Miscellaneous Ramblings

10 Reasons Macs Don't Suck

Charles Moore - 2010.01.11 - Tip Jar

I'm not sure collegetimes.us contributor JJ's sophomoric anti-Mac diatribe, Top 10 Reasons Why Mac Sucks - replete with typical urban myths, ignorance, and inaccuracies - deserves to be dignified with a rebuttal, but a few of his attempted points are so egregious that they demand corrective critique, so here goes:

1. The One and Only Business Model for Apple Is Narcissism

JJ says:

"There are only 2 types of people that buy a Mac:

  1. Wannabe nerdy-types that are trying to prove how knowledgeable they are about everything in the tech world
  2. Wannabe hipster-types that are trying to prove how knowledgeable (read: trendy and/or "not trendy") they are about everything in general

"Either way, people who are confident enough in their knowledge, self-image, and skills rarely find it truly necessary (or justifiable) to buy one of these disgustingly over-priced machines...."

I've owned going on two-dozen new and used Macs over the past 17 years, and I'm about as un-nerdy as you'll get. As for being a "hipster-type", I suppose I was something of a hippie 40 years ago - but that was before personal computers, so I'm not sure that counts. Today at 58, perhaps I should be flattered.

2. Macs Are Ridiculously Overpriced

"Not only do you get much less for your money when you buy ANY type of Macintosh computer compared to your other options, but you get royally screwed whenever you want any halfway-decent Mac machine...."

I'm typing this blog on a going-on-ten-year-old Pismo PowerBook that's still my left-hand production machine (my right-hand Mac is a 2009 Unibody MacBook). The old Pismo is still providing excellent utility running relatively recent OS X 10.4.11" Tiger", and has never suffered a day of downtime since I bought it used in October 2001, for the equivalent of $1,300. I think I've gotten my money's worth.

I wonder how many ten-year-old PC laptops are still in service doing front line useful production work?

3. Macs Regularly Ignore Mainstream Industry Trends

"...Macs still don't have HDMI ports, eSATA ports, or Blu-ray drives, among other mainstream technology standards . . . This attitude is best summed up by Apple's 2-decade-long push for world-wide FireWire data ports, which Apple finally dropped many years after its defeat to USB 2.0 was already obvious...."

A partial "touché" on this one - but wrong on FireWire. Unfortunately, MacBook Airs, Late 2008 aluminum MacBooks, and the latest polycarbonate MacBooks are indeed bereft of FireWire. Pretty much all other Macs since 2000, including the Mac mini, have them.

4. Mac OS X Is Merely a Locked Down Version of Open-Source Linux

"Its [sic] easy to assume that over 90% of Mac owners are not only unaware of this, but don't have a clue what Linux is."

Strictly speaking, OS X is a variant of a different branch (Free BSD) of the Unix OS family than Linux, which JJ somewhat convolutedly acknowledges, but the big distinctions between other Unixes and OS X are the proprietary Mac user interface (UI) and the Open Source Darwin core - these are not the same thing as Linux.

Linux UIs such as Gnome and KDE are getting better all the time, but the Mac UI remains the king-of-the-hill, at least for discerning computer users. In JJ's case, it's probably one of those "If I have to explain it to you, you'll never understand anyway" dynamics.

BTW, I don't know any fellow OS X fanboys who aren't very well aware of what Linux is, and a fair few have it installed either on their Macs or on other computers in their fleets - for example, folks who want a netbook but can't stomach the prospect of running Windows. I've installed a couple of Linux builds on PowerPC Macs, albeit not recently, but would like to check out Ubuntu if I ever get the time.

5. There Is No Right-f*cking-click!

"Mac fanboys will respond to this by saying 'actually you CAN get a 2-button mouse now!' but . . . the EFFING RIGHT CLICK STILL DOESN'T DO ANYTHING . . . Don't even ask how to make the Delete button actually delete something..."

Hogwash! I've been using mice with two (or more) button with my Macs since the mid-90s, and with OS X I use the right-click extensively. For example, in the application I'm using to draft this, Tex-Edit Plus, the right-click contextual menu provides quick access to 10 text formatting functions.

JJ's Delete button comment mystifies me.

6. The Dock, and General Screen Layout, Is Retarded

"The clock doesn't display a date . . . The Dock concept is cute, yet still . . . you not only can't see any of the windows that you have minimized, but you also can't truly adjust the way The Dock behaves or appears. Trying to 'X' out of a program doesn't close it, it simply minimizes it . . . Except it begins to kill your CPU after you've done it a few times by keeping programs running as ghosts...."

The terminology is "hidden", and if you make use of the Spaces feature, you don't need to do much of that. I prefer to keep my apps open and idling, as opposed to having to close and restart them. I usually have somewhat between a dozen and 20 running at any given time.

The clock absolutely can be configured to display the date with a variety of readout mode options with simple clicks in the Date & Time preferences panel.

I do agree that minimizing windows to the Dock is über-lame. I use third-party WindowShade X instead.

7. 'It Just . . . Doesn't Work' (Macs Crash, Freeze, and Have Evil Viruses)

"'I thought I would dispel all the Mac lies in one sentence, so there you go. If you have ever tried to open Photoshop along with a few other programs on a Mac . . . more often than not the little rainbow wheel will starting spinning like crazy - that, or your Mac will simply freeze . . . What hasn't been improving though is the increasing amount of viruses being found on Macs . . . Macs are no safer than any other computer, especially since they ship with their firewall turned off."

Utter codswallop. In eight months of intensive production use, mostly on the Internet, my MacBook has never crashed, frozen, or contracted a virus. Indeed, in nearly 18 years of Mac computing, I've never encountered a real live virus, I don't use antivirus software, and I've never enabled the OS X firewall.

Photoshop isn't the speediest program starting up, but it's never frozen any of my Macs. With rare exceptions, Mac stuff really just does work. [And there are no Mac viruses in the wild, evil or otherwise. ed[

8. Software and Hardware Options for Mac Are Lame, or Slim at Best

"Mac Mail, iPhoto, GarageBand, iChat, QuickTime, and the rest of the bundled Mac software mostly just sucks, or is extremely limited in what it can do...."

More baloney. I'm not a particular fan of Apple's iApps myself, and except for iTunes and QuickTime I don't use any of them regularly, but there's a cornucopia of excellent software available for the Mac - some of it you can't get for Windows. With ambidextrous applications, the Mac version is sometimes better. Photoshop Elements for the Mac gives you the Photoshop CS Bridge photo browser and organizer, while Elements for Windows has a much less capable organizer.

9. Gaming, and Graphics in General, Suck on Macs

I'll concede this point to JJ on the gaming part, although not a biggie for me, since I'm not a gamer. I find graphics support perfectly satisfactory on my Macs. Even the pedestrian RAGE Mobility 128 GPU with its puny 8 MB of VRAM in the old Pismo PowerBook does an amazing job of running apps. like Photoshop Elements 4.

10. Macs Are Not Flexible or Customizable

More of what emits from the south end of a northbound horse. Not everyone wants to build their computer from parts and spend vast amounts of time getting it to work. For me, a computer is a serious tool of my trade - not an end in itself. However, this old Pismo I'm typing on has a processor upgrade, an optical drive upgrade, AirPort WiFi, a CardBus FireWire 800 card, maxed out RAM, and an upgraded hard drive - and it was all easy to do.

There are plenty of things about Apple computers that bug me, but in general, it's a great trip compared with the routine grief my Windows-using friends are obliged to routinely put up with and waste time dealing with. Over the long run, the total cost of ownership tilts in the Mac's favor. Macs just make more logical sense.

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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