Macs: They're not for everyone

Some people can't have nice things.

Yesterday, Computerworld brought us 5 reasons to ditch the Mac and return to PCs (tip o' the antlers to John Gruber via e-mail). And, sadly, they weren't April foolin' us.

Listen, then, Mac user to the tale of one "Mac fan" who switched... back! (Please shoot the Macalope now.)

So while Apple's sales continue to grow, Keanini decided to buck the trend, and gave up on his most recent Apple machine, an Intel dual-core based MacBook Pro.

That seems like kind of a waste since he could have just used Boot Camp to run Windows on it, but whatever.

"I am all PC at home and at work now, because frankly, if I'm not working, I'm gaming. And the Mac doesn't have games," Keanini said, though his household still has three Apple machines in use by other family members.

One really wonders why Keanini switched to the Mac in the first place. It's not as if it was a great gaming platform back in 2001, when he says he first started using Macs.

It's easy to fall in love with the aluminum cases used in Mac hardware and the slick interface design of the Mac OS X, Keanini said. Those are two reasons why more people are moving to Apple products...

This article is really confusing. Are we talking about home users or business users? Because home users can certainly be excused for making decisions based on the "It's shiny!" index, but businesses cannot.

A cynical person would say that it sounds like the business decisions at Keanini's company were based first on his inclination to be distracted by shiny objects and are now being based on his desire to play games.

Fortunately, the Macalope is not so cynical.

"My rule is to find the technology that makes your company most productive and be honest with yourself about it," he said. "Don't bring religion into it."

And here we all thought that if we just prayed to Steve Jobs harder, Macs could magically run vertical applications in the insurance industry or legacy accounting packages or MS Project.

But according to Tim, that doesn't work. Thanks for clearing that up, Tim!

  1. Work-arounds waste time

Dur-hey.

"Everything is going to be a little bit different, and that little difference in everything eventually adds up," Keanini said.

No, Tim, not everything is going to be a little bit different. If you rely on the most proprietary of Microsoft technologies, obviously you're going to have problems, but Macs connect to Active Directory networks, run Citrix, connect to printers, hell, they even run Windows for crying out loud! Arrgh.

One company engineer woke up Keanini the night before presentation slides were due for a conference, his voice cracking with stress, because his slides -- exported from Apple's Keynote presentation application to Microsoft PowerPoint -- looked nothing like they had on the Mac.

Yeah! They probably looked like crap! Which would cause any sane person to ask why the hell he was exporting them to PowerPoint in the first place instead of just plugging a Mac into the projector, but not Keanini. He reminds the Macalope of Ned Flanders' beatnik parents when they said "We've tried nothing and we're all of out ideas!"

You may become quite attached to a Windows application or two and decide that Apple doesn't have a comparable equivalent. Apple is well known for creating user-friendly applications, but for Keanini, Microsoft has a lead with at least one program: OneNote,, which he uses for personal information management.

Well, if Keanini loves OneNote so much why doesn't he marry it?

Seriously, so Keanini's got this One Application He Just Can't Live Without™ that doesn't exist on the Mac. So, yes, maybe the Mac is no longer for him, if it ever was in the first place. The Mac doesn't need to be for everyone, you know. But Keanini seems to have attached a awful lot of emotional value to this one application that takes notes. One might even say he seems religious about it.

Hmm!

Frankly, the Macalope had never even heard of OneNote before (and despite the Classic Mac head, he does have experience with the typical Microsoft enterprise) so he took a look at it on Wikipedia.

Agh! Oh. Uh, looks great, Tim. That's a... handsome application you have there. The Macalope is sure the two of you will be very happy together.

"The designers of Mac -- again, this is their priesthood...

WE GET IT ALREADY.

... are not thinking about letting their users go," Keanini said. "It's like Hotel California: They are not expecting you to leave."

I'm sure the members of the Mac-using community would be more than happy to help pack your bags, Tim.

Companies that move over to the Mac OS X should expect to spend a lot of time converting data if they decide to move back to Windows, Keanini said.

???

And you didn't have to convert anything to go from Windows to the Mac? Do you even hear yourself talking?

"Today, companies need to be thinking about interoperability," he said. "It's the users' data, not the vendor's data."

Well said! Say, Tim, let's take a look at some of the items on the list of Key Shortcomings on the Microsoft OneNote Wikipedia page:

  • Limited generic export capability or API functionality.
  • OneNote 2007 notebooks, sections, and pages cannot be opened within OneNote 2003 and cannot be converted to OneNote 2003 format, thereby limiting the ability of different users with different versions to interact.

Cough.

People in glass houses, Tim.

Aluminum cases make MacBook Pro laptops, like the one Keanini chose, very sleek. But, Keanini said, the focus on design overlooked the fact that the computers throw off a lot of heat; so much so that he found he could not use the computer on his lap.

Well, now, that's just sissy talk.

OK, fine, a thin laptop is more likely to put the heat of the processor closer to your skin. So Keanini would rather lug around "a monster" than wear pants (the Macalope hears casual days at Tim's company are wild). To each his own.

"The religion made me blind," he said.

Twas not religion made you blind, Tim. Twas that world-class wankery you're practicing there.

Ultimately, it's Keanini's and his company's business which platform they use, but this list simply isn't a practical set of advice. There are reasons to switch to the Mac other than "it's shiny". For all the claims of lost productivity, there's a counter-argument to be made for gained productivity. And Keanini's "tale" doesn't even make any sense. Sure, it's got a beginning, middle and end (Computerworld's Robert Lemos is a reporter, but what he really wants to do is direct!), but it stretches our suspension of disbelief.

Also, the audience should have some empathy for the protagonist. Keanini generated zero empathy with this viewer. Again, if the Macalope were cynical, he'd be inclined to say that his farcical tale and repeated use of Artie MacStrawmanisms were designed simply to get his company mentioned in the press.

Actually, you know what? He is that cynical. That's probably exactly what this is about.

The horny one--the guy with a Mac for a head!--has repeatedly said the Mac is not for every person or for every business. But please spare him your jacktastic reverse switcher tales with the clownish religious references. They sicken him.

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About the author

    Born of the earth, forged in fire, the Macalope was branded "nonstandard" and "proprietary" by the IT world and considered a freak of nature. Part man, part Mac, and part antelope, the Macalope set forth on a quest to save his beloved platform. Long-eclipsed by his more prodigious cousin, the jackalope (they breed like rabbits, you know), the Macalope's time has come. Apple news and rumormonger extraordinaire, the Macalope provides a uniquely polymorphic approach. Disclosure.

     

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