Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Still no new computer: I'm trying to decide, definitively, if I am a Mac or a PC. Right now, this is boiling down to two issues:

1) Do I have enough brain power to learn a new operating system? Even though every Mac user I have talked to says that it's an incredibly intuitive OS, it's still not what I am used to, and will therefore require me to learn things. Thinking back, I know I taught myself DOS and, later, Windows (we had a computer before Windows - can you even imagine?) when I started using them, but I am not as smart as I used to be. I say this semi-jokingly, but it's true: brain fog is my real enemy now, in a way it didn't used to be, so that even things that should be simple wind up being unbearably complicated. So I have to really consider whether I have the energy to deal with learning a new thing. (This is a particularly important consideration when you're thinking about things breaking - when my PC stops running, I know of about 13 different ways to try to get it back up again... with a Mac, I'm clueless, and would probably make things much worse.)

2) How much money can I spend? Did you know that if you are on SSI, you can't have more than $2000 in the bank? Yeah - people with disabilities are apparently an exception to the whole needing to have money/plan for the future in anyway thing. (You can read a great rant about that on FWD, if I can find the link.) So I'm not allowed to have over $2000, and a 15 inch Mac starts at $1600. Which means, less taxes and whatever else, I would have about $300 to my name. Until April. I am not entirely comfortable with this, as I am generally "worst case scenario" prepared - I like to have the cash on hand. So I'm trying to figure out how to get the most bang for my buck.

There's a couple of other considerations... like I have no Mac programs, which, when it comes to photo editing, is kind of important; knowing your tools and how to use them. And then there's the fact that I need to make the RIGHT decision, or else beat myself up for all eternity. Blah. Choices - who needs them?

No, I need them, and I need to make this one - I hate being wishy washy, especially about something so trivial. But I think I kind of obsess about the more trivial things I can control, since there's no use obsessing about the stuff I can't control and would like to. BUT I'm going to set myself a deadline of this weekend, and see if I can do a last bit of research either tomorrow night (we're having a Lil Girl sleepover tonight, so that's out) or Friday morning before I finally get the damn CT scan for my sinuses (that the doc ordered 4 weeks ago - GROWL - and which will necessitate me making an actually important decision about whether or not to have the surgery - double growl.) And then my bank card will weep for a few weeks, and my mom can have her little netbook back.

Any last input on the whole computer issue would be appreciated - do you love what you have? Hate it? Wish you'd gone PC/Mac when you made your last purchase? Anybody?


Sue Jackson said...

Go Mac!

I know they're expensive, but Macs are just sooo easy to use. Yes, they're easy to learn because it's all so intuitive. You will have a few differences to adjust to from Windows, but that's a brief adjustment. Mac OS just works so much better than Windows!

Also, no need to buy new software - your new Mac comes with iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, etc. All very easy to learn to use and very straightforward.

And, in my mind, the most convincing argument? You're worried you won't know how to fix problems on the Mac? You won't have to. You know all the ways to solve Windows problems because Windows has so many problems!! With the Mac, it rarely freezes up or shuts down and viruses are virtually nonexistent. I can't even count the number of times my husband has had to spend days fixing the kids' Windows computer, but in 10 years, I've never had a problem with my Mac. And if you do have questions or problems, Apple has an excellent support site and FREE one-on-one help at the Genius Bar in any Apple Store - granted, you probably couldn't manage going into the store but someone else could go for you...or like I said, the online help is good, too.

I had to use Windows for work years ago, but as soon as I had my own choice, I went Mac and never looked back!


P.S. My freshman class at Clarkson University was the first in the nation to require students to have computers - we had Zenith Z-100's with the Z-DOS operating system!

Ashley said...

I'm not really the greatest at advice, but I can tell you that I love my Mac 1000 times more than ever loved my PC and that I am never going back. Everything is easier. Everything is prettier. Love. (And I think most Macs come with some pretty cool programs.)

Three Chord Monty said...

Third the Mac endorsement. I believe you can get a laptop for less and I've heard good things about buying used/refurbished as well. As for photo editing, iPhoto is the one thing in iLife that I would use that I wasn't crazy about, but Google's Picasa is free & does everything I need it to do, though of course your needs may be different. The only additional software you might want to have would be Microsoft Office, although Mac does have a compatible equivalent that is less expensive.

The advantages are obvious--no need for antivirus or antimalware software (and, just as significantly, no time lost to scanning and updates), far fewer software updates, far better desktop management (Expose, although I believe Windows has tried to emulate this to some extent at this point). Firefox is perhaps a step behind as compared to its performance in Windows, but Safari is miles better and much more secure than IE.

Switching to a Mac 3 years ago was by far the best computer purchase I ever made, and I'll never buy another Windows computer ever again. Yes, 'it just works' is a cliche, but it's also very true, and "Mac fanboi" is a valid and obnoxious cult-like construct, but the benefits FAR outweigh these little annoyances.

PWCs need as few headaches as possible, right? If it's at all possible to swing money-wise, it's a no-brainer.

Three Chord Monty said...

By the way, if you are able to go with the Mac, don't be afraid to try to incorporate some tools that you're comfortable with. I still use a 5 button Microsoft mouse with my iMac. Could never get comfortable with the Apple Mighty Mouse, though they do have a new model that is probably an improvement. Outside of Office and other non-Apple freeware such as what I mentioned, if it's made for Mac, don't be afraid to give it a try. The old paradigm of Microsoft being more suited to business apps vs. Apple being better for graphic design and other creative endeavors? Archaic.

For one thing, if you absolutely have to, you can partition your drive and run Windows if need be. Prior to Picasa coming out with a Mac version, I did this just for that one program, although I kept Windows locked down as you would then need that antivirus software even on the Mac. If you have a specialized software program that only runs on Windows, this is an option, and unless you spend a lot of money on a Windows box, the Apple hardware will be, in most cases, far superior for the money. At this point, Windows probably only makes sense for gamers (who require high-end display hardware), companies that are locked into legacy software and are already outfitted with Windows hardware, and people who use their computers mostly or solely for email and light browsing, if at all.

For the rest of us, Apple brings too much to the table, in spite of the hefty pricetag. If more corporations and government entities switched over, there'd be a lot less garbage spread through email and porous browsers, that's for sure.