Battle Macintosh 2009

Judges, please score each of the responses below from 1 to 5 mice (1 being "dislike", and 5 being "awesome"). If you absolutely hate one, you can score it a 0. For your single favorite, please score it a 6.

The Question:

Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?

No fuss, no muss. Clean, elegant and stable. It does its job with minimal input/intervention - leaving me more time to do what I need/want to do. It just plain works!

It just works! I sold my two collector's items saxophones to buy a Mac Pro workstation for home over a year ago at age 48. I am also the first to subsequently justify and get a Mac Pro workstation at work (now six, and counting), currently a Linux, IRIX, and Windows government shop. I am an engineer and a computational biologist. The Mac and Snow Leopard are efficient in every aspect of my work, from booting, to finding, building, optimizing, and running complex parallel applications, to system administration and maintenance, to multimedia and office applications, to third party and open source applications, to shutting down. When I have to use a Windows system now at home and work, I sadly and angrily realize how many thousands of hours, per year, I have wasted of my life, compared to using a Mac. I have used literally dozens of computer types, operating systems, and programming languages over nearly thirty years, and the best of these is a far distant second to the c! urrent Mac, and Windows is the worst of these, by a very long shot. With this efficiency, I can deliver better products with capabilities I would not have had time to do before. When I put a price on my time, the Mac is far cheaper than any other system over the life of the product, and it is cheaper in actuality when comparing workstations feature for feature. In summary, it just works!

The Mac platform is simply a pleasure to operate, just like my BMW. Those who understand the BMW analogy should be able to appreciate why we love our Macs. The Mac provides an experience than no other platform can match. Windows gets things done, but not without lots of care and feeding.

The short answer is that the Mac allows me to do everything that I need - music, animation and software development. I never had that with Windows. To get close, every time that I've bought a Windows box, I've immediately installed Linux with dual-boot. I had to get the set of software that I wanted to run.

The long answer is that before buying my Mac Pro last month, I hadn't used an Apple computer since high school. I loved the Apple II but when it came time to buy my own computer, I found that I couldn't afford an Apple so I went with a PC clone.

I stayed with Microsoft because of the price. I never really liked it because the software development tools just felt clunky. I should point out that I was developing software using Unix at work and I felt comfortable in the command line environment. Emacs and make were my friends and Visual C just seemed to get in the way too much.

When Linux became available, it appealed to me because I could finally do serious software development at home. I set up a dual-boot system, gave Linux a partition and jumped in. Pretty quickly I realized that one advantage of Windows was that stuff mostly just works on it. Not perfectly and not all of the time, but over the years a lot a good applications had been built for Windows. Since I needed office software, I was going to stay with a dual-boot system until Linux caught up.

It took a while, but eventually I was able to commit to using Open Office. During that time I caught the animation bug. I started using ToonBoom for animation and Sibelius for writing the scores.

Recently, when Microsoft started a Windows campaign, a friend passed me a link to Youtube. The video showed pretty clearly that the developers for Windows had gotten a lot of inspiration from the interface in OS/X.

This year, when I went to look for a new computer, the same friend passed me a link to Apple's on-line store. I looked at the Mac Pro and my inner-geek drooled at the specs on the Mac Pro. Plus, it looked absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, that compute cost about three times as much as I was planning on spending, so after a bit I headed over to Dell's web site.

But something odd was happening. I put off buying another Windows computer and kept returning to the Mac. I found myself dropping by the Apple store at the mall asking questions about the system. The kids there didn't know much - all they could do was demonstrate how shiny the user interface was.

Next, I took a hard look at what I was using Windows for. I had some programs that only ran under Windows - Sibelius and ToonBoom. There were also a couple of web sites that only worked with Internet Explorer. Other than that, most of my work was with the GNU compiler suite, Emacs and Open Office. Honestly, I was booting in to Windows to download the weekly set of patches and updates from Microsoft.

Knowing how little I was actually using Windows, I decided to see how much it would cost to replace Sibelius and ToonBoom with the equivalent Mac software. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that both ran on the Mac! That pretty much sealed the deal - I would have a single system that met all of needs. No more hassling with dual boots and maintaing two operating systems.

Initially when I started using Macintoshes I found it much easier to use and the learning curve was much faster. Now of course the lines are becoming blurred and but graphical applications still seem easier to use. The Mac has always been cooler looking and less constrained by the "suits" than windows machines. The Mac is simply cooler looking. For some reason the Mac platform still seems less prone to attacks with viruses. Also I love the Mac/PC ads where the PC guy wears a suit and the PC guy looks like a young Arts student. Microsoft has tried in vain to reverse the perception of those ads. I just feel the Mac is younger, fresher and more current and that's why I bought my Imac last month Even though I have been forced to use a PC at work for the last 5 years.

The major reasons that I prefer Mac to Windows are Security and ease of use. I like the fact that Mac OS is built on top of UNIX with additional security checks, Root protections, and password requirements. I like the simplicity of the software Firewall and the speed of set-up of Linksys hardware.

I like the ease of use to set-up all of my peripherals, including my new Canon color printer as well as my 10 year old HP LaserJet 4050. In both cases, all I did was plug and play. The Mac downloaded and installed the drivers.

It might be possible for Windows to copy some of those conveniences, but the one thing that is inimitable is the user experience. For the most part, I sit down and use my Mac without worrying about security tweaks, application compatibilities, or location of my data and programs. I can put everything where it is intuitive for me to use. And I can just as easily remove data and programs without worrying about leaving artifacts behind. I am delighted with my Mac.

Surfing the Internet is Fun when using Mac and is not Fun when using a Windows PC

Reason: Internet users using Windows PCs are worried about spyware, adware and skip specific Web sites. Many Windows PC users have also stopped opening e-mail attachments without first making sure they are safe.

Using a Mac to browse the internet gives the user a different experience - an adventure that is fun.

1. Macs don't get the wonderful viruses that Windoze machines do. [A-choo, I'm forced to work on a PC here at work].

2. 2 haiku:
Windows stopped again
Time for CTRL-ALT-Delete
It happens often
Buy Microshaft Windblows
Now better than ever, yeah
Make Bill Gates richer

My preference for using the Mac platform honestly goes back to 1984 with introduction of the original Macintosh. It was the first personal computer that I used for business. It was apparent to me at that time Apple really had something different in it's approach to the new era of personal computing. Once I was exposed to the Mac interface and overall effectiveness of the platform all of the other IBM and derivative PC's seemed like poor attempts to do nothing more than emulate a standalone version of the mainframe computers I had work with for years. When Microsoft introduced it's first version of Windows I had the opportunity to use it and did so. After only a few weeks trying to work with the poorly executed attempt to copy Apple's user interface I gave up and returned to my Mac. I have managed to continue to use Mac's at work and at home ever since. Using a Mac is, to me still, a comforting and rewarding experience that delivers better, more reliable functionality and consistent performance than any version Windows on any hardware platform that has yet been produced.

I prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows because it works. Seamlessly and all the time. I don't have to worry about viruses and malware. I don't remember the last time I had a system crash. I just turn on my computer and get my work accomplished. At my workplace we are forced to use the Windows platform and if anything goes wrong it means a call to our technology facilitator to trek to the classroom and "fix" it. Teachers are not considered intelligent enough to fix anything Windows related.

Bear in mind that before they brought these four windows machines into my classroom 2 years ago, they removed 10 Macs. The oldest one was 13 years old and functioning perfectly. Why? Because this person who isn't intelligent enough to fix anything on a windows machine kept these old machines running just fine. I collected all of the old Macs folks no longer wanted or used, installed the current system version and they kept humming away with second graders using them every day.

I challenge anyone out there to find any 13 year old windows machines that are usable for elementary school students!

Engineered for Humans

As an instructor at the University of Virginia, I see hundreds of students toting around Macs and PCs every day. The percentage of Macs has grown to where the University bookstore has opened an Apple store on grounds. These students - so much smarter than I was at that age - are massively turning to Mac as a better product. For me, it was a harder sell at first.

20 years ago, I was an analyst for the Government. As a DOS head, my boss forced me to sit at a Mac and produce a briefing. I procrastinated for weeks before I finally sat down and started cutting and pasting photos, data and text. In two days I was hooked. Here was an operating system (OS 6, I think) that was actually engineered for humans. No C:/. Within a year, I bought my own Powerbook 180 - the first of many Macs that I would own.

I cherish the advantages today's students have over myself back when. They will never have to learn DOS - though I gaze admirably as they write UNIX code on their MacBooks. They get to start out with a computer that was engineered for humans.

It's all about the accessories... Macs have way better accessories--be it for your MacBook, iPhone, iPod, etc all furnished by the elitist fashion designers: Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, and more. Often you can pay more for the accessories themselves than for the actual product provided by Apple. You don't see this same fanaticism by designers clamoring to rush these same accessories to market for PC vendors' products, Nokia, or RIM's Blackberries.

In short it just works. Unlike windows I can religh on my mac to consistantly do what I need it to do. This feature pays off when I first pull the machine out of the box, later when I add software or hardware, and in the long run when I don't need to buy a new machine because the old one never breaks (I have routinely gotten over 5 years out of my macs).

My experience with widows is at work and with acess to tech services to correct problems(3 or 4 times a year) and someone elses money to spend when they need to be replaced every few years windows works fine.

Anyone who rejects a mac because of the higher front end cost does not value their time and if they did the math on cost per year they would realize "you get what you pay for".

I have talked a few people into buying macs over the years and none have regreted their choice. Windows owners on the other hand seem to spend a lot of time comparing horor stories.

Windows spends too much time doing everything else in the background and really it slows the system. The system is so overwhelmed, that it cannot even turn off when requested. Oh, and please do not try a search.... You wait and wait and wait.

All of the following constitute an opinion based upon experience with Microsoft products beginning with DOS V 1, Apple products at different times and Unix and Unix variant Operating systems at different time periods since the mid 70's. Why I prefer Apple produced computer technology and disfavor Microsoft.

The apple product line is better thought out. The design s cleaner and more appealing. The integration of the software and the hardware produce a more satisfying user experience with fewer "potholes" strewn in the use path for the user to encounter. The basic OS retains the feel and function for a longer period of time without becoming old or stagnant. Which is also to say that there a very few major changes that obsolete peripherals as OS-X has evolved. The relative immunity to true virus infection.


The Protection plan experience

Finally, I have never lost an entire holiday weekend or week attempting to re-build a home use computer system that was an Apple because the designers had just one too many arcane dll or devices that were not common and seamless in the instal/build process.

I have for Macs at home, ranging from G3s to Intels. Only one PC running XP. Each time I use the PC, Microsoft pushes a ton of patches to me and it continues to slow the machine. Network printing has never worked. All my Macs simply work without me thinking about it. Plus, the range of free tools for OS X is legion and I love being able to work at the Unix prompt.

Why do I prefer a Macintosh? Because I can manage my own computer configuration (Mac users are given permanent admin rights as default), Because if there is a problem, I can usually fix it fast without re-loading the OS as my only hope, Because I can create PDF’s from any file without finding and installing additional software (we create a lot of documents), Because I have powerful, fully integrated, easy to use music, photo, video, DVD, and HTML software that allow me to make creative projects without becoming a file import/export format expert, and they all came with the system – no extra charge to my management’s overhead, Because Keychain frees me from repeating logins and passwords dozens of times a day, Because Preview opens just about anything that my co-workers cannot open, Because QuickLook lets me sift through documents without opening multiple applications, Because the colors on my cinema display are fresh, crisp, rich and natural looking, especially compared to the Dell secondary monitor next to it, Because the software made for the Mac organizes features within the menus in a more logical, easily found reference structure, Because I use far fewer keystrokes and mouse clicks to save, delete, copy, paste, edit, etc., than my co-workers on their XP systems, Because Spaces lets me manage office productivity, creative, and programming applications in separate collections of windows, Because Exposé lets me move between applications like lightning, because I can see all open windows at a glance with just a squeeze of the mouse, Because it shares data with my iPhone as though they are the same machine, Because when I can’t avoid it, I can run in-house developed Windows applications via Parallels without having to find a dedicated XP system, Because when the other computers in the office get hit with a virus or (even worse) a forced system update, I’m still being productive, Because my MacBook automatically switches to the best Wi-Fi network as I roam the campus, or to Ethernet when it’s plugged in, Because Time Machine has saved my a$$ more than once, and pulled up old files for others that they thought long lost as well, Because the GUI has a professional, organized, stylish look that does not distract me from concentrating on the content, Because thanks to Perian and Flip4Mac, I can play virtually any kind of A/V file with just one application – QuickTime. Because CoverFlow in Finder windows is just cool! Because I just like to be different :>)

As a former programmer in the days of DOS, I was forced into a Mac environment during a TigerTeam TDY assignment many years ago over my adamant protests. It came down to a shut up or go home decision, so I embraced the little MacPlus I was given and spent the next year and a half learning just how productive I could be with applications that actually worked together. Upon my return to the world of Windows (v2.0), I learned how truly frustrating it was to achieve that same level of productivity and creativity that I had become accustomed to. Although I’ve had to accommodate various flavors of Windows and Unix workstations in my office space due to unique assignment requirements in the ensuing years, it’s the Mac that I continue to rely on for the work I’m most proud of.

I prefer the platform for its application stability and reliability. My 4 year MacPro is running just as smooth as it did when I pulled it out of the box. The only thing I dislike about having a Mac at home is having to use a PC at work. It feels like I am using a 386 with dial up. TQ

I like Macintosh because it is far more stable than windows and provides me with the main things I need email, internet, Microsoft office, pictures, movies, and music. It is a no maintenance computer.

I had a dell computer when I was going through college (I graduated in 2006) I reformatted the hard drive about 3-4 times a year and was always worried of when the next time I would have to. When I was typing my senior project a 50 or more page paper and I was just about to finish it and my computer decided to restart and then I had to reformat it again to get it going and lost my paper a few days before it was due was the day I bought my Mac and I have had it since and not had any problems since. I have Microsoft office for word, PowerPoint, and excel and that is it.

Macs are like good cheesecake: they actually taste as good as they look.

I can work on Macs doing work, not trying to make them work.

Macs sing in a non-homogeneous network environment, Windows is stuck in puberty sounding very awkward.

I just remotely launched a Photoshop javascript batch job from the command line on my Mac at work, saving me the requisite two hour trip into work had I been using Windows.

Macs give me an honest to God Unix prompt (think extra-rich cheesecake), Windows gives me MSDos or the flaky jello-cheesecake that is Cygwin.

To upgrade to a new Mac, I connect them via firewire and let Migration Assistant do it's job while I grab a Coke Zero . Windows puts me through an hour of porn music while it slowly installs, three hours of grief while I find the drivers to my PCIe raid card, and then hours of manual installation of all the software I've since misplaced the disks for and ideally most of the files I'd like to retain assuming my anti-virus software hasn't "cleansed" them for me rendering them useless.

I can still print from my Mac at work even when the Windows print server dies and nobody on Windows can.

HFS+ on the Mac has proven to be an entirely less flaky file system than NTFS.

Expose'. Nuff' said. Aero is rubbish.

Our Macs at work reshare Irix NFS shares to our Windows boxes.

What's a virus?

I witness nearly double the throughput pushing or pulling data across a network using a Mac as compared to Windows.

$29 OS upgrade for the Mac vs. $300....

If I pick up a MacPro by *a* handle, the case remains ridged... our Boxxes or DHells warp or break.

The airflow through a Mac is as efficient as that spilling off of an F22 Raptor.... Airflow (and thus cooling) through a Windows box is similar to the wake turbulence trailing a semi truck.

I can change the RAM in a Mac quicker than most people can figure out how to get a DHell open to start the process.

It doesn't look like a nest of rats lives in my Mac.

We have *zero* EIS calls in to maintain our Macs... EIS is constantly down keeping our Windows boxes running.

When I mount a drive on a Mac it *always* mounts the same way so our scripts work without modification from machine to machine. I *detest*/*hate*/*loath*/*despise* the variability and limitations of the drive letter scheme on Windows!

In short... why do I prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows? Because I use and administer both in a *work* environment. ;)