A Different Kind of Personal Computer

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There are comments (beyond Dan’s) that deserve more attention in the Leopard vs Vista discussion thread.

The issue of locking into hardware puts me off going Mac OS X, Mac hardware certainly costs more than a few nickels. Give it a couple of years and attempt upgrading some of the components, or replacing a faulty component when the price totals more than the value of the system. I’m more than happy with Vista running on this machine that I built myself.

If by “locking into hardware” you mean embracing newer technologies like EFI or GPT for a consumer class operating system and platform, then yeah – you should be put off. How much is power management that just WORKS worth to you? How much is a 64-bit OS that just WORKS worth to you? How much is being able to open up your Web browser or Email client without worrying about opening the WRONG THING worth to you?

Gaming rigs certainly cost more than a few nickels – so, what’s your point about price? If you want to buy cheap hardware, that’s your prerogative. If you want to build your own system, that’s your prerogative. But don’t assert that the issue is related to cost – cost is always relative.

You’re not locked into anything other than something that works with far fewer incompatibilities than you have been lead to believe. The hardware and software were designed to go hand in hand with Apple – whereas, the traditional PC’s greatest strength and weakness is in its level of configurability flexibility.

Some people like building cars for themselves – and some people like researching and simply buying them. At least with Apple, you know who made the hardware and who made the software – there’s no guessing games or finger pointing with systemic problems.

Does YESTERDAY”S ARGUMENTS include the fact that Apple will never have support for applications like Windows will. Stating that you hate iTunes does not disguise the fact that you are indeed an Apple Fanboy and like most Apple Fanboys in the media, Leo Laporte being a classic example, you fail to recognize that the overwhelming majority like Windows and are happy with it. A Mac to most will always be considered a pretty toy and your feeble attempts to woe the unconverted will remain just that, a feeble attempt.

I don’t understand why you’d call me a fanboy of any kind – unless you’re talking about my enthusiasm for Peet’s Coffee. I’ve taken Apple to task, I’ve taken Microsoft to task. Do you feel THAT threatened because you realize this is a battle you cannot win? :)

And believe me, more than a few Windows users are not “happy with it.” If you really think that the Mac is nothing more than a pretty toy, you live a very sad existence. I didn’t think OS X was anywhere near usable or stable until Tiger (10.4), and I didn’t know that Leopard would give Vista a run for its money until I saw one of the more recent (late) beta builds.

The only Ultimate thing about Windows Vista Ultimate is its price tag: $339 on Amazon today. And with that, you get Ultimate add-ons such as… Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. Somehow, you blame users for this issue instead of holding Microsoft’s own foot to the fire.

Trust me, every OEM on the planet would give anything to offer OS X as an operating system choice on their systems. Dell’s already shipping Ubuntu PCs, and HP is shipping Red Hat now. Even so, Linux could never compete directly with Apple on the consumer’s desktop – since Linux largely provides a software solution without a controlled hardware environment. That, and its own unwieldy community has recently displaced one of its strongest desktop advocates.

If your friends are “happy” with Windows, they’re either masochists, complacent, or grossly underinformed. The only semi-lucid part of your argument was in relation to backwards compatibility, but… virtual machines can already handle legacy apps with relative ease. The onus is on VMware, Parallels, and Microsoft (Virtual PC) to make their respective VM’s power invisible to average user.

Which would make you happier in terms of uninstalling a program: simply deleting its icon, or dancing through some kludge of an uninstallation routine that may or may not be broken and may or may not be complete? Hrmph.

The sad thing is that Microsoft can do amazing things. The Office suite is excellent, and Exchange is brilliant (although a pig to configure for beginners). XBox 360 with its Live service is brilliant, and the new Surface (www.microsoft.com/surface) is mind blowing. They are also funding amazing technologies like Seadragon, and yet despite all this they can’t build a decent OS. I wonder if it’s the backward compatibility that holds them back. Perhaps we are witnessing the first stages in a shift in focus for Microsoft.

Do you know why the Xbox 360 with the Live service is amazing? Because Microsoft controls the hardware and the software experience. Moreover, they pay attention to user interface; elegance is not sacrificed for ease-of-use (they come hand-in-hand). If the Xbox had a built-in HD-DVD / Blu-Ray combo drive and Cable Card support, they’d have the ultimate home entertainment device.

People don’t necessarily want to buy brands anymore – they want to buy interoperability. This is where both Microsoft and Apple typically fall short with consumers (for whatever reason). As far as my parents are concerned, Mac OS X can do the same things that Windows XP / Vista can do – and frequently, with a lot more flair.

I would never cut off my nose to spite my face. I’m not abandoning Microsoft (or Windows entirely, for that matter). I do feel, however, that Microsoft Windows has already abandoned me as a power user. If you’re content with Windows Vista, fine – but you’re doing yourself a tremendous disservice by dismissing Mac OS X because it doesn’t work the same way.