Thursday, January 29, 2009

Think Differently

"PC v. Mac"
"I Don't Know Anything About It and Here's What I Think"

It seems today that one of the grandest brand wars in America is the ol' PC v. Mac. It's like Coke v. Pepsi before Pepsi emerged victorious and donned ultra modern skins. And much like some conspiracy theorists will tell you that Coke is Pepsi (ludicrous), I wonder if one computro-brand is actually any better or just a matter of taste. My first suspicion was my observation that "PC" stands for "Personal Computer" which I believe Macs are as well. So is the discrepancy is Mac v. non-Mac? Why would that be? They are all good Operating Systems. I guess that they set it up that way themselves, primarily through those (as deemed by most) unbearable "I'm a Mac" commercials starring that douche bag from "Waiting." They cast themselves as unique, and feigned hipness (which may have been their biggest mistake), while stating the features of a Mac (and any computer) as if they were exclusive to Mac. This would not have been a very effective campaign, except for the other, subtler aspect they were selling that Mac truly could boast: a groundbreaking aesthetic and a foray into a new kind of interface. Remember the predecessor ad with the multi-colored Macs set to "She's a Rainbow" by the Rolling Stones? Things would be forever popping, jumping, curving, moving, dis-appearing and re-appearing, and this would tacitly make computing funner, and somehow easier or more efficient or better as well.

Now I had a long and positive history with Apple. In computer class in grade school we had Apple 2E's and Apple 2GS's on which you could play excellent games like Oregon Trail and Odell Lake, and most awesomely to me was Logo Writer. In Logo Writer your icon was a triangle that was also a turtle, and you wrote basic programming that, when you entered commands on the display screen made the turtle constructs shapes, scenes, and eventually movements/animations. In seventh and eighth grade I was on the school "Computer Team" and competed in Dover! At my friend Mike Voit's we also played the excellent Sierra series of "Quest Games": Police Quest, King's Quest, Space Quest, and the awesome Leisure Suit Larry In the Land of the Lounge Lizards, whose sexual antics resulted in a small amount of guilt for young Daniel, which I quickly dealt with and became sexually on par!

At my house, my dad had been working writing programming since the seventies, and we had exclusively PC's. Every single program we used on the Apples at school and Mike's house were available on PC, with a slightly different interface, and what would become my favorite thing about computers, the word processor, was mind-bogglingly superior. I helped run a fantasy baseball league and Excel did all the work that I previously did by hand, and I could refurbish my writings at a moments notice. It was sleek, and Mac was clunky. Just imagine!

After that the Mac became sorta irrelevant until it made strides in the area of graphic design. While the PC could do almost everything best, the Mac became the premier tool for digital design and zeroed in on this niche with the multi-colored monitor cases. They did look way cool, and Mac began it's reinvention of its insides. In 2001 the completely redid their Operating System to keep up with and in some area excel past other PC's, giving consumers and computers a viable option with a unique personality.

In late 2006, I asked my dad for a new computer for X-Mas, and he asked me what I wanted. Well, my boy mc Ben had just gotten a new Mac and it was fly, I particularly reveled in iTunes (I've since developed a love/hate relationship with that program). My dad explained to me that Macs are overpriced and inconvenient, non-upgradable and overrated. That they do actually crash proportionately to PC's based on units sold, and when they do repair is far more difficult. He told me not to be fooled by the aesthetic. Most importantly he told me that PC's can support absolutely anything a Mac can, including my precious iTunes. I succumbed and have had a problem-free Dell for two plus years. Now comes the hilarious part... within six months my dad had purchased a new Mac on which he does all his work and most of his play. He actually just signed up for Apple TV!

Now, I have no room nor reason to hate on the Mac or Apple, my iPod houses the best music ever made, and most of my friends (Billy Frolic, Toddy Purse, Timmy "Main Man" Toner (whose MacBook Pro is named Miley), Jamesage Yetter, mc Ben, Bobby Campbell, Brendan Huffman, Paddy Robinson, Reese Robinson, and probably more) are very satisfied with their Macs and so am I when I use them. So, why have I become such a proud bastion and supporter of my PC? Especially when I'm not "Mr. Computer" - my entire usage is word processor, excessive internet use, iTunes, pirate bay, VLC player, blogger, CDisplay, etc... I think it is the self-righteous better-than-you mentality cultivated by the company itself (which I know none of my friends considered in their purchase nor give a f%$^ about). It is the aire of hipness allotted to nerds due to the type of computer they own. In my day, we argued the merits of Mizuno v. Rawling. When it comes down to it, computers are a tool, and not one as cool as a hammer, neither! On my level of use, it comes down to personal taste and whimsy and I like whichever one I'm typin' on at the time.

PC Tip #185 - Those "Entertainment" coupon books have free firewall/virus protection coupons! Sign up once a year and stay off boob-sites and your PC should have no crashes, viruses, or worms!