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Informal survey: Apple primed for gains

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| World Cup Blogs? ?

June 17, 2006

Informal survey: Apple primed for gains

Stephen Baker

Our 18-year-old is going to college next fall, and is bugging us about getting him a laptop. He loathed the underpowered iMac we had in Paris six years ago, and vowed never to have anything again to do with Apple computers. His question now: "Is there any reason I shouldn't get a Mac?"

Why the change? As Arik Hesseldahl writes, the popularity of the iPod and the Intel chips in Macs make a big difference. And all the fuss about viruses on Windows machines gets tiresome. Plus, his best friend just got a Mac to take to college. Judging from this microsample, I'm with Arik that Apple's marketshare is primed to rise.

11:16 AM


"And all the fuss about viruses on Windows machines gets tiresome."

What is more tiresome is that people don't take the necessary precautions, and then they complain about the operating system.

As Windows is the leading Operating System, it is the largest target. If you are the author of a virus, do you want to try to target 12% of the machines, or 88%? Only makes sense (for them anyhow) to go after larger "rewards".

Anyhow, for anyone using Windows, simply make sure that you have the following software installed:

1) Microsoft Anti-Spyware

2) NOD32 Anti-virus from

3) The latest service packs and updates from Microsoft.

Additional tips:

Never click on attachments from people that you don't know.

Never respond to spam email (You are only verifying to them that your email address is valid).

If you are using an older version of Windows, such as ME, or 98, then don't consider upgrading. Do upgrade. There's nothing to consider, do it now.

I'm not attempting to change anyone's mind about purchasing a MAC. It simply depends on what you need to use your computer for. MAC's may fit those requirements just fine, if you are a graphics artist, music composer, or you send/receive a lot of email.

If you are a computer programmer or a demanding power user, then a PC would probably be a better choice.


Computer user since 1981

Posted by: Michael Bailey at June 18, 2006 12:00 PM

What is tiresome is PC folks showing their ignorance by calling Macs MAC, or thinking that all Macs are good for is graphics design, music or creative stuff. They're good for that too, and a whole lot more.

A better question to ask is: "why waste your time with an operating system that is STILL so vulnerable to viruses and spyware when it's made by the biggest OS vendor on the planet? With their resources, shouldn't Microsoft be able to fix this? Why does it take Microsoft years longer than it promises to deliver an OS that will be an also ran to Apple's?" I guess throwing money at things and market dominance do not guarantee a good product.

BTW, if you want to program on the Mac, Apple gives away its developer tools for free (the same ones they use internally), and there are several great Java IDEs available for it for free as well


computer programmer since 1978. Mac user since 1986

Posted by: glasspusher at June 18, 2006 03:11 PM

now that microsoft is taking on symantic with virus protection software, could this be their new billion dollar revenue centre??

i mean seriously, everytime they want to make a bit more money, they can now just create a hole in their own operating system and then charge you for a patch....

the irony.

Posted by: Steve Davies at June 18, 2006 07:05 PM

This guy just wants to take notes, do email, chat, write papers, store music. The normal stuff.

Michael, let me get this straight: Our complaints about the viruses on the PC are more tiresome to you than the viruses are to us? If that's the case, I'm very very sorry. I and others like me must be making your life absolutely miserable. I have no doubt that we've failed to take all the necessary precautions. We put in firewalls, download the patches, try the best we can to pay close attention to the dire warnings that confront us. But somewhere we're clearly falling short.

No doubt you're right that the dominance of the Windows platform attracts the sleeze. And if Apple gains marketshare, the hazards on these computers will likely rise. Until that day, though, I've been enjoying a respite from the wars.

Posted by: steve baker at June 18, 2006 07:21 PM

What is also tiresome is users claiming to be such long time computer user and thinking thats a good thing. Whenever I see some proclaiming they have been using computers since 198x or earlier, I think... oh dear. If computer users out of the 80s were such a good thing then why do so many HR offices / recruiters in the Pac NW frown upon anyone over 40 trying to get a Sys Admin or Project Management job....

Posted by: Yvo van Doorn at June 19, 2006 02:11 AM

In the interest of farmers, shop owners, and entire society of Delhi.

Problem faced by the entire society of Delhi has it’s genesis in the very agency suppose to solve the very problem “DDA”. Delhi Development Authority was formulated to develop the National Capital of India and has exclusive and monopolistic rights over entire development activities and land of Delhi. DDA acquires agricultural land from the farmer for developing it into residential colonies / commercial complexes / institutional areas / public areas etc at no profit-no loss basis (but most of the times it ends up only losing money). Instead of 1 billion countrymen taking pride in capital city of their country, Delhi looks like nation’s capital of shame, corruption, and slums, where all roads lead to squalor.

Delhi’s side of story: - DDA is a monopoly with no accountability or monitoring, so always have fancy plans and nil execution. Inferior construction (DDA flat sells for 1/2 - 1/3rd the price compared to same size of flat constructed any other developer), endless time ( Dwarka under development for past 35 years, compare it’s development with Gurgaon or Noida or even Greater Noida – which in spite of location and other disadvantages, nil monetary support from Govt. took only 1/3rd the time to achieve much better development) nil accountability (DDA loses money despite of selling land for 400 times to 2000 times the acquisition price), almost negligible supply of fresh housing / commercial etc (on average 500 residential plots / flats sold/ possession given every year ). All this has created huge land shortage and exorbitant profits for DDA and exorbitant price of a basic necessity for human race – housing. Land which was acquired by DDA 30 years back at approximately Rs. 10,000/ acre is either still under litigation with the farmer or pending for development with DDA. Whatever limited land DDA sold went for Rs. 20-70 crore/ acre (Rs.40, 000/ to Rs 1, 50,000/ yard). DDA claimed it had to rake in this profit for subsidized land for schools, charities, social cause or develop infrastructure etc. This also now being sold through auction for with minimum reserve price of Rs. 20 crore per acre and we all know the status of infrastructure. Since all land is horded by DDA there is acute shortage of various types of Residential, Commercial, Institutional Land resulting in exorbitant prices of residential , commercial , hotels , schools , hospitals etc. ( cost of all these in Delhi is more than London , New York and most other national capitals). Because of non-availability of land people are forced to do illegal building construction in non-confirming areas by paying bribe to same officials who are otherwise responsible for the planned development and live always under insecurity of loosing their home, shop by demolition. IS THIS OUR FREE COUNTRY OR ARE WE STILL RULED BY FOREIGNERS?

Farmer’s side of Story:- Farmer are forced to sell their Agricultural Land to DDA at much cheaper price (after several increases now DDA pays Rs 26,00,000/ acre over five years as compensation to farmer) than market price of their land (in Delhi and in entire NCR Region up to a radius of 150 Km from Delhi market price of agricultural land is between Rs. 60,00,000 to Rs. 20, 00,00,00/ acre). Since compensation is less than market price farmer remains ultimately landless and unemployed and land owner becomes a farm laborer or lawless mob. SO SHOULD AN INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY TAKE PRIDE IN MAKING ITS FARMERS INTO LABORERS JUST TO BENEFIT DDA?

Common Man’s side of story- Faced demolition and sealing activity of illegal construction in houses, shops and offices in entire Delhi. Have you heard of similar situation in Gurgaon, Noida - Greater Noida, Faridabad or elsewhere in NCR or other countries? Also please compare infrastructure development / construction quality of DDA with that of NOIDA or Greater Noida (yet another govt. body) or private developers (Gurgaon). Since DDA provided negligible fresh legal supply of land in-spite of 90% population being home less so people are forced to either accept DDA flats after 35 years of waiting period if they still survive (flats booked in 1960 are yet to be constructed) or do illegal construction in agricultural land leading to present mess of illegal colonies with nil infrastructure or water/ electricity supply. Instead of taking responsibility of basic amenities for the population of the city, citizens living in illegal colonies are used as a vote bank and before every election the Govt. says such colonies will be legalized. THESE ILLEGAL COLONIES (HOUSING > 80% OF DELHI’S POPUTATION) HAVE LESS BASIC AMENITIES THAN EVEN ZOOLOGIAL PARKS IN MOST WORLD CAPITALS.

It is imperative that all citizen of this free nation get a stake in the development of the national capital. Farmer can be given a option to sell their land at market price to either DDA or private developer (avoiding long delays because of litigation), DDA can do the master planning and basic infrastructure like road, water, metro, public parks etc. and charge for the same to the builder, builder can be given a task of time bound development of world class colonies and apartments and since there will be abundant supply profiteering will not happen and prices will come down. Incentive to take bribe and do illegal construction will die out. Another method could be that DDA can make the farmer partner in development and gives part of the developed land as the compensation for his agricultural land so that he has a stake in the faster development and is not forced into causing legal or physical hindrances.

Posted by: SG at June 19, 2006 02:37 AM


Costs money.

I have had Apple systems for 4 years and have never needed to spend a cent on Anti-Spyware. Unlike my PC at work. Also Windows Sucks.

I've just moved my brother and mother onto Apple systems.

Posted by: me at June 19, 2006 02:51 AM

And any programmer or power user would be smart enough to get linux i hope.

Posted by: frup at June 19, 2006 02:58 AM

A computer is just a tool, nothing more, so use the hammer you know. Having used both platforms off and on since they were both introduced, I can say with absolute confidence that the only real difference is their “body style.” Sure MAC users will laud their ease of use, but then when was the last time any true members of the “cult of mac” deemed to objectively try out a windows machine? Its nothing more than a religion anymore. PC’s are cheaper and more tweakable, MACs are less flexible yet no more easier to use than previously. Sure an uninitiated Windows user can get into more trouble than a MAC user can, but then I like being able to upgrade my Dell on a component basis. Something I could never do with a MAC. And the software prices, my gawd!

Posted by: Warren at June 19, 2006 03:16 AM

"If you are a computer programmer or a demanding power user, then a PC would probably be a better choice."

I couldn't disagree more. I'm a serious power user AND a serious programmer (originator of Wicket, among many other things, including working on Java and long ago on Windows). I've been programming exclusively on my MacBook Pro for a couple months now and I doubt I'm really ever going to use my PC again except for testing.


Computer programmer since 1979. Mac user since 2 months ago.

Posted by: Jonathan Locke at June 19, 2006 03:20 AM

I have tried them all. PCs with Windows and Linux as well as Apples. In the end despite my reluctance to make Microsoft richer I went back to Windows for the simple reason that all the programs I really liked only worked under Windows(Windows emulators--programs that let you run windows applications under different operating systems--like WINE don't work well). When you have 90% of the market not only do people spend time writing viruses for you they also spend time writing useful programs for Windows. Buy your son what he wants a PC. It will be cheaper for you and everything runs on it.

Posted by: Jack Green at June 19, 2006 03:32 AM

I have been caught in the debate the two geeks above me are so emotionally acting out for a long time, and for a long time I have been on the PC side of the discussion, that is, until now. I have recently decided to make the shift from a PC to a mac, but why you ask? The simple answer is that Apple has become for computers what Miles Davis was for jazz, they are redefining cool. For us long time PC users design was never important, we were much more interested in the hardware. But now we are tired of the same bland looking PC desktops and laptops. Apple comes along with their affordable sleek design and easily steals the show, making us PC users, who have been deprived of anything affordably cool looking so long, a little giddy. I just watched a video on Utube that showed a macbook runing the new parallel software intantaneously switching from OS X to Windows XP, now that's cool.

Posted by: Benjamin at June 19, 2006 04:16 AM

While I use PC myself, a lot of my friends use Macs, and we're all programmers. Unless you're restricted to using, in general I believe the Mac is actually prefered due to its UNIX underpinnings.

And yeah, even if we disregard virus issues, MS seems to be always behind Apple when it comes to modernizing the OS. (To be fair, Vista "should" bring it on par...)

Posted by: Dustin at June 19, 2006 07:25 AM

My vote is with Mac. For me the appeal of the new Mac is that it now uses a Unix like operating system. Unix is more secure.

Apple have also taken a lot of care to make their product visually attractive. With Apple's dominance in the on-line music business their products now appeal to a younger market.

As for development software Linux, another Unix like operating system has everything an aspiring software developer could hope for. Linux supports 64 bit chip architectures now.

On the question of security, you can have the most secure operating system but nothing gives you the reassurance that doing regular back-ups gives.


Posted by: David Howe at June 19, 2006 07:56 AM

i really depends on what he plans to study. In many fields there are applications that will be needed, that will only run on one or the other computer systems. This being said a lot of work has been do on getting windows to install on the apple machines with intel chips, which may make things a little better down the road.

Posted by: ubiquitous at June 19, 2006 08:20 AM

THere's still three things WRONG with the Mac...

1) High Price

2) High Price

3) High Price

when will THAT get fixed???

Posted by: Suzie Q at June 19, 2006 08:32 AM

You can add me to the list of long-term PC users who will be switching to a Mac. My first computer was a TRS-80 Model I, and when IBM-PCs came out I was quick to realize IBM/MS-DOS was a CP/M derivative just like TRS-DOS, and easily made the switch. From 1984 to about 1992 I chided Macs for being silly toys with tedious GUI's - when I could easily do what I wanted on my PC with a command line. How things have changed. In 1992 I was "forced" to use a Mac and very quickly realized - even in the midst of a major processor switch - the Mac was a far more useable machine. Nonetheless, shortly thereafter I was working in IT and returned to my PC-snobbery (though still admitting Macs were ultimately easier to use). Since 2000 I have left IT, earned a graduate degree, moved on to higher education, dropped my snobbery, bought an iPod and started dating a die-hard Mac user. Now, I'm not one to change my mind because of her, but it has given me ample opportunity to use her Mac (with OS X). The computers are even better to use than before, and the Intel Macs I've played with at the store are absolutely snappy. With more and more revolving around open standards and the Internet, and Apple software that turns a computer into a smooth, integrated, functioning tool, I see no reason to continue clunking along with Frankenstein machines (regardless of how technically adept I may be). There are reasons I left IT, not the least of which is that I was tired of figuring out why one thing or another didn't work with Windows (or was broken with Windows); I have no inclination to have to deal with it anymore in my daily life. My next computer will be a Mac!

Posted by: Brandon W at June 19, 2006 09:12 AM

Haha reading the other two comments below, I just have to laugh for a second. I agree completely with Dave here. I've been using a mac since 1986 (and I was born in 83). My father had one, and I used to play the little games on it as a child. I fondly remember the game "Mouse Stampede" as one of my favorites.

I also remember (vaguely) the Macintosh Revolution, when for a while, everyone used a mac. I have never liked Windows, and as a programmer in college I am forced to use it, however Mac OS X is the largest revolution in Computer Operating Systems since Mac OS 6. Thats right, you don't see me mention things like Windows 3.1, Windows 95,98,NT, whatever. Windows is by far an inferior operating system when it comes up vs Mac OS.

In highschool I took Graphic Communications Technology. I was the only person in the class that was very familiar with the Mac OS functionality, moreso than the teacher. But over the 3 years that I was in the shop, I taught hundreds of people how Mac OS was better than Windows.

The only reason, Mac OS never caught on, was because of the marketing problem. The one thing that Apple computer did wrong, when they decided not to allow other people to put Mac OS on their computers. Had they have done this, there is a good chance we'd all be using macs today.

Mr. Gates was lucky. He went after Apple with a vengence and won, for quite a few years. But the mere fact that Mac OS has come up from its past years, and when OSX came out it changed almost everything about how the company was viewed.

Today, you can now get a MacTel, that can run Windows or Mac OSX. Mr. Gates doesn't mind this, because he sells his software either way, but this allows people to make the switch to using Mac much easier.

So in all honesty, the question of "Why wouldn't I want a Mac", is entirely one-sided. The answer is, "If you enjoy long hours of installing drivers, spending hours purging virii, defragmenting your hard drives, and wasting valuable RAM on Spyware Applications, anti-virus applications, and Firewall applications, then you want a PC."

I am currently an intern at the New Castle City Rescue Mission. I've been working with them to get their server working with their printers on the network. One of my best memories was from setting up a mac network in my highschool. And how it took roughly 30 seconds to get everything working and the computers talking to eachother. It took me 4 hours to get the network working at my internship. When they asked me how to solve the problems, I said "Well, next time don't buy Dell's, get Apple Computers."

Meh, given personal experience with Dell, I still question why anyone would ever buy from that horrible company.


John Leighow

Computer Programmer since I was 20.

Apple user since I was 3.

Mac Lover, for life.

Posted by: John at June 19, 2006 09:23 AM

I am not here to write a comment but me and my class visited your company as a trip, I met very exiting people and I would like if you could response back.

I have just watched a video in youtube this video really disturbed me, it was about how people in china rob animals and mistreat them kill them and then make fur coats I would like for business week to publish it so that everybody can know about the animals torture please help them. I hope that you can consider this and that you can e mail me thank you.

Sincerely, Yazmin Manzo

Posted by: Yazmin at June 19, 2006 09:59 AM

I work with both and like Macs for things like papers and other documents, but i must say that macs have no good games. most of you might not be intrested in that but its why im still using both

Posted by: kevin at June 19, 2006 10:09 AM

Biggest misnomer of all time : "Mac's cost more than PCs"

Mac's in fact represent far better value for money than any Windows based PC.

Check out Dell's website (PC users love Dell as around 15% of them buy there computers from them). Price up an equivalent Dell laptop to a MacBook or Dell desktop to an iMac. Make sure that you include a proper version of Windows XP (not the Home Edition, as it doesn't have half the features of Mac OS X) Make sure you include all the good stuff which Mac's have included standard, web cam, Gigabit ethernet, Firewire, Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi, Optical audio in/out, productivity and entertainment software. Also add in the shipping cost (Dell likes to stick that in at the last minuet to make there computers look cheeper). I think you will find that the machines will cost about the same, the Mac equivalent might even be slightly cheaper.

In the case of the XPS M2010 which looks like Dell's attempt at a portable iMac but with Amstrad styling ( at $3500 It's double the price of an equivalent iMac.

Plus, once you have your PC you have to buy all your anti-spyware and anti-virus software. If you are a developer you will have to buy most tools - while a Mac benefits from all the open source Unix tools.

With your PC, every 3 or so months you will have to spend a day, formatting and reinstalling Windows to keep the machine running smoothly.

Then a year or so later, you might want to upgrade to a new computer and to sell (or more like dispose of) your PC. Well you might as well trash it cos no one will want it. Meanwhile Mac's maintain there value far more than a PC, so you could sell it and get some money to spend on your next computer.

Over the life a PC it will cost you more time and more money to maintain than a Mac.

Posted by: Glan Thomas at June 19, 2006 10:20 AM

Buying a computer from any major manufacturer is a waste of money.

I own a brand spankin' new Asus custom built notebook that SMOKES all the newest and highest end Dell/Apple/Whatever, and it cost $1800.

Anyone willing to pay $500 dollars for a RAM upgrade or $300 dollars for an operating system or $200 for an office suite or $500 for development tools (AND THE LIST GOES ON) doesn't deserve to own a computer. Go buy a typewriter.

Besides all that, Apple does do a good job of making things pretty.

Posted by: Patrick at June 19, 2006 10:56 AM

Why doesn't anyone ask the poor kid what he's going to USE the computer for? When people ask me, "what computer I should get", that's always my first question. Is he going for a science degreee, or the liberal arts, etc. Based on more than 20 years as a computer consultant, I see the computers today as being VERY good at many things. I'm actually confused at why in the new Macintosh ads with those 2 guys, the Mac guy concedes that Windows is "better" at spreadsheets. Spreadheets are easy for ANY computer (Excel was released as a Mac program first, right after Microsoft bought and combined the 2 programs Multiplan and Chart).

Anyway, if you can now buy a computer that runs Windows AND Mac OSX, why WOULDN'T you? Then you can run ANY program and do all that fancy multimedia stuff too (malware-free). And Pu-leez stop saying Macs are more expensive. The fact is that Apple (and SONY and a few others) believes in quality, and gives you everything you need. If you want a cheap P.O.S. with limited features, poor service that needs lots of attention to keep working, you can always get that from Dell, but you won't save anything in the long run.

btw: that dude that asked why companies don't want to hire IT guys over 40, it's because their experience and wisdom come a cost that most companies are unwilling to pay, not because they don't know what's current.

Posted by: Snailer at June 19, 2006 10:58 AM

only thing missing is competion for MACs. If another mfg could make a mac and sell it then I think it would bring the cost down and have a better product than Windows. But for now, I would get a MAC and enjoy the features and stability after all, the new MS vista interface looks like OS x but with the legacy security holes.

Posted by: Joe Schwartz at June 19, 2006 11:30 AM

This young person should obtain a summer job, save his money then he can buy the computer of his choice.

Posted by: C.W. Howard at June 19, 2006 12:01 PM

I've been using Macs for over a year now, and been a PC user for over 15 years. I never considered Macs to be viable for anything other than music, pictures, video editing, graphic editing, etc.

I was completely wrong. I haven't used my PC in months every since I switched to Mac.

Mac OS X is just beautiful and a solid OS.

While I always downloaded all the updates, security patches, etc for my Windows XP machine I never had a problem with virus or spyware.

I'm using my Mac for everything from school work to everyday life, and I couldn't be happier.

I recently tried Vista and wasn't too impressed - looks "too bulky" and it feels "bloated."

It just feels like Windows XP on a different face with a few tweaks.

The ONLY reason why I'd use a PC is for gaming - and this is to change soon. As Apple releases faster Intel processors and better systems, I'm sure sooner than later gaming on the Mac platform is going to be not much different than on PC.

Posted by: Juan at June 19, 2006 12:18 PM

Windows sucks! Even to do a easy task it take a hour and has hundreds of steps. It tried to burn a DVD with their software and 5 hours later, I still couldent get it to work. Screw windows. Apple kicks ass, and fuck europe for trying to open up iTunes to everyone.

Posted by: mrpiddly at June 19, 2006 01:59 PM

If he's 18, it's all about discovering all the cool things he can do with his computer. The good thing about Apple products is that as long as he purchases things made by them, they should work, which is not always a given with Windows based computers.

The bad thing is that safety comes at a price (different from the actual money shelled out): there is a whole world of opensource software out there which will only run on Linux derivatives or Windows; there is also a lot of hardware which will only run on Windows. The bottom line is a Mac can be too limiting.

The threat from virus, spyware, rootkits is real, but I think it's better to be aware of these problems and learn how to deal with them, rather than be blissfully unaware of "the real world" because "hey, macheads are cool" (not).

Posted by: S at June 19, 2006 02:01 PM

I'm a serious programmer and use a mac. It is easier, faster and more fun to create cross-platform applications on a mac than windows.

2 years on a mac and I don't remember why I wasted a decate + on windows.

Posted by: Oscar at June 19, 2006 03:21 PM

Pretty much have him try out his friend diffrent ones, whatever people say here they will always be mac lovers and pc lovers and then the occasional transvetite

Posted by: Austin at June 19, 2006 04:04 PM

Computer owners are like parents... Every set of parents you ask will give you a different answer on how you should raise your child.

Computer users are the same. You'll get all different answers on how you should best use a computer…

I've been using both platforms since 1989. I've been a level 1 tech for Apple and a bench tech for HP and Compaq. There's no comparison. The Apple is built like it was "Mil Spec'd".

Those of you out there who understand what milspec is will understand. Every screw, ever solder joint, every-everything is superior to any other builder out there, due to one fact; Apples' ability to keep the hardware and software a propriety system of hardware and software. The build cost on an Apple device is much higher, proportionately, due to the higher standards set forth by Apples’ engineers and company business model. FYI; Apple does not go to the lowest bidder for a component. They use the bidder that provides the most consistent output at the lowest cost. Therefore, a screw, for instance, may cost as much as $2.00 USD. By the by: Most of Apple’s metallic hardware is machined, not molded.

Now, as to what is best for whom, only one person can answer that. The user. The user has to be willing to accept change and learn ways of being more productive.

Posted by: APPL-4-Life at June 19, 2006 04:33 PM we go again: the never-ending Mac vs PC Wars....I resigned from them long ago by trying Linux:

--No high priced hardware [or, software, for that matter: it's free]

--No viruses or malware to worry about

--No defragging your hard drive every month

--No rebooting after every install

And, unlike Mac users, I don't feel superior to the rest of the world because of my choice: use whatever works best for you, but don't put down others because they make different choices than you.

Posted by: Mikey at June 19, 2006 04:37 PM

As a college TEACHER, as well as a PC user since you actually had to know DOS, the software's the thing. My son wanted a Mac in the worst way, got this gorgeous thing and hauled it off to college - onlt to discover every single bit of required software DID NOT RUN ON A Mac. Luckily, since I've been inthe biz forever, and he got the thing from a friend at an Apple store, he got to return it, and get the nice IBM ThinkPad that everyone else got - which served him well until he graduated (RPI BS in CS, 2004, Summa), got a great job, and built his own mega super gaming power machine.

Moral of my story: buy whatever you want, but if you're buying for a purpose, makes sure what you get is what you need, rather than just what you want - unless you want to buy one of each.

Posted by: Barbara Dobrinsky Holtzman at June 19, 2006 05:14 PM

Computers are appliances and ought to be treated as such- be it a tv, fax machine, copier, microwave etc. It's better to buy a reputable, name-branded appliance so that you get a reliable, easy-to-use, and fully-supported product. And, that is one of the core selling points of Apple's Mac computer offerings- ie simple, reliable, and easy-to-use personal computers.

No one builds their own toaster oven or microwave out of parts purchased at the weekend flea market. But, no one is saying that you can't build your own Windows or Linux computer either, if you really want to. The bottom line is that nowadays people are too busy to waste their time doing that- esp since the cost savings make it only very marginally worthwhile at best- unless you're a hardcore hobbyist willing to invest the time and energy to do so.

Ultimately, whether you buy a Mac or PC depends on what you plan on using it for. And, there are positive arguments for both Macs and for Windows/ Linux PCs. They each have their pros & cons. But, I think that for the average consumer, Apple has a lot to offer. And, consumers should educate themselves and keep a keen, objective mind while shopping.

Just as I am more willing to spend an extra $100 or $200 on a Sony TV instead of a no-name-made-in-god-knows-where-brand one, it makes good shopping sense to consider buying a name-branded personal computer with an established reputation and warranty.

Posted by: detrich at June 19, 2006 05:49 PM

Go with the mac. No reason not to, in fact, you can always run windows on your mac if all else fails. But i'm confident all else will not fail. I'm a programmer and use mac and linux as my home platforms. Macs just use better quality components, and therefore may cost a bit more. Very little more if at all.

Viruses have been targeted at systems with much smaller user bases than Macs, such as cell phones with 1200 units in the open etc. Viruses are designed to target flaws, the sheer number of windows viruses is an indication how many flaws are there are.

Go to an apple store, test drive the systems you are interested in. You won't be disapointed.

Posted by: me at June 19, 2006 06:21 PM

Its not just a a matter of most popular software being targeted more its also an issue of OS security. Sure no OS is perfect but Mac OS X is more stable and secure thanks to its UNIX underpinnings and since OS X does not have to be cross compatible with older versions of Apple's Macintosh platform -- that is with older versions of Mac OS there does not have to be a lot of code in the operating system.

With less code running OS X is faster (no Windows Registry which keeps growing and makes computer slower = no performance hits can run a number of applications at once without whole system crashing -- i.e. no forced restarts, no viruses etc) also Mac OS X was designed with security in mind, certain ports to the Internet left open in Windows XP were closed by default in Mac OS X; has better Internet Firewall software, also offers Security Updates to patch problems but not as serious as in Windows.

Linux is a popular OS but u don't hear so many security problems for that OS -- I know there are different distributions of that O available as it is free open source software. Still, it does not have many security problems. I read most people would switch from Windows given the choice to Mac or Linux.

Issue is there is not nearly enough software usually for those systems compared to Windows. If Apple were to license Mac OS X to Dell and other companies (might negatively affect their hardware business though -- but what I like about Macs is design of computer like the white monitor for desktops. white keyboard with Apple comand key with command logo and apple logo on key in contrast to ms windows start menu key; nice apple logo on the merchandise (on hardware design is apple logo) and the software.

Design of the computer (when licensing could also license allow/require others to use Apple design on their computers capable of running OS X if they are designed for that purpose) and the software itself are important -- whether its a G3. G4. G5, Intel Core Duo based computer -- i.e. has those chips doesn't matter its not like I see the physical hardware on the inside of the computer.

Its outside design and software running on system that I think is important.

I know some new security issues are being found for Mac but are still nowhere near as serious as Windows. Spyware cannot install itself -- since that happens automatically when u open an infected file etc or gets downloaded without your permission because all software must be installed with user knowledge requires user verification -- i.e. password Windows doesn't just requires u to be logged in with administrative rights.

Also I saw a video once of Windows security -- logon to Internet without a firewall, without anti-virus software or any security update and suddenly in a matter of minutes some other users try making connections to your computer and send u files which might be infected.

That is how bad Windows is if you don't protect it - it will get infected -- u need to protect it very well -- Macs should also be protected but issue not as serious. Not about market share and popularity but system controls and features. Also Windows administrators normally have system level root access Mac admins don't -- they can't change content of the system -- i.e. system files which prevents them from accidentally deleting something important. The files are saved -- is a precautionary good security measure.

Posted by: annonymous at June 19, 2006 06:23 PM

Mac OS X can run Microsoft Office, Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer, has Macintosh Explorer ( -- or go to and find link) which is like Windows Explorer, can use's Fruit Menu ( -- or to regain customization of apple menu available by default in Mac OS 9 and lower when Dock Menu wasn't available yet on Macintosh platform.

Is far more secure than Windows even if it isn't immune, handles video and music and pictures good can run word processing, do web browsing, play some games -- although there is always a delay between new PC releases and Mac releases in past etc.

Posted by: someone at June 19, 2006 06:27 PM

All of this debating is no longer relavent. I have a new intel macintosh ProBook and I am running Apple's bootcamp beta software. I now have the best OS there is from apple for almost everything, and Windows XP for the few things like games and Visio (for network design) that I also want but that are not YET available for OSX. I must say that using both platforms equally for work, that OSX is by far more trouble free, as stated by many here. But I will say the the maching runs Windows PERFECTLY so far. In fact so perfect that I already had to reinstall Windows XP twice due to viruses. So I have a true mac machine and a very true windows machine working on the same laptop. And by the way, for games, Windows is awesome. (Ironic that that is what the Mac was known for by the Wondows world for many years)

Robert (computer user since 1982, have used everything from commodore, apple, amiga, atari to the present day apple and windows machines)

Posted by: Robert at June 19, 2006 06:44 PM

I'm not biased about either OS. I have used Windows for the majority of my computing years, but that is just because I am familiar with the OS and its features. Yes, I love having the wide variety of software available to me, but I also appreciate the effort that Apple has put into their OSX.

I do notice that Apple users tend to state that Windows users have to continually download patches for Windows security. But am I wrong in stating that Apple users do also download updates to their operating system?

Posted by: Jared at June 19, 2006 10:35 PM

Being a windows enthusiast for all of my life (starting with 3.11) I have to say that I've obtained the technical knowhow and skill to use a windows-based computer to its fullest. What I don't understand is why apple computers are becoming more windows-based nowadays. Let's see: First, firewire is unpopular on windows-based computers, so they ditched it on the ipod. Second, Intel the largest chip maker for the most popular brand-name windows-based computers out there, so why not adopt it. Third, and this one really hits home...why not just install windows on the mac and get it over with? The real kicker here is that you need to buy windows to use it on a mac...kind of defeats the whole "switch" idea if you're supporting the enemy at such a level.

There's a reason Apple computers have such a small market share: they're a niche market, appealing only to those who deem themselves "trendy," and "hip" (Apple's latest marketing campaign spares no expense pointing this out.) Apple users, as seen on virtually every single internet community site around, are impeccably snobbish, looking down on windows users like how European Sports car owners treat Domestic economy car counterparts.

Of course, the benefit of this is that Apple is never going to mean anything more than what its user base says. Why use Windows? Unless you're a complete idiot, why not. Even Kevin Mitnick pointed out that the user is responsible for the problem, not the machine. So if the user is inexperienced, under qualified, and uneducated, then I guess they have no other choice but to buy a Mac!

As to draw another parallel to the tried-and-true automobile industry, a Windows Pc is like a manual transmission, while a Macintosh is like an automatic. The manual needs a little time to get used to, but is far more flexible, provides a better use of resources, and can be more fun to operate. The automatic requires no thought (beyond the arbitrary on or off,) and in return, teaches the user nothing of its inner workings. So once you've gone down the path of the Apple computer, you're basically setting yourself up for a chain of feline-nomenclature updates and eye candy matching that of swedish furiture.

But who am I kidding, I want a macbook pro, damnit!

Posted by: Lein at June 20, 2006 04:02 AM

I wish people would NOT conflate comparing Windows to the classic Mac OS versus comparing Windows to Mac OS X.

Experience with the Mac before OS X is irrelevant to any present-day comparison of platforms.

Posted by: David at June 20, 2006 05:41 AM

There is really no reason to not get a Mac at this point.

Although the really rabid Mac fans (myself included) can be annoying, the anti-Mac bigots are no better, continually raising misinformed and stereotyped objections concerning a platform about which they often know very little.

Macs are a great deal, especially for students. The current back-to-school deal is hard to beat: a new MacBook plus iPod Nano starting at $1049 (when getting the education discount from Apple). Right now, as well, there's a $50 rebate on the student-teacher edition of Microsoft Office 2004 for the back at, bring the price of that down to $83.

Sure, there are cheaper laptops, but you get what you pay for. Cheaper is only better if all else is equal. When you configure those machines like the MacBook, the price differences become very small. Then, look at the surveys of problem rates and satisfaction with technical support from Consumer Reports or other sources. People who look only at price assume equal quality, but the lower problem rate with Apple's machines indicates that quality is not equal.

Can't tweak Macs? Depends on the model. The MacBook has an easily-accessible hard drive for upgrades. You don't even have to open the case -- that's awesome for a laptop. Same for the memory slots. In terms of the OS itself, the Unix guts make it very tweakable for the intrepid.

Although there are some Windows-only specialized apps that some students may need (maybe in engineering or computer science), the notion that Macs are lacking in software is generally wrong. For most purposes, there exist

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