Monday, July 25, 2011

Mac vs. Windows...

Many McDonald's now have free WiFi, so anyone with a laptop, iPad, etc. can connect to the Internet while they're waiting or eating.  The free WiFi service has directions – click to enlarge them in the photo at right.

The directions for Macs are ridiculously simple: basicly (a) turn on your computer, and (b) pick the McDonald's WiFi network.  For Windows, on the other hand...

Four years ago, at the end of the day I started working for ServiceNow, I brought home the shiny new Mac PowerBook that they issued me.  I hadn't used a Mac before, so I was anticipating a complicated effort to get the Mac connected to my WiFi at home.  I even had a plan: I'd get on the Internet with my Windows desktop first, then start Googling when I ran into issues.  Note the assumption: based on all my experience with Windows, I expected to run into issues.

Instead, here's what happened:  I opened and powered up my PowerBook.  After logging into it, I got a polite message saying that it had detected my network at home, and would I like to connect?  I say “yes”, of course.  Then it came up with another message saying that it had detected that my network was secured, and would I please tell it the key?  I entered the key, and then I was connected.  Just like that!  Even better: now when I come home at night, I just turn on my PowerBook and I'm connected, no muss, no fuss.  Furthermore, this nifty little feature remembers every WiFi network I've ever been connected to, automagically reconnects all by it's lonesome.  It's so freakin' easy compared with Windows!

There are lots of complicated reasons why Macs are easier to use, and there are lots of things that Windows does better than a Mac. 

First and foremost amongst what Macs do better: a controlled hardware platform.  All Macs, because they're all made by Apple, have a known and controllable hardware kit.  This makes it far easier for Apple to do things like the WiFi magic described above. 

First and foremost amongst what Windows machines do better: competition.  Windows laptops, perfectly good ones, can be had for about half the price of a Mac laptop – that's competition at work.

It used to be true that there was a far wider variety of software available for Windows computers.  This gap has been narrowed considerably by the advent of free open source software, and eliminated completely by the fact that modern Mac machines can all run Windows software directly (on Windows itself in a virtual machine running on OS/X).

So it all boils down to a personal decision about what's important to you.  My own decision: I'm never buying another Windows machine for my own personal use, period.  I'll buy Macs, their competition if it ever comes out, and Linux machines.  I've used Windows machines for over 20 years, and Macs for 4 years, and there's no doubt at all that I'm more productive, and happier, with a Mac.  Enough so that I'll gladly pay the price premium...


  1. Did it really say PLEASE????? how very polite. :)

  2. Funny how it has three sections..Windows XP, Windows Vista AND Windows XP & Vista.. With you on the Mac choice, you make very valid points.. But have actually been investigating a Windows Tablet.. seems pretty nice..,2817,2375081,00.asp

    and would round out my Mac laptop, Android phone and perhaps windows tablet :)