Mac vs. PC: I choose Door No. 3

May 1, 2010 -  By
MAC

Logo: Apple

PC

Logo: Microsoft

Even though my first computer was an Apple IIc, I’ve been a Windows guy for years. I’m comfortable on a PC. My Dell Latitude 630 has been a great little laptop for me. But recently, I was given a 15-in. MacBook Pro, and I have to admit, I’m impressed. The real question, yet to be answered, is: Will I switch?

Judging from all of the commercials, you could easily guess that Windows users and Mac users don’t see eye to eye. You might even have the impression that Windows users are either nerds or the All-America Average Joes who love their computers. Conversely, Mac users are either hip twenty-somethings or out-of-touch elitists.

It’s easy to see the marketing machines at both companies running at full tilt. It’s somewhat more difficult to cut through the noise and get a sense of which system works better.

For me, a computer has to fit my needs. It’s just a tool, a means to an end. It’s not a fashion or political statement. Getting things done is the key. My daily workload consists of software development, email, social media, finance and, of course, article writing. My computer is also my launching point to the most important tool available to me: the Internet. It’s interesting that, with the exception of social media, those tasks haven’t changed for me for more than 15 years. I think it’s safe to say that, independent of my computer’s operating system, I’ll be doing these same tasks for many years to come.

I like my Windows PC because I’m comfortable with it. I understand how things work. The standard keystrokes have become second nature to me. I have all of the software tools I need to get things done, both quickly and efficiently. Unlike the message I hear from Apple commercials, I run Windows Vista and like it. It just works.

Now that I’ve had a chance to play with my new MacBook Pro, however, there are several things that are really nice. First, the multi-touch track pad works like a dream. Using two fingers to scroll, three fingers to move top or bottom, and four fingers to view all of my running applications is really nice. The solid, glossy, smooth laptop hardware definitely lives up to the Apple hype. And surprisingly enough, I’m finding Mac versions of my favorite software. From a developer’s perspective, it’s also nice to have access to the underlying Unix operating system. It’s been a bit of a learning curve understanding where things are and how to be efficient, but certainly manageable.

So, do I now consider myself a Mac guy? It’s interesting. Through learning more about the Mac, I’ve come to realize that my ability to transition from Windows to Mac has less to do with the features or functionality of either system. It has everything to do with the fact that my computing life is now solidly out in the Internet. Most of my software tools reside on Web sites I can get to from either a Windows PC or a Mac. And while I like both computers, it has become clear to me that they both equally provide access to the one tool I can’t do without: the Internet. I suspect that in the years to come, computers will be seen as just a gateway to the Internet.

As for Windows vs. Mac: I choose the Internet.

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