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22
August
2014

Macs versus PCs

The debate never ends

Some years ago discussing the pros and cons of Mac versus Window operating systems could lead to heated discourse. Today the topic doesn't evoke as much passion or interest, but I will share some recent experiences since I work with both operating systems on a roughly 50/50 spilt.

Apple Macs

I switched to Macs five years ago when I couldn't figure out how to get our home printer to work with a PC laptop. In the bell curve of computer competency, I am in the top 10% of computer geeks (admitted with embarrassment rather than pride), but doing basic tasks like connecting a PC to a network or adding a printer had become inexplicably difficult on a PC. When I moved to a Mac the first week was "Hmmm, this isn't how we do things on a PC so I'm not sure I like this". That hesitation was replaced with a sense of wonder, appreciation and relief. Relief that I could easily connect my Mac to a printer or a network 


 

with a click of a button. Appreciation for an interface and user experience that were fun and elegant.

This week we purchased a new Mac Air laptop. I'd budgeted $1,800, but was pleased when we walked out of the Apple store having spent $1,350. It was a low-end laptop, and it would have been easy to have spent $2,500 on a nicer model, but the computer we purchased more than suffices for our needs. I still use a six year old Mac laptop for my home computer and see no reason to replace it. While the initial cost of a Mac can seem high compared to a PC, Macs typically have a much longer usable life making their overall cost comparable to a Windows computer.

Windows Computers 

As our firm does more work with our clients that use QuickBooks and QuickBooks Enterprise, I spend more of my day on a PC. I have to confess that I haven't been able to figure out Windows 8. I'm sure it has nice features, but I simply haven't had time to figure them out, so I configured my Windows 8 computer to run like Windows 7.  It can still be daunting to connect it to a network and it is frustrating how many programs require restarting the computer, but on a day in day out basis, it works fine. It is just as stable as the Mac, and if the Windows interface isn't elegant, it is acceptable and functional. 

Conclusions

If a friend were to ask which type of computer they should get, I'd probably suggest that they consider getting a Mac because they are easier to use and provide a better long term value. However, there are still software programs that only run on PCs so that remains a potentially determining factor.  

Categories: Technology