My friend Greg Swann speaks ill of the Windows-based world. Well, at least he has some experience in it. Mine is somewhat the opposite, though I think I maybe have more tech experience on the Mac that he does on the PC. I have tons of experience in not only the Windows world, but in multiple-server networked environments. We’ve consolidated into one office recently, but at one point, we were running four enterprise-level servers here, two at another location here in San Jose, and one up in San Francisco, all networked together, which is to say that it didn’t matter in which office you were in, you were on the local network and everything looked the same to everybody. I’ve also related my own digital madness and complete silliness with respect to me home networking here on this blog.
Unfortunately, some myths just never die. While it’s true that Windows 3.x was awful in terms of reliability (not to mention networking of any kind), and Windows 95 – 98me was still problematic, Windows 2000 Professional and now XP for both home and professional are very stable platforms. I have never, ever had an OS crash since I began using Win 2000 Pro 6 years ago (XP Pro for some time now), yet, I do have to hard reboot my wife’s Macs from time-to-time.
I’ve used Macs all the way up through 10.4 Tiger, the current version on my wife’s PowerBook, and I can network all versions since 10.2 into a windows environment, with file and print sharing, etc. I can even use Entourage to link up to MS Exchange Server, and if you don’t know what Exchange Server is, then you’ve probably not yet been in a highly efficient PC-networked environment.
Still, I’m not going to slam the Mac. They seem to still hold their advantage in the graphic design world. But that’s it, as far as PC computing goes. In a networked environment that requires high load interaction with a server for file transfers, database operation, and a host of other things that go on in a client-server environment, the Mac OS just doesn’t cut it, at least not when it has to interact on a Windows network, which it must. An Apple-only network is fine, I suppose, but you’re going to find very little that a business of any real size can use. A small publishing shop that only has to move files around? Sure.
I’ve gone through the enormous hassle of trying to get Macs to work properly on a Windows network. Hard, in spite of all that was touted with the release of Jaguar. I actually had to log in as root and reconfigure a bunch of low-level stuff just to get it to share a printer with the Windows boxes. Then, oddly, for it to keep working (and this was even in the documentation), you would have to go into the system utility and toggle on/off the file and print sharing after each restart of the system. And, also, it could not remember the Windows machines for future use. Each time you wanted to print, you would have to provide a user name and password, and there was no getting around it.
Print from 10.2 to a shared printer on a Windows machine? Oh, just forget about that! After hours and hours, I had to give up, and I told my wife to get her PowerBook upgraded to Tiger, which, thankfully, is a huge improvement in networking with Windows. I had it printing to a shared printer on a PC in minutes. And, all the settings hold! Thanks, Steve.
No, I like Macs. I really do. In terms of elegance, simplicity, and design, they are a cut above everyone. No arguing that. I really like their entry into the music business. I wouldn’t think of having anything but an iPod/iTunes combo. Fantastic. Have you seen that new Nano? I bought Apple stock when that came out (and, Apple is a fundamentally strong company right now).
Anyway, I’m glad Greg likes his Macs. But, when his new R/E Brokerage gets to have a dozen agents or more, he’ll be switching to PCs, guaranteed. I suspect that if that turns out to be the case, it’ll be one of those "problems" Greg will just love to have.
Update: Greg shoots back. Anyone care to comment in comments? I think his "arguments" are just…old. Then there’s the assertions. He can give us a few anecdotes, but then, I have my anecdotes about babysitting the 4 Macs my wife has had (she uses Macs because she’s a school teacher). Nowadays, both are very reliable, both do some things the other won’t, and both are very well designed. As far as GUI, I have a silly little theory, which I’ll get to in a second. For the life of me, I just hate the Mac interface. I hate the way folders and files are organized. This will never change, unless the Mac changes. I hate applications that can’t be individually configured down to very precise levels because, well, we’re simple. Anyway, my silly little theory is that the difference in user preference between the Mac and Windows GUI is unquantifiable in the same way you can’t quantify why some people prefer their left hand over their right, and vice versa.
Mac users are "left handed."