Today’s Globe ran an article about itinerant computer fixit folks, some of whom have been doing very well charging people $125 an hour to fix their PCs, clean out viruses, organize and optimize their home offices. Great work if you want it but the real question for me is: Why do people keep buying PCs?? Why do everyday folks who “hate computers” or who just want to be able to enjoy the world of the web, or do their taxes, or write that novel, continue to buy into the viral nightmare that is the Microsoft OS (95, 98, 2000, XP, take your pick) and family of software.
I think its just ignorance and fear. Just because 95% of the lemmings dive into the sea, it doesn’t mean you have to also.
The arguments I hear why people buy a PC instead of a Mac usually fall into one of these excuses:
Not necessarily true anymore from a hardware standpoint. For example the eMac, Apple’s all-in-one box, designed for education, but available to anyone, packs a lot of G4 power into a $700 price. And, from a software ease-of-use and security standpoint, there is NO comparison. Just think of all the lost time spent cleaning up viruses or trying to uninstall something off a PC. Or of the steep learning curve needed to customize and configure a typical desktop PC. Or of the lost time and expense all this clueless spreading of email viruses and worms costs you, your company, your school.
For Windows Users, ‘Browser Hijacking’ Is Only the Latest Threat
They are what my friends, co-workers, kids have.
So what? Are they going to come over and fix your machine every time something goes wrong? Oh yeah, I guess they are…
I need Microsoft Office, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint.
Runs just fine and dandy on a Mac (which means it’s just as sucky and bloated as it is on your PC). And since Macs can read PC files, communicating and collaborating with all those unhappy PC using friends of yours is transparent.
In fact, the “Not enough software titles available” excuse is also hollow. Yeah, maybe there are not enough crappy games or niche titles but, really, you won’t miss them. All the really good stuff is cross platform and the Mac’s iLife series of products can’t be beat for ease of use or price. I’ve been using computers for work and for fun since 1985. I started out on expensive proprietary design systems such as Lightspeed. Such early innovations begat goodies like the Amiga, a way-ahead-of-its-time desktop computer. We bought an Amiga in 1985, and I still marvel at the work Mick and I produced with it. In 1989, I bought my first Mac, a Mac IIcx. It cost me $5,200, quite a lot of money for a machine with 4mgs of RAM and a 40meg hardrive! But, I was producing full-color award-winning magazine spreads with that thing and completely revolutionizing how the company I worked at at the time (a multi-million dollar custom publishing company) did business. Point being, I’ve never owned a PC, I’ve never wanted to own a PC and I’ve never missed any exciting software innovations because I don’t own a PC.
PCs can be fun for people who like to tinker with their computers but most people don’t (and this rant isn’t really for those that do…). But it is this large majority of users who keep buying them. They find anything “under-the-hood” to be mysterious and frightening. Microsoft isn’t doing anything to dispel that fear either, ignorance is bliss for them. Stupid users means more profits. We seem have been collectively conned into continuing this oppressive monopoly of Microsoft by simple ignorance and fear.
Common, we’re a democracy here… free yourself from tyranny. Make your next computer a Mac, or if you’re feeling ambitious, convert the PC you have into a Linux box.
Curious about the development of the Windows-style interface? Here’s a swell history of the Graphical User Interface maintained by Nathan Lineback.