Battle Macintosh Contest

July 26, 2000

Contents


Welcome to the very first Mac Guild Contest. These contests will be held on occasion in an effort to provide fun for the Mac Guild community, and to encourage active participation by all Mac Guild members.

Prizes will vary by contest.

This Contest
This contest, entitled "Battle Macintosh", is basically an essay contest. Given a series of questions, members were asked to give their views. Entries were accepted for a number of weeks, and then the entries were compiled and presented to the Mac Guild membership for a vote.

The Questions
The following is a list of questions asked for this essay contest. The contestants had the option to respond to any or all of the questions individually, or simply write a few paragraphs in response to the questions as a whole.

Q1: Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
Q2: Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
Q3: What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows? How do creative advantages help in your line of work?

Scoring
Scoring will be a combination of a select panel of Mac Guild members making technical analysis of the responses, and popular vote by all of the Mac Guild. Each voter rated the entries on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best), and then selected their top 5 favorite responses.

The Winning Entries...

Place

Entry #

Points Contestant Prize Claimed
#1

4
6

160 Mark Ford
Mike Elness
Apple Coffe Mug (Mark)
Apple Beach Blanket (Mike)
#2

10

72 Tom Barrett  
#3

11

57 Moe Bradley EMR CD
Runners up...
#4

8

55 Jeff Tave Explorer T-shirt
#5

5

52 Judd Spitzer Muggie Bear

Congratulations to Mark and Mike for their winning entries (tied for first place)!

Congratulations to the runners up, and to all the rest! The entries were great (both interesting and entertaining).

Review the Entries


Thanks also to all of you who took the time to vote, especially the panel of judges who provided input on voting tactics. Some judges based their opinion upon how the entries extend to the Mac's quality and consistency of use, and looked for answers that met this criteria. Here are some of their comments regarding this contest:
  • Entry #4 was well liked because its author actually uses and supports both Mac OS and Windows extensively and wrote from a position of authority. Many other authors admitted in their entries (some of which were otherwise quite good) that they were writing from a position of bias due to a lack of exposure to the Windows platform. Also, the author's use of Virtual PC to test Windows software changes is a beautiful touch of irony.
  • Entry #2 was very well thought out and articulated. The first point raised in this entry suggests that a multi-platform company has a decreased vulnerability to a crippling enterprise-wide virus due to most viruses' inability to jump across computing platform boundaries. Entries #5 and #7 also mentioned this angle, albeit not nearly as eloquently.

  • Entry #8 focuses on ease of use issues, which are also addressed in other entries. Its last sentence, "Less time spent trying to deal with Windows idiosyncrasies leave more time for developing solutions for my engineering & administrative work," nicely summarizes the (arguably) strongest advantage to using Mac OS. This entry clearly and effectively addresses its three questions.

  • Entry #11 relates to support issues, along with mystery of Windows configuration.

  • Entry #10 articulated well the feeling of chaos related to working with Windows versus the ease of working with the Mac.

The Entries...

Entry #1
by Bob Wing
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
Initially, when DOS was the platform for a PC, Macs were just easier to work with. Because of this, I stayed with the Mac and shunned any PC. Lately though, having had to work with PCs, they aren't as difficult to work with as I seem to remember.
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
I can understand EIS's point of view, yet I would think exploiting a person's peak efficiency would be more beneficial to a company. If that person can work better with one platform over another, let him make the choice.

Entry #2
by Chett Harris
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a
particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
Why?
I think it is unhealthy for several reasons. First, the 'biological' problem of having all the systems within a company be 'genetically identical' raises the risk of having the entire network be susceptible to a single virus or other network wide problem. A diverse set of OSs and platforms reduces the risk that the entire company will be disabled all at once. (and I know about the additional IT support levels required). Second, there is the recognized benefits of having the mac in place for creative professionals (e.g. marketing). If LM engineers are supposed to be creative, I don't understand the reluctance to use the creative platform of choice. Third, there is a documented cost savings for supporting macs vs. PCs on equivalent networks. My only conclusion for this preference towards PCs by the IT groups is empire building. Lastly, the simple matching of the best machine for the individual would dictate that a company composed of the 'best and brightest' would allow them to select their optimal machine (PC, SUN, Mac, etc.). By definition, the company cannot work at optimal efficency with only one platform.

Entry #3
by Randy Rasmussen
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
Back in 1987, when I saw my first Mac, a Mac+, I was in awe. I had worked with computers since the late 60s and had never seen anything so intuitive. I soon became a Mac evangelist, joined our Apple user group (LEAUG) and then became president of LEAUG. I worked hard to promote Apple products at Lockheed by working with other LEAUG members, John Moore of Apple and Kathy Perez of Computer Land to have special sales for Lockheed employees. Plus we had some "Expos", first in the 157 Lithium area, then two at the Techmart, then one at the San Jose Convention Center. Sure, Windows has caught up to be "almost" as intuitive. Sure, with Lockheed Martin dictating "YOU WILL HAVE A PC", gives me a handicap in doing work at home. Sure, the prices seem to be a little better with PC products. Even so, besides the time I've invested in Apple products, since 1987 I spent thousands of dollars for software and hardware for the Apple platform. I don't want to give that up--like my guns "They can pry it from my cold dead fingers!"--it's the principle.
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
When Joan Cox told us that if we didn't make the transition to PCs, our competitive position would weaken and our stock price would fall. Well we switched and our competitive position weakened and our stock price fell. We have UNIX machines too. Our engineering group wrote software for the Mac and UNIX machines. We've spent thousands of man hours converting that software to PC. Then there is software such as Virtual PC. Japan has mostly Macs, from what I've heard.

Entry #4
by Mark Ford
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
I currently support our HR & Security in their computer needs. Both departments typically use Windoz based equipment. I have approximately 200 users. I configure and deploy these boxes and fix problems users are having. In order to support this type of environment, I would submit that I know the Windoz platform very well. I trouble shot hardware, software and network problems and resolve the issues. I've done programming and just about every thing on a Windoz based machine. Therefore I feel qualified to speak intelligently on this subject. I like the Macintosh so much, because I KNOW Windoz so well. I don't feel like I have to fit the machine when I use my Mac. If I need to step down to Windoz, on my Mac, I can! I like the easy with which the MacOS affords you in your day to day processing.
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
Absolutely not! The bottom line is to process data, not fight with your machine. If this company wants be to the employer of choice, it needs to give employees the right tools for the job, instead of forcing a 1 fit's all tool down the users throat. If an employee can be more productive using a certain OS and is completely compatible with his peers, then that employee should receive the tools that afford him that ability.
What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows? How do creative advantages help in your line of work?
This is an excellent question! There are MAJOR advantages for my line of work. I do Network Security for the Moorestown NJ facility. We've all experienced the results of the computer virus's. I do all my experimenting on my Macintosh! My Mac laugh's at .exe files! In addition, I use Virtual PC and have an image of 95 & NT, which are backed up. In my testing, if I completely screw up something on one of the images, I just drag and drop it to the trash, then drag and drop a new preconfigured image back on to my harddrive and start over again. It's great for virus checking.

Entry #5
by Judd Spitzer
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
I prefer the Mac Platform over Windows for numerous reasons: First, it is the most intuitive platform for a person to use. Things work as you would expect them too, and because the shortcuts and methodology is so predictable, you are more productive. Second, I like knowing that I'm not using software that was meant to be a substitute for a Mac OS. Third, Because Apple makes both the Hardware and Software, the Mac Platform is much more of an integrated solution from top to bottom! Fourth, ILOVEYOU virus... (and most other ones as well) NOT! Lastly, I've been using Macs since 1984, and the Apple II before that, so let's just say I'm biased!
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
From a Mac Aficionado, the obvious answer is no. Of course I wouldn't complain if all the windows based computers disappeared either. The real problem is "Forced Popularity." Just because I'm using it, doesn't mean I like it. Anything that stifles an employees creative and productivity is BAD FOR BUSINESS!
What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows? How do creative advantages help in your line of work?
Mac software in general seems to be much more flexible in design capabilities. Since most of us are locked into the Micro$oft Office Suite, we are stuck with canned technology. When I look at software that was designed orignally as Mac Products, and how they continue to make their way to the Wintel market, it is because Wintel users see the need for these powerful and creative products. Examples: FileMakerPro 5.0, Homepage, Pagemaker, PhotoShop... and the list goes on.

Entry #6
by Mike Elness
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
I do not prefer the Mac platform over Windows. In my opinion, the Windows platform represents the pinnacle of modern operating systems, overshadowing Mac OS, Linux, UNIX, OpenVMS, and every other operating system ever made. Windows 3.1, 95, 98, and NT have been incremental, calculated steps in improving the outstanding Windows operating system, culminating in the very finest operating system to date, Windows 2000.

The elegance of the Windows operating system is evident everywhere. On lesser operating systems, you must follow a complex, convoluted sequence of steps to accomplish a task that is easily performed in Windows. As a simple example, let us compare the methods of adjusting the spacing of icons in Mac OS 9 and Windows NT. In Mac OS, the user must choose the Preferences item from the Edit menu and then click on either "Tight (more items)" or "Wide (neater arrangement)". This tortuous sequence of steps is bound to confuse the user, and the verbosity of the options can only lead to misinterpretation. On the other hand, let's examine the steps needed to do the same thing in Windows NT. Simply right-click on the Desktop, click on Properties, click on the Appearance tab, choose either "Icon Spacing (Horizontal)" or "Icon Spacing (Vertical)" from the Items pop-up menu, and then type in a numeric value representing the number of pixels you want to use for the selected axis. The intuitiveness and obviousness of this exercise should be apparent to everyone.

The Mac OS operating system has no creative advantages over Windows. Creativity itself is a dangerous thing to have, leading the mind into an uncharted territory where rules, procedures, guidelines, and rigid control simply do not exist. Windows stifles creativity, helping to keep workers focused on their jobs.

Entry #7
by Ray Calande
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
Primarily because it was the first platform I used for desktop processing.
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
Obviously not. However it was probably considered a wise decision, given the perceptions that management had at the time. When the decision to go to the PC platform and not support Macs was made, what was Apple's long term prospects? How many employees used PCs at home compared to those who used Macs? Would LM save money by going to a single platform?

Do I think it is healthy for a company to continue down a path that has proven to be ill advised at best. Hell no. Imagine if all desktop computers had been IMacs when the "I LOVE YOU" virus was circulating.
What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows? How do creative advantages help in your line of work?
Creative advantages are hard to enumerate, but I believe there are inherent ease-of-use benefits to the Mac OS.

Entry #8
by Jeff Tave
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
I have 12+ years using the MacOS so that will bias me, but I believe the MacOS is a more intuitive & straight-forward interface. In general, it seems like it is easier to accomplish a task under the MacOS, though I admit that I don't have a lot of experience using Windows. Under Windows, it just seems like it is harder to accomplish a simple task (though it may be just my lack of Windows experience). I do find it frustrating to have to use Windows. It's the stupid, seemingly trivial things that you have to do in Windows that gets me. (i.e. I've found the only way to find out your PC's processor speed is to reboot & look at the splash screen.)
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
Obviously, the answer should be "No." The task to be accomplished should dictate the tool(s). If someone can be more efficient using one tool over another (& if the company places value on that efficiency), then the more efficient tool should be used (assuming there are no compatibility issues). Especially now, with labor markets so tight & the IT/IS industry sucking up the good engineers, employee satisfaction at their place of work should be important. Most engineers are fiercely independent, and the dictation of a tool is a turn off ... especially when the justification for that 1 tool has not been passed on, grounded with fact, or is weak.
What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows? How do creative advantages help in your line of work?
Creative advantages? I'd say the way I interact with my mac has been flexible/comfortable/intuitive allowing me to spend more time to solve my real work problems. Less time spent trying to deal with Windows idiosyncrasies leave more time for developing solutions for my engineering & administrative work.

Entry #9
by Douglas Parker
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
From the moment I first touched the Lisa, I knew the Mac would be my preferred computer. With it, I'm able to focus on an end result, instead of having to think about what has to be done to reach the end result. With the Macintosh, I produce--and I do so with greater efficiency, fewer dead-ends, and with little need to retrace my steps. With Windows, I've learned that I have to spend time planning and thinking about what I have to do in order to produce, rather than simply producing.
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
Yes, it is healthy for the company, if popularity corresponds to utility.

Why?
If a platform is popular due to its utility, then one could expect overwhelming acceptance of the platform throughout the company. Acceptance of the platform would show a favorable consensus of opinion among the workers, and would indicate a unified approach toward the platform and the corporate culture.
What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows? How do creative advantages help in your line of work?
Elegance. One can run many software titles on both Macintosh OS and Windows computers. The elegance with which the Macintosh executes the same software title is key to the overall creative mood I experience when using a Macintosh rather than using a Windows computer. That smoothness and the lack of problems (Blue Screens of Death, etc.) contribute to my maintaining a creative state while working on the Macintosh--I can't always get to that state on Windows.

Entry #10
by Tom Barrett
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
I was driving home from DC listening to a computer show on the radio. I listened as people described their problems and the hosts rattled off what were apparently oft recited solutions, which I did not know. Finally it dawned on me: I do not know anything about service pack 2, BIOS interrupts, reloading drivers, getting some sound card to work on my system, or the blue screen of death. This is why I prefer my Mac: I spend very little time on computer services.
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
I don't know if it is popularity, but the people who run a company have to make decisions as best they can. It would be preferable if companies supported several systems, but it doesnt look good on paper to the bean counters (however the promised savings never seem to materialize).
What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows? How do creative advantages help in your line of work?
For me, innumerable and unquantifiable. I still use a PB520 running 7.6.1 and prefer it to the PC i use at work. In general, the difference is getting smaller due to the "me-too" design of Windows and the tendency of software developers to design to the Windows standard (a notable exception is the latest Internet Explorer)

Entry #11
by Moe Bradley
Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?
In my experience, most MAC issues can be settled over the phone, usually with a desktop rebuild or trashing application prefs and rebuilding the desktop. Rarely do 2nd level support folks need to be sent for a site visit, unless it is a hardware issue. Additionally, sharing resources is so much easier. I simply can never understand why Windows users put themselves through the configuration nightmares that Windows demands.

One HUGE reason I prefer Mac over Windows - if I develop problems with my OS
on the Mac, I can reinstall just the OS. If I develop problems with my PC, I
have to reinstall the OS, then totally reinstall every application I want to
work with, or Windows won't recognize them. DUH!
Do you think it is healthy for a company to close the doors on a particular platform due solely to the popularity of another platform?
No.

Why?
Because the "DarkSide" can hold them hostage. Why limit yourself to one platform, then be dictated to how you have to run your business. Besides, there are too many products that do not integrate properly under Windows. When some Microsoft products don't integrate properly with Windows. That is another thing I can't fathom - why does Microsoft make products that do not work and play well with each other?



Copyright © 2000-2004, The Mac Guild