Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why I use a Mac

Being able to list hundreds of shitty shareware apps that all do the same job is hardly proof of an OS being better. It just means there are hundreds of shitty programmers out there who are too stupid to see if an app that does the job already exists.

I like my Mac for a number of reasons:

1. Long term stability. I put my computers through the ringer, testing various applications and always looking to do things beyond the needs of the average user. When using Windows, I needed to reinstall the OS every six months or so as the registry decayed. The Mac hasn't need a reformat once in the year and a half I've owned it.

2. Unix Core. Most the good Unix apps have been ported to Mac OS X. While a few still need X11 loaded, this isn't much of an issue as it only adds a few seconds to load time.

3. Easy multi-boot. I have a Mac install on the internal drive and one on an external drive. I usually boot off the external drive, but if my OS ever gets hosed I can just boot to the internal drive. This trick needed Partition Magic and a boot manager to do when Windows was my primary OS.

4. It does what I want it to. With the exception of Mac drivers for my PlusDeck, which can be controlled from the front panel anyway, I've never hit a situation where the software I needed wasn't available for the Mac. True, there would only be one or two programs that performed the given task, but they did what I needed to, as opposed to slogging through a few dozen shitty versions of the same functionality as I slogged through Windows programs.

5. Applescript. Just about everything you can do can be automated with incredible ease. It's eve easier than using VBA to automate Windows programs, in part because most native Mac Apps support Applescript while few Windows programs support VBA.

6. Fewer security issues. Viruses are almost non existent. While this advantage will fade as the platform grows in popularity, it's a current advantage.

7. The centralized Address Book and Calendar. Instead of having dozens of different ways in which different applications store address book and calendar data, Mac OS has a central data store. Instead of having their own formats for storing data, various programs simply access this centralized data. This means once I get a phone number in the address book, it will, seamlessly, sync to any device or service that such data with my Mac. Getting my contacts onto my cell phone, iPod and so on was a matter of using the built in sync technology. I could even configure a specific subset of data to sync with my wife's phone.

There's more, but by and large, the Mac is easier to use, does everything I need and when I need to step beyond what Mac and iLife can do out of the box, I just turn to the Unix core and find what I need in the OSS community.

I freely admit however that before Mac OS X, I considered the Mac a cute toy.

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