teaching old stones new tricks

Sitting up, taking nourishment, it's gonna be a good day.

PC’s vs Mac’s

There are two types of computers in the world, pc’s and mac’s. This means two types of operating systems and several types of headaches.  The upside is you will have a better chance of finding something that suits the way you think or, at least, comes closer to being user friendly for you.

DOS screen copy

Remember when you’d get to your desk in the morning, push the button on the hard drive, go make coffee, catch up on the last night’s episode of the X files or ER, go back to your desk, go through the in-basket and finally there’s that flashing C: at the bottom of the screen.

Do you remember what you did next? Neither do I but it was some command to run the word processing program or mail or whatever else it was you worked with to the exclusion of anything else. Because the computer really only had room for a few functioning programs and each program required a series of prompts in that C: line.

Those were the days of DOS (Disc Operating System). Each prompt was for a specific screen and each screen had lines (fields) where you put information.  Perhaps it would give you a result on that page or sometimes it was simply a record that would appear on a final report. If it gave you a result on that page you had to back out and put that result on another page because the computer did not transfer the information from one page to the other. And you were never sure if you’d got the numbers right until a report was printed off and it had all gone Pete Tong. Oh it was so much fun! help hand copy

Anyway, over the years the push was on to make computers more efficient because every time you take a number from one place and type it somewhere else, you are playing the telephone game with yourself and the chances of mistakes multiply. Also, the great minds at Microsoft and Apple realized quite quickly the big market is in the home. That means developing computers that think like you rather than expecting you to learn Fortran or some other code-speak.

When it comes to buying one or the other, ask yourself if you’ve done your work on a PC or a Mac up until now. If most of your computer experience hasjobs and gates as kids copy been in a school/education environment, chances are it was a Mac. If it was in an office or commercial operation, then probably it was a PC of some description. The vast majority of people have worked on PC’s. Every computer manufacturer except Apple makes PC’s. Only Apple makes Macs.

What you see on the screen nowadays are icons that you click on to open documents or you go into a directory system to find a specific document by name. On Macs that directory is called Finder, on PC’s it is either Window’s Explorer or File Explorer (not to be confused with the internet program on PC’s called, simply, Explorer).

The biggest difference you will notice walking into the store is PC’s are less expensive than Macs. If you are looking at a display that is mostly white, has a logo with an apple missing a bite, you’re looking at Macs. Note the price, turn around and look at everything else. No matter what you look at it will probably be at least $500 less than the pretty white MAC.

Everything else runs Microsoft programs and is called a PC. No matter what the salesman says, if it isn’t a tablet, an Ereader or a phone, it’s either a Mac or a PC. Hewlett Packard? It’s a PC… Acer? Yup, a PC… Toshiba? A PC too  ASUS? Well, that would be a, uh, PC… Simple to remember, if it isn’t an Apple, it’s a PC.

Bill_Gates_mugshot copy

So, besides price what’s the difference? A Mac comes preloaded with all the programs you will need to do most things. The more you want to do the larger the CPU, the more programs and the higher the price. A PC will have the current Windows operating system and maybe Office or some other word processing program but not necessarily. Almost everything you do on a PC requires software that you install after purchase. Many dealers will include installation of basics like Office and possible an anti-virus program but, again, ask.

The advantage of the PC is that, because they outnumber MAC’s in the world 10 to 1, there are far more programs available for it. From accounting software to nifty flight simulation games, chances are you can get it for your PC but not a Mac.  Now Apple is doing a decent job making some of these programs but don’t count on it. One of the big downsides to a Mac is the high probability that program you want doesn’t have an Mac application.

The advantage of the Mac is it is idiot, kid and bullet proof. When you hear about virus or malware bringing grief to the world, you can feel fairly safe if you have a Mac, chances are the virus is written to attack PC’s. There are several excellent anti virus programs for PC’s but no matter how good the anti-virus program there is always a better virus.  

PC’s have a reputation of crashing more frequently just because you can load it with different software programs that, for unknown reasons, don’t play well with each other. There are several entertaining pages devoted to cryptic error messages that occur on PC’s. If you have a PC you need to have a good friend or family member who can come to your aid when the dreaded blue screen of death appears. And it will. The first time it does, don’t panic. Just turn the computer off, make a coffee, come back and turn it on again.

There are software errors and hardware errors. You will also hear your pet geek refer to wetware, PEBCAK and ID-10T errors which are all code for user error—i.e. you 

So, the take away here is decide what you want to use your computer for, how much you want to spend up front and remember, you get what you pay for. If you have a tame geek available at all times for maintenance issues or can afford to call up a rent-a-geek service, then PC’s are great. If you have minimal knowledge, a grumpy geek who will provide assistance only after lots of threats and pleading consider ponying up the extra dosh for a Mac. And get Apple Care…trust me.

Warning: this video has some strong language (less than you will actually encounter in real life, however, when dealing with computer problems)

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2 comments on “PC’s vs Mac’s

  1. Kelli
    August 26, 2015

    as someone with 2 windows desktops, a macbook and a netbook running Ubuntu I enjoyed this article immensely. I’m right there with you =] you score bonus cool points for Eddie. I love that man!

    • whiterose52
      August 26, 2015

      I live with a major gear head and geek so my knowledge of ‘puters is strictly out of self defence which means I’m really glad this post makes sense to someone else. I have worked on both systems so really can’t support one over the other (although I am very much in love with my big screen IMac).
      Yes, Eddie is da bomb…saw him live last winter, so much awesome in heels and attitude.

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