To go along with Jen’s rant about Macs, I think I’ll write my own. I find the latest Mac TV ads hilarious and irritating at the same time. They have a bunch of them, with a smarmy “hip” Mac guy poking fun at the square, boring PC guy. The problem is that since literally thousands of companies sell PCs, and only one sells Macs, it’s impossible for anyone to create a cohesive rebuttal on the same scale as Apple’s attack on the PC. The response to Apple’s half-truths has to come in the form of grass-roots support, which is what got the PC to its dominant level anyway. Here’s my attempt. I’ll just talk about some of the ads and how ridiculous they are:
- The ad shows the smarmy Mac dude saying how fun it is to use a Mac. The PC dude says, “I can do fun stuff too, like spreadsheets!” and the Mac dude proceeds to imply that fun stuff is made up of photos and movies, and not spreadsheets, and since the PC can’t do that, it’s not fun. They don’t mention that you just can’t play games on the Mac. They might have a couple of them, but the hardware just can’t handle the best games. Those are all made for the PC. After a couple of years, they port the good PC games over to the Mac, but by then, we’re playing newer and funner (yes funner) stuff on our PCs. And by the way, the PC can edit photos and movies too. Windows XP comes with Windows Movie Maker, which I tried a few years ago. You just plug in your digital video camera, and it automatically leads you through the process of digitizing and editing a movie complete with credits and music. My first movie took about 10 minutes to make. I couldn’t believe how easy it was.
- The ad shows the PC dude and the Mac dude holding hands, talking about how they can network with each other and share files. This is true. Then a Japanese girl who represents a digital camera steps in and holds hands with the Mac dude. They start chatting in Japanese, and the PC dude looks jealous because he can’t communicate with her. This is not true. There are more peripherals that work with the PC than with the Mac.
- The ad shows the Mac and PC guys in cardboard boxes. The PC guy is not ready to go because his owner has to “install drivers and uninstall unwanted software.” He complains that some of his components are in other boxes. The Mac dude is all ready to make movies and edit pictures so he takes off. Sure, you can update drivers for the PC, but you never need to do that with a PC straight out of the box. The experience of plugging it in and turning it on is the same for any ready-made PC. The fact that stuff comes in different boxes is a good thing. That means you have a choice of what kind of monitor you want, what kind of speakers you want, etc. instead of buying everything from Apple. You can also do that if you have a Mac, but it means stuff will come in separate boxes. Oh the horror!
- The ad has the Mac dude talking about how easy it is to do stuff on a Mac, and how difficult it is on a PC. Making a web page is used as an example. I’ve tried this iWeb software, and it is a total disaster. First of all, it’s only really easy if you use their ugly website templates. Your web page therefore looks like everyone else’s. Then, it translates whatever you create into the most dense and nonsensical code ever created. Editing and uploading a single page from your site is very difficult. The end result is that if you make a tiny change, you probably will have to upload your entire site again, including all of the pictures and movies. Also, if you don’t subscribe to Apple’s overpriced and underpowered web hosting service, iWeb becomes even more difficult than PC tools. It doesn’t have any built-in FTP feature that is usually the standard for uploading to a third-party hosting service. It just dumps your site files into a folder and you have to find a third-party FTP program to upload it. In addition to being total crap, it looks like iWeb is just a way to sell Apple’s hosting service.
- The ad has the Mac dude telling the PC dude that the Mac can run Windows too, so you don’t need a PC. What they don’t mention is that you need to either install the Boot Camp software to partition your hard drive, then purchase a copy of Windows XP to run on it. Then you have to install all the drivers to run Windows. If you do it this way, you need to reboot every time you want to change operating systems. You can also purchase and run virtualization software to run Windows within Mac OS. You’ll also need to buy Windows XP in this situation. My point is that it’s not as easy as just “running Windows software” like the ad claims. You have to do a lot of technically intensive stuff yourself, which you wouldn’t have to do if you bought a PC. You’d just turn it on and it would work. There was a project that would allow you to install the Mac OS on a PC, but Apple’s lawyers shut that down.
There are more of these silly ads. You can see them all here if you’re not already sick of seeing them on TV.
I’m not saying the Mac is a bad computer. I’m not saying it’s worse than the PC, or better. It’s just a computer, and it’s just different. I used a Mac from 1984 until about 1992 when I bought my first PC. I was sick of hearing fellow Mac users bragging outrageously, mainly because they had never used anything but a Mac and just assumed that everything else was horrible. The Mac rhetoric was so irrational, and so strident. It reminded me of a dude who always talks about how well-endowed he is, because he’s insecure and afraid that someone will find out he’s inadequate.
Sure the Mac might be more suitable for some people, and other people would be happier with a PC. I’ve used both extensively, and can honestly say I like using PCs better. I like the fact that I don’t have to pay extra to get a mouse with two or three buttons and a scroll wheel. I like that there’s a massive selection of software for the PC that you just can’t get for the Mac. I like that I can customize my PC any way I want, and it will outperform a Mac for far less money. I like that I don’t have to pay Apple $150 for every minor bug fixing point release of my operating system. All of this means I can get more done faster and cheaper with a PC than I can with a Mac. But that’s just me.