Mac? Windows? What’s a fanboy to do?

After posting yesterday on the “Top Five Reasons that Leopard will be Apple’s tipping point“, it just reinforced in me that the depth of passion on the various sides of the computing table still exists (Windows; Mac; Linux).

You know what I think is happening that’s actually accelerating fanboy-dom and compelled so many people to comment? Those of us on the ‘net, and extensively using computers, have our faces in them for more total hours than ever before. With the explosion in laptop sales — most of which have Wifi cards in them — these tools are being schlepped all over the place and used as the general purpose devices they’re meant to be. All day, every day we’re accessing Web 2.0 sites, using applications, editing video and audio, communicating through Skype and webcams and much more.

So people naturally invest dollars and then themselves emotionally in their chosen computing platform. Most of us customize our device with wallpaper, sounds, applications and — because of ever larger hard drives and our extensive use spawning more digital files than ever — we structure and archive our digital lives with these devices. So it stands to reason we all have heightened awareness of our time investment as well as being intellectually invested in learning how our computers work and where stuff is located. Having anyone intimate that your choice is wrong and that you’re a schnub for choosing your computing platform is like whacking at a hornet’s nest.

As I write this I’ve had 60,000 pageviews of that post, nearly 80 comments under it and more than 500 comments on the Digg submission. Too many to address individually (and many are trolls being anonymous and nasty and are not due a response).

Windows and Linux have many, many compelling features and attractive aspects and run on cheaper hardware. But to me the obstacles and barriers to using them as productively as I do the Mac are too high (and, in fact, I have Ubuntu Linux and WinXP on this Macbook Pro now). Using these other OS’es cause me to spend a lot more time “twiddling bits” than being creative and productive.

I’m pleased with the platform I’ve chosen (Mac) and the result is I’ve invested many thousands of dollars in dozens of machines, applications, training and knowledge. Having used all three platforms extensively for many years, my chosen one allows my staff and I to be more productive and our output is remarkable ranging from color print to ebooks; video; audio; and much more. Our tech support need and hours invested in twiddling bits is now 10% of what it was when we were running Windows. The bonus is no adware. No spyware. No viruses.

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  1. PXLated on October 23, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    Not at all surprised by the response. Like you, I’ve run both Mac and Windows but my main machines are Mac. We Mac users have always had to put up with the snobbish/dismisive Windows community but never before have Windows users ever had to really pay attention to another platform. Never have they had to admit that Microsoft isn’t the cat’s meow and could do no wrong, they now have to face the fact that Vista is less than it should have been and there may just be a much better system out there, one that just lets you get things done, one that’s advancing innovation rather than in a holding pattern. I think it’s a shock to their system and mental health.
    Being older, we’ve seen the major changes that can take place. We’ve seen giants falter or fall. Most Windows users have never seen this and so many are beholden to Microsoft (jobs depend on it) that the thought that there might be something better and advancing, combined with fear for their livlihoods, brings out their Windows fanboy venom.
    I find it somewhat amusing.

  2. James on October 23, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Windows fanboys? Give me a break. The closest you will find to a Windows fanboy is a Mac hater. No one is a fan of Windows, they just cant stand idiot Apple fans raving about a clearly flawed product. Apple is always going on about “seamless” this and “it just works” that…what they don’t realise is that if it doesn’t work, there’s no way to fix it. My system of choice is Windows, however I spend no time fiddling. I installed the OS, put the colour scheme to silver, put a background on, installed an antivirus and a firewall, and that’s it. No other changes necessary. No time spent fixing the horrible and allegedly widespread threat of “viruses (OH NO) and adware (GOD HELP US) and trojans (AHHH)”. Please tell me what bits you had to twiddle, rather than being “productive”.

    Yep I just commented on your previous article. I have invested nothing in my platform of choice, freeing me from your main point in this article. Maybe old men and proud trendy 30+ year olds/heads of family have their pride at stake and need to justify buying whatever product; certainly no one I interact with cares who uses what. Most of them even got it free from the University or their parents. The few friends I have with a Mac are frustrated by difficulty in obtaining support and lack of third party programs. Even the ones who invested their own money in the choice have no supposed emotional attachment.

    It seems to me you are continually expounding the ‘yay no viruses or adware’ point. In the 10 years of using Windows and Macs, the number of viruses/adware I’ve encountered is maybe 3. Two of those only because my younger sister manually installed files when prompted by a website. All 3 were easily fixed and caused no damage.

    Vista being a massive flop doesn’t affect me. XP is fine for everything necessary. Microsoft isn’t great but yeh no one expects much. Still, it beats Apple hands down, for all the points mentioned in my comment on your previous article.

    User of Apple and Microsoft since childhood, Linux in the last few years.

  3. Robert on October 23, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    The whole fanboy thing frightens me. These kids really go overboard with their brand loyalty.
    I’ll be getting my first mac on friday at 6:00(whoo!) based on my experience with first the ipod and then the iphone.
    I am Windows Certified on 2000, and have studied 2000 and 2003 Server extensively. Am messing around with the Amazing LTSP on Edubuntu with some old laptops and a server. I had used Palms for 8 years, Windows Mobile Smartphones, but the iPhone sold me and replaced them all. A pleasure to use. What a joy after 3 Windows mobile phones.
    I won’t stop using my Windows servers or Edubuntu, but I look forward to using my new Mac. And when the “Storm” comes it will hopefully pass me by.
    Enjoying your Blog!

    Oh yeah, your reasonable response to the rabid displays on the Leopard posting is admirable. I would not have been so kind.

  4. PXLated on October 24, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Yes James, all one has to do is go to Digg or Ars comments and you’ll find plenty of Windows fanboys, it’s not by a long shot limited to Mac or Linux users. And as Steve mentioned, he got plenty of impassioned comments as well as email. And of course your defense of your choice is pretty spirited. I think you just proved Steve’s point.

  5. James on October 27, 2007 at 1:29 am


    mm I don’t know…my spirit is mostly due to annoyance/frustration with apple. I like linux and windows, windows mostly because I am most comfortable with it. However I’m aware of its failings. I am a fan of many things (the matrix, valve games, eminem) but can’t say I include windows in that. Microsoft is a crap company. I have the same views on vista as I do on apple. In light of these things, I can’t say you are reasonable in calling me a windows fanboy.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.