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Apple Lust

Microsoft Windows is the Tin Man of the computing world. It has no heart.

It’s been 20 years since I used an Apple Computer. I cut my teeth on an Apple ][+ purchased for me by my parents when I turned 10. I taught myself assembly, BASIC, spreadsheets, word processing, everything. I used the ][+ for 6 years before moving to a PC, eventually transitioning to Windows 3.0. No possession impacted my life as much as that computer and I could not thank my parents enough for that wonderful gift. It was superior to other PC’s I used – Trash-80’s, IBM PC’s.

Later in college, I used an Intel 386sx based PC scraped together from components, and upgraded to a 50 MHz 486DX with 40 Meg hard drive and 17 inch monitor in 1994. I blew a big chunk of my summer savings on that computer but it was top of the line. I loved it. I’ve enjoyed every PC hardware upgrade since. At Engineering school and eventually at work I graduated to Unix, which was truly awesome. You could do anything in Unix and it is still the best OS.

My current desktop is four years old and runs XP. I don’t know what processor lies inside, most likely a Pentium D. Some things have stopped working and I can’t fix them anymore. I don’t want to fix computers anymore. I want them to just work. 

I never used a Mac.

The microcomputer lab at UCSB was infected with them. They were tools for people who didn’t know how to use computers and I didn’t identify with these unwashed computing masses. Later, in the corporate world, Macs were verboten. Suggesting the use a Mac at work was a lack of discipline, a lack of loyalty to the corporate yoke.

People laugh at the ‘1984’ Apple ad but it captured this mentality perfectly. While the ad was groundbreaking this attitude towards Macs still exists in corporations today. From where I’m sitting I don’t see it changing.

Most have seen the above commercial, but few have seen Steve Jobs put the ad in the context of the time. Go here to see a young Steve Jobs speaking in 1983, gunning for IBM when he should have been gunning for Microsoft.

Windows XP is a massive improvement over Windows 2000, which was a big improvement over Windows 98 which was a big improvement over Windows 95 which was a massive improvement over Windows 3.1 which was a game-changing upgrade of Windows 3.1.

But along the way, the Wizards of Redmond forgot to give their OS a heart. And one cannot love what does not have a heart.

Mac owners express love for their machines. I cannot ever imagine loving a Windows PC even after nearly a 20 year working relationship with them. It is a defective relationship, a relationship without love.

I saw a MacBook Pro up close. It is a beautiful piece of work. A design that one could grow to love. But all I feel now is lust.


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  1. After writing this, I now feel it is unfair to fault Apple for failing to see Microsoft as the true threat. At the time OS/2, or even Quarterdeck Deskview would have been a more clear and present danger.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | January 30, 2007, 10:01 AM
  2. Go Gauchos! I graduated 1987 and used Apple 2 with a CPM card and learned my machine and assembly language programming on that.
    I used a Classic All in one Mac and was a Mac die hard.
    Now I have a 2 month old iMac and Dell PC’s running side by side.
    I personally think Macs are harder to use than Windows based machines now. I’ve yet to try Vista.

    Posted by Ed Draker | January 30, 2007, 10:33 AM
  3. The great irony of OS X is that it has made the MAC the home computer of choice for all my geek friends. Although I’ve never actually seen them open a terminal to do anything (besides show me that its there), they seem to take great comfort from just knowing that they could bang out a shell script if the urge ever hit them.

    Posted by m@ | January 30, 2007, 4:43 PM
  4. If the Mac ever takes a big share of the PC market, it will give the linux and unix desktop zealots a graceful exit and allow them to claim victory.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | January 30, 2007, 4:47 PM
  5. I’m an IT Manager by trade, and have always ran my shops saying “what ever platform you want… it is yours.” I’m equally comfortable driving a Solaris machine, a Linux box, FreeBSD, a Macintosh, Windows, whatever. I control the servers, but my users… they get what they want and need.

    You would be shocked to see how shocked they are when given that choice, and in my experience, MORE than half of them pick a Macintosh. Once the Windows users see their Mac-using brethren just getting stuff done, they switch too. The only folks who stick with Windows do so because of software… usually either accounting or software development software. That can usually be cured through Terminal Services or Citrix as well.

    I have no idea why so many of my peers don’t operate this way. After all, I’m here to provide service to my users, not the other way around.


    Posted by chuck goolsbee | January 31, 2007, 10:27 AM
  6. I have a Mac mini and a PC, the mini is small and faultless and it’s the one I take with me when I relocate (small size, no problems, doesn’t need firewalled, so quick to get up and running).

    But it’s also not the best computer I have. The key problems I think are:

    1. Fonts, just not as good as the hand optimized Windows fonts. I expect that problem to disappear when the resolution of the screen increases (soon?).

    2. There is an initial hurdle for a window user to understand what to do. Where is the start folder? How do I install software? Which key is the cut, which the copy, paste key? Apple have not tested their PC on unknowledgeable windows users.

    3. Price, I will not pay more than a product is worth, no matter how much hype there is. The mini price tag fitted the neat small quiet package it was in which is why I bought it, some of the larger pieces don’t. So I haven’t replace my big machine even though the Mac would suit me better.

    4. The integrated camera & microphone is a personal no-no for me. When I work on security clearance sites, it is not permitted.

    To me Windows is a kludge, a big complicated kludge and with Vista I’m looking for an out. But I’m also aware that the alternatives, including the Mac have little annoyances.

    Posted by MiniMe | January 31, 2007, 5:26 PM