I’m a mac…and a pc…and a penquin…and a beastie

First of all let me say that I hate Apple fanboys and I am a staunch supporter of DIY computing and avoiding the Apple tax.  All throughout the 90’s and into the 00’s I could see no reason to pay extra for a platform with limited software and hardware choices of blue or pink.  Since then however, Apple has made a transition from simple and pretty to useful and elegant.  The Apple tax is still there, but now there is some value behind it, and I’m not referring to the enhanced use value of carrying smug on your shoulder.

I am a huge nerd.  Just need to get that out there.  I search for the appropriate reasoning and rationale that will enable me to purchase new pieces of technology.  Thus, a little over two years ago, I decided that my aging Toshiba could no longer keep up with my need for running multiple virtual machines or compressing media and the search for a replacement began.  Previously I would have dismissed any Apple product, but with the recent transition to the x86 architecture and Vista’s crashiness, I was forced to consider the switch.

I’m an IT professional and I feel compelled to know something about everything and OS X was something I knew very little about.  At that time Apple was the only place to find a machine that would run all operating systems compiled for x86.  Benchmarks had also found that the fastest stock laptop running XP was the MacBook Pro.  To make a long story short, after a lot of research, I made the mac switch.  What really pushed me over the edge was a combination of bootcamp and the VMs from VMWare and Parallels.

Since then OS X has become more and more my main environment.  Developers have embraced the platform and there are fewer and fewer times I find myself launching my XP or Ubuntu virtual machines.  XP only gets launched to organize mp3s with MediaMonkey or play the occasional game of Counter Strike.  I realize that at this point my first statement of “I hate Apple fanboys” might be sound a tad hypocritical, and allow me to retort.

Currently I believe that Apple has the best lineup for consumers assuming you can afford the entry price.  There was definitely a point when I felt much like Tyco and Gabe, but what it really boils down to is competition is good for the consumer, and currently Apple is winning.  Things that Windows users are just now getting – indexed system-wide search, decent media management, LED displays, multi-touch surfaces, and user account controls – were on the mac first and arguably implemented better.

I have a feeling that the battle between Apple and Microsoft is going to mirror the competition between AMD and Intel.  In that situation, a smaller company (AMD) brought about new technologies and features (3D Now, 64-bit, integrated memory controllers, multiple cores, low-power cpus) and debunked the myth that more MHz/GHz is better.  These innovations allowed them to gain market share and profits, but awakened a sleeping giant (Intel) which promptly put its much larger budget and marketing behind including all of those features into its next products (Core2 and i7) thus relegating AMD back to its small niche market.

My current beta testing of Window 7 seems to confirm some of this.  Microsoft’s next release takes dead aim at OS X and will definitely provide enough features and stability to keep the masses from switching.  What remains to be seen is how secure Windows 7 will be.  The fact that “Patch Tuesday” exists and that remote code executions are still being patched is appalling.  Especially from a company that 88% of the market and our own government rely on.  It’s a sad but true joke, “How do you make Windows more secure…install Firefox.”

So far this has been a fairly pro-Apple rant, but you will never catch me saying “I’m a mac”.  I might say “I use a mac”, because it’s absurd to define one’s self by the computer you use…if you use one at all (I also use a Tower typewriter).  There is no need to draw lines between PCs and Macs, because if you do, you might miss out on something more functional and useful while trying to remain brand loyal.  Also, different platforms have better uses depending on environment.  I’m not going to install Windows on my router/firewall just because “I’m a PC” – that’s what BSD is for.  I’m not going to install Slackware on my parents computer no matter how secure/l337 it might be.

Now listen up Microsoft and Apple, stop trying to create a culture with ads.  Spend that money on developing new products, paying your staff, and limiting layoffs.  Trust me, word of mouth will do more than “I’m a (blank)” ever could.  Besides, it probably won’t matter what platform you are using once cloud computing reaches its full potential.

Written by John in: Ramble | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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