Why I Use a Mac

I got my Macbook Pro 2nd gen. about 2 years ago and I'm still loving it. I recently upgraded the hard drive to a Corsair solid-state drive and it's pretty awesome to have programs launch in less than 1 second. But this blog article isn't about a new hard drive, it's about why I use a Mac and why I still use a Mac (and will probably be using Macs from this point on).

I get a kick out of the newest Microsoft "laptop hunter" commercials and I also get a kick out of the Mac vs. PC commercials. Both are equally biased and both bend the facts in favor of the respective companies agenda. But, as far fetched as they tend to be, I notice both Windows users and Mac users repeating the same "facts" in their discussions of which platform is better. Truth be told, each platform has its advantages and I'm not going to even try addressing the differences. Computers are indeed personal and I wanted to give the reasons why the Mac is the right platform for me. Here are my reasons listed in no particular order of importance:

1. Windows
Now that Macs can run Windows, I don't have to give up Microsoft Money. I use Microsoft Money to keep track of my wife and my bank accounts and other financial accounts. I've been using it since the late 90's and it's nice to not have to start over with Quicken on the Mac. Then there are websites that are only compatible with Internet Explorer or files that can only be run on Windows Media Player. And, since I run Windows in a virtual machine via VMware Fusion, I can just delete the virtual machine when it picks up a virus or spyware and create a new one. To borrow a metaphor, I can have my cake and eat it too.

2. High quality media creation built-in
Sure, Windows comes with built in media creation software (Windows movie maker for example), but nothing beats iLife for it's ease of use, flexibility, integration between the various pieces of software, and here's the most important fact: HIGH quality results. The music, movies, DVD's, and photos you edit and create with iLife aren't professional quality, but they're very close to commercial quality. In fact, I was able to use Garageband and iPhoto for over a year with awesome results until I needed more powerful software for commercial reasons (I got Aperture because I started doing photography for the company I work for, and I got Logic Express for an upcoming album I'm helping with for the praise and worship band I play with). For quick home projects and for casual photos, I still use Garageband and iPhoto because they're so easy to use. I've used iMovie a little bit and find it just as easy to use and look forward to getting a good video camera so I can use it more. To do the same thing on Windows with the same quality results, you would need to spend hundreds of dollars in software, which would quickly close the price gap between a more expensive Mac and PC (I still wonder why people don't factor software costs into buying a PC compared to a Mac).

BTW, this is the reason I wanted to get a Mac in the first place. It is still the standard when it comes to music recording and other media creation.

3. Much, much safer from viruses and malware
Yes, there are viruses out there written for the Mac, but none have spread enough to worry about. Because Macs are in the minority, it's not worth it for a virus (and other malware) writer to attack them. It's security by obscurity. Yes, if Macs become more popular, viruses and other malware will be written for them. But as of right now Windows computers are much more profitable to attack and I can have peace of mind knowing I won't get any kind of malware. Having dealt with viruses on my friend's and family's computers, I think it's worth the extra perceived costs to buy a Mac for the safety. After all, what's the monetary value for peace of mind and having no worries about getting a virus?

4. The hardware design
I like the design of Macs. Jonathan Ives, industrial designer at Apple, is always pushing the envelope of what's possible with computer design and it's not wonder that most computers used as props on tv shows and movies are Macs. Other PC makers have stepped up their quality of computer design, but Apple is still a level above all others. Have you seen the new unibody Macbooks and Macbook Pros? Only Apple could pull off executing such a radical design, bringing it to market, and creating a new design standard which all other designs must compare to. It's not accident Apple is said to be the luxury car of computers: power meets beauty.

5. OS X
There's so much to say about OS X as an operating system. No, it's not perfect and it has its own set of problems and quirks. But compared to Windows, I still find it more usable and simpler to use. Yes, OS X has become more complicated over the 2 years I've owned my Mac, but it's still easier to use and more intuitive than Windows. Windows 7 may close the gap in usability and intuitiveness, but we'll see what Apple does with Snow Leopard. I'm an engineer and I enjoy messing around and tweaking Windows, but there's more pleasure in using OS X and having it just work as computers should.

There are a lot of other little reasons I still love my Mac (like the magnetically attached power cord), but I just wanted to list the major reasons I'm still happy with it. Depending on your own personal preferences and needs, these reasons may or may not relate to you. In the end, a Windows PC is both better and worse than a Mac. It all depends on what you want out of a computer. But don't let the commercials and people's opinions be your basis of deciding what you want. Gather the facts, know what you want to do with a computer, and above all, try out both Windows PC's and Macs.

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