Tuesday, 23 August 2005

Mac Attack

In my quests for new interesting blogs and thanks to StumbleUpon.com, I recently started to read Gaping Void. I usually subscribe to new blogs through Bloglines and keep them private for a while to see if I find them interesting enough to add to my blogroll.

A couple of days ago, I read this post on Gaping Void which explains why the author does not like Apple and would rather use his Dell computer, running windows. From there I followed a link to this post where the author tells about an encounter he had with Steve Jobs, Apple's boss.

I myself am a keen computer user. I have been for almost ten years now. This actually put me in a rather advanced position compared to the other members of my generation at the time. My first computer was an Amstrad CPC 6128. To be honest that was rather limited and eventhough I started to learn basic Basic, I gave up after a couple of years.

I went back to computers at the end of the 1990's when the Internet made things really interesting (so many sleepless night spent on ICQ). I taught myself how to use a PC running Windows and how to use Words and other Office programmes. I found this a very instinctive learning process and can even do some minor troubleshooting. I am now in a situation where, while far from being a computer nerd, I am, I think, more computer literate then most people. I even dabble with HTML and webdesign.

A few years ago, in one of my previous professional lives, I got to use an iMac for a few months. Although I tried, I could not get my head around it. I could use the programmes all right but I could not figure out where to go to tweack things and settings as I was used to do with a PC. My experience of Apple is therefore very limited. What I retain of this is that I needed to be shown what the concept behing a Mac was and that the mac version of the softwares I was used to use were usually much more basic than the Windows version.

This to give some background on where I come from.

Having a passing interest in computers, I have of course been aware of the Big Divide between Mac and PC users. The two systems use to be completely incompatible, thankfully they are not any more. Slighty Lost, as a designer, uses Apple and is of course completely sold to the cause and he has tried to convert me. He only got me to use iTunes though (with a few of buying an iPod someday, perhaps). The major arguments I have heard in favour of using Apple is that their computer were more stable than those running Windows (didn't crash), are faster, more powerful than PCs and do not go down with viruses.

I think it is fair to say that Windows has improved a lot in stability in the past few years, certainly with Windows 2000, ME and XP. I now run XP and find that my laptop just doesn't crash. As for viruses, I have been trawling the Internet for nigh on 10 years now and have never caught a virus or spy-ware that I am aware of (Touching wood, of course). I don't even use an anti-virus; I am just careful.

Ok, Apple computers are more powerful than PCs (Apple apparently give out Super Computer licences with their new G4) but what I do with a computer does not warrant it being a Super Computer by any stretch of the imagination.

All this on the whole made me think foolishly that the Big Divide mentioned earlier had disappeared. It seems I was quite wrong. Reading the comments posted with both blog entries listed above, I was actually rather shocked. Why so much... well hatred? Why are Mac fans so vicious in their comments? Even comments for extremists Christians I come across on blogs I read do not seem that nasty.

Considering that Macs are much more expensive than PCs and since I am used to using PCs and more confortable with them, I don't see the need for me to switch to Apple. I don't however go around insulting Mac users because they think differently. After all this is only about computers. Nothing serisou. As long as they get the job done, what does it matter if one uses one rather than the other?

This type of reactions, this people's very own behaviour, make me think that Gaping Void might have a point after all and that buying Apple is more about the image than the machines. This type of secular fondamentalism is as spiteful to me as religious intolerance. I do hope this is only a small viciferous part of the Mac users who behave like this and that these people will come to their senses soon. Unfortunately I have a sinking feeling I should probably brace myself for the next attack.


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