Carlos

Confessions of an apostate mac user

21 posts in this topic

My Powerbook G4 is now about 5 1/2 years old, and other than running a bit slower than it used to, is still working just fine with no problems in it's lifetime so far.

As I contemplate buying a new laptop though, it becomes harder and harder to justify paying the steep prices for a mac. I can build an 17in HP laptop with a 2.6gig processor, built in webcam, 4GB ram and a good video card for nearly $1,500 less than the apple 17in equivalent! ^_^ Or I can build an 18.4in Sony Vaio with equally beefy specs for $1,600.

If there was a significant difference in reliability between the two products the price difference would be fine to me, but after combing through many amazon.com reviews, I find just as high of a percentage of mac users who have had junk products that didn't work as with most other PC laptops (the hard drive failed after 2 months, it came with faulty burned out pixels, it died after two years).

Even if the PC laptop I bought would be less reliable than a mac laptop (let's say, the PC is junk after 3 years whereas the mac lives 5-6 years), I would still rather have a $2,000 very beefy 17in pc laptop for those 3 years than a $2,000 slower 15in mac laptop for 5-6 years. Besides, I'm getting a little tired of playing WoW on the lowest resolution settings while still having choppy gameplay and low framerates ^_^

I still think that if money is not a restriction, Apple definitely makes the superior product; but as a grad student with years of college still ahead of me, I don't have the stomach to drop that much green on a single laptop!

What are other's thoughts on this?

It's kind of funny to be in this position though, as me getting a mac laptop years ago resulted in my mother, father, sister and girlfriend also purchasing macs! I feel like Moses converting to Paganism after giving his people the 10 Commandments...

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What are other's thoughts on this?

I'm not sure if it's legal, but the net is packed with sites that shows people how to install OSX on a Windows machine. Some run both OSs on the same computer.

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What are other's thoughts on this?

I'm not sure if it's legal, but the net is packed with sites that shows people how to install OSX on a Windows machine. Some run both OSs on the same computer.

Sounds like it would be illegal.

If it were easy to get WoW to work on Linux I think I would just buy a Dell laptop and choose for it to come with Linux instead of Vista ^_^

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I'm not sure "Apple" and "superior" should be used in the same sentence unless in the context of fruit, especially when they pull crap like this.

It is not illegal to run Apple software on non-Apple hardware yet. There is currently a lawsuit in court over a 3rd party manufacturer (Psystar) making cheap Apple clones with OS X pre-installed. There is no resolution yet, but here is the current state of it all. But if you absolutely must, you can run OS X on PC hardware using Kalyway (just browse a torrent tracker and you'll find it). Here is a quick how-to guide.

Anyways, it is really easy to get a good number of Windows apps to run "natively" in linux via Wine. Here is the database to all the applications that are known to work perfectly, with a few bugs, or not at all (and what version of Wine and linux used, how it got to work, etc.) I'd recommend using a more common distribution (Fedora or Ubuntu) if you plan to go this route, since the amount of testing/support is generally proportional to number of users. :angry2:

Personally, I choose to use Sun VirtualBox to run the Windows applications I need for school. It's free and cross-platform, available for most common linux distributions. However, you need to have a Windows license for your Windows virtual PCs (most schools have volume license agreements) and virtualization usually isn't the best solution for playing video games. I use TinyXP to save on resources in a virtual PC, despite owning several copies of Windows XP.

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As a late update to this thread, I bought a new computer over the summer.

And it is....

A 15in Macbook Pro :P

After thinking about it for a long time and comparing/contrasting many other computer user's experiences whom I know, I've come to the conclusion that PC's are nice computers, especially for the price, but whatever quality they could possess is strangled and compromised by the unstable, slow OS that is Windows.

You can call Mac products overpriced, pretentious, overhyped, but the fact is that they come with a very nice OS that is superior, and for some people that makes it worth the price.

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After thinking about it for a long time and comparing/contrasting many other computer user's experiences whom I know, I've come to the conclusion that PC's are nice computers, especially for the price, but whatever quality they could possess is strangled and compromised by the unstable, slow OS that is Windows.

Can't you run any OS you want on a PC?

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As a late update to this thread, I bought a new computer over the summer.

And it is....

A 15in Macbook Pro :P

After thinking about it for a long time and comparing/contrasting many other computer user's experiences whom I know, I've come to the conclusion that PC's are nice computers, especially for the price, but whatever quality they could possess is strangled and compromised by the unstable, slow OS that is Windows.

You can call Mac products overpriced, pretentious, overhyped, but the fact is that they come with a very nice OS that is superior, and for some people that makes it worth the price.

I was a PC user for years and then bought my first MacBook Pro in early 2008. I now have three Macs, one I just bought to replace my awful Dell the company provided me. With VMware Fusion, I can do all the Windows stuff I need to for work (I'm in software sales for a large global IT company).

I don't get preachy about Macs, but I have found them vastly superior to any PC I owed in the past.

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As a late update to this thread, I bought a new computer over the summer.

And it is....

A 15in Macbook Pro :D

But...but...Windows 7 is just around the corner!

:D :D :P

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Windows 7 is already out. My general experience has been that Windows is stable, but it relies on 3rd party code called "Drivers" to communicate with its hardware. And those drivers for a lot of hardware are badly written by the hardware manufacturer which cause a lot of crashes.

Apple gets around this by strictly controlling the hardware that gets used by the OS, so if the drivers aren't upto scratch, Apple switch hardware companies.

To get around this with a PC, you need to find a supplier who you trust to build computers out of quality components, and have a friend who knows the stable versions. Then it will just run like a dream. :P

Windows 7 should be interesting in this regard because it detects which driver failed, and tells the user, shifting the accountability away from "Windows just died" back to the hardware manufacturer where it belongs. This should hopefully provide an impetus for driver manufacturers to lift their game because they can no longer just freeload off Microsoft.

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Long ago I had an Apple and all was well. Then I thought I would save money by switching to a PC (Pentium III, Windows 98). I ended up spending far more time than I wished wrestling with that beast. 5 years ago I replaced it with a Mac Powerbook... and wow what a difference! Whatever the upfront cost differential, I love that it just works. No more wasted hours trying to download the latest driver, or get Microsoft's own software to work on Windows.

It's the comparison of initial purchase price vs. lifetime cost of ownership. For my context, Apple fits very well.

An alternative would be to get Ubuntu or another Unix/Linux OS on a PC. Save big money up front, spend some time initially setting it up, but in the long run should work almost as reliably and as virus free as the Mac OS.

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Interestingly, I have had pretty much exactly the opposite experience with a Mac (kernel crashed and I lost my HD). Since then I have been a faithful Lenovo Thinkpad customer. I really like it, and it's reasonably free from crapware. The build construction is the best I've seen. I'm still using Windows XP, and I have never had any problem.

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As a late update to this thread, I bought a new computer over the summer.

And it is....

A 15in Macbook Pro :D

But...but...Windows 7 is just around the corner!

:D :D :P

Which means that I should take a 3 sided die with "XP", "Vista" and "ME", and roll it to see what the odds are of 7 being like?

But seriously, this is exactly what finally pissed me off about Windows and pushed me away from them for good: consistency

Sometimes Windows can honestly make fine products; other times you get Vista.

Apple conversely is very consistent with product quality (at least from my experience), especially with the OS.

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I particularly find the Apples useful for doing research in grad school.

For our research, my girlfriend and I have to access clusters to run calculations. With a pc this means you have to download 3rd party software to do it, because apparently MS-DOS doesn't do secure-shell stuff.

The Terminal on Apple (which is a native program) can do ssh connections and secure file transfer connections; in fact, with the new Snow Leopard you even get a native VPN program!

Even better, when I'm moving files back and forth between my computer and the cluster, it is a complete breeze using the terminal. When I open up a secure file transfer connection, it works by having both the cluster's Linux command-line and the Terminal's command-line prompt coexisting. With it this way I can--within the same window and command line--type commands to do stuff within the Linux environment, or type the same command preceded by ! (for example, !mkdir) to do those commands on my terminal. Then, to exchange files, you just use the command "get" and "put". :P

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After thinking about it for a long time and comparing/contrasting many other computer user's experiences whom I know, I've come to the conclusion that PC's are nice computers, especially for the price, but whatever quality they could possess is strangled and compromised by the unstable, slow OS that is Windows.

Can't you run any OS you want on a PC?

You can't legally run Mac OS on pc.

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I don't get preachy about Macs, but...

Same here. Many Mac users seem to be fanatical and pretentious about the products, with the result being that they overhype the mac products completely and don't appraise them objectively at all. I'm not that kind of Mac user, but like you I do find that the difference in quality does definitely exist.

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Windows 7 is already out. My general experience has been that Windows is stable, but it relies on 3rd party code called "Drivers" to communicate with its hardware. And those drivers for a lot of hardware are badly written by the hardware manufacturer which cause a lot of crashes.

Apple gets around this by strictly controlling the hardware that gets used by the OS, so if the drivers aren't upto scratch, Apple switch hardware companies.

To get around this with a PC, you need to find a supplier who you trust to build computers out of quality components, and have a friend who knows the stable versions. Then it will just run like a dream. :P

Windows 7 should be interesting in this regard because it detects which driver failed, and tells the user, shifting the accountability away from "Windows just died" back to the hardware manufacturer where it belongs. This should hopefully provide an impetus for driver manufacturers to lift their game because they can no longer just freeload off Microsoft.

Don't take this the wrong way, but your response is almost like a stereotype of every response I hear from computer-oriented people about Mac vs Windows. The impression I have gotten (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that very computer savvy people enjoy Windows/pc products and dislike Mac probably because they are so skilled and knowledgeable that they can effortlessly fix the problems they encounter when using a pc, so the extra price for the promise of a bit more reliability on a Mac is probably not alluring to them at all. If you are smart enough to fix everything and keep the pc in good shape, you probably are more interested in buying a less expensive pc with comparatively much more hardcore tech-specs for the price.

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Windows 7 is already out.

What do you think of 7? I hope it turns out to be a good product... I've seen so many people have the frustrating experience of what is a nice computer being rendered inoperable simply because of the crappiness of Vista or their other software issues.

My girlfriend had an older, quite nice pc that she bought (probably around 2 thousand dollars) that basically became unusable with time because the XP service upgrades bloated it to death. Then she bought a newer computer, and Vista's sluggishness made that one inoperable as well. Meanwhile my +6 year old Mac laptop with 500M of ram could run operating systems 2 generations ahead of what it came with, with the full graphical features enabled, and still not be sluggish...

It just seems beyond tragic to make people (especially when they don't have enough money) buy brand new computers and discard perfectly functioning (in a hardware sense) computers simply because they changing Windows software/OS has ruined them. I don't understand why Microsoft can't perform on a better level than this, especially considering that their profits are probably 1000 times that of Apple's...

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Long ago I had an Apple and all was well. Then I thought I would save money by switching to a PC (Pentium III, Windows 98). I ended up spending far more time than I wished wrestling with that beast. 5 years ago I replaced it with a Mac Powerbook... and wow what a difference! Whatever the upfront cost differential, I love that it just works. No more wasted hours trying to download the latest driver, or get Microsoft's own software to work on Windows.

It's the comparison of initial purchase price vs. lifetime cost of ownership. For my context, Apple fits very well.

An alternative would be to get Ubuntu or another Unix/Linux OS on a PC. Save big money up front, spend some time initially setting it up, but in the long run should work almost as reliably and as virus free as the Mac OS.

As a side note, I'm not sure how good Ubuntu is these days, but a few years ago I tried other distributions based on Linux and found them lacking in the areas of configuration, user interface and applications. One of the major issues, again, is drivers. Most of the drivers for Linux have to be written by its community of users rather than the hardware suppliers because most suppliers don't think Linux is worth the effort. I see, however, that things have begun changing in this area.

If you set up a Unix-like system properly and keep the same applications and hardware, I don't think you will have any problems on that computer for the duration of its lifetime. A virus wouldn't know what to do with it. The thing I love about Unix-like operating systems is that they are excellent for automation. Those who have a programmer's mindset can make the most of these systems. The most well-written, best documented and most secure open source operating system I have seen is OpenBSD, the project leader of which (Theo de Raadt) has a work ethic similar to that of Howard Roark. I have it installed on both of my computers at home and enjoy "taking it for a spin".

That being said, most of the time I use Windows simply because the applications I need aren't made for Unix. But, then again, I use a Unix environment within Windows for my data processing and programming needs.

OSX truly is the best of both worlds: a Unix-based command interface topped with a beautiful GUI, and is at least a generation ahead of Microsoft in terms of innovative features. While Microsoft claims to spend millions of dollars annually on software research alone, I just don't understand why their software has the quality it does. Apple has produced far more quality for a fraction of the amount in less time, and so have open source software developers.

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Don't take this the wrong way, but your response is almost like a stereotype of every response I hear from computer-oriented people about Mac vs Windows. The impression I have gotten (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that very computer savvy people enjoy Windows/pc products and dislike Mac probably because they are so skilled and knowledgeable that they can effortlessly fix the problems they encounter when using a pc, so the extra price for the promise of a bit more reliability on a Mac is probably not alluring to them at all. If you are smart enough to fix everything and keep the pc in good shape, you probably are more interested in buying a less expensive pc with comparatively much more hardcore tech-specs for the price.

That is not the case. I just don't like people buying a brand of PC such as "Dell" which is known to have badly written drivers and comes preloaded with so much software that nobody uses that automatically starts at startup, and I have heard stories of low build quality from them and then proclaiming that "Windows" is bad. Somehow, Dell is not to blame, it must be that evil Windows. :P

My own time is very valuable these days. 4 to 5 years ago, I would be the sort of guy who would tinker with the computers to get them faster or run better as per your stereotype, but I no longer have any interest in that. These days my business consumes my time and I am focused on that. I want to depend on my computer hardware, without spending my time on that instead of business strategy, for there is a very high opportunity cost involved, in terms of money and personal values.

Unfortunately, I can't recommend a big name company for you to check out in regards to PC's, I rely on a local small business in Melbourne, who have excellent build quality to build things for me and have for years now. My current Vista entertainment PC that I use for gaming for example, is now hitting its 3rd year of life and it is still running well, with no maintainance from me.

My business laptop, is running Windows 7, and is still running well with no problems. But since the installation is still new, I can't testify as to its durability yet. So far, I have found Windows 7 to be rock solid, but ask me in a year. :D

As to other hardware in my life, I got an AppleTV, and an iPhone. Since to put it bluntly, Microsoft do not know how to make a good mobile phone operating system yet as evidenced by their prior releases. I got no problem using Apple when I judge their product to be superior, but do not believe it to be the case yet, with their MacBook products.

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The impression I have gotten (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that very computer savvy people enjoy Windows/pc products and dislike Mac probably because they are so skilled and knowledgeable that they can effortlessly fix the problems they encounter when using a pc, so the extra price for the promise of a bit more reliability on a Mac is probably not alluring to them at all. If you are smart enough to fix everything and keep the pc in good shape, you probably are more interested in buying a less expensive pc with comparatively much more hardcore tech-specs for the price.
I don't think this is incorrect as a general assumption, and I was a programmer and quite technical guy for years. As my job shifted more towards the business side of things, I found PCs less and less compelling. Yes, I can figure out - as a techo - how to fix PC problems, but I haven't the inclination to do it now. In other words, I want a stable tool that I don't need to babysit. In my Windows days, it was always a waiting game when the OS would deteriorate to the point that I had to re-image the primary drive. In the nearly two years that I've owned Macs, I haven't experienced the headaches I once did. So for me the value is there and I have been willing to spend the extra money up front.

Furthermore, all the software I need is available on Macs (including the Cisco VPN client my company requires), and because of products like Parallels and VMware Fusion, I can 'revert' to Windows when necessary. I've become quite a fan of Apple's supporting products, too, like the Apple TV and the Time Capsule wireless router/backup disk. With my three Macs, keeping my back-ups current is entirely effortless. For me, it all comes down to the elegance of the product line and the usability. Apple for me offers the value I'm looking for.

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