Monday, June 4, 2007

Macs Are On The Rise!

At this year's Spring Church IT Roundtable all in attendance made the same observation: we're seeing more Macs in our ministry offices. Some would say this is a good thing! Some would say it is not! Who's right?

Macs Are On The Rise
Why are so many in ministry offices buying Macs? Is it the commercials? Maybe. Is it because they look cool? Maybe. Is it because everything's easier on a Mac? Maybe not!

The facts are that the commercials are great, Macs look cool, and everything being easier on a Mac is only a rumor.

The Truth Will Set You Free!
When Jesus said this in John 8:38, it's amazing to consider that he already knew it would be a key theme in Conspiracy Theory and in this blog! But I digress... sorry...

Mac users contact their stores, experts, and professionals for help. Mac users contact their IT team for help too! So... everything may not be easier on a Mac. But some things are, like audio and video editing, photograph manipulation, and more.

Yeah, but...
The problem is that most ministry offices runs some software that won't run on a Mac. At least not "natively." It may run in parallel mode, or via terminal services or some other solution like it, but not in the native Mac operating system and interface.

The next issue, then, is whether or not the ministry's Mac users will begin using a separate database or accounting system, for example, because they don't like the Windows interface that's forced upon them when using the system selected for all other users. If they are willing to work with the software the rest of the ministry uses, like the database or accounting system, then I guess there's no holding them back!

Yeah, but!
The next issue, then, is how to support those on Macs if your IT staff only has PC knowledge and expertise. In that case, the Mac users may need to be on their own. What do you think?

9 comments:

David S. said...

I think part of the answer is: buy the IT guys Macs! IT needs to live and breath Mac for a while (not exclusively, in my opinion) or at least have a Mini or iMac around to test Active Directory integration, troubleshooting, etc. I don't need to actually use the Mac to do too much productivity-wise, but I need to know what's going on so when a Mac user comes to me, I'm not starting from scratch.

I don't have a Mac, and I'm not likely to get one very soon budget-wise, but it's on my radar when we can do it. It just makes sense to me.

Nick Nicholaou said...

I agree, David. I've even begun to think through getting a MacBook Pro so I can work with it and gain the familiarity I need to objectively address this issue from both sides.

Barry said...

Our IT dept did buy a Mac mini mostly to test the printers for our 2 Mac users. It does seem crazy to me that since we have over 100 PCs and only 2 Macs that we (IT) are expected to be experts. What's next, someone decides Linux is the way they need to go? We have a standard and although we give "best effort" but we can not give the level of support we do the PCs. It would seem the burden would be in the MAC user/expert. I have heard of MAC experts but like Bigfoot I have never actually seen one. :)

Anonymous said...

I work for a mega church and I'm a Mac user. I even administer Shelby from my Mac. Honestly, it's because of my design roots...but I have to say that it is the only way I know to have both worlds on one computer. I use Parallels and I'm able to run Vista, OS X, and XP on one Mac Book Pro.

JD Collier

Anonymous said...

I run a network at a fairly large church in Houston Texas. We have about 150 users with two of those being Mac users. I gave the approval for these two to purchase Mac's with the understanding that they were on their own. Our lifeline is Shelby Systems and I base most of my decisions on what is best used with Shelby.

Mac's are highly over rated in a regular business environment.

Nick Nicholaou said...

I agree with Anonymous #2's comment that the best IT hardware decisions are often based on the ministry database and accounting system. Today's Macs muddy the water a bit, but it is still best to keep the water as mud-free as possible.

I was talking with Walt Wilson about Macs vs PCs awhile back, and he said the Mac was always intended to be a *personal* computer rather than a *business* computer. Walt is a former Apple executive, and a great guy with a wonderful heart for ministry. His comment helps put a lot in perspective, though I'm still hoping to try a new Mac for myself and draw a current objective conclusion. Who knows-- I may love it!

Anonymous said...

Wait... are you guys serious? Macs are the ONLY way to go for anything. PCs are a hassle and a pain. We're moving all of our 250 church employees to the mac within the year. We're already well on our way to finishing the transition. We have Shelby running in Wine bottles and it works great.

Can't wait to get rid of the Dells...

Jeffrey Palmer said...

Can you post info about your Shelby install with wine?

Nick Nicholaou said...

Hi Jeffrey! I find the easiest way to run Shelby on a Mac is via Microsoft Remote Desktop (new version, free, available in App Store works great). My second preferred method is in VMware Fusion. In Fusion it's just like setting up Shelby on a Windows system.

Does that help?