Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mac vs. PC

My phone is stupid. Or maybe it's just old. Either way, after a year and a half of decent performance, it has spent the last 12 months rotating through a variety of disobedient behaviors. Apps crashing, texting malfunctions, and every once in a while the touch screen decides to stop working.

Since my phone is an Android, and since I have owned Mac computers for over thirteen years, I'm wondering if I should make the jump to an iPhone once I can't take the crap from my Droid Incredible anymore. And that gets me thinking about that old Mac vs. PC issue again.

In the years since I first dropped about two grand into a G5 tower that boasted a 10 gig internal hard drive, the compatibility issues between Macs and PCs have improved, but the animosity is as intense as ever. Some Mac users still believe they are separated from their peers because they are "creative," unlike the tacky lowlifes who plug away on useless virus-infested junk boxes running mindless accounting programs. And some PC users still see themselves as enlightened computer science geniuses who would never stoop to petty peer pressure and pay twice as much for a computer just because it looks pretty. I don't expect either sentiment to die down anytime soon.

But I do have one thought to toss in the mix. As I've observed and absorbed the different arguments from both sides, there does seem to be one common thread at work. If I had to make a broad statement that would divide Mac and PC users into different stereotypical camps, I would say this: the difference is not that one group has no taste, and the other is overly concerned with it. The difference is the outcome each group is interested in.

Mac users are concerned with the end result of the computer's function, the product, which is probably part of the reason Mac users tend to emerge from the graphic design and video editing fields. They aren't concerned with what goes on behind the scenes, they're only concerned with getting the result they want.

PC users are more like motorcycle enthusiasts. For them, half the joy of using the computer is tinkering around with it, maybe even drawing the satisfaction from having built it themselves. They're interested in all the coding and the testing, and don't mind running a dozen different test programs when something goes on the glitch. It just makes the ride on the Harley that weekend that more satisfying.

There's obviously a lot more to it than that, and clearly there are exceptions to either side, but this does explain one of the reasons I've been a devout Mac user for more than a decade. I don't care about the mechanics. I don't want to run a thousand programs and troubleshoot all day long, and I don't want to slave over deciding what components to buy to upgrade my system. I just want the dumb thing to do what I want it to do.

Which is why I'll probably wind up buying an iPhone.

A few years ago, when I was still in a singles ward, a member of the Stake Presidency stood at the pulpit and offered an interesting analogy: women were software and men were hardware. The women were all ready to go; they just needed to be uploaded to some guy's hard drive. It was meant to illustrate the simplicity of the male-female dynamic, but it offered me a piece of clarity I don't think the speaker intended. It's true that men are hardware, and that women are software. It's also true that I'm a Mac.