Mac stuff

Debating between the Windows OS & the Mac OS?
Between buying Macintosh hardware — or WIndows-only hardware?

In my opinion, there's no debate. Apple's Macintosh hardware is the best of both worlds. But this page is not about my opinion. It's a page of reports, quotes, links.

Please know that I have never worked for Apple, and don't receive compensation from Apple or any other vendor. I taught myself DOS in 1989 and began experiencing Mac and Windows pretty much simultaneously.

Oy, this is a lot to keep up. There is just so much out there these past few years. Even Popular Mechanics compared the two and prefered the MacOS! So this page is by far not complete.

Note: This page has not had additions for a few years but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty about the Mac! Just look at Apple stock.

PC World

I'm a PC. I'm a Mac
... Macs offer the best of both worlds, giving you the ability to run both Windows — with its huge software and games libraries--and Mac OS X--with its better security and iLife solutions — side by side on the same hardware. One might argue that a Mac is, in fact, the ultimate PC...
-Paul Thurrott, Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, published by Penton Media, 5-23-07
I thank MacFixIt.com for covering this article.

General Resources

  1. Check out the MacvsPC.Info, a site, by John Droz, Jr. This non-profit site started as a simple project to let schools know the facts about Mac vs PC in schools. There's a lot here! It's worth your time. There are sections like Mac OS X vs Windows XP, All You Want to Know About Microsoft, and Testers and Switchers.
  2. I wrote a feature called The Truth for the December 2002 MacAddict. My friends and I researched thoroughly and kept pdfs of web pages to verify our findings. Rik's pieces add to understanding of the real speed issues to help you compare more intelligently.
  3. And here's another site — MacvsWindows.com
    It started out in 2005 as X vs XP — a comparison of Windows XP and Mac OS X, by Dan Pouliot and others. I don't know Dan but was impressed by his breakdown and comparison.
    Now it's a collaborative effort that will cover a lot of great, important info.

Of Interest

December 2005 — PC World:
     The 100 Best Products of 2005

Number 1: Mozilla Firefox Web Browser
Number 2: Google Gmail Web Mail
and...
Number 3: Apple Mac OS X Version 10.4 (Tiger) Operating System
Number 4: Belkin Wireless Pre-N Router and Notebook Network Card Wireless Networking
(I love and use this router.)
Number 5: Dell Ultrasharp 2405FPW 24-Inch Wide-Screen LCD [Monitor]

Both Mac and Windows users should note that the hardware and web stuff reviewed by PC World works on both platforms. (Just in case some of you think there's not much compatibility between platforms.)

 

Words from Switchers

  • Windows habit not hard to break: Ex-Microsoft fan is now an Apple guy to the core. By Jonathan Lansner for the Orange County [CA] Register - Sunday, April 2, 2006

    "Hey, I would often mock the Apple crowd, wondering why folks would seemingly overpay for good-looking, user-friendly but quirky computers."
  • MacIntosh vs. Windows: Choosing to take a bite of the Apple
    The following is from my respected friend Bill Briggs (AppleScript Primer author) who pointed this out and concluded with, "It's worth reading the whole series."
    (From the link above, open each article in a new tab.)

    Computer security expert Winn Schwartau got fed up: fed up with viruses, fed up with security vulnerabilities, fed up with spyware, malware, and everything else about his Windows computer that ate into his work productivity. He was "mad as hell." So he bought a Mac and decided to use it for a few months as an experiment. He wrote 16 articles about his findings as the experiment progressed. The result?
    Here are two quotes from the final article.

    • "Unless specifically compelled otherwise for legitimate and extenuating reasons, all new computer users should buy a Mac. It makes all of our lives easier. (Read: less customer support from geeks to users.)"
    • "My first goal was to determine if the Mac switch was worth it, and yes, it was unquestionably one of the smartest things I have ever done, albeit late. My tech-stress level is way down. Things just work the way they should. My productivity is way up. I don't have to waste time troubleshooting."

About security

  • can offer insight. SecurityFocus.com covers Internet security issues on al platforms. I'm impressed.On June 17 2004 Columnist Scott Granneman wrote, "Time to Dump Internet Explorer." This is about the Windows version. If anyone you love is using IE on WIndows please have them read the entire article. Among other things it notes "The latest version of IE is 6, and it has certainly accumulated an impressive record of holes: 153 since 18 April 2001, according to the SecurityFocus Vulnerabilities Archive." Scott goes on to recommend Mozilla Firefox and talk about that.
  • Why Viruses Have Trouble Penetrating the Mac
    by Graham K. Rogers, Bangkok Post 03/12/05
    Excerpt: "It may or may not surprise you, but there are no OS X viruses (or worms or trojans), partly due to the implementation of OS X and its almost-inaccessibl Root." and "...(as of January this year, there were a total of 68,736 viruses detected [on Windows], according to Symantec)..."
  • A Digital Crime Wave
    by Walter S. Mossberg - April 2005
    "The Windows computing platform is in a genuine crisis. Windows computers are being attacked, every day, by an international army of digital criminals who seek to spy on users, turn their own computers against them and deface, corrupt or destroy their data...."

    "...And if you're totally fed up with the security crisis but want to continue using your computer for common tasks, consider dumping Windows altogether and switching to Apple's Macintosh, which uses its own operating system, called OS X. There has never been a successful virus reported on OS X, and there is little or no spyware for the Mac.

    In my view, Macs have better hardware, a better operating system and better bundled software than Windows PCs. They are as good as, and often better than, Windows PCs at e-mail and Web surfing; at word processing and other productivity tasks; and at handling digital photos, videos and music. And most popular Windows file types open right up in Mac programs, without the need for any conversion or translation...."
    (click title for full article)

Wondering about PC prices?

I often hear that PCs are cheaper than Macs. In a recent list discussion, long time PC user, Randy Chung posted his insights into purchasing a PC. It's not in any way related to the Mac vs PC debate, but it gives a great perspective on considerations and costs of buying a PC. It's reprinted with Randy's permission and he verified his facts before allowing me to use it here.

Absolutely, 99% of computer users should get assembled computers. And Dell certainly allows a lot of customization.

But let's say I wanted to have a PC that's low cost and powerful and expandable to do some DV stuff. I want a DVD writable drive that can also read DVD's sent to me from someone with a Mac. And I'd like to have a FireWire interface, to make it easy to hook up a DV camcorder.

So the first model I'd look at is the Dell 2400. Starting at only $499, that's great! But there's no option for FireWire.

So then I look at the Dell 4600. Starting at only $699, that's great! Hmm, it only supports Intel processors with a 533 MHz bus. I think I want one that supports an 800 MHz bus. (Of course, there's no Dell models that support AMD processors). And I want FireWire, but that's not an option.

So then I look at the Dell 4600c. Starting at only $999, that's great! I'll take the 2.8 GHz processor (Intel is dropping the price on the 2.8 so it's the same price as the 2.6). I'll take the option for FireWire, so I can have FireWire connectors on the front along with the front USB connectors. And I want the DVD writer - except Dell only supports writing DVD+R and DVD+RW. If I send a DVD+R disc to my customer with a Mac, will there be a problem? Macs don't support DVD+R, only DVD-R. But maybe they can read DVD+R...hmm, I wish I could have gotten a DVD drive that reads and writes DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, and DVD-RW. Fry's sells a Pioneer drive like that for $110. And I'd like to have an ATI all-in-wonder board for capturing video. But the 4600c doesn't have that option, only the nVidia card.

So then I look at the Dell 8300. Starting at only $1049, that's great! Hmm, still can't choose a video card with video capture.

So then I look at the Dell XPS. Starting at only $1649, that's great! Hmm, still can't choose a video card with video capture.

~Randy, January 21, 2004

Now about that price... what about factoring your time into it?

That's right. The true cost of something is not just what you initially pay. You must factor in the cost of maintianing it, of data loss, of software you must purchase for it.

  • 2-3-04: [windows critical update] After doing the patch, all of my remembered passwords for site log-in are gone... have to reenter them.
    ~Greg, on an email list that was not about computers

About Microsoft's programming

The Windows XP update, SP2, was, from what I read, long awaited an long overdue. Per features in magazines like Laptop magazine, it promised to be the fix for all issues in XP. Then, when it finally came. And the reports of problems came immediately behind it.

  • Headline: SP2 clashes with more than 40 programs, by Jo Best, Aug 16, 2004.
    It leads off with: The update for Windows XP makes a long list of programs appear to stop working, including Microsoft's own SQL and Visual Studio .Net.
    Please visit ZDNet UK to read the entire article. What gets me is that they did not work things out so the update would work with major software and that their own software is not compatible. When Apple puts out major OS updates I only hear of a few programs than need an update - and those updates are ready for us. SP2 isn't a major update. It was a fix-it patch. Go figure.

    Ironically, Jo Best reported on the pending release of SP2, that article said, "The rollout of SP2 has been hit by some delays as corporates are holding back on pushing it out to their users for fear it may not be compatible with home-grown apps."
  • Headline: IE flaw introduces new form of infection, by Robert Lemos
    CNET News.com, August 23, 2004
    Yes, this is not the first news about an IE flaw, but read this article and you'll learn that "The flaw affects the latest version of Internet Explorer running on Windows XP, even after the latest major update -- known as Service Pack 2 -- is applied."
  • Headline: Security flaws emerge in Windows update, by Robert Lemos,
    CNET News.com, August 19, 2004
    The article says: "Researchers have found several security holes in Windows XP Service Pack 2
    Security researchers say they're starting to find flaws in Microsoft's latest major update for Windows XP.
    Last week, German company Heise Security announced that two flaws could be used to circumvent the new warnings that Windows XP Service Pack 2, or SP2, normally would display about running untrusted programs, potentially giving a leg up to a would-be intruder's attempts to execute code on a victim's PC.
    And more revelations about vulnerabilities are on the way..."


    So the big fix didn't fix a huge flaw that MS is getting bashed about. Hummm.... Actually, the Windows page at ZD Net UK has so much more for you to read.  

 

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