Category Archives: Hardware

Are You Using the Best Wireless Channel?

Setting the right wireless channel on your router can make a big difference on how well your Wi-Fi connection works. While most users may be just fine with whatever the default settings may be, others can experience frequent packet drops resulting in the appearance of an unstable or even unusable connection.

These issues can be caused by a number of factors. Other networks, electronics, and even your neighbor’s equipment could be interfering with your router’s ability to maintain a solid connection with your various devices. This interference can cause confusion between devices similar to a couple trying to carry on a conversation at a crowded location. While you may be focused on the person in front of you, making it easier to hear them than the background, an occasional shout or holler can interrupt the conversation and break the chain of communication.

If you’re having occasional problems with your wireless connectivity, you might consider switching channels and giving the new space a try. A good method for testing the new setting is by doing a speed test and comparing the results to other channels. Run the test several times in order to determine consistency in cases where problems may come and go frequently.

More popular Wi-Fi channels tend to be the best to avoid as they are usually the most crowded and prone to interfere. These include 2, 6, and 11 which are commonly used as defaults on some of the more prominent router brands. If your router gives you the option of allowing it to automatically find and set the best channel for you, this is usually the best way to go. The router will check each channel for traffic and connectivity potential before deciding on what it determines is the best option for you.

One useful tool for figuring out which channel is best in your specific location is a Wifi analyzer. This can come in the form of a dedicated device or an app for your smartphone that uses a Wi-Fi connection. Android has a popular free spectrum analyzer available to it aptly called “Wifi Analyzer“. This program checks various channels on the spectrum and allows you to do connectivity checks as you switch between them.

This is just one of several tips and tricks that can help you improve the stability of your wireless network at home. What are your wireless tips? Do you know any tricks that can help strengthen the connection?

How to Increase Wi-Fi Speed

Networking is complicated. Businesses often spend a great deal of their available revenue on their IT department in order to keep their various systems talking to each other. At home, small and medium sized networks are becoming more and more common as our devices begin to integrate the net in to what they do.

In the past, you would connect a modem to your computer and that was the extent of your networking needs. If you had multiple computers, you may have invested in a second network card and switch, hub, or even a full-on router if you really wanted to go all out. Now, having a router in your home is as common as having a television set.

What happens when you want to utilize your router’s Wi-Fi capabilities, but the signal degrades between the upstairs and downstairs areas of your home? My solution to this problem was to set up two base stations with default settings and it appeared to work. Unfortunately, we experienced serious packet loss as a result.

Brandon and Jake tackled this problem at my home office and their solution was to set up a Wireless Distribution System (WDS) which used one of the base stations as a primary and the other as a remote. This creates a unified operation between the two base stations which helps manage and improve the flow of traffic between my wireless devices.

They recommend using two matching routers (in brand at least) for this setup in order to be sure that they are using the same variation of the WDS standard. You also want to make sure that they are using the same wireless channel. In addition, it would be a good idea to avoid the default channel (whatever it may be) on your device as most users keep their devices on default which may cause interference.

How to Control Your Windows Desktop With Kinect

The Minority Report featured some incredible theoretical technologies, some of which have continued to interest geeks for years. One of these technologies was a system in which you are able to interact with the user-interface with a few hand gestures Now, imagine if you were able to control Windows 7 in much the same way. Wouldn’t that be a worthwhile project to check out?

LockerGnome community member Kevin Connolly has managed to recreate this using the Kinect SDK in a project he calls the KinectNUI (Natural User Interface). Currently, the project works with a single Kinect and any modern Windows PC.

With a swipe of your hand, you are able to switch between active windows, zoom in and out, more. While zoomed in, the Kinect will follow your movements as you walk around the room and allow you to scroll vertically using your left hand.

Future plans for the project include a pie menu to allow you to control your system in greater detail. This feature is expected to work in a similar manor to the pie menu featured in the Sims.

If you don’t like the computer responding to your every gesture, you can turn gestures on and off with a single vertical movement of your arms.

Without a doubt, this project (and others like it) have demonstrated the potential for relatively inexpensive devices like the Kinect to change the way we think about interacting with our computers.

What started as a device that took the principals of motion-controlled gaming to a new level by removing the need of a physical handheld controller is now beginning to bring to question whether or not this kind of device could actually replace the keyboard and mouse and change the landscape of computing as we know it today. While the physical technology may not be there just yet, it’s pretty interesting to think of what’s ahead.

More information about this project can be found on Kevin’s website as well as on his YouTube channel, Tsilb.

How Does the iPhone Keyboard Compare to that of an Android Device?

Brandon Wirtz and Jake Ludington of LockerGnome joined me in a discussion about the various differences between the iPhone and Android in relation to how the keyboards differ on the two platforms. While they both share many of the same core functions and features, there are a few notable differences.

The iPhone uses predictive text to determine where someone is headed while typing in order to increase accuracy during keystrokes. For example, if you type the word “drawer”, it will automatically predict whether or not the last letter in the word was a “t” or an “r” since they are laying very closely on the keyboard. With such a small surface and some users having larger digits than others, predictive text is often necessary to maintain a sense of accuracy while typing.

The iPhone will also give suggestions when it appears the user is misspelling or heading in the direction of a particular word. Hitting the space bar will automatically tell the iPhone that their suggestion is correct and allow you to begin entering the next word in the phrase. Unfortunately, this can be a problem when you’re intending to enter a proper name or abbreviation that the iPhone doesn’t recognize.

Android phones tend to handle text input a little differently. In addition to the standard Android on-screen keyboard, the user is able to install alternative keyboards that meet their particular needs. For example, the Samsung Captivate comes with three different on-screen keyboard layouts to choose from. The traditional Android keys are easily replaced with a Swype input and even a custom layout made specifically for the Samsung Galaxy series that is designed to fit within the exact dimensions of the particular device.

In addition, many Android devices feature a physical keyboard in addition to the one on-screen which allows you to have tactile feedback as you type. For many, this is a big plus, especially when you depend on being able to find your place by touch alone.

Swype is another feature available to Android users. With Swype, you can make a single figure motion across the screen to type a word rather than having to peck out individual keys. This allows you to type with a single digit faster than you would on a traditional keyboard. It does take some getting used to, and in being so, it isn’t for everyone.

If you compare the iPhone’s predictive text scheme to that of the standard Android keyboard, they are very similar. While some Android devices may vary in terms of accuracy and usability, the basic function of the keyboard remains the same. One very key difference is in how Android handles suggested words. Instead of suggesting a single word (like the iPhone), Android will put a list of possible matches in a horizontal bar across the top of the keyboard. Touching any of these suggestions will automatically change the word you’re typing to match and add a space in order for you to be able to pick up where you left off.

In the end, it all comes down to personal taste and experience. Some may find, as I have, that the iPhone’s keyboard just works faster and provides greater accuracy. Others may discover just the opposite. In the end, it’s up to you to decide what works best for you.

Can the Nook Color Compete With Other Android Tablets?

Jake Ludington of LockerGnome is looking for a tablet small enough to fit in his cargo pants pocket with the capability to run Android apps. The Nook Color by Barnes and Noble may be exactly what he needs to get the job done. So, can the Nook compete with other Android tablets?

With a 7-inch screen, the Nook Color is slightly more compact than many of the other tablets out there. As an ebook reader, the screen is just right for reading text on a page-to-page basis. In fact, the Nook’s screen is bigger than its biggest competitor, the Kindle, which sits at 6 inches. This makes it small enough to fit in a cargo pants pocket, which is exactly what Jake was looking for. Colors are vibrant and vidid on the 1024×600 display. When compared to the slightly more powerful Archos 70 ($335), the Nook ($249) actually features a higher-resolution.

One important note here is that the Nook is powered by Android, but not all of Android’s features are made available to the user out of the box. In order to unlock the full potential of the Android installation, the user needs to root (think Jailbreaking) the device. This may void your warranty, but if an inexpensive Android tablet is what you’re looking for, this can make it possible.

If you are planning to use the Nook as an Android device rather than a book reader, you may want to keep in mind that the Nook has an underpowered processor when compared to other Android tablets. The ARM Cortex-A8 processor (800MHz) is about as powerful as one you might have found in the very first generation of Android phones. Though it certainly doesn’t compete as strongly with the Xoom or Samsung Galaxy tablets, it is capable of handling basic tasks such as email, web browsing, etc.

At this point, price for performance on the Nook may beat everything currently out on the market. At $249, you essentially have a capable Android tablet with a decent screen and build quality. Though underpowered by today’s standards, and really just an ebook reader at heart, it can deliver more bang for your buck than even the incredibly disappointing $99 Maylong tablet.

Is Processing Power Becoming Less Important?

A member of the LockerGnome community sent in the question, “As more and more of our programs become web apps, do you think speed and processing power is losing importance in the computing world?”

As more and more of our programs are becoming web apps, the importance of processing power comes in to question. Is processing power becoming less important?

Web apps typically require very little in terms of actual hardware speed to run. In fact, the majority of the computational work is done by the host in the cloud. This leaves your system with the simple task of displaying the data and giving you a method to make changes.

Internet speed seems to be the thing you notice first. A slow connection to the web can put a huge damper on your experience in more situations than mediocre system specs. In today’s world, you need a fast Internet connection.

There are several types of users that will still require faster hardware. Gamers will still hunger for the biggest and the best systems as graphics continue to increase in complexity. Gaming worlds are becoming large enough to require more RAM and CPU speed.

Video and photo editors also benefit from better-equipped systems. HD video takes its toll on slower systems during editing and encoding. Programs like Motion and After Effects are incredibly huge CPU hogs, and there is no question that a slower system would bring their efforts to a crawl.

Still, for the majority of average users out there, having a faster Internet connection will have more of an impact on their experience than the latest and greatest CPU. This may be one of the biggest reasons behind the widespread acceptance of netbooks and nettop computers with underpowered processors and lackluster specs. These machines are extremely slow by today’s standards. All they really need is enough power to run a browser.

Which would you rather have: a slower computer and a super fast Internet connection, or a super fast computer and a slow Internet connection?

When is the Right Time to Upgrade Your PC?

Do you upgrade your computer yearly? How about monthly? Do you upgrade only when your current system breaks down or stops running the newest applications? There is a big debate among computer users as to when the best, and most cost-effective time is to upgrade. In a recent discussion, Brandon and Jake were asked the question, “When is it time to upgrade your PC?”

Brandon believes in upgrading your system components, rather than buying a new computer every time new technology becomes available. By keeping track of when Intel and/or AMD come out with a new socket, he is able to determine whether or not a new motherboard needs to be purchased when buying a new processor.

Jake, on the other hand, buys an entirely new system yearly. By doing this, he enjoys an entire set of updated features including bigger hard drives, newer optical drive technology, and faster processing without the hassle of having to buy new individual pieces.

For most users, a simple upgrade here and there to a desktop PC on a regular basis can be enough to for them to get by for years. Costs are relatively low in comparison, and you have more ability to get exactly what you need, rather than what the OEM is willing to include.

A gamer might find a yearly total upgrade more cost-effective given the somewhat low prices for bundled hardware available today. Video cards, RAM, CPU, Motherboards, and sound cards all fall under a serious gamer’s radar in terms of desired performance increase.

While there are certain advantages to each camp in this seemingly eternal debate between geeks, one thing mostly everyone can agree on is that maintaining a basic knowledge of current technologies can come in handy when it does come time to pick up new hardware. Knowing the advantages to SSD over a traditional drive can help determine whether or not the investment is ultimately worthwhile.

If you decide to upgrade components rather than an entire system, keep in mind that everything needs to be compatible. Buying a SATA drive for a motherboard that only supports older connections can cause a real headache as users discover the incompatibility. More modern PC memory may not be recognized or run properly in an older motherboard. An out-of-date BIOS can fail to recognize newer components entirely, which may result in the appearance of broken hardware when a simple update can resolve the problem entirely.

What do you think? When is it time to upgrade your PC? Please leave a comment below with your opinion on the topic.

Mac USB Problems

I’ve been having USB issues with my MacPro3,1. I’ve had the Mac Pro for about four years, but it’s otherwise been running like a champ.

A while back, I started having issues with a USB hub that was plugged into the back of the Mac. I replaced the cable, and things seemed to be fine. Until a while later, when the cable seemed to fail – then I replaced the hub, and all seemed fine.

Then the new hub was starting to have issues. So, I replaced that hub with another hub and new cable and things have been working swimmingly for a few months.

Then, this morning, all the USB ports on the back of the Mac seemed to go wonky – including one port which can recognize a device but always not power it properly. The front ports on the Mac, however, seem fine – sometimes.

I’ve zapped PRAM, I’ve booted into Safe Mode, and I’ve run USB Prober (from the Developer’s Tools) but… the prober tool doesn’t always recognize the device, either – but leads me to believe that every port is running as it should be running.

How could I, without introducing any new USB devices to the chain, be over-runing the system – especially when I’ve removed all USB devices and am still having issues with individual ones (like the wired Mac keyboard, but only sometimes in some ports but not at all in others)?

  • I can plug something like a USB flash drive into a port on the back and it might seem fine – it illuminates, but doesn’t always show a mounted drive (but always does on reboot, irrespective of port).
  • I can also plug Apple’s wired keyboard into a front port and it sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t. It doesn’t seem to work at all in any of the rear USB ports.
  • I can see a Logitech webcam via USB Prober in one port, and its face illuminates when I open Photo Booth – then its face goes dark and Photo Booth doesn’t show an image.
  • If I plug that same Logitech USB webcam into just about any other USB port, the system doesn’t recognize it at all.
  • I tried reinstalling KEXT files, and that just forced me to reinstall Snow Leopard (which was painless, for whatever it’s worth). No go.
  • Someone in the comments suggested plugging my iPhone into ports to see if power was passing through them – and it was for all but the inner most rear USB port. Ouch.

I can’t imagine that it’s a failing power supply, but can’t help but wonder if I’m missing a software step after going through all of that. I’d hesitate to reinstall the OS only to find out the hardware was still the root cause. Who knows? Maybe Lion will fix the problem (and, at this point, I’m willing to wait a few more weeks for that install before either taking ‘er in or finding a Seattle-area Mac professional to help troubleshoot this on-site).

I believe it’s a hardware issue, but short of replacing the motherboard… ouch. “Repairs and Service Coverage: Expired.” Worse yet? Blake (from our community) sent me this link suggesting that this problem is known throughout my Mac Pro revision / line.

The Filtrete Wi-Fi Thermostat

I have never installed a thermostat before, but thanks to the help of several incredible community members, I managed to pull it off without electrocuting myself. Andrew, a long-time member of the LockerGnome community, turned me on to a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat that enables me to control my home air conditioner and furnace by way of a smartphone over the Internet.

Once I got the thermostat, I quickly realized that there is a little more to it than just popping out the old one and plugging the new one in. Thankfully, a plumber from AA Plumbing here in Seattle was kind enough to offer some basic advice on how to hook it up. This got me most of the way there.

He told me that I needed to line up the wires to match the way they were configured on my old thermostat once the new one was installed. At that point, I removed the old thermostat, painted, and installed the new one. At this point, I discovered a rogue blue wire that wasn’t connected to the old thermostat. It turns out, this wire is needed to power the thermostat. Old “dumb” thermostats didn’t really need to be powered, so the wire has been sitting there idly waiting for the day when a member of the LockerGnome community would suggest a better thermostat.

Unfortunately, I still needed some support to discover exactly where this blue wire needed to go and whether or not I needed to rearrange any of the others to make room. This is where another amazing member of the community, teesix (http://twitter.com/teesix), stepped in. He responded to my distress call and let me know he’s HVAC certified. After some back-and-forth over Twitter, he got everything sorted and the installation was complete.

Now, I have this incredibly advanced thermostat that not only features a touch screen interface, but is also Wi-Fi and Internet enabled. This allows the Filtrete Wi-Fi Thermostat to be controlled remotely by way of an iPhone app, and a web application accessible by the vast majority of browsers out there. As an added bonus, this thermostat even updates its firmware over the air. Yes, you read that correctly, the firmware updated once an Internet connection was established.

If anyone else has any suggestions on hardware, software, services, or anything else that might help me live a geekier existence at home, please pass them along.

PC Vs. Mac – The Truth

“Better” is a relative term. So is “best.”

It’s rare that I jump into the middle of a PC vs. Mac debate (hasn’t it been settled already?). However, this morning I watched a tweet from @Windows float by. On the other end of that link sits Microsoft’s own “PC vs. Mac” page, and it’s so full of mistruths, I (honestly) thought I was reading a piece from The Onion.

Now, I’m an odd duck – I live in both worlds. I’m a Mac AND a PC – it’s fully possible. Hell, when you buy a Mac, you become a de-facto PC (given that it can run Windows natively just like every Windows PC in the marketplace). I’m also a Microsoft MVP for Windows. I was also banned from promoting Apple products by way of their affiliate program. Just had to get all of that out of the way first.

I’m going to take the time to address each and every point that Microsoft is conveying, if only to deliver the truth to people who are really trying to figure out which is better for them. You’re free to draw your own conclusions, but (IMHO) Microsoft really did their userbase a disfavor by publishing this without first running it through the BS wringer. Well, that’s what the I’m here for, right? It’s fully possible to encourage people to buy into your platform without lying about the “competition.”

Again, a Mac can be a full-standing Windows PC. I’ve written an entire eBook on helping people switch between Windows and Mac OS X, too.

I loved Windows XP. I love Windows 7. Don’t get me started on Windows Me or Windows Vista, pl0x. Not looking for trolls or fanbois (though I’m sure they’ll come pouring in from both sides). I’ve done my best to clear the air for confused consumers, not incite religious wars.

PCs are ready for fun.

Oh, god. No. You didn’t. Really? Wow. Okay. That clears it up. Thanks.

PCs are hard workers but they’re also fun to play with. You can watch, pause, rewind, and record TV like a DVR and you’ll find that many of the world’s most popular games are available only on a PC.

You can use your Mac like a TV / DVR. I do it all the time. And it’s true that “many” of the world’s most popular games are available only on a PC – but a Mac can be a PC, and the Steam library grows by the year. What exactly are they trying to prove, here?

When you buy a PC running Windows 7, you can get a Blu-ray player, TV tuner, Memory Stick reader, or 3G wireless built in. You can’t get a Mac that ships with these items.

Valid point.

Most of the world’s most popular games are available only on a PC. And Macs can’t connect to an Xbox 360. PCs are ready to play.

Someone apparently needs to hire me to teach these people that there’s a big difference between a Mac (hardware) and Mac OS X (the operating system). Their imprecision aside, there is software available to enable Mac OS X to connect to an Xbox 360. Maybe this is the part where I should tell you that I have four Xbox 360s in my home?

Many PCs running Windows 7 are designed to connect directly to TVs, so you can watch movies and see photos on the big screen. Most Macs can’t hook up to your TV unless you buy an adapter.

Huh? This doesn’t even make sense. I can share photos, videos, etc. to my smart TVs just by sharing the folder and making it discoverable on the network. As pointed out by @BWOps, DLNA compatibility makes things easier – and is readily available for free on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux vis-a-vis TVMOBiLi.

With PCs running Windows 7, you can play the video and music stored on your home PC while you’re on the go, for free. Apple charges $99/year for its online service.

It’s true that Apple makes it insanely easier to do with their MobileMe service (and this price is subject to change), but it’s completely possible – without any additional service required – to access your files remotely. If anything, I’d argue that Windows makes it more difficult for the average user to do – but that’s a subjective assertion, not a blatant mistruth.

Oh, and some MobileMe services work on Windows, too.

The computer that’s easiest to use is typically the one you already know how to use. While some may say Macs are easy, the reality is that they can come with a learning curve. PCs running Windows 7 look and work more like the computers you’re familiar with, so you can get up and running quickly.

By that logic, no Mac OS X user would ever want to switch to Windows because it’s too unfamiliar. Allow me to quote something that @Shally tweeted the other day: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write – but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” [A. Toffler] I couldn’t have said it better myself. You’re cutting off your nose to spite your face to believe that today’s solution is going to be the answer for all of tomorrow’s problems.

When you use a PC, everyday things like your mouse and keyboard shortcuts work the way you expect.

Hang on. I’m laughing so hard right now, I’m crying.

Windows 7 was designed to make everyday tasks simpler with features that the Mac doesn’t have. For example, the new Snap feature makes it drag-and-drop easy to view two documents side by side.

Aero snap is nice, indeed. But I could have easily have written: “Mac OS X was designed to make everyday tasks simpler with features that Windows doesn’t have. For example, Exposé will show you all your open windows at a glance.” This is just tit for tat. You can cut, copy, and paste on either OS.

Sometimes the most natural way to use your computer screen is to touch it. And sometimes a real keyboard and mouse are hard to beat. If you get a PC, you don’t have to choose. PCs running Windows 7 support Touch, so you can effortlessly move between typing and touching to create documents, browse the web, read papers, and shuffle through files and folders. (Of course, you can still use a mouse, too.) Speaking of fingers, PCs with a fingerprint reader even let you log in with just a swipe of your finger.

Have you ever tried to use a Windows PC with a resistive touch screen? Let me just say this: it ain’t no iPad.

PCs are ready for work and school

Yes, because Macs aren’t? I’d argue that school IT administrators aren’t willing to switch, but… where there’s a will, there’s a way.

If you use Apple’s productivity suite, sharing files with PC users can be tricky. Your documents might not look right and your spreadsheets might not calculate correctly. Sharing goes beyond working together on a document. With Windows Live Mesh, you can access your home PC while you’re on the go, so your most important documents are always up to date and at your fingertips. Apple charges $99/year for its online service.

Google charges free, and is both Mac OS X and Windows compatible. Booyah. Maybe if Microsoft Office for Mac wasn’t so nasty, I’d give ’em some leeway. Actually, why didn’t they take this opportunity to promote their own product? It’s like they’re telling the entire PC and Mac world that their own Microsoft Office for Mac isn’t worth the price of admission?! But “your spreadsheets might not calculate correctly.” Wow. I guess Macs suck at addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as much as I do.

You’ll have to buy a separate hardware adapter to plug your Mac into a standard VGA projector. Most PCs with Windows 7 hook up easily.

And by “easily,” they mean “after futzing with the settings on the projector for five minutes, if you’re lucky.” Microsoft is essentially forcing you into the past. VGA? Okay. You’ll have a top of the line notebook PC and be crippled by an ancient port? Really? Okay. Apparently, Windows PCs never need adapters in Utopia.

On a Mac, out of the box, you can only encrypt your home folder. With Windows 7 Ultimate, you can encrypt your entire hard drive and even USB drives. So your files can be safer wherever you go. And, with 25 gigabytes (GB) of free online storage, you can save your stuff in your personal cloud and use it from virtually anywhere you are.

Since they’re doing the comparison, how much does Mac OS X cost versus Windows 7 Ultimate? Don’t try to give me the BS that “Windows users don’t have to pay for Service Packs.” What do you think Windows 7 was to Windows Vista, folks? Oh, and in case nobody told marketing: Windows Live Mesh is available for Mac OS X.

It’s easy to share with a PC

Empirically, it’s easier to share with a Mac.

When you’re connected to the Internet you can actually use the programs and files on another PC as if you were sitting right in front of it.

Oh, because VNC (baked into OS X) doesn’t work?

With HomeGroup, you don’t have to manually set up movie and music sharing, file sharing, and printer sharing. Instead, it’s easy to automatically and securely network with all the computers in your house when they’re running Windows 7. And, when you’re away from home, you can automatically connect to the right printer on each network you use.

Microsoft DID make data easier to share data with other Windows 7 PCs that are running HomeGroup. FWIW, Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) will be using SMBX instead of Samba to better network with Windows PCs.

Sharing high-resolution photos used to mean sending huge email attachments. With a PC and Windows Live Mail, instead of clogging your friend’s inbox, you can send one small email with up to 200 photos attached. Your friend gets a preview album of the photos, can watch a slide show online, and then download high-resolution versions of the exact ones they want.

Dude. If you ever send me 200 photos in a single email, I will drive over to your house and slap you. Seriously. I’m not joking. They’re actually encouraging this behavior? Okay, well… if it makes you feel any better? You can send a massive amount file attachments from Mac OS X, too. How about just sending a link to your Facebook page, your Flickr stream, or wherever else you want to share your photos online? Don’t gag my inbox, either way.

On a Mac, iPhoto puts all your pictures in an iPhoto-protected library. If you want to organize, edit, or share your pictures, you have to use the iPhoto software. With a PC running Windows, you can work with your photos any way you like.

Thank you for explaining why I don’t use iPhoto on the Mac. They don’t force you to do anything. Picasa is perfectly cross-platform. You don’t HAVE to use iPhoto just like you don’t HAVE to use all that crapware that comes preinstalled on “many” PCs.

Plain and simple, if you’re a PC user, you have a world of compatible software and hardware to choose from. With PCs outselling Macs 10 to 1, most computer software is developed to run on PCs.

Has anybody bothered to talk about the quality of this “world of compatible software and hardware?” I’ve been more than happy with the selection available to me as a Mac OS X user. By the nature of Microsoft’s licensing approach to the marketplace, they will absolutely outsell Macs 10-to-1 – but what about overall user satisfaction? What about service and support? What about TCO? “Most computer software is developed to run on PCs.” This is an unfounded statement.

Most iOS software is developed to run on iPhones. #rhetorical

Apple’s productivity suite file formats won’t open in Microsoft Office on PCs. This can be a real hassle for Mac users sharing work documents with PC users.

Ah, but Apple’s productivity suite will import Microsoft Office formats. At least they’re trying, Microsoft. Moreover, if you’re still sending document attachments, KNOCK IT OFF. *points to Google Docs again* *points to Microsoft Office Live*

If there’s a Mac version of a program you need, you’ll have to buy it again and re-learn how to use it on a Mac.

Hahahahahaha! *catches breath* Hahahahahaha!

You can get the PC you want, in the size and color you want, with the features you want—all for the right price. With the best selection and price, PCs win hands down.

Yes, you can get what the market gives you – but that’s not “any size and color you want.” PC doesn’t win hands down. Sorry. It doesn’t. TCO isn’t factored into this ploy. There is absolutely a wider selection of Windows products available – yes. This doesn’t take into account build quality or service, but… you can find more PC options out there, certainly. If that’s what you want (an arbitrary value versus a good consumer electronics device), the choice for you is clear.

PCs running Windows 7 often come with features that either aren’t available or don’t come preinstalled on even the highest-end Macs, including Blu-ray, eSATA, multi-format card readers, touch screens, and mobile broadband support.

The Xbox 360 doesn’t work with Blu-ray, either – does that mean it’s worthless? Do you know how many Blu-ray discs I own? Seriously. I’m asking you because I have no idea. Everything I consume these days is fully digital. Moreover, my mobile broadband support comes by way of my mobile device – and every single Windows touch screen PC I’ve tried has fallen laughably short. I’ll give ’em eSATA, sure – but what about Thunderbolt (a far more ubiquitous IO port)?

Then again, if you want to watch Blu-ray movies on your computer (since OS X can read, write, etc. Blu-ray data)… Microsoft is correct, and Windows is a better option. Doesn’t mean that a PC is a better option, though – even though this entire debate is centered on PC vs. Mac – not Windows vs. OS X.

A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC. A Mac can be a Windows PC.

PCs are available in a full spectrum of colors across a wide range of price points. Macs are only available in white or silver.

I kinda like that. Plus, I tend to skin my notebook computers, anyway. This value is relative – largely irrelevant to them trying to prove that PCs are superior to Macs.

The selection of software for Macs is smaller than the selection for PCs. So if there’s a program you use on a PC, you’ll need to make sure it’s available for the Mac. And, if it is, you’ll need to learn how to use it on a Mac.

I don’t even want to qualify this argument with a response. In all the years I’ve used both Windows and Mac OS X, I’ve collected far more apps for Mac OS X – and they’re designed better, too. So many apps have similar interfaces – so once you stop treating Mac OS X like it was Windows, and Windows like it was Mac OS X… you’ll be more than happy with either one.

Did you hear that? It’s possible to be MORE THAN HAPPY WITH EITHER ONE. Or BOTH, for that matter. That’s the truth.