Russell Beattie’s provocative Why I might switch back post has attracted a great deal of attention over the weekend, and it’s hardly surprising.
I think it’s fair to say that in the last few years, Macs running OS X have become widely used among a certain section of the weblogging and tech conference-going digerati; when one of the best known people in that group decided to suddenly stand up and say what they don’t like about the Mac, it was bound to get some people all wound up.
I’m not one of the OS X zealots who instantly assumes that all criticism of the system is wrong or unfair. Several of Beattie’s points hit home, fair and square (such as the sigh-inducing awfulness of the Finder, or general system slowness, or the high cost of .Mac).
That said, I can’t stop myself from answering back on just a handful of Russell’s comments, ones I either don’t understand, or simply can’t agree with.
Anyone who says that Macs are more stable than Windows are smoking dope. I have two brand new Macs and they regularly go wacky and need reboots.
This first comment is the most unexpected of all. Yes, Macs do crash sometimes and yes, sometimes they need to be rebooted. But I’d never say that any of my machines running OS X has needed regular or even frequent reboots. The last time I had a Windows machine, it needed daily reboots.
Like it or not, it’s a Windows world, and interop has to be a priority. If I take a few screen shots, paste them into a PowerPoint For Mac presentation and send them off, and no one can see them because the images have defaulted to some wacky Quicktime tiff? That’s bad.
These days, I’d say interoperability between Windows and OS X is pretty good. It’s rare that I receive a file that I can’t open, or convert to something more convenient. And the example problem is odd; last time I looked, system screenshots were saved as PDF or PNG. Wacky Quicktime tiffs as defaults? I’ve never encountered them.
The widescreen on the Powerbook is completely overrated. Web pages and documents are tall, not wide. Because the wide screen lowers the viewing center of the screen, I end up getting a crik in my neck looking “down” at the wide screen, rather than more straight ahead on PC based laptops.
This one had me scratching my head. How, exactly, are PC laptops easier to look at straight ahead? How does being “wide screen” lower the viewing center? To back up my point, I’ll mention that I recently got myself a Powerbook (widescreen) to replace my old iBook (most certainly not widescreen). I haven’t noticed my neck being cricked any more or less than usual.
What is the friggin’ deal with the .dmg files? The install process is so broken. Unzip .dmg.gz, mount .dmg, copy to Applications, unmount .dmg, delete .dmg, delete dmg.gz. Bleh.
Dragging one icon from one window to another is far easier than using most Windows installers, I’d say. Plus, most of those installers are no more tidy, often leaving behind the installer file itself and an icon for the newly installed app on the desktop.
Does anyone use Sherlock any more?
Wait. You *do* use Sherlock?