I think different: Volume II

Here is volume 2 of 3 of My Mac Manifesto. If, for whatever reason, you cannot see Volume I immediately below this post, click here for the permalink. Now, without furter adieu…

I had an old iMac G3 running OS 9 that someone had given to me. I had never even turned the thing on. It sat in my home office on my desk, mainly as a decoration. Apple had just released OS X 10.2, a.k.a. Jaguar. My friend Jason Springer, who had made the “switch” to Mac the previous year, had purchased the full version of Jaguar, so he no longer needed his copy of Mac OS X 10.1, a.k.a. Puma, so he gave it to me. I figured installing this “new” operating system would be far too much for my archaic iMac to handle. I was wrong. It installed in about an hour, and it ran like a dream. I began to think, “Maybe there is something to this Mac stuff.” Now THAT was an understatement!

I used the iMac frequently for about a year until it was struck by lightning. Sadly, my new-found friend was dead. 😦 Luckily, like a good neighbor, State Farm was there! (In all, we had about $4000 dollars in damages due to lightning.) I used the insurance money to buy a used iBook G4 from the Mac Resource in Huntsville. It was then that I officially began my “conversion.”

My iBook managed to get “upgraded” to a MacBook Pro. (I love Ebay!) For those of you unaware, all the new Macs run on Intel processors instead of the old PowerPC processors. What’s the big deal about that, you ask? Well, our good friend Micro$oft Windows runs on Intel architecture. To make a long, tech-heavy story short, Macs can now run Windows. On this very MacBook Pro I am now using, I have both Mac OS X 10.4.7 AND Windows XP Professional! Not only does my MacBook run Windows XP, but it runs it faster, smoother, and more efficiently than my Dell Dimension 5100 desktop or my Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop. I kid you not.

One of the big gripes people have with Macs is that they cost too much. Although Macs do cost more than your average Wal-Mart specials, which is crap in a box, anyway, they still manage to be priced well below a Dell of the same mold. For example, a top of the line Mac Pro (desktop) will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $24,000. I know that is expensive, but that is the kind of machine a business would have to run nonstop (a server). I am not talking about a “home computer” here. A Dell with the exact specs will cost almost $32,000! Last I checked, that is an $8000 difference! On a much smaller scale, a Mac Mini (desktop) specked for general consumer use, including monitor, will run you about $1200. (That is a very reasonable price for a mid to high-end machine.) Again, a Dell with the same specs will force you to go deeper into your pockets. The price: $2000. I am not bragging on behalf of Apple; I simply state the mathematical truth.

Another common, and rather unfair, complaint placed on Apple is that there is not enough available software. Once again, that simply is not true. It is true that there are literally millions of software titles available for Windows, and only a few thousand for the Mac. (But why do I need 13 different programs that all do the same thing (like play music), anyway?) “What about my Microsoft Office? I can’t live without Microsoft Office!” I have heard that one several times. I said that several times myself! Do you know on which program I am typing this very manifesto? Microsoft Word. On a Mac. Think you can’t live without Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc? Fair enough. It’s available on a Mac, and it’s even cheaper than the Windows version.

Now permit me to talk about customer support. I have dealt with just about every major computer manufacturer’s customer support. I will say Dell wins, hands down, but have you ever called Dell at, say, 8:00 pm or on a weekend? If you have, then you probably spoke with Ahbu in India. I called Apple once on a Saturday morning at 3:30 am. I spoke to a real American in California. That also impressed me. Let’s face it, computers are going to have problems, and we, at some point and time, are going to have to deal with tech support. It’s no guarantee that our computer is going to have a problem 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday though Friday. If I need help at some un-Godly hour or on a weekend, I want to talk to someone that speaks the same English as me. (Ok, I know California English is not the same as Alabama English, but you get my point.)

Once again, my bedtime has arrived. Please return tomorrow for the conclusion of My Mac Manifesto.