mac vs vista

I got into a little discussion this week with a couple of guys re: Mac vs Vista. One guy was a Mac owner who claimed Vista was bad, tho I don't think he's used it (see Mojave experiment). The other was a PC owner, tho not necessarily a power user, who had recently been dazzled by a Mac presentation in a store and was now considering buying one.

Then there was me - long time Microsoft-lover as well as Mac-owner. I had to give them my $0.02 because their opinions were starting to be driven by the same factors that seem to drive many folks - Mac's "i" software, Mac's "stability", and Mac's alleged freedom from viruses.

Let's get the easy one out of the way first - we know that viruses are created by crazy & malicious hackers out there that want to cause trouble, right. Historically Mac has never had trouble with viruses. Why? Cuz those hackers didn't bother wasting their time on Mac! Windows machines control the world - why would I waste my development time putting a virus together to affect all seventeen of the Mac users of the world! :- )

okay, i'm exaggerating, but you get my point. Anyway, this security piece is recently being proven now that Mac is starting to get products like the iPhone that are taking a bigger bite out of the market. Check the news - you hear more and more stories about Mac being 'hacked' these days. So yes, you probably will have less trouble with viruses while using a Mac, but please don't assume it's because Mac is somehow superior in its security design - and please remember that the more popular your Mac becomes, the more susceptible it will be - will Mac be ready when the hackers decide they're ready to launch a full-blown attack?

Re: stability, for the most part I usually concede that Mac is more stable. But the reason behind this is what's important to understand:

  • Windows is like those 60's hippies - everyone's welcome to join in, love is everywhere, let's all join hands. Mac is like a fraternity - very selective about who gets in, and once you're in, play by our rules.
  • Windows is like a wild toga party of 300 people crammed into small house - noisy, wild, people spilling drinks on the floor - but fun. Mac is like 12 people studying in a locked library - yes, you're getting your work done, everything's nice and neat, but you're missing the party.

What the heck am I talking about? I've found over the years that Windows instability for most users comes from the non-Microsoft software they put on it. Vista has been extremely stable for me, and those times that it wasn't ended up being a 3rd party software or driver issue. Is it Vista's fault that it invited another software maker to the toga party that didn't know how to hold his liquor? Meanwhile, Mac doesn't invite quite as many people to library, and when they do, there's a lot of "Quiet, please!" going on.

So yes, normally I'd say Mac is more stable, but for a user like I me, I simply prefer the toga party - I've got more options, and I'm the kind of user that nows how to clean up spilled beer... i mean, troubleshoot stability issues. :) I will point out, however, that mere days into my Mac ownership, I was already having stability issues reminiscent of my Windows experience - could it be that maybe Mac isn't quite as stable as advertised?

Re: software, many people on the web have compared iPhoto vs Windows Photo gallery, iTunes vs Media Player, and iMovie vs Vista's Movie Maker. Here's my comments in a nutshell:

  • each side's software essentially gets the same job done. tho there's a different experience for each. whose experience you prefer is up to you, but let's not act like one of them is doing something more remarkably groundbreaking than the other.
  • I like to remember that although both are giving me these software tools for free, with Windows OS & hardware being significantly cheaper than Mac, I wonder if Mac is truly free after all???
  • Anybody that has traditionally felt Mac's tools were better than Windows needs to try Vista - maybe in the past the argument was true, but Vista pretty much copied a lot of ideas from Mac and put them in Vista.
  • I agree with many that Mac's tool take away a lot of freedom - which is why i never could make the jump over to iTunes and iPhoto. They're very specific about how they want you to manage your photos & music, and I don't like them telling me what to do. Maybe my 70-year old grandmother, who doesn't care either way and just wants to store her grandkids' pictures, would like iPhoto, but not me.

In closing, here's a pretty good feature comparison I found. The green boxes essentially mean it's better. However, there's a few points I disagree with it on:

  • Find windows - both Expose and Flip 3D are equally useful (or equally useless, depending on your usage)
  • Virtual desktop - although Windows doesn't come with it, there is a free virtual desktop tool built by the developer community that does the same thing that Spaces does. Tho I'm one of these guys that has never found a lot of value in the concept. Although I'll many time have a dozen or more windows open, I'm never quite comfortable saying that "these 4 windows can be pushed out to another view" - my mind jumps around to all my windows simultaneously! :)
  • Calendar - iCal and Windows Calendar are equally useless. :)
  • Remote desktop - VNC is an inferior user experience compare to RDP in Windows. This has been a major issue for me in my Mac adoption.

Alright, i guess I've talked enough. Hope this helps someone. Vive la difference!

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