This is an age-old question—at least in the information age. Mac or PC?
This has never actually been a question for me. I am Mac. Or, rather, I have been branded a Mac person. It was a carefully crafted campaign that began early in elementary school, when our class had computer time with the school’s two Apple IIe desktop computers. We filed into an unassuming room and took turns practicing open-apple-control-something to boot it up, then stuck a floppy disk in the slot and played two-tone educational games. It was great. But I really thought nothing of it.
Later, my family got a hand-me-down IBM from my mom’s work. I used it to teach me how to type and to write school papers. By the time I was in high school I was computer literate and typing about 70 words-per-minute, which was enough to impress my Freshman year typing teacher (we were still actually typing on typewriters ). I was proud of my computer literacy and typing ability, and I think that helped me continue pursuing writing.
I went through high school without much thinking about those early ears on an Apple (it wasn’t even a Mac yet). It seemed that all the computer trend-setters viewed IBMs as the top-of-the-line brand, and my computer teacher uncle had two at his house, which fascinated me to no end. All those cryptic codes and the flashing cursor in green, white and orange. It was like a secret language.
My stepdad warned my siblings and I time and time again that we needed to learn computer skills to succeed in the workplace. And, like any good teenager, would, I brushed his advice off as parental gobbeldygook that didn’t much matter in the modern world. Of course, he was right. But he was also wrong to think that computer literacy would be difficult to achieve.
I started college without my own computer. Between my roommate’s Compaq and the computer labs in the library, I had enough access to get all my work done. Classes were not yet conducted online, and syllabi were still handed out on paper. The world had not transferred to the Internet, and books still reigned supreme.
But, as time went on, it became apparent that the work I needed to do needed to be done on my own, personal computer—a P.C. I didn’t even consider an Apple. I didn’t even think about it. And, I got one, and I liked it.
When I started working at the school newspaper, I was re-introduced to Macs. But their Macs crashed all the time. You’d be working on a layout or editing a story, and bam, the computer would freeze and all would be lost. There were many cries of anguish and frustration in that newsroom, and Macs—especially when using the layout program Quark Xpress—were the bane of meeting deadlines. My internship at a local newspaper had me work on an old Apple—actually, the original Apple Macintosh, which was the company’s rebirth model, and the beginning of a movement.
Soon, Apples—or, rather, Macs—became associated with art and design, with journalism and photography, with anything a little more quirky, techie or artsy. Every newsroom I worked in was Mac-based. I became so accustomed to working on a Mac, that I forgot all about my little old desktop PC, which was collecting dust in my grandmother’s garage. I bought my first Mac in 2003—a G4 Desktop with a Super Drive. And, with that purchase I became a completely transformed person. I was now a Mac user. And I could never turn back.
So here, six years later, I have a new job outside of a newsroom, away from artsy, geeky, techie types. I work in state government, and apparently they have a contract with Dell. So that’s what I got. And I have been flummoxed ever since. I can’t get the shortcuts right. I can’t figure out how to see my desktop when I have multiple windows open. I can’t easily switch from one program to another. It’s maddening. And, while I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to learn the ways and means of my new operating system, there is a big part of me that has been taken up in major opposition. Much of my body—indeed, my cells—do not want to use a PC. We, as a whole, prefer the Mac. It’s prettier, it’s user friendly, we are familiar with all of its quirks and shortcuts and doodads. We like it.
So, I put this out to my Facebook friends: Mac or PC? And, I got some interesting results. The first of which was: “Mac, you’re kidding, right?”
Of my 30 respondents, 14 proclaimed Mac, and I mean proclaimed. This was the interesting part of the informal poll.
Those who responded they preferred Macs did so with gusto. Examples: Mac!!! mac!!!!! mac, baby! Mac, all the way!Mac for sure Mac Mac Mac.
Others used their response as an opportunity to take jabs at PC users, such as: “Definition of PC user: someone who has never used a Mac.” and “Mac. Todd has a PC and it makes me a little crazy.”
The majority of those who responded with PC as their answer, did so abruptly with a simple “PC” as a reply, or accompanied with needed justification like: “PC but only because the software at work doesn’t run on a MAC. ,” and “pc. Cheaper,” which seems to endorse Macs over PCs, too. Justification is necessary when defending your choice to use a PC, but enthusiasm is exerted when declaring your preference for Macs. Interesting.
There were a few respondents who said they used both for different purposes and did not lean one way or another. And there was one who responded, “Pepsi.”
My non-scientific conclusion would be that people who use PCs do so because they need to for work or because it is less expensive than a Mac, but the PC users are not excited about their computers. They have not had this great marketing ploy attacking their cells since they were seven years old, and do not hold their computer choice as dear as Mac users do. Mac users are loyal and enthusiastic about their computers. They regard their computers as more than useful tools. Macs are accessories, status symbols, marks of identity. Macs stir up emotion. And, we all have Steve Jobs to thank for that. Thanks Steve!