A quality argument

I found an article in Micro Mart issue 1124 by Craig Grannell incredibly amusing, not least because I find myself being heckled on a regular basis for being a Mac “fan boi”.

Everyone knows Macs are a huge rip-off. Most tech websites say this is the case, so it must be true. And then there are all those owners of dirt cheap PCs yelling from the rooftops about what complete idiots Mac owners are for being brainless enough to spend more money on a computer than they strictly need to.

At what point did computing become about low-end willy waving and dirt cheap commodity? It’s odd when you think about it because, in other areas of technology – smart phones, cars televisions, stereos, people generally buy the best they can afford. You don’t find too many people mooching around an Audi showroom and finding themselves being heckled by a mob of Renault owners yelling “You idiot! My car cost half as much as that one!”

Craig goes on to talk about the industrial design, keen developer community and the integration of OS with hardware that makes Macs worth a little more. Yes ok, peripherals can be a bit pricey if you buy them from Apple but isn’t that always the case with goods that get branded with quality and luxury?

As a cross platform developer I work with OSX, Windows and Linux pretty much every day – OSX is by far my favourite OS to work with. To me it seems to combine the best bits of Windows and Linux with few of the drawbacks of either. There’s the consistent GUI that you get with most windows applications that for some reason seems sadly lacking in Linux combined with the powerful command line of bash and a unix based system just a click away – let’s face it DOS just doesn’t cut it in that department.

4 thoughts on “A quality argument”

  1. To be honest, I stopped desiring a Mac product the day they turned to Intel processors. x86 is the most ugly architecture I’ve ever seen… So yeah, they may have sleek design and quality product, but they exagerate on lock-in. Only a Mac screen for my Mac stuff ? Audi doesn’t insist on you to buy TopWheels, do they ? Okay, it’d be a shame to plug a lame screen on your leet computer … unless you happen to have broken your leet screen and need something in replacement… or that you’re just visiting a friend.

    Beyond that, i’d need some training to recover my efficience on those weird keyboard layouts.

  2. x86 doesn’t bother me that much, it’s not like I’m ever likely to code for the mac in assembly. Yeah it’s a shame they didn’t stick with powerpc and we have fewer big endian systems around but the vast majority of users will neither notice nor care.

    There are cheap adapters that let you use standard displays on macs if that’s your desire. Then again would you really spend the money on an Audi and get cheap alloy wheels for it?

    I did find my macbook keyboard a bit odd to start with but it really didn’t take long to get used to. What I find more difficult to get to grips with now is trackpads on windows/linux laptops – the OSX gesture stuff is awesome.

    Still, the point being made here is that, for some people at least, macs are worth the expense. Nobody is forcing you to buy one and the whole debate is a bit playground really.

  3. Firstly I should say I have never owned an Apple product, and probably never will. Having been building my own systems from off the shelf parts since the early 90’s, I have a problem with anything proprietary. That is: In regards to personal computers. Read this as: I want as much freedom as I can possibly get. Embedded . . .

    Apple may use quality hardware in their various systems, but these same systems are limited in hardware by software support within their own proprietary version of a “Free” operating system (BSD). To be sure, I would welcome the ability to run OSX on my own hardware choices. Having no qualms with most operating systems I meet. Especially those based off of UNIX, or Linux (debian).

    However, an operating system, not unlike a programming language: Is a tool, for which is sometimes best suited for different tasks. For general purpose tasks, I prefer Windows for the shear abundance of applications available for most any task. After that, the consistent, clean UI as stated in this article is also very welcome. Now, if you’re careful which hardware you use for your windows boxen, you can very seriously approach *NIX workstation uptimes / stability. The old days of AMIGA, or Mac systems being better suited for different various tasks ( Video, Image, Audio editing ) are no longer with us. My own personal Windows system is 100% rock solid stable, even with a 1Ghz over-clock( which I have since reversed as the speed increase was only slightly perceivable, but the power bill was not! ).

    Now days, all new Apple hardware is x86 based, so really, in the end we’re only talking about an Operating system. An operating system that is based on another free operating system. That will only run on modified x86 platforms. Modified only in that these platform have an EPROM that tells the OS “Hi! I’m a Mac!”. Very simply, and legally put. If you put OSX on ANYTHING, other than a Mac, or Apple dev machine. You’re potentially screwed. Using the OSx86 project for such purposes is in fact illegal. Despite the banter that is spewed by many in online circles.

    So . . . yeah, use what makes you happy, and do not look back. However, at the same time. If we ever meet in person. Do not be surprised if I look at you the same way I do when I look at “that guy” who has to use a ladder to climb into his 4X4 truck.

    If spending 3 times as much on a computer makes you feel better about yourself. Go for it. But do not expect those of us who *know* better to follow suite. Why not build your own, and put that extra money away for something else ?

    Oh, and sorry for the late reply. I have not finished the internet yet . . .

    1. You’re so missing the point.

      Sure, I could go and build the most powerful system money can buy from off the shelf components but if I don’t pay attention to their compatibility with the OS I intend to put on the box I’ll end up with a tool that isn’t fit for purpose. There are also many components out there that won’t interoperate well with each other, never mind the host OS. For me it’s more than worth paying a premium to get a machine where I’m 100% certain the OS and the hardware components all work as expected.

      I do a lot of work with cross platform GPL software, windows really doesn’t cut it as a host OS for that. Compile times are slower than they are under under linux, on identical hardware, by considerable margins. OSX is as fast as linux but offers the advantage of a much more stable environment, in terms of UI and not having to spend half the day troubleshooting wifi problems or finding that a particular piece of software I want needs a bleeding edge kernel to run.

      I use all three major operating systems pretty much every day but ultimately I find that I’m at my most productive working under OSX, on Apple hardware.

      The price differential of the base hardware is actually a small fraction of the cost of ownership.

      I like Apple hardware, I didn’t say you should too. Maybe you have time to be productive while constantly tweaking your hardware, I don’t.

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