My Turn

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

No Mac Software? Be Glad!

2001.01.24 - Dave Beekman

The other day I was in the local Kmart buying an ink cartridge for my StyleWriter (it's true - you really can buy supplies for an old Apple printer in Kmart). As I went by the rack full of software, I stopped and browsed through the items there for a few minutes. It came as no surprise that, with the exception of a few educational titles, there was nothing for the Mac OS. But it got me thinking about the whole retail software situation.

We've all heard it said that a Mac is a bad choice because, "there's no software for it." When I used PCs, I sang that song myself - partly because I believed it, and partly because I really wanted a Mac but couldn't afford one. This helped to ease my feelings of Mac envy.

As Mac users, we know that the situation isn't quite that bleak, but we do have to shop a lot harder than PC users. They can walk into their local WhateverMart and pick from a whole wall full of titles. It's easy to become a little envious of that. We, on the other hand, have to find software online or in the rare retailer that carries a few Mac items.

But is this a bad thing? I don't think so.

As I looked over the offerings at Kmart, most of what I saw was pure junk. PC users have access to an almost unlimited variety of the most worthless stuff imaginable. Of course, most PC owners don't realize how bad it is - they see a lightweight CAD program for $20, a buggy old DOS game in a slick new package, or some generic word processor, and they snatch it up. I could buy an iMac with all the cash I wasted over the years on that kind of stuff, back when I used PCs.

But Mac users are much less likely to get stuck with lousy software, because the flimflam software recyclers pretty much leave us alone and go after the other 93%. We have fewer titles to choose from, but what we do have is, for the most part, first-rate. And we'll be using it long after the clearance stuff has gone the garage sale route.

Don't look at the lack of Mac software as a disadvantage. Just think of all the money you save by not buying garbage.

As I was taking my ink cartridge up to pay for it, I had to walk past the Martha Stewart towels, and I could imagine what she would say. "It's a good thing."

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