PC but I miss my school issued Mac A LOT. Sean used to profess the same white hot hatred but has cooled considerably as he gets more and more on board with other Apple products and therefore thinks they mght not be the evil. I think we'll probably buy a Mac for our next family computer. Someday.

Cicada said... [reply]

I hope you're analysing these comments so that you can declare the winner of the cage fight...

Desmama said... [reply]

Just bought a new PC last week and while it's pretty great, it's already had problems. (Grrr!) Someday if we can cough up the funds (read: like when we're in nursing homes and couldn't use a computer if we wanted to), I'd love to get a Mac. They're just a little on the pricey side. But I think they're cool.

Elsha said... [reply]

I think everyone is missing one big pro of a MacBook: the magnetic power cord. It means that when our 9 month old insists on pulling on the cord over and over it comes off no problem and doesn't hurt the computer or the cord. Best. Idea. EVER.

Giggles said... [reply]

MidCityGal, you've never had to run a Mac lab before have you? Oh the headaches! Oh the nightmares! Oh the crappy customer service!! Never again. I made peace with Macs long enough for that job, but now that I've moved on, the truce is off.

Giggles said... [reply]

"as he gets more and more on board with other Apple products and therefore thinks they might not be the evil"

And that is precisely why they are evil. They are taking over the world and creating their own monopoly, one product at a time. I cannot support a monopoly.

Edgy said... [reply]

I converted over a couple years ago with an iMac and now have a MacBook Pro. My Mac makes me very happy. And I have to say that in the two years I've had my MacBook, my mom has gone through three PC laptops. Three. At this point, she's spent as much as I have.

Oh. And then there's the joy of my iPhone. He really, really likes connecting to a relative.

As does our AppleTV.

Dec likes to complain about his Mac, but that's pretty much because he's generally computer illiterate. He forgets that he used to complain far more when using his old PC laptop.

goddessdivine said... [reply]

I've always had PC's and have never had problems. I noticed a trend here: Dell seems to be the problem. I've been using HP products for years (both at work and at home) and I love them. The on-line programs I have to use for work do not mesh well with MAC's; I will never buy one. And I know that some people think they're pretty; personally, I think they're ugly.

mj said... [reply]

I switched from PC to mac and then back to PC. I was seduced by the hipness of mac and because I like to think I'm "creative" rather than "nerdly." But as it turns out, since I'm not trying to do anything state-of-the-art visually fantastic, PCs are just plain cheaper.

When my mac had issues I showed up at the apple store only to find that I had to make an appointment and that guess what I couldn't make the appointment by phone, but only online, which of course I couldn't access because my computer was having issues! The circular logic of it all had me ready to throttle the "friendly" (aka happy to sell you lots of extra crap you don't need) apple store employees. That and peripheral stuff always costing twice as much because it's a mac made it not worth it to me. It turns out I am just not as cool as I am value-conscious.

kip said... [reply]

My husband is just like GH when it comes to Macs. I think--more than the million reasons he will rattle off for preferring PCs--it's an image issue. He hates the idea of people spending more money on computers to look cool.

Jonathon said... [reply]

"I am in the creative fields, which is one major reason I use mac. I understand (though perhaps this is brainwashing) that adobe creates its programs with macs in mind, so they run more efficiently on a mac."

Yeah, it's brainwashing. ;) Macs may have been better at running Adobe software back when they were first introducing PC versions of everything. Adobe would be shooting themselves in the foot if they intentionally handicapped the PC versions of their software.

"People that say that Macs are too expensive don't know about the Mac Mini."

I know about the Mac Mini, and I know that it's ridiculously overpriced. The cheapest Mac Mini is $599, and for $500 I built myself a computer with a triple-core processor that runs about 500 MHz faster, twice as much RAM that also runs faster, four times the storage space, and a pretty awesome graphics card, while the Mini has only crappy integrated graphics.

There are good reasons for owning Macs, and there are good reasons for owning PCs. I've used both, and I think it mostly comes down to a few basic things: Which operating system do you prefer? Which one supports the software you want to use? Do you want to be able to upgrade your computer and replace components yourself? And of course there are always issues like aesthetics, ergonomics, and price. I wouldn't mind owning a Mac as a second computer, but I definitely prefer a PC for my primary computer.

Azúcar said... [reply]


And no Mac.


GH is awesome.

Azúcar said... [reply]

"Only PC users worry about the customer service because only PC users need it-- Apple never does."

Wrong. My photographer sister just sent her very expensive Mac to Apple to get it fixed. They were really, really rude to her.

Azúcar said... [reply]

For the record, I own and lurve an iPod. I love and own a Google phone. I love and own two Dell laptops, one with Vista that makes me lurve it.

Rynell said... [reply]

Hands down, I prefer my Mac.

We switched 12 years ago and have never regretted it. My husband is in the design industry and is self-admittedly a Mac bigot.

I love all my short cut keys and the intuitive design. When I have to use a PC, it feels so backwards and clunky. My Mac keyboard helps me type approximately one trillion words a minute.

Emily said... [reply]


I have a PC that I've lost everything on four times (and is therefore completely undeserving of trust), and my new MacBook.

At first it took some getting used to.

In the late 80's or early 90's, my family had a mac. And I wanted wanted wanted a PC because that was what my friends had. I was so ignorant! The family switched to PCs (mainly HP), and we had nothing but problems with them for the rest of ever.

I feel so good when I use my new Mac. I trust it, it does what I want it to, and I look fancy using it. I don't do video or graphic stuff.

But I just installed Safari 4 (I used to be a Mozilla/Firefox girl exclusively), and I am in love with it. I can page through my history like with albums on my iPhone! Oh, that's another thing: my PC thinks my iPhone is just a camera and not an iPhone...

I like Murray's peanut butter analogy.

Anonymous said... [reply]

We used to be a PC-only family with a fiery passion that only tech guys can have, but then the Mac came out that can run Windows on it. Not an emulation of it... the real thing! It's beautiful.

My hubby is a big time computer geek (but not a nerd, there is a difference) and he's the guy that everyone calls to fix theirs. He's been slowly converting them all to the new Macs and, low and behold, they don't need to call him anymore because they just take it into the Mac store and they fix it (on those rare occasions when it needs it). Presto! Just like that. EVERYONE has been thrilled with it. I just love that it totally and completely runs Windows and is PC guts inside a Mac case. It's the best of both worlds. Great programs AND fantastic customer support.

Just use the real Apple stores though, NOT the resale places like Simply Mac... they're evil.

momof8 said... [reply]

MAC hands down.

Eva said... [reply]

I used to own a Vaio, and it was the biggest piece of crap plastic ever (but it was really pretty). It went berserk three years after I got it and after TWO DAYS of being on the phone with incompetent tech support, I said "[expletive] you guys! I'm getting a MAC" and hung up. I bought a fabulous iMac and I'm never EVER going back.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Sigh . . . I do not feel any closer to knowing what is right, here! But it does help to get so many opinions on both sides. Also GH says I did not accurately represent his objection to Macs. He doesn't necessarily think that PCs are better, but he doesn't want to pay for a more expensive computer that has just as many problems and worse customer service. And those are his words.

MY words are that I really wish I had bought a better laptop for myself. It's 4 years old now, but it gave me problems starting year one.

Roxie said... [reply]

This reminds me of the way some people feel about their cars. I've driven a Ford for six years now. My family owns 4 Fords currently and we've had two others in the past. And we've never had any problems with them. The only thing I really take mine to the shop for is oil changes.

Yet there are those who think Ford stands for "Found On Road Dead" and wouldn't own one to save their life and have only known Fords that were constantly breaking down.

I've owned PCs for over a decade and never once had to take them in to be repaired or had to call customer service. The only reason I buy new ones is because the old one is 5+ years old and I want something faster and not so antique.

But the Macs I've dealt with at work were constantly freezing on me, taking forever to upgrade and install when I'd just pulled them out of the box brand new, not working with the software I had, and I've had nothing but bad experiences with their customer service. "Plug & Play" my patootie Mac!

And that's my philosophy on all things I spend more than $500 on. There will always be someone out there who has had the worst experience of their life with it. And there will be those who swear by them.

The end.

Cicada said... [reply]

Okay, I know that you posted your response to all of this, Nemesis, and probably people won't really be coming back to read these comments anymore, but I just have to defend my honor and the honor of my husband. Here goes:

"Adobe would be shooting themselves in the foot if they intentionally handicapped the PC versions of their software."

I wasn't saying that Adobe purposely cripples their program performance on PCs. I'm just saying that the programs are designed with macs in mind and then the programmers do the PC versions. Also, if you watch the videos about CS4, they'll explain some extra features that are only available on Macs.

"I know about the Mac Mini, and I know that it's ridiculously overpriced. The cheapest Mac Mini is $599, and for $500 I built myself a computer with a triple-core processor that runs about 500 MHz faster, twice as much RAM that also runs faster, four times the storage space, and a pretty awesome graphics card, while the Mini has only crappy integrated graphics."

You can't compare the price of a Mac Mini to a computer you've assembled yourself. You're not taking into account time and talent. It's like me telling someone that I got my wedding invitations for $100, so they shouldn't have to pay more than that if they want something that is as nice as what I had. Sure that is about what I actually paid for my wedding invitations, but I only had to pay for paper and printing. I did the design myself and spent over twenty hours on the whole project. But the average person can't design a wedding invitation that looks like mine from scratch. They lack the programs and the technical know-how and the creativity. Similarly, because I don't have computer building know-how, I can't just go out and buy computer parts and assemble my own computer. Therefore, the price of the computer that you assembled is much higher to the average person who lacks the ability to put one together.

(And don't say something like "it's not that hard to do/learn" because I could say the same about wedding invite design because that comes easy to me.)

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