Mac User For a Month #4: Reassessment

1999: This has been a very interesting month for this Mac user, and it has left me a bit culture shocked. This war between Apple and Microsoft/Intel is getting very ugly, and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. Both sides are insisting they have the better platform – and will do so until the day they die, it seems.

Mac Metamorphosis

If I had to go on opinion alone, I don’t think I could make up my mind which platform is better. Every rebuttal from the Apple camp cancels out what the Wintel camp says – and vice versa.

I got involved in technology because I have a deep love for it. I didn’t get involved so that I could have a prosperous career, make a lot of money, or just be in the limelight. Computers are my life, my religion, and my true love.

Most of that revolved around the Windows platform until a few years ago, and I am starting to dislike it more and more with each passing day.

The Windows platform is dead, and Windows 2000 is going to be the final nail in the coffin.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time, but Microsoft went ahead and tried to do it anyway. Windows 2000, the next generation of Windows NT, tries so hard to make your life easier that it only becomes more complicated. Instead of changing a command-line-only option to a GUI option, Microsoft just left most of the options to the OS’s discretion. Either that or they hid it so I have to go hunting in the registry to find it for the next few weeks.

I don’t want my OS making decisions for me. When was the last time you followed a Microsoft tip by the book and it worked? Well, they decided to design a whole OS around the philosophy that they really know what they’re doing.

However, It’s not all Microsoft’s fault. I put most of the blame on the media, the computer schools, and a total lack of ingenuity among upcoming computer professionals. The computer schools are teaching people nothing but Windows, and they are not even showing them how to troubleshoot a real problem. Knowing how to ping an IP address does not qualify someone to be a computer professional.

Most people could put in a lot of the work to better understand computers, but they choose not to. They don’t because they just want to make some money or get good job security. Try calling a PC manufacturer’s tech support line and ask them a semi-technical question. I would like to know how many times you were put on hold because they couldn’t answer it.

Apple trains their people well, and I always get a prompt answer to any question I have.

I was appalled while watching ZDNET on TV one night. They had a “computer professional” talking about how great Windows 2000 would be, and the host just stood there nodding at his remarks like he understood what the “professional” was talking about. Ask this person one question about Windows security problems, and he will respond with, “Sorry I don’t do security work.”

If you don’t understand the product inside and out, how can you properly rate the product? Everyone’s excuse in the PC industry these days is, “Sorry I don’t do that.” So what do you do?

The PC industry has made me sick and ashamed to be a part of such a class. Most Macintosh users don’t want to be professionals; they just want a good working computer. The Macintosh offers raw power with an easy to use interface. I am losing my faith in Microsoft more and more every day. I need to believe in the platform I am using – not just the company that makes it, but the people who use it.

We need some sort of unification that will allow all of us to live together. There were several companies that were attempting to build an x86/PowerPC hybrid; sadly most of them went defunct. Apple is in prime position to pull off such a miracle.*

I have heard rumors that Virtual PC 4 will be able to run Windows applications right from the Mac OS desktop. Should this be true, it could devastate a good portion of the Windows market. I know I would switch my work computer to a Macintosh if this happened.

The release of Windows 2000 will be great – great for Apple when everyone realizes that the Windows platform just doesn’t work anymore. Then maybe we can start teaching up-and-coming computer professionals how technology really works.

* In 2006 Apple solved the problem by switching the Mac from PowerPC to Intel x86 CPUs.