Recycled Computing

The Mac vs. PC Debate

- 2008.03.06

I hesitate to venture into this morass that is the quagmire of thisbone of contention between what would normally be two groups of placidcomputer users.

This controversy between Macs and PCs started when the personalcomputer industry was young. Early on, most businesses (used to IBM)"standardized" on the Microsoft operating system. Eccentrics andnonconformists seemed to gravitate to Apple.

Apple has been a big player in the educational market, althoughlately, this has begun to change. What has also changed is the surge inApple laptop sales. All of a sudden, due in no small part to thesuccess of the iPod, an Apple laptop is seen as the laptop toown.

It's for hard us Mac cult people to imagine. We've hung on to Appledespite the bad old days. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around it,but in the future, Apple may be a giant player in the computer industry(in terms of market share).

Still, the Mac vs. PC controversy rages.

It even invades the tranquil halls of academia. I'm going torecreate a little issue that occurs in my Writing Center room (whichhas about 14 Dells running Windows 2000 and 9 Macs running OS X10.3.9 to 10.4.11)

PC: I'm a PC.

Mac: ...and I'm a Mac.

PC, some students are having trouble using PCs in theWriting Center. When they save a file on a PC, that file doesn't appearin their documents folder.

PC: The explanation is simple, Mac. Whenstudents log in to a PC, there are two documents folders. When theysave a file, it goes to the document folder for that computer and doesnot save on the student's document folder on the network.

Mac: How do they solve this problem, PC?

PC: There's no real problem. Who would want touse a Mac?

Mac: PC, this is not an Apple televisioncommercial.

PC: Okay, okay. When using the PCs in theWriting Center, click File, and then click Save As. A window will popopen with "Documents" in a drop down box. Click on this, and a seriesof files will appear. Click on the student's login name (such asgoodbo), and the student's folders will appear. Click on "Documents"and save. The student's file will now be in their documents folder nomatter what computer they log into in the building.

Mac: Isn't this easier on a Mac?

PC: I thought you said this wasn't an Applecommercial.

C'mon, even you PC users got a chuckle out of that.

Chevy vs. Ford

I want us all to gain a little perspective, so I want to talk aboutan argument that has been going on since the invention of theautomobile. It lives in a large number of high schools across thiscountry, especially in rural areas. Chevy pickup trucks versus Fordpickup trucks.

I happen to work in a rural state, although the mall sprawl andWalmart invasion is creeping towards us. The Chevy vs. Ford argumentsare much the same as when I went to high school (during the Stone Age,according to the students). The only time there is any unity is whenthe subject turns towards Dodge pickup trucks, which are viewed as"junk" (or worse) by both Chevy and Ford fanatics. After a while, youfeel like saying - "Dudes (and dudettes), they are both pickup trucks,and they both do pickup truck things."

This is true in the computer world as well. Both PCs and Macs docomputer things. Both subspecies have strengths and weaknesses. Afriend of mine from college (she majored in biology) told me that thescientific community preferred the processing power of PCs and thatthose "artistic" types (I believe that she was referring to me) likeMacs. No wonder that relationship didn't work out. Anyway, I thinkeveryone has heard enough of the pros and cons of both machines andboth operating systems.

I use Macs because I am familiar with the quirks and foibles of thesystem. It is a "language" that I speak. I started out with MS-DOS, butI have been an Apple user ever since. I have used PCs, and one of thecomputers on my home network is a Dell XPS (of course, I also have aniMac 450 DV, my Pismo, my daughter's G4 iBook, the MacBook my wife uses at work, and acouple of PSPs). I just prefer using my Pismo (I'm writing this articleon it). Other people like other computers and other operating systemsand software.

It would be pretty boring if the only flavor of ice cream wasvanilla.

Peace, my brothers and sisters. The dogma can get run over by thekarma. LEM

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