So… What’s so great about Macs?

      4 Comments on So… What’s so great about Macs?

Now that my “shiny new toy” syndrome has worn off, and have had a solid 6 months to actually learn and use a Mac…  I’m seriously failing to see what is so great about them.  Granted, my budget doesn’t allow me to get an iPhone or an iPad to check out the features you get when you mix them up on the same network or using the AirDrop feature.  Still, I’m not sure that would “wow” me.  Here’s some of the reasons I say this.

Insert, Home, End, DEL, CTRL & Printscreen

As an HTML and PHP person, the Insert, Home, End and CTRL keys are an absolute must for me to get things done efficiently.  They are also very handy for playing Warcraft.  The lack of these keys frustrate me to no end.

There is a CTRL key, why the hell can’t I use it!?!  Well, I can, but it seems only if I Remote into my Windows computer or if I use terminal.  OK sure I use both on a daily basis.  But then I want to copy and paste items or text, I have to use the Command key instead.  Why not just make the CTRL key work for that too?  Seems pointless to have both keys.

The delete key is also very deceiving.  It does not work the same as a Windows machine.  If you expect it to delete, it backspaces instead.  You have to use a FN or function key to make it delete rather than backspace.  Directionally challenged are they at Apple?  Tis backwards and piss me off much it does.  Also, why a FN key?  Kind of confusing against the already present F1, F2.. etc keys.  That… you have to use the FN key to utilize as they too are set to other functions rather than F1, F2.. etc…  My head hurts just thinking about it.

Printscreen!  Dammit I want to printscreen!  Oh wait… no I need to do origami with my fingers and do SHIFT+COMMAND+3 to get a screenshot.  Oh sure, there are apps that make screenshots easier but that means I have to download and install something that is already native to the OS, but it’s causing me to develop arthritis using it.

A Software Comparative

For the most part, I’m able to use my Open Office and other programs much like I do on my Windows PC.  However, there are a few software items (such as my text/code/html editor, my web design software and photo editor) that I use daily that either are not available for Mac or their Mac counterparts are slow and/or suck.  For example, I do miracles with graphics and photos in my free Paint.net for my PC.  On Mac, I’m either faced with a bastardized version of GIMP (and I’ve always hated trying to use GIMP) or I can use Pixelmator which for the most part looks the part and has many similar features, but the learning curve makes me just say “Eff this, I’ll do it later on my PC”.  So I’ve paid $30 for a software I barely use.  Just going back to use my freeware that works wonders.  My only other choices are Pinta (that needs some serious work, but is shooting to be a Paint.net clone), or Adobe Photoshop and I sincerely think only professionals can afford it and I still believe they are bat-shit crazy to pay $700 for graphics software.  Sure it’s the shizznit.  Bring it down to $199 and I’ll jump at it.  But again, it’s like paying $1800 for a Macbook Pro when I did just fine with my $500 Sony Viao before hand.

Games

I’m a PC gamer dammit!  This Macbook Pro has just as good of hardware as I have in my desktop.  (well… save for the graphics card.  but it’s darn close!)  I can play Warcraft and some older games that were recently “ported” to Mac.  But I can’t play my newer games because software developers still aren’t on the Mac bandwagon for the most part.

Although, Mac still may be the way to go over Windows 8

I’m dreading it.  Not only from an end user standpoint but also as a tech.  I’m just waiting for customers to run out and buy a shiny new Windows 8 machine on a ARM processor type of hardware build and find that none of their software will work because they didn’t pay attention or have the knowledge to know that they needed an X86 based processor.  I don’t understand making an OS that can run on two totally different architectures when most of the software won’t.  Which in my mind, will drive more people to Macs when they get frustrated over this.  I don’t think Microsoft realizes not everyone will want to go out and buy all new software that may not even meet their needs.  So when the time comes, Mac may be the way to go.  For them at least.  However, I may be wrong in my assumptions of Windows 8, but from what I’ve gathered…. Yikes…

Patches, Security and Maintenance

After having this Mac for several months now, I don’t see how anyone can complain about Windows patches and security.  The OS and other software get updates and patches just about every week.  I check them everyday.  As I do with my Windows software and what-not.  Patches are patches and are needed to keep things secure and/or running smoothly.  Seems they are running neck and neck for patches.

Security is still something most Mac users take for granted.  They don’t understand that prevention is better than patching a known problem.  Patches only come out after something has been found to be wrong and already exploited on hundreds or even thousands of computers.  Possibly millions if patched too late.  Then that’s even if the end user has bothered to check for updates and patches.  OR if the end user even bothers installing the updates or patches.  Nothing like hearing “every time I run an update something else breaks”.  Sounds like something was already broken, and the update only made it more prevalent.  It’s not like they are pushed every few minutes like a security software would do.  With an antivirus, most use Heuristic scanning techniques and/or Sandboxing.  Heuristics basically means if it smells like a virus, or tastes like a virus or behaves like a virus, it’s a virus until proven innocent.  Sandboxing is let me see what it does virtually before I let it do what it does for real to prove it’s safe to play with.  As I’ve said before, Macs have viruses too.  And with the current growth rate, the bullseye is only getting bigger on Apple’s flagship product.  My personal opinion is if you have a Mac and don’t think you need an antivirus software, you’re an idiot.  As well, like I said previously, my Mac came with the Firewall turned off.  It should be turned on so that any known open exploit in the OS can’t be easily found by some hacker.  A firewall helps keep unwanted outside traffic at bay.  Leaving others who don’t bother to run their firewall software to be a bigger target than you.

Maintenance is something Mac users also take for granted.  I take calls from Mac users just like PC users saying “It’s running so slowly!”.  Macs make all these silly little files for what reason I’m not really sure.  But however, they build up and while I’m not an expert on Mac OS stuff, I do know that there are tools to help folks out with this.  Onyx is a tool to clear up unused silly files that build up on Macs and I can attest that it works like a charm.  I’ve also added a beta of CCleaner, the same thing I use for my PC to clear up junk files as well.  It even comes in handy for uninstalling programs.

So overall, I’m still doing just as much work to use and maintain my Mac as I do my PC’s.  As well as I only use my Macbook Pro half as much as I did my Windows based laptops, and I’m not getting much joy from it either…  So what’s the big deal?  Other than it is nice to look at, and it has solid tech support, it’s still 4x the cost of a PC.  Sure you’ve got brand style.  You probably also drink Starbucks and eat at Bonefish Grill everyday too if you can afford such a thing.  I drink brewed coffee and bring my lunch to work like most folks do.

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4 thoughts on “So… What’s so great about Macs?

  1. Kyidyl

    This reads as kind of curmudgeon-y. x.x

    If you miss those keys…get a keyboard. You can sub the command (formerly open apple) key for most ctrl windows key commands (eg, copy and paste.) command + shift + whichever arrow key functions as hope and end on a PC keyboard. Command + arrow key will work as back and forward in a browser window. Etc. etc. etc.

    Software…sorry, but, Photoshop. It is hella expensive, yes, but it’s worth it (I’ll be honest though, I’ve been using it since 1998 and haven’t paid for a single copy. Currently, I have one that’s a leftover from when my old company upgraded. You might be able to get it cheaper on ebay or amazon, or try to get a student discount if you know/are a student.). In comparison to a lot of other professional level software, it’s cheap. Maya, for example, is WAY more expensive. You might be able to get away with using paint shop pro. It’s similar, though not completely the same and I don’t know if there’s a mac version. Hell, for what it sounds like you’re doing you might be able to get away with using some of the native mac stuff. Painter isn’t bad either, although it’s geared more towards art than it is towards image or graphics manipulation.

    Games, I feel your pain. My mac is bootcamped for this reason. I don’t use windows 7 much though because I personally just prefer OSX.

    Patches, etc. Macs aren’t windows, you can use the automated features and not get screwed. Turn on the automatic patching and let it do its thing in the background. The only time I ever notice that the patcher needs something is when a new version of itunes, safari, or quicktime comes out. In about 6 years of using some incarnation of OSX I’ve never had a virus, a piece of spyware, or slowness that I couldn’t discern the cause. Also, patches >>>>>> holes. Usually when end users have problems with speed on macs it’s because they think clicking the X exits the programs, so they’re trying to use 12 things all at the same time (I gave my old MBP to my mom, and when I go home I check on it and she inevitably has like 10 things open.). The hardware is also stable as hell because of the cherry – picked – to – work nature of it. I have two mac users in my group, and their machines don’t break. However, I’ve pulled broken PCs out of the box tons of times. I’ve been doing support for about 10 years and using macs for like 6 or so, and I still find macs to be tons less hassle than PCs.

    People complain about the cost of a mac, but go price out a PC laptop with a video card that has its own RAM, and with high end enough hardware to last the 4 or so years you’re going to have that laptop for, and it comes in at about the same amount of money (I know, I priced one out to see if it was worth switching back when I bought my last laptop). Also, mac displays are so pretty and nice. <3 the display. Also, the battery will last for like 9 hours or something crazy like that on low settings. With the brightness turned up on mine I can get about 2.5 hours out of mine with normal use. Video games, obviously, lower that drastically. However, it's enough to be entertaining on a plane trip for a decent amount of time. I dunno, I don't see myself buying any other type of laptop again.

  2. Theodas Post author

    curmudgeon-y eh? Well I am a simple blogger, not a professional writer. Sadly I don’t get paid for my opinions 🙁 If you read my previous post linked from “Shiny new toy”, you’ll know I find a lot of good things about Macs too. Like the amazing battery life, or in this post, the awe impressive machine work that goes into making a Macbook Pro or Air. Other of my previous posts I’ve made about it (before I bought this one), snark about the way most Mac users I’ve met get all “holier than thou” when talking about their Macs. I’m just saying here, that all in all they are just as much work as a PC to maintain should the owner be as knowledgeable as they claim to be about computers in general. And that in time, viruses for Macs will be a serious issue.

    As for a keyboard, that kind of makes it pointless to use a laptop. I can’t see me parking at the starbucks or even at my desk here at work with this big-ass macbook and an extra keyboard.

    And while I am a victim of outsourcing (a.k.a. my old job is now in India), I know that back in the day, PC’s were just as expensive as Macs. Apple was smart and stayed true to the customer support while everyone who wanted cheaper computers got a fun surprise when they called 1-800-HelpME.

    Working for an internet provider, I see Macs get viruses. And while I have never had a virus on my PC’s or Mac. But watched countless others get snagged. Seem every week I’m locking someone for spewing out spam due to an infection. Not so many Macs obviously but with a 28% growth rate, give it time. As with anything, build a better mousetrap, they just build a different mouse.

    My cost for the Mac isn’t so much for games. Just that for a Mac that costs 4x the price of the Windows version. As for the games argument, it’s only because since it does have the hardware, where are the games? Yeah this thing does qualify as a Gaming Laptop more or less. But that is a question for game developers.

    All in all, for $1800 it should wow me, and it’s not. Granted, I did this mostly to be able to better help my customers. Since I have to have it around, I’d like to be happy with it too.

    Thank you for commenting 🙂

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