- Interesting discussion with PC / Windows Enthusiast
I had an interesting discussion with PC / Windows enthusiast at the gym this morning. I really do try to expose myself to any many different viewpoints as possible so that I can at least make my opinions after considering several angles on an issue.
This person is in charge of a Windows network of around 500 users spread across 5 different offices of roughly equal size. We were talking about the challenges that he currently faces in keeping all of these systems online and functioning and how that has changed over the last 5 or so years. Even though I see it everyday, it still amazes me how much time, effort and expertise it takes to keep Windows functioning as a stable and reliable operating system. Just a few years ago, I remember that every 6 months on average, we would have a virus outbreak, typically caused by someone attaching their home laptop to our network and thus rapidly 'sharing' whatever bugs they had contracted at home with the rest of us. It was typically a fire drill of the network team isolating the source, then finding out how much damage had been done and finally manually cleaning / fixing each infected machine. Many modern network administrators would love to have those simple days back. Now days, a user can almost unknowingly visit a website that has malicious code or just open an email (it doesn't even have to be an attachment these days) - and before you know it, that little bit of code has then propagated itself to everyone in his/her address book and is all over your network.
Sometimes I take for granted how lucky we are as Mac users to just not have to deal with this crap day in and day out. No matter how good OSX is, it's still a computer system and it can still be manipulated so I really have no doubt that one day we'll start to see the occasionally exploit or issue to content with but fortunately, by it's very design - we will never see the wire spread havoc that so many Windows users get to enjoy.
Just for grins, I visited Microsoft's website to see what kind of things were discussed on their home page and although I seldomly go there anymore, I was really surprised to read what was in their headlines - it was all about dealing with problems, slow servers, reasons to install the latest Windows patch, help getting your systems to work together, Anti-Spyware, etc. Interesting. I then visited Apple's site to see what their headlines were and it really hit me - plain as day, here is the epitome of the differences between these two companies approaches to computers and technology. The Apple page was full of new products, software that you can do cool things with, and in general, typical Apple innovation. While the Microsoft site was full of headlines talking about how to fix your computer, how to reduce viruses, deal with slow servers, etc. This summed up the key difference between the two camps:
The Windows / Microsoft / PC world appears to be all about doing things TO your computer while the Apple / Mac side is about doing interesting things WITH your computer
That is literally it. I think back to the computers on my desk - on my Mac, I spend my time writing software, using the web, doing video and audio work, playing games, etc. When I have to use my Windows PC, it seems like I am always dealing with some issue regarding keeping the computer working, be it applying a patch, updating a driver, dealing with adware, fighting the latest Outlook problem issue, etc. This is not intended to be the PC=Bad / Mac=Good - it's just an observation about how time is spent between the two worlds. I'm glad that cars don't operate on this principal - I wouldn't want to buy a car and have to spend my weekends working on the engine - I want to buy a car so it can take me where I need to go and outside of putting gas in the tank and washing it, I really don't want to have to think about it unless I choose to. On the Mac, we have maintenance utilities that run automatically as cron jobs at certain times (typically in the middle of the night) - I don't have to know about them (unless I choose to) or even what they do - just that they keep my Mac in top order and that's the way it should be.
Keep in mind, I'm a programmer and I love the geeky stuff but there comes a point where you say, look, it's 2005 and this computer should just be able to deal with certain things without bothering me about it. Anyway - it was interesting to talk with this person and remember how lucky we are to be Mac users.
- 11:50:28 AM