macintosh: not bad, not for me
Well, first off, the color scheme turns me off. That little apple logo and all the pastels just screams "Hippie", know what I'm saying?
Seriously, I've never owned a Mac, and until they change their operating procedures, I probably never will.
Macintosh has billed and built itself as the ultimate idiot-friendly computer. Which is great, if all you ever want to do is type papers and surf the web. For several hundred dollars less, I think you could get a windows machine that does the same thing, but people love their Macs, so if that's what shakes your martini, then power to 'em.
But Macs are very unfriendly to geeks. I can't build one. I can't really do any modifications to the hardware once I buy it. I can't change its operating system. In fact, I can't change much of anything about it at all; everything about it is proprietary. If I want to upgrade, I need to buy a new one, and they don't come cheap. If I have a problem, I probably won't know how to fix it, and neither will anyone else, except the folks at Macintosh.
On top of that, it's a guessing game which software will run on it. I need professional-grade program development software. Good luck getting alot of it on a Mac. I need what I do to be absolutely compatable with most other machines on the planet. And I need other programs to run on this machine. If I am given a program to run by a professor, I don't need compatability issues screwing me up. Hell, if I want to buy a new game, I want to be able to just pick one up off the shelf without worrying about whether they've developed it for Mac yet.
Macintoshes used to be rule the visual arts realm, but I think that is coming to an end. The software that Adobe puts out these days is just as good on a Windows machine as it is on a Mac, and with some of the later hardware developments, it could even be better. Even Quark runs on a Windows machine as well as it does on a Mac.
Macs don't get nailed as hard with viruses, simply because they aren't profitable. Who wants to spend a gazillion hours writing a virus that will hit 3% of computer users? The key here is appropriate virus protection. There's plenty of free shit to help you out. The free stuff should be fine so long as you aren't doing anything risky, and if you are, you should upgrade accordingly. Even something as simple as using Firefox makes a differance. I spend about five minutes and $0 a week on virus protection, and have never had a serious virus-related problem.
I don't know. I don't get it. They're more expensive, but you can do less with them. I'm not really a huge fan of Microsoft, but XP is the best product going, as far as I'm concerned. I suppose for office-type apps and email and web surfing, they are comparable, but I fail to see how they are superior. I'll stick with my AMD 64 3200 that will outperform any G5 out there and cost about 75% as much. Sadie says
the laptops are more durable and tech support is better, but then I try not to make a habit of throwing a $2000 piece of equipment down the stairs (kidding!) and rarely use tech support anyway. Having said that, I did have a major hardware problem with a Toshiba tablet I bought refurb, and Toshiba was useless trying to get it fixed. I chalk that up more to buying refurb, though, than their tech support; I don't think anybody else would have done any better. Hey, maybe she has a point, but it still irritates me that I can't mess with what's under the hood and don't know for certain that any program I buy will run on it, especially school- or work-related software.
Anyway, this was all inspired by Sadie, whose hippieBook gives her the warm and fuzzies like my pc does for me, so good for both of us.
Probably-should've-kept-my-mouth-shut UPDATE: Hey, I don't want to sound like a Microsoft snob here. Whatever computer drives your boat is fine by me. But Joe brought up some good stuff in the comments; some of which I agree with and some I don't.
I use "Idiot-proof" to mean "Ultra user friendly", as in "Any idiot can use it." The downside of this is that advanced functionality becomes more difficult. All computer manufacturers suffer from this in their effort to sell computers to every toddler and grandmother out there, but Apple seems to have made it their primary selling point. Maybe they do it better than every other OS and software manufacturer out there, but none the less, stuff like that sets off warning bells in my head.
I based my visual design argument more on software because that seems to have been the largest point of contention in the past, but hardware certainly is a factor. But again, I don't see where Apple has the edge over a suitably equipped PC; even the geeks at arstechnica are torn on this issue
(There's alot of threads like this, this was just the first I found)
For hardware, yes, certain aspects are upgradable. But the options are somewhat limited compared to a PC, and they are generally more expensive. And I still can't see how you can build one, I can't find Mac cpu's for sale. But even if they are, it would be pricey; a few g4 motherboards I found seem to cost more than my board and cpu put together.
As for development tools for school, here's a good example: I need Visual Studio (a Microsoft product) to get through school. My VB book included a limited copy of VS that, shock, won't run on a Mac. Is there a version of VS that will? I don't know. Probably. For a couple hundred bucks. But the software that came with my already-overpriced text won't work. Neither will the program we used for two semesters of Java. I'm sure that there is a Java suite for Mac, maybe even a shareware one, but that's a huge headache I don't need. I'd rather not have to learn both that one and the suite we used at school, I don't know if there would be compatability issues, and so on.
For work stuff, I didn't really mean Office, as I said I think the two are probably even (And, more than likely, you can type your spreadsheets or term paper on a computer that's five years old just as well). This was actually related to more programmer-geek stuff: I'm currently talking to a company that uses a completely proprietary programming language; the development software won't work on a Mac. Period, no emulator or alternative, it takes a somewhat powerful Windows machine to run it.
I didn't know you could run Linux on a Mac. I was wrong about that, and that is very cool.
But my final analysis, for me personally, still stands. I admit that I am a bit naive when it comes to Macs, all this blather is based on limited experience and what a few minutes of googling could bring me. But the cost of education is simply too high. I admit I buy Windows machines largely because they are what I know, but the only way to learn a Mac would be to buy one, and I simply can't see spending extra money for a few upsides, and to do maybe most of the stuff I do now, with more difficulty than I have right now. Just not worth it.
Hey, if you like your Mac, then power to you. I just don't think it would be a smart move for me, personally.
And I still don't like the color scheme.