Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mac's Amazing Reputation

The Mac has an amazing reputation.  If I could sum it up in one sentence:
The Mac is a beautifully crafted computer whose operating system is so well engineered that it is not susceptible to malware attacks nor does it ever have problems, and it is comparable in price when compared to Windows computers, in part, because it is so trouble free.
I agree with the first part: it is beautifully crafted.  From a look and feel perspective, it is the nicest computer I have ever worked on.  In fact, I probably love working on it because of how nice it is to sit in front of!

But the other parts of its reputation are pure myth.  I'm sorry, that is just the truth.

Operating System
As I wrote in a 2008 article, the operating system is easy to completely trash.  I had another near call this week when I needed to delete some large reference files on my hard drive to make room for some I needed while serving a client.  After deleting nearly 90gb of files to make room for the 110gb of files I needed to temporarily put on the desktop, my MacBook Pro started behaving poorly.

I've gone through Mac OS issues enough times now to suspect that the hard drive had a bad set of permissions.  So I ran the Disk Utility and told it to repair my permissions on the hard drive, and it had hundreds to repair. I can honestly say that I have never had a similar issue on a Windows hard drive, but this is the fifth or sixth time I've experienced it on the Mac.

Susceptibility to Malware
While speaking to a church's staff this week, I was asked about this; it is a common myth.  The issue is that those who write malware (viruses, trojans, keystroke trackers, etc) do so to make a name for themselves in the hacker subculture, and Macs don't have enough market share to let one have much of an impact on the worldwide computing public.  In addition, Macs are an easy target, so again, writing malware for them wouldn't do much to bolster one's reputation.  Thus, there just isn't much malware that is written for the Mac, which makes the unassuming public believe they are impervious to attack!

Macs cost more than similarly equipped Windows computers; usually 75% to 125% more.  That's the plain and simple truth.

Perception is Everything!
Most Mac users are very forgiving of Apple when they encounter a flaw, saying things like, "Oh, Apple will fix that in the next update."  But when they see a flaw in Windows, they are quick to point out how bad Microsoft is, as though it were the Evil Empire.

This is true of people in most aspects of life.  If someone makes a serious mistake due to poor judgment, others will typically have one of two responses:
  1. If they like the person, they'll say, "Oh, everyone's entitled to make a mistake now and then."
  2. If they don't like the person, they'll say, "It was just a matter of time before they really blew it!"
It's just human nature!  Like 1 Corinthians 13:5 & 7 says, "love keeps no record of wrongs... always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  (NIV)

Would I Buy Another Mac?
I'm asked that question a lot!  Because of the job I have, the answer is yes.  I could not support our clients' Mac users without one.  If I were buying a personal computer, the answer is probably yes.  Because they are nice to look at, if I had the extra cash to do so, I probably would!

When asked that question, I tell people the objective facts as I've explained them here.  When I ask them if that matches the perception they had of the Mac, they always say no!  My next question is usually, "And what other commercials and marketing hype do you totally believe?"

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