I’m a PC guy…should I buy a MAC?

I’m a PC guy.  Really.  I spend a lot of time on PCs.  I know how they work, how to keep them virus free, running fast, and I know all the shortcut keys so working with PCs is effortless for me.

More importantly they are cheap – my current machine came with a dual-core 2.7 GHz 64-bit CPU, Windows 7, a 1TB hard drive and 4Gb of RAM and cost just $220.  No screen, but they did throw in a mouse and a keyboard.

I’ve looked at Apple machines in the past and, while they look great, they just seem too expensive for what you get.  As a case in point a Mac Mini (the poor man’s Mac) configured to the above spec comes to $1,147!   And actually that is only a 750GB drive.

It just doesn’t seem to make sense.  And yet I keep bumping into people who are technically savvy and wouldn’t consider owning anything else.  In a conversation this week one such person said “I could never understand why people spent so much money on Apple machines, until I owned one.” and that started me thinking about a similar experience I had with motorcycles.

Case #1 – BMW vs Jap Bikes

Back in the mid-90’s I spent a huge amount of my life riding motorcycles.  I commuted into central London every day (80 mile round trip), instructed at the weekends and spent vacations riding to the south of France.   A typical year would see me rack up a minimum of 30,000 miles, and often much more.

Initially I bought nothing but Japanese motorcycles.  They were lighter, cheaper, faster and more available than BMWs and I really couldn’t understand why anyone would “spend all that money for a badge“.   But I found myself replacing my Japanese machines about every 6-9 months because they were just plain worn out and starting to become unreliable.

A work friend convinced me a try a used BMW by pointing out that he had used his trusty R80 for years and had no problems with it at all.  In the end I dropped  £2,200 on a used K75 with 25,000 miles on it, which was more than I had ever paid for a Japanese machine at any mileage.

At first it felt a little strange to ride because things were not where I expected them to be.   The indicators operated completely differently to anything else I had ridden and were downright confusing at first, and then there was the torque reaction from the shaft drive to contend with.  But it didn’t take too long for everything to feel completely normal and, dare I say it, even more logical.

I rode that bike everywhere and it was as reliable as a hammer.  After 18 months of trouble-free riding I had to sell the bike because I was leaving for the U.S.   I had put 50,000 trouble-free miles on it and it still looked great and ran the same as the day I bought it.   Selling a Japanese bike with 75,000 miles on it would have been a complete non-starter, and yet I was able to sell my little K75 for £2,000 – only £200 less than I paid for it after all of those miles.  

Case #2 – Harley vs The Rest

I know a number of people who swear by Harley Davidson motorcycles and would never consider owning anything else.  But most of those people have also never ridden anything else because that would be heresy!  I have ridden Harley’s on several occasions. My considered opinion is that they look nice but steer like a cow on roller skates and vibrate enough to make male owners sterile.

So the big question for me is…are Apple computers like BMWs or Harley’s?

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9 Comments

Filed under Automobiles and motorcycles, Life - or something like it, Technology

9 responses to “I’m a PC guy…should I buy a MAC?

  1. Kim Karman Dobson

    Originally, I would have said that the cultural differences between Macs and PCs were enough to require one to pledge allegiance one way or the other — were you a DOS person or a icon person? But now that the look & feel is very similar, I think it’s arguable that people are paying for consistency across hardware (not the word I was looking for but it’ll do). People want their iPhone, iPad, iBook, etc., to work seamlessly. I don’t know whether an iPhone would work seamlessly with a PC (and revel in my ignorance). Also, don’t underestimate the power of great design and a good marketing campaign…

  2. Richard Ross-Langley

    Start with an iPad and see how you go. The walled garden is very enticing.

    • I have an iPad already. It’s a great device for consuming, but I find it very limiting from a creation standpoint.

      And I feel the situation is different. The iPad is the 800lb gorilla in the tablet space in terms of apps available. But the situation is reversed for computers as there is more software available for Windows machines than Macs.

  3. Kevin G.

    First let me say I’m no mac fanboy. I spent the first 15+ years of my tech life driving PCs. The only thing I use windows for now is to run Visio. I will admit that Office for Mac is no where near as clean and efficient to use as Office for Windows but I still live in the mac app 99% of the time.

    1. Want to know why tech geeks like MACs? It’s a Unix box. ’nuff said.

    2. Want to know why the average home user (grandma in particular) should drive a mac? It’s a toaster, an appliance. 99% of what the average home user needs to do is built into the OS and it’s clean and VERY well thought out. Want mail press the mail button, same for photos, music, movies and so on… Need office cheap? Install Open Office. Add to that that it’s fairly virus immune, certainly much more so than windows, and that there are plenty of FREE and very effective scanners out there. There are many more reasons than just these.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      As someone that spends a reasonable amount of time in the Linux terminal I can appreciate the *ix side of things. But that is also why there is less software available (catch-22 – although it is catching up).

      Virus resistant – agreed, but certainly not virus free. Now that Macs are becoming more mainstream they are starting to be targeted more and having some measure of success because many people think that Macs can’t get viruses. I could be wrong but I always assumed that Macs seemed to run faster just because most of them are not using virus protection – which is a must on Windows. Fortunately there are plenty of free virus scanners available for Windows too – MS Security Essentials for example.

      Open Office (or Libre Office) is great for basic users but can’t hold a candle to MS-Office for any serious use. Maybe one day…I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Until then I am assuming that if I bought a Mac I’d have to run Office in something like Parallels or something similar. Thoughts?

      • Kevin G

        Barry,

        I have a late 2009 unibody, 3.05ghz core2duo, 8gb ram mbp. 500gb 7200rpm sata disk. On it are an xp and win7pro vm that run under parallels. Both boot and run as fast, if not faster, then my standalone windows desktop with very similar specs. I RARELY launch either one or touch the win7 desktop. But there they are all in one box. No need to shutdown one and boot into the other…..and the new MBPs will support 16g of ram so you can give a good healthy 8g to your vms. You can also have as much, or as little, integration between host and guest os as you want. Right down to each os having its own ip on the same wire/wireless.

        Office 2011 for Mac is quite good. Again, not quite as polished out of the box as the windows version but you can get it very close by using the built in (in office) keyboard mapper. The main drawback is outlook 2011 for Mac, also quite good, just doesn’t hold a candle to outlook 2010 for windows when it comes to power user features…but I still spend most of my time in outlook for Mac.

      • Thanks.
        Interestingly, while I do use Outlook (2007) I find that I am much faster reading emails on my iPad. Although replying is another matter – I go to the PC for any lengthy typing.

  4. From someone on FB…
    “YES!! User friendly, little or no threat of viruses, when you turn on the computer it is like turning on a light switch… it’s on … no need to wait a minute or so for everything to load. I was hesitant at first but I am so happy with the transition. Many people are making the change… without regret. Good luck with your decision.”

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