Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Mac

So, I made the switch from a PC to a Mac about 3 months ago. I've read many a review online of people who love their new Mac. They like to caress it, they like to cuddle with it, and yes, they like to kiss it, too.

For me, it's more of a take it or leave it. Don't get me wrong, there are a LOT of things I like about my new mac. It's easier to find files, it's got a nice integrated camera, I haven't had any problems with viruses (although in all my years of using a PC, I have never had a problem with a virus on them either), and it keeps my lap very warm and toasty. But there are a lot of things I don't like about it. Just as many things as I didn't like about my PC. Different things, but just as many.

For example, the keyboard shortcuts are all whacked on a Mac. Home, ctrl left arrow, apple end, it's all a crap shoot depending on which program you're in. On a PC, I could get to any section of a document quicker by using home, end, page up, etc., than I could by moving my hand over, getting the mouse, and clicking. On the mac, that is no longer an option. I had to go in and rewrite some files, just to get the home and end buttons to do what they do on every other computer operating system in the world. And several times I've been writing an e-mail, or adding a comment to a web site, and hit the wrong key, only to have the browser back up, and I lose everything I've written. It doesn't even have a delete key (or rather it does, but it acts like a backspace, to get it to delete you have to press two buttons at the same time).

And what about this whole 'if you're doing multimedia, it's tons easier on the mac. Well, not really. Maybe a little, but there are still a whole boat load of problems. For example, I have a camera that shoots in widescreen. When I import this in iMovie, the mac tries to change the video to letterbox because...well, I'm not sure why. So since it's already shot in widescreen, and is trying to make it widescreen a second time, it skews the movie. So after 2 hours of importing a home movie, the end result was worthless. How do you fix this? Easy, says a macworld article, "Instead of switching to Edit mode, stay in Camera mode. Save the project, quit iMovie, and turn off the camera. When you reopen the project, the video will stay 16:9."

Ah yes, the Mac. It just works. But only after you do all sorts of things that are counter-intuitive.

It seems to me that the PC is a bit tricker to use. There are more options and settings. The Mac is more streamlined (you have to mess with the settings to make it so your laptop has a right click), and 'easy', but this means that, at least from what I've seen, you lose functionality. On the PC you can probably change some setting to turn the letterbox off, but not on the Mac, at least not what I can see.

Another example of this easier to use, less functionality is the iPod. On the iPod there is no separate volume. Instead, you use the scroll wheel that is also used to move through different menus. The problem is that if you're in the menu, and suddenly you have a song blaring in your ears, you can't turn it down. Messing with the scroll wheel only moves you through menus. You have to navigate back to the song, and only then will the wheel act as a volume. Usually by that time my ears are bleeding.

The other problem I have found with the Mac is that there just isn't the open source software you'll find for the PC. Just as hackers will write viruses for the PC, because they get more bang for their buck, so too do software writers. Why spend all this time writing for a platform that has a smaller user base? Don't get me wrong, it's not that there isn't any software, there is just not as much.

So, all in all I like my Mac. I'd put my Mac up against any PC, but I wouldn't expect it to win hands down, as others have said. It certainly has it's strengths, but it also has it's quirks. Plenty of quirks. Quirks that have driven me to the brink of madness over the past three months. The Mac has it's problems, and it has it's strengths.

Just like the PC.

1 comment:

Tom said...

I agree, I've switched from PC to MAC only to find it's all hype. This is not a plug and play system as they make you believe. You will spend more time trying to get your Mac to do the simplest functions only to find out the Mac will not perform that function.

Apple wants you to think so differently that they take away all those awesome advanced options you had in PC.

I would say that a Mac is absolutely no different then PC, expect the price. It's all hype folks...all hype...