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Volume 79

Making the change: What it really takes to leave Windows behind

Published (Volume 79, No. 10)


Buying a new computer or notebook can be a very stressful issue for students. There is the main issue of cost, the questions of timing and wondering where to buy your new computer. However, probably the most weighted issue that is a hot button for many tech-savvy consumers is whether or not to buy a Windows based PC or an OX based Mac.

Because of clever marketing and the unfathomable success of the Apple iPod, many people have begun to turn their heads to what the guys at Apple have been developing. With such a rise in statistics it is clear that many people are switching to Mac for their personal computing needs. However, it is important to note that buying a Mac is not for everyone. But it you are thinking about switching to Mac here are a few reasons to fuel the flame.

Window to a Tiger:

The largest difference between PC’s and Mac’s is the operating system that they use. The majority of computer owners work within a Windows environment. We are all familiar with the “start” menu, closing applications with the “X”, and the concept of a “right click” mouse button. However, the operating system for Mac’s, OS X Tiger, is very dissimilar. This is not bad but, it is different. The OS X is extremely intuitive and user-friendly.

Hot keys for Mac’s are simple and streamline your work process. Programs built into the operating system, like Expose and Dashboard, aid in the constant clutter of your work space.

To further explain here are two examples. On a PC, simple processes like using the calculator, for instance, can take multiple steps. Click the start button, scroll to programs, then accessories and then click the calculator. It doesn’t have to be this way. On a Mac all one has to do is press F12, the dashboard appears and if you have a calculator widget installed then in one step you are ready to go. Quick, easy, smooth.

The next example addresses the issue of workspace. If you have ever had more than two windows open on a PC you understand how confusing it can be to keep minimizing and maximizing your windows. Mac’s Expose program, takes care of this problem. By pressing F11 all the open windows are wiped off the screen only to return when F11 is once again pressed. If you would like to switch between windows, pressing F9 will minimize all your open windows into small boxes. You can then select which application you want to view over then rest with a simple mouse click. Problem solved.

Dashboard and Expose only skim the surface of how OS X outperforms Windows. For even more ways Mac optimizes your computing experience go online to Apple.com

Uninfected, Optimized Security

In recent advertisements, Apple boasts that they are relatively virus free unlike their competitors. Now you can truly enjoy your new computer without fear.

Window’s based PC’s are riddled with security threats. Consumers are constantly alerted for the next Trojan virus to make our lives harder. To prevent this PC users are faced with the “solution” of an antivirus program. These programs can be pretty expensive, and they never fully relieve your computer from spam, adware, spyware and viruses. Also, heavy virus protection programs can slow your computed down considerably. Go ahead and see for yourself. If you have a virus protection program on your computer, see how much room it is taking up. It’s most certainly in the top five. Mac’s are extremely stable. Viruses are not even a problem for them.

Recently a hacker was able to make a small malware virus for Mac which was only able to replicate ineffectively to about 50 computers before it was caught. In a related article on ZDNetAustralia.com, it was reported that the programmer expressed frustration while writing the code.

“So many problems for such little code,” wrote the unknown virus author within his code.

“So it does look as though virus writers, fortunately, still have a way to go before they are able to write Mac viruses with the proficiency and fluidity that they can for Windows,” said Paul Ducklin, head of technology for Sophos Asia Pacific.

Mac: Where function meets style

Visually, Macs are among the most sleek and stylish computers on the market. This is not a biased statement by any means. New York Times technology columnist David Progue talks a lot about Macs in many of his columns and blogs. This prompted one reader to inquire if Progue is a Mac Fanboy.

Progue replies, “Not exactly; what I really am is an elegance fanboy. I love products whose designers have obviously lain awake nights worrying about elegance, simplicity, and beauty. That group tends to include Palm, Sonos, TiVo, Research in Motion (of BlackBerry fame), Google usually, and, yes, often enough, Apple.”

If you have ever taken a good look at an Apple computer or notebook you too would understand why this New York Times columnist feels this way.

Not only are Mac’s easy on the eyes, but they offer something even more rare, function coinciding with style. Packed inside a small, neat casing is all the plug-ins which are usually an eye sore on most computers.

The Mac guys even prefect this down to the smallest detail. For example, the power adaptor for a Macbook is smaller than that of a Dell. It also has a magnetic “break-away” plug. If your friend trips over your power cord the plug will simply slip out of the slot, no damage done. If that happened with another non-Mac notebook you could find yourself in some trouble. More than likely, if the cord was tripped on, the computer would follow which could cause major damages.

Function and style are an intricate part of what makes a Mac a Mac, and furthermore what makes it better than the rest.

Get What You Pay For:

One of the biggest “concerns” people have when considering Mac’s for their next purchase is the cost. It is true, by and large Macs are much more expensive then most other PC’s. However, one needs to consider what it is that they are paying for. Mac’s are not more expensive because Steve Jobs is a greedy man. Instead, they are more expensive because of what they offer the consumer.
Innovation and what comes along with it is not always cheap. But why not fork over an extra couple hundred dollars to get a top of the line product? Also, because Mac’s are more reliable, you are less likely to spend countless more dollars at the repair shop. By purchasing a Mac you might even be able to save money in the log run.

Reliable, fast, intuitive, and stylish, what more could one ask for in a computer? However, many PC’s on the market only give you a few of these qualities or a watered-down version of them all. Apple is simply ahead of the curve. They offer everything that all the big guys give you, but better. This sort of passion is expressed by countless Mac users around the globe. So if you are considering purchasing a new computer do your research and see for yourself the advantages of a Mac.