Feb 052010
 
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I’ve been brought up to use Windows. Well, technically I started with a Tandy TRS-80, moved up to a ZX-81, Spectrum 48, Spectrum 128 +2, Sega Master System, SNES and THEN a Windows PC (95, 98, Me, XP, 7)… None of that is relevant but may get some old geeks reminiscing a bit!

Basically, in my proper computing years I’ve generally been a Windows user and had no major issues with it. I wasn’t OS-ist (I even have friends who are black, erm…, I mean who are Mac users) I just used Windows.

At the end of 2008 one of my bosses gave me his MacBook Pro (see here for proof: “…5 years later I’m on my third MacBook, one has been passed on to a colleague…”) as my Windows laptop was ageing rather badly. OK, I pestered quite a bit too to see what all the fuss was about Macs!!

Well, seeing as I sit at my laptop around 6-10 hours every day depending on workload it gave me plenty of time to ‘learn’ how to use the Mac. It was pretty straight forward and only a handful of Google searches, emails and MSN messages were required to get me knowledgeable about the basic, every day functions. 16 months on and I’m still probably classed as a newbie though but can do most things I need to do.

OK, so why the big divide between Mac and Windows users? To be honest, I don’t know but I think for most people it is largely how they were brought up. If you’ve been brought up using a Mac then you will prefer a Mac, ditto for Windows. The same is true, in my opinion, of TomTom and Garmin SatNav’s – in general users prefer the company they were ‘brought up’ with. Now, that’s not to say that allegiences can’t be switched – I was a Garmin man but have recently started using TomTom more and more. Likewise Griff tells us he moved from being a Windows user to a Mac user and hasn’t looked back since. With regards to operating systems I am still somewhere in between.

Both have their pro’s and cons. It’s pointless, in my opinion, just to say one is better than the other. You could make the same poor argument about which is better between a Ferrari and a Fiesta. Well, it’s a Ferrari, isn’t it? Well, no, actually, as I was referring to which is better for parking in a tightly packed car park in a busy shopping centre – in which case it would be the Fiesta. Which is better: Mac or Windows – well, what do you want it to do? For design work the Mac seems to do better – perhaps due to it’s better memory management when multiple programs are running. But for ease of networking I found Windows wins hands-down. Sharing files from a Windows machine took a matter of seconds and I could access them with read and write permissions from the Mac. Sharing files on the Mac took about 45 minutes with a lot of Googleing and faffing about in order to be able to access them with both read and write permissions through Windows.

I find the Mac is less customisable in terms of digging deep into the settings but then this does have it’s plus points. Less variation in settings means better overall compatibility. Also, Windows NEEDS more settings as the hardware it is running on can differ greatly. OSX runs on Apple Macs and Apple Macs alone. Apple know what hardware is in one of their machines from the outset and so the OS can be tailored directly for that. Windows needs to run on pretty much any hardware and that hardware is not designed nor built by Microsoft. Apple have the advantage there but this also shows that Windows is actually very versatile.

Regarding software I’ve found that you can find a Mac version of most Windows software and vice versa. The only real software issues I have with Mac are the lack of music library/players. iTunes is bad. I’ve fallen out with it after it failed to tag my mp3’s correctly and then wiped 10,000+ of my tags and artwork from all my files. So I now use MediaMonkey again in Windows but no similar software is available on the Mac. CD/DVD burning software is lacking for Mac too – OK I could use iTunes to burn a music CD but what if I need to burn 10? You need to keep going back and setting up the whole process 10 times. In Windows, even the most basic CD burning software will ask how many copies you want and then simmply tell you when to insert the next disc…!

So, in conclusion, which is better? Windows or Mac OSX? Microsoft or Apple? Meh… I like ’em both and I’m happy to stay in No-Man’s Land for a good while longer!

PS – I want to point out that this isn’t simply a counter post to GriffBlog; I’d actually started writing this 3 days before his was posted! I’ve just been too busy to get it finished and published…