Battle Macintosh 2010

Battle Macintosh is a challenge put forth to the members of the Mac Guild to explore the age old question:

Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?

All members of the Mac Guild were encouraged to send their responses in hopes to share their stories with other Mac Guild members as well as win great prizes. From the initial responses, the Mac Guild editor selects 20 to go to the panel of judges. From the judges, we select the top 10 to be voted on by the Mac Guild membership.

After receiving 26 entries for this contest in 2009, we narrowed down the field to 20 contestants whose entries were presented to a panel of peers. From these 20 semi-finalists, the judges voted to determine the top 10 submissions.

Those 10 were then given a new challenge (with a deadline). The final round required them to answer two additional questions, as well as make any wanted edits on their original response.

Additional Questions:

What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows?

How do these creative advantages help in your line of work or hobbies?

Seven contestants met the deadline, and their final submissions are presented below. Members of the Mac Guild were given two weeks to vote for their favorites. The results of the voting are as follows:

  • 1st Place - Entry 7 - Nancy Cox
    PRIZE: Adobe Design Suite (retail $1899)
  • 2nd Place - Entry 3 - Michael Roberts
    PRIZE: Seagate 300GB internal hard drive
  • 3rd Place - Entry 5 - Paul Walsh
    PRIZE: Roxio Toast 8
  • 4th Place - Entry 4 - John Gebhardt
    PRIZE: SimpleTech USB 2/Firewire external hard drive
  • 5th Place - Entry 2 - Richard Spencer
    PRIZE: Retrospect 6.1
  • Runners Up - Entries 1 and 6 (Bob French and Stephen Curless)
NOTE: All finalists received an Apple tote bag, Apple baseball cap, Adobe pen, and Apple note holder.

Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?

The Mac platform is simply a pleasure to operate, just like my BMW, the Ultimate Driving Machine. I choose to drive a BMW because of the overall experience. Those who understand the BMW analogy should appreciate why I love my Mac. The Mac provides an experience no other platform can match. It is the ultimate experience of the information age. Windows gets things done, but not without lots of care and feeding.

What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows?

The creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows start with form. The visuals are stunning when compared to those in Windows where elements of the graphical user interface appear cheap and cartoonish while those in the Mac OS reflect a beauty that makes the OS a pleasure to use. That pleasurable visual experience unleashes the creative juices much more so than anything available on Windows.

How do these creative advantages help in your line of work or hobbies?

These creative advantages make my photography hobby a real pleasure. I'm completing projects on the Mac that I began and never finished on the PC. Why? Because while the tasks became drudgery on the PC, they are always fresh and exciting on the Mac.

Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?

In a word, time. If the Mac equals productivity, then Windows is anti-productivity. I realized the former 15 minutes after I booted and was operational with my first Mac, and then angrily fully understood the latter after spending the next 5 hours reconfiguring my premium Windows workstation to the same point. I had just sold my two collector's items saxophones to buy a Mac Pro workstation for home over a year ago at age 48. When I have to use a Windows system now at home and work, I sadly and remorsefully 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 current Mac, and Windows is the worst of these, by a very long shot. I am also the first to subsequently justify and get a Mac Pro workstation at work (now ten, and counting), currently a Linux, IRIX, and Windows government shop. 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. 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. Therefore, our family recently added two MacBook Pros to our growing Mac family.

What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows?

In my work, I am designing and building a developmental biology hypothesis testing system where scientists simulate embryos. In a sense, that is creating life, and the Mac provides all the computational (many-core, Xgrid, Unix), presentational (Keynote), user interface, and multi-media production (iLife, Final Cut) needs for this system. Some demonstrations and applications can also be shown on the iPhone or iTouch. While these Mac apps and devices work together seamlessly, most of these capabilities are costly, disparate add-ons in Windows.

How do these creative advantages help in your line of work or hobbies?

I create rich presentations and live demonstrations on the Mac that my Windows colleagues cannot achieve with 10 times the effort on their Windows boxes, if at all. My colleagues struggle with video conversions they can insert into PowerPoint and have to rebuild their presentation when the display resolution changes, while the same operations in Keynote are relatively effortless. In one example, I ran seven heavy simulation computations, while capturing the screen and a camera feed and the Activity Monitor, and exported the composite video, which I dragged into Keynote, for presentation on an HD display. These Mac versus Windows scenarios and frustrations are played out every day.

Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?

Because I can manage my own computer configuration at work (Mac users are still given admin rights by default);

Because if there is a problem, I can usually fix it fast without having to re-load the entire OS as my only real hope;

Because I can create PDF’s from any file without finding and installing additional software (we share a lot of documents);

Because I have powerful, fully integrated, and 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;

Because all that software (and much more) came with the computer – no extra charge to me or 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, more 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, and I can see all open windows at a glance with just a squeeze of the mouse;

Because iTunes lets me manage all my media from one source and share it with my iPhone and my iPods as though they are the same machine;

Because when I can’t avoid it, I can run either commercial or 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 (I get to choose when to run Software Update);

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 restored 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 plain fun! Because I just like to be different.

As a former programmer from the days of DOS, I was "forced" into a Mac environment during a lucrative TDY assignment many years ago. 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 really could be with applications that actually worked together - even then. Upon my return to the world of Windows (v3.0), I learned how truly frustrating it was to achieve that same level of productivity and creativity that I had become accustomed to. Through the years, I’ve had to accommodate various flavors of Windows and Unix workstations in my office space due to unique assignment requirements, and it’s ultimately the Mac that I continue to rely on for the work that I’m most proud of.

What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows?

I believe the most powerful creative advantage to using the Mac is simply ease-of-use of the Mac over the PC. Although Windows has made some limited progress in recent years trying to emulate the Mac experience, Apple continues to stay several steps ahead in making the Mac simpler to use and maintain with cleaner GUI design, more intuitive feature access, and more user friendly maintenance tasks, when necessary.

How do these creative advantages help in your line of work or hobbies?

These advantages allow me to work with fewer keystrokes or mouse clicks, - or with the touch gestures in the Magic Mouse, no keystrokes or mouse clicks - and get work done with fewer interruptions. The integration of the creative applications I use for my photography - Aperture/iPhoto/iMovie/iDVD/iTunes - provides a consistency to my workflow that I have never been able to duplicate with stand-alone applications on WIndows platforms, though I admit I gave up on those several years ago.

Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?

My preference for using the Mac platform honestly goes back to 1984 with the introduction of the original Macintosh. It was the first personal computer that I used regularly for business. It was apparent to me at that time Apple really had something different in their approach to the new era of personal computing. Once I was exposed to the Mac interface and overall effectiveness of the platform the IBM and all other derivative PC's seemed like poor attempts to do nothing more than emulate a standalone version of the mainframe computers I had worked with for years.

When Microsoft introduced their 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. For me, using a Mac continues to be a comforting and rewarding experience that delivers better, more reliable functionality and consistent performance than any version of Windows on any hardware platform that has yet been produced.

What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows?

Simply stated the creative advantage of the Mac OS over Windows is the ability to focus on the creative aspects of your work without the need to deal with problematic OS functionality. In the areas of creative work that have dealt with, including writing, photo editing, video production, and sound editing, I have never been distracted by the OS doing something unexpected. In addition the degree of integration between applications and the OS provides rapid access to various forms of media files when it is necessary to combine them in a single project. Though more recent versions of Windows have begun to provide similar capabilities they still seem crude compared to what can be done with a Mac.

Though it may seem trivial to long time Mac users the overall stability and fault tolerance of the OS may be it's greatest virtue when considered in the context of a creative advantage. I often hear stories from unfortunate friends that have remained Windows users about spending hours working on a creative project only to have an OS failure cause them to lose the majority of their creation and have to invest more hours restoring or recreating the work. I can't recall the last time that I have experienced a similar catastrophe or even worried about one occurring.

How do these creative advantages help in your line of work or hobbies?

The stability and smooth integration of the OS and the applications are great times savers in both work and hobby activities. Some recent experience with using the latest version of iWork ('09) reconfirmed the productivity advantages of the Apple approach to creativity. I was working up a "Senior Ad" for my son's high school yearbook and considered the options for doing the work. I could use MS PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop or PS Elements or iWork Pages. For expert Photoshop users it may seem odd, but I chose Pages. A project that I think would have taken me 4 hours or more using anything else was completed in about 2 hours with Pages. The application did exactly what I wanted and even though I had never used iWork '09 the intuitive nature of the product and it's integration with OS and other applications enhanced the process rather than making it painful. Overall the creative advantages of Apple's products make hobby projects, and sometimes even work projects, fun and enjoyable rather than aggravating and annoying.

Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?

In short it just works. Unlike windows I can rely on my Mac to reliably do what I need it to do day-after-day, year-after-year. This 'feature' pays off when I first pull the machine out of the box and later when I add software or hardware that has already been verified to work with my system. In the long run I also come out ahead because I don't need to buy a new machine because the old one never breaks and does not get bloated with patches etc. I have routinely gotten over 5 years out of my Macs and even when I chose to upgrade the old machine is always available for years as a back-up.

My experience with widows is at work with access to dedicated technical services personnel to correct problems (generally I need expert help 3 or 4 times a year). With the deep pockets of a large corporation to support this infrastructure and accounting methodologies to justify replacement of the systems every few years the "windows paradigm" works fine. As a Personal Computer (PC) the Mac is much better at satisfying the needs of a in home computer user. 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 regretted their choice. Windows owners on the other hand seem to spend a lot of time comparing horror stories.

What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows?

From a creative stand point the Mac OS has an advantage over Windows given the fact that it has a more intuitive and reliable interface, which allows the tool (computer/software) to be secondary to the process. People are most creative after they have done something long enough for it to be second nature. Musicians and artist, for example, are at their best when they stop thinking about how to do something and start thinking about what they want to do. The Mac OS allows people to reach this point more quickly with the work they are doing on the computer and avoids the stumbling blocks (viruses, locked software, required updates, etc.) along the way that are a routine part of the windows OS.

How do these creative advantages help in your line of work or hobbies?

My computer at home is not a creative outlet for me. I use my system to do what I need and want to do to keep my house running (pay bills, research on the internet, read email, etc.). By having a computer system that lets me do these things without the extra effort associated with the windows OS I have more time to do the other things in my life (hike, bike, canoe, spend time with the kids, etc.). My children make more use of the creative side of the computer than me and with the default configuration of separate logons in Mac OS and inherent stability of the system we have never had any problem sharing the same computer(s). On the other hand, I have found that widows users are routinely forced to buy and maintain multiple computers, and make a point of keeping the kids off of the parents computer, to avoid the conflicts (and risks) associated with different users doing different things on the same windows computer.

Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?

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, Dells and Alienware machines 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.

Recently, I used cpio on my Mac Pro to remotely relocate some data on a networked Dell's system disk that it itself could not. That's embarrassing.

I can change the RAM in a Mac quicker than most people can figure out how to get a Dell 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 lab of 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.

What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows?

By incorporating all of the non-homogeneous resources that I wish to use and allowing me to employ them in a seamless way with each other, while at the same time not having to engage in hand-to-hand laborious combat with the machine to keep it running well; it doesn't impede the creative process. By not impeding the creative process the benefit is yielded that creative juices flow more, flow longer, while time to realize and implement an idea is minimized functionally decreasing my task labor overhead.

How do these creative advantages help in your line of work or hobbies?

My customers are happier and I make more money.

Why do you prefer the Macintosh platform over Windows?

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 those 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!

And what did those second grade students do on those Macs every day? You name it, they practiced reading skills, math skills, wrote and illustrated and printed their own stories, read interactive stories, played games of logic and thinking skills and learned to type. Did the school furnish all the software that allowed the students to learn these skills. Of course, not. I did. Because so much quality educational software is so widely available and in many cases so inexpensive I built my own software library that was larger than what the school was able to offer. The school also locked down the finder and limited the choices each child had on their Macs. At the risk of incurring the wrath of our technology facility, I unlocked the finder and taught my children how to use a Mac the proper way. We never had any problems, even with second grade students, which shows that if students are taught correctly, they will use a computer responsibly.

What are the creative advantages of the Mac OS over Windows?

The creative advantages of the Mac are legendary. I have been able to learn to edit photographs using Photoshop Elements. I’ve used The Print Shop to create cards, signs, banners, invitations and many, many certificates for children in my classroom. I used Pages to layout the wedding programs for my son’s wedding. I could never have taught myself the photo-editing and graphic design skills on a windows based machine because I’d have been too busy learning the operating system. I have second grade students who have written, illustrated and printed their own books using the program Storybook Weaver Deluxe. These students are so proud to become real authors. We laminate the covers and actually bind their books so that they can share them with their friends.

How do these creative advantages help in your line of work or hobbies?

So, why do I prefer the Macintosh platform over the Windows operating system? As I said, because it works. And because it works so seamlessly it has allowed me to expand my technology skill set into the realm of photo-editing and graphic design. Until recently, using Macs has also allowed me to share these skills with my students so that even though they were just in the second grade, they were the most computer literate in our school. Those skills carried over to our math and reading skills, too. My students routinely averaged a year above grade level on our county assessments in both reading and math. I attribute much of that gain to the advanced programs they were able to use on the Macs in my classroom.

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