The Lite Side

Analogies to Help Pundits Comprehend the Difference Between Macs and Windows

- 2004.12.16

Hello Pundits!

Welcome to the Lite Side, where we're about to do our civic duty in providing analogies to help you understand the difference between the Mac OS and Windows.

I thought these things were old-school, tired analogies, but after recent events in Sarasota, Florida, it's became apparent that certain pundits (who shall remain nameless) need these analogies repeated because they have no direct experience with Macs.

I wrote one of these hoary old analogies myself, If Cars Were Like Operating Systems, about two years ago. I urge our friends in Florida to copy it into an email and send it to the Powers That Be to help them comprehend why we like Macs.

Anyway, I thought I'd toss a few more analogies into the mix to help you understand why we "fanatics" are frustrated with your fumbling of this fundamental issue.

Aimed at Pundits: Having a pundit tell a teacher to switch to Windows when the teacher is a Mac specialist is like...

Old Standards

Macs are like BMWs. They don't have a large market share, but those people who own them like them a lot.

Windows is like McDonald's. Popular does not always mean best.

New Ones

Windows is like a housing development where all the houses are variants of about four basic designs. One day, a Mac user tries to build a geodesic dome in the neighborhood, but he is denied a building permit from the city despite the fact that domes are more earthquake resistant, energy efficient, and when all the interior parts are installed, not much more expensive than a regular house with the same features.

Buying Windows is like buying tires that don't quite fit your car. They're cheap, but sooner or later they're going to cause you to crash.

Windows is like going to the grocery store for food and finding everything on the shelf is some variant of bologna. You'd like to get some steak, but it's too expensive, and you have to mail order it or go out of town to get it. You know people who can eat steak, and you're jealous. You decide to ask for steak, but you're told by the police waiting to escort you home that you're only allowed to buy bologna even though you would pay for steak yourself if you were allowed to have it.

Macs are like rap music. Not everyone likes it, but there's a definite niche market for it. Some people try to mimic it but don't do it very well. Other kinds of music are being influenced by it but are not allowed to admit that rap has an influence. Everything bad that happens is blamed on it.

Windows users are like that guy you meet at a party who dominates every conversation and speaks in a no-nonsense, folksy way (sort of like Bill O'Reilly) so no matter what he says it seems to make perfect sense. He tells you that if you were smart, you would support drilling in Alaska because there's big money to be made, and your idea of using wind power is nice but just not practical for the majority of people.

Windows is like the English system of measurement. Everyone you know uses it, no one knows it really well (what's a rod?), and those people who suggest we should switch to metrics (Mac OS) because it is better are considered to be unrealistic and naive.

Windows is like pop music. Everyone would rather listen to something else, but it's the only thing playing on the radio. Some people claim to like it, and we all respect their opinion, because it's politically incorrect and not nice to make fun of stupid people.

"Architects cannot learn to design grand cathedrals if they are taught all their drawing courses using only an Etch-a-Sketch because the company struck a deal with the university." (One of a series of security related analogies from this excellent page detailing analogies by Dr. Gene Spafford.)

Another from the same site: "...you buy a car and say that you don't care if it is made of cardboard or has any brakes, so long as it is cheap."

Send along your favorite analogy comparing Macs to Windows, and we'll post 'em here. You know the drill: If you send it, I can post it, and if you don't want your name and/or email attached, you have to say so.

P.S. It's time for your weekly reminder to send a note to Rich Brooks in Sarasota, asking when is he going to actually (a) use a Mac and (b) visit a classroom using Macs and try to "improve" it.

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