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Author Topic: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...  (Read 5272 times)

moerl

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Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« on: October 20, 2005, 01:48:07 AM »
I've always wondered... just why is it that Microsoft Windows is such a maintenance-dependant system... and how come OS X just WORKS? I strongly believe that if you don't take care of your Windows installation, it will become a slow, bloated, problem-ridden mess of an environment. I have automatic defrag schedules set up. I regularly clean my registry. I keep strict order of how files are organized on my system. I multiple partitions on one drive for several reasons. My software is always up to date. All of it. Regardless of whether it has auto-updaters built in or not. My system is running anti-virus software, a software firewall, and is tweaked extensively with registry "hacks" using various programs/methods. My Windows services are tweaked. Need I go on? Windows is like a pet. It needs care and it needs that you look after it. Of course, the listed examples are extremes that only a tiny number of users can claim as habits.

Most of the people just "use" their computers. They don't change, tweak, customize, update... they just use. This means that they accumulate bloat over time, it means that their software becomes hopelessly out of date after a while, and potentially, it means that their systems are far more susceptible to problems/attacks/data theft/data loss. Machines in the possession of such true "users", in the truest sense of the word, also tend to become slow all the way to the point where the usability of the system is severely affected.

By contrast, I've never heard anything of the sort about Macs and Apple OS X. It's beautifully designed and has the reputation of "just working". I can't say that I can simply attest to that because I have little to no experience with Macs, but I've never seen Mac users complain or worry about their systems as I have with Windows users. Now, don't get me wrong. I kind of like Windows simply because I've gotten very used to it and it's familiar. However, that far from immunizes it from critique on my part. There is a TON of room for improvement. OS X, on the other hand, already is really, really good, straight out of the box. Things work, they're easy to set up without extensive technical knowledge, and users spend less time trying to figure out how to do things, and have much more time for what it's all about: productivity &|| entertainment.

Why do the two systems contrast so harshly? I could probably answer the question myself in a whole set of ways if I go by what's in my head right now... but I'd like this to be a discussion.

I spent the last two days fixing my buddy's Win XP Pro system before a bad accident happened. The video BIOS update failed and rendered the video card unusable. The buddy got fed up and decided to finally buy a Mac, something he's been wanting to do for a while. So tomorrow we're heading down to the campus computer store to get a nice, shiny new Powerbook. I'm as excited as he is as I'll have immediate access to OS X from tomorrow on. I'm sure I will gain a lot of insight about its workings, which will be an interesting experience. I'm impressed by the simplicity and stability of OS X systems. I dare say, even with my lackluster familiarity and knowledge of OS X, that it is a better OS than Windows.

What's on YOUR mind?

brotherS

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2005, 02:38:59 AM »
[...]
Why do the two systems contrast so harshly? I could probably answer the question myself in a whole set of ways if I go by what's in my head right now... but I'd like this to be a discussion.
[...]
I dare say, even with my lackluster familiarity and knowledge of OS X, that it is a better OS than Windows.
Well, from what I saw these are the main reasons:
  • the average OSX user is more experienced, resulting in less problems to begin with
  • there's MUCH more malware for Windows based systems around - and it now takes less than two minutes (average) for a not protected Windows PC to be infected if you just connect it to the Internet
  • since there are thousands of companies making hardware and software for Windows based systems there's a greater risk that you run into problems - but yes, I still prefer to have more choices

moerl

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2005, 03:10:08 AM »
Pretty good points there. However, your first point got me confused right away.. the average Mac user is MORE experienced? How do you figure? My friend who is getting a powerbook today, (quite a bad timing, might I add, as Apple is supposed to introduce brand new powerbooks on Friday, if there's any truth to the rumors floating around the web...), is close to as inexperienced as it gets. He's getting a Mac because it works and because it will let him spend less time fighting with his OS to get done what he wants done. He's getting it because there are less choices. Less choiecs mean less trouble, mean, probably, more productivity, as less time needs to be spent choosing, and more time can be spent getting things done.


zridling

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2005, 04:18:25 AM »
Quote
I'm impressed by the simplicity and stability of OS X systems. I dare say, even with my lackluster familiarity and knowledge of OS X, that it is a better OS than Windows.

Isn't it premature to assert such a statement on your behalf? Apple is a romanticized albeit elegant marketing company that promotes the computer as toy, not tool. With regard to simplicity, come back and tell us how simple it was the next time your buddy upgrades OS X. It's not simple like Automatic Windows Update for XP. Finally, I can't believe you allowed your buddy to use a videocard BIOS update issue as an excuse to trash his computer without a Google Groups search or an email to tech support to figure out why that may have happened.

Neither "Microsoft" nor "Windows" caused his videocard company to write a poor BIOS update.

Bimmergeek has his take on Apple:
...Apple is competing in the wrong space. They cannot compete as a hardware manufacturer. They have negligible market share (currently 2%) and cannot compete in terms of revenue with Dell, HP and Lenovo (IBM). I have remarked several times that Apple's marketing has historically miscalculated the industry's willingness to pay a premium for Apple's take on a commodity product. What's my mantra, sports fans? A spreadsheet is a spreadsheet regardless of how cool the box is on which a spreadsheet runs. Therefore, corporations buy cheaper PCs and leave Apple Macs gasping for air on the desks of the avant garde.

brotherS

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2005, 04:27:29 AM »
Pretty good points there. However, your first point got me confused right away.. the average Mac user is MORE experienced? How do you figure? My friend who is getting a powerbook today, (quite a bad timing, might I add, as Apple is supposed to introduce brand new powerbooks on Friday, if there's any truth to the rumors floating around the web...), is close to as inexperienced as it gets.
Well, I said that's why I saw... and those few Mac users I know (2) are more experienced than the average Wintel user I know.

Quote
He's getting a Mac because it works and because it will let him spend less time fighting with his OS to get done what he wants done.
Yes, one of those two I know thinks so too (but still knows some stuff).

Quote
He's getting it because there are less choices. Less choiecs mean less trouble, mean, probably, more productivity, as less time needs to be spent choosing, and more time can be spent getting things done.
Well, more choices means you could use the best program on this planet - but only on Windows ;) Read http://www.donationc...dex.php?topic=1167.0

If it's about a business environment you sure want to optimize it for productivity, but if you just use it at home, maybe even instead of sitting in front of the TV (good choice!), you also might want to just try some stuff, optimize ease of use, etc.


moerl

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2005, 04:47:16 AM »
I suppose it is, yes. At least I acknowledged my lack of experience and/or knowledge with OS X as I made the claim. I'm not sure I would agree with the "toy, not tool" notion. Just because it looks prettier and is marketed with cosmetics as one of the product's key aspects doesn't mean it isn't made with performance and productivity in mind. Currently, I see Apple as great innovators in the OS field, while Microsoft is a "stagnator".

I must admit that I did not know it to be a hassle to update OS X between versions. I assumed it would be as simple as everything else coming from Apple; that it would be in accordance with their trademark that is simplicity while retaining functionality.

I "allowed" him to use the video BIOS issue as an excuse because I don't believe nVidia is solely responsible for the occurrence of the video BIOS corruption due to an attempted BIOS update flash. The application hung, and it hung in Windows XP. Windows lets a lot of applications hang under certain circumstances. I suppose the circumstances were met in this case. While I don't mean to attach the responsibility for the update failure and resulting defect of the video card wholly to Microsoft and Windows, I do think that Windows had quite a bit to do with why the process didn't work out as planned. It is equally debatable whether the BIOS update was written poorly or Windows handled the execution of the BIOS update poorly.

That's a well formulated stance on Apple as a business. However, one thing Bimmergeek seems to miss in my opinion is that it certainly is not Apple's intention to compete with Microsoft in terms of workstation OS market share. With their current business model which has them selling their OS on their own systems and their own systems only, how could they possibly want to compete with Windows, which can be installed on any thinkable combination of compatible hardware components, of which there are a lot. Hell, of which consists the world of computer components. What ISN'T compatible with Windows today? It seems to me downright foolish to assume that that's what Apple is after. They might not be able to compete with the mentioned companes in direct comparison but to claim that Apple isn't doing extremely well in relative comparison is to dream.

I'm not an Apple fanboy, if that's what you're thinking right now. I've never owned a Mac in my life and am really inexperienced with OS X. I've been a Windows user my whole life and am in the process of playing with Ubuntu Linux, which I'm liking a lot but with which I'm also having major issues currently. I do not think that Windows is crap or inherently bad, but I do think that there is an immense amount of room for improvement for it.

brotherS

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2005, 04:54:23 AM »
I suppose it is, yes.
Quoting helps, please consider using it more often  :Thmbsup:

zridling

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2005, 05:11:17 AM »
Aye, there's always room for improvement. I don't know of anyone who blindly supports Microsoft in everything. They have some good software, and the company has done some pretty horrific things in its business dealings. But I could never, ever live without AutoHotkey! ha!

mouser

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2005, 06:53:30 AM »
i have to admit to not being a fan of apple.
i know that mac osx is getting great reviews from programmers, and i think the basic idea of a pro quality user interface on top of an open source clean *nix based operating system with a robot commandline support is a great idea.

but i have always disliked apple as a company.  they seem to be much more concerned about marketing than about anything else.  and while they often seem to create interfaces that people love (ipod), some of their stuff like their mouse stuff is just insanely bad, and yet they market it like jesus himself invented the round one button mouse and using it is better than sex and chocolate.  any company that can try to sell such a piece of crap, at higher prices than anything else, and pretend its the best thing ever, gets a bit of scorn from me.

to me, apple just feels to me like its more about building and selling an irrational cult image - and less about the product.  you can't replace that battery in your ipod? wtf !?!!  :'(

they are very clever marketing people, there is no doubt about it, and some of their products are genuinely impressive.  i used to go with my father to look at the apple lisa in a mcgraw hill bookstore often as a kid and just stare at it..  and obviously the company has done some real innovation.  but my first experiences programming an apple macintosh made me hate it :( when i found turbo pascal and turboc on the pc i was in heaven  :D

also the whole closed spirit of the mac world has always rubbed me the wrong way, and reinforced my view of apple as a greedy company.  the ibm pc came out and changed everything in terms of being an open architecture.  apple hardware and software still seems to be in the mindset of money money money, how can we make the most.

one last comment about how "usable" and just works is apple softwware.

i hope vrgirl will post more about the experience we had trying to get her computer to connect to her intenet/lan.  but here is a summary:

the first day she got her mac, she wrote me: the mac just works! it connected to the internet perfectly without any effort, this is how all computers should be!!!"

then a week later she bought a router, and needed help getting it connected.  it was insanely hard.  it seems when it can be smart and guess what to do, its great.  but god help you if it can't solve it on its own, because its just went through these silly wizards, and eventually after searching on the web for an hour or so we found you hate to type in some secret character at the begining of the ip address or something to tell it about some option to use.  maybe she remembers more.  but to me this captures the apple spirit - they probably wanted to cut down on the options to display on the screen because it looked to messy, so they wrote code to try to guess the values, and that probably works for most people.  and if you are one of those who needs to be able to change that option, then you enter the land of crazyness.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2005, 09:47:32 AM »
i have to admit to not being a fan of apple.
i know that mac osx is getting great reviews from programmers, and i think the basic idea of a pro quality user interface on top of an open source clean *nix based operating system with a robot commandline support is a great idea.

OSX is so much better than Apples previous efforts. Years ago I manged seven computer systems for a Further Education College. All the systems caused problems but Apple Macs were the worst to trouble shoot (and they did cause trouble).

They also had the huge disadvantage (and still do) of being hugely overpriced. At least now you can buy third party peripherals, but Apple's insistance in the past on controlling every product you plugged in nearly killed the company (and refusing to allow you 'inside the box'). The basic machines are still overpriced and focus (IMHO) in 'looking funky' (depends on your taste but I don't actually like a lot of the weird "Day of the Triffids" ideas).

Quote
to me, apple just feels to me like its more about building and selling an irrational cult image - and less about the product.  you can't replace that battery in your ipod? wtf !?!!  :'(

Quite - in the UK it costs ~£100 to get your iPod 'serviced' - who are they kidding, they don't even send your own iPod back (so much for paying to get it personalised).

The biggest problem to me is the lack of choice. Less choice in hardware, peripherals and software. If you are going to use Linux you may as well buy a cheap PC and install Linux (or even buy one with Linux as the OS of choice). At least then you have the flexibility to make choices!
« Last Edit: October 20, 2005, 09:50:35 AM by CarolHaynes »

moerl

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2005, 01:30:36 PM »
My friend just ordered his new Powerbook. It's brand-new, from Apple's newly announced line of Powerbooks, which were announced just yesterday! It's 15", 1.67GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 100GB 7200RPM HD, new high-res and brighter display, slot-loading super drive 8x DVD and CD burner/reader. He also bought an iSight camera and a mighty mouse with it. The total was something like $2350.00 including tax. Shipping is free.

That's a whopping price tag and I don't know how good that price/performance ratio is. The computer itself without the additional toys was 2069. What I found odd was that the whole "customization" page for the Powerbook was only ONE PAGE, and with only about 7 options, two of which are software related. If you've ever bought a DELL online, you'll know why I was disturbed here... at DELL, you have several pages of customization to do if you like, with tons of options. With the Powerbook, we didn't even get to choose the videocard. It's kind of weird.. and let me just say that I didn't simply "allow" him to get this. His mother loves Apple products and didn't mind the fat price tag, and hell, if my mother thought that way I probably would have done just the same! I mean, the Powerbook really is a beautiful device, OS X looks and probably acts beautiful, (count on me bringing you updates as I gain experience with maintaining and using OS X when my friend gets his Powerbook), and the Mighty Mouse is too cool. It's a one button mouse.. well, there is no button really, the entire mouse is the button as its always been with the newer apple mice.. but they included sensors under the plastic surface in the mighty mouse, which allows it to detect whether you're clicking the entire mouse with a left or a right click, effectively making a two button mouse of it. The little scroller ball in the middle is awesome too as it allows you to scroll vertically as well as horizontally and well, in all possible directions really. It's so simple, and yet it makes so much sense. I mean, that little ball beats the hell out of the latest non-Apple mice, like my Logitech MX 1000 (and I love Logitech!), which use a wheel which can tilt sideways to allow for sideways scrolling.. so with that, you get sideways and up and down, but what about the rest of the 365° spectrum? The tiny little ball on the might mouse provides both vertical and horizontal scrolling and then the rest of the whole 360° spectrum so effectively and easily that it's ridiculous.

I'm not bashing anything, nor am I trying to raise Apple to new heights with raves. I'm just putting down my observations and opinions, and well, as it is Apple really impresses me not only with design, but with how functionality seems to be behind every single design choice they make. That's why they impress me so. It's not just that they build pretty technology, the make the pretty facade so useful that in pretty much all cases, it easily matches its counterparts, but in some cases surpasses them with ease--and style.

@mouser, your points are well taken. While I agree with you that Apple seems to be out for profit, I disagree with the notion that that's their prime motivation. They really seem to strive to innovate and make beauty extremely useful. That's why I really respect them. They may be overpriced, and that sucks, but what you get really stands out from the crowd in more than one way.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Windows culture vs. OS X culture...
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2005, 03:31:02 PM »
My friend just ordered his new Powerbook. It's brand-new, from Apple's newly announced line of Powerbooks, which were announced just yesterday! It's 15", 1.67GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 100GB 7200RPM HD, new high-res and brighter display, slot-loading super drive 8x DVD and CD burner/reader. He also bought an iSight camera and a mighty mouse with it. The total was something like $2350.00 including tax. Shipping is free.

Nah, there is a 200%markup to cover shipping costs - you could build an equivalent laptop from components for less than a third of that (and probably get higher spec components).

Quote
I'm not bashing anything, nor am I trying to raise Apple to new heights with raves. I'm just putting down my observations and opinions, and well, as it is Apple really impresses me not only with design, but with how functionality seems to be behind every single design choice they make. That's why they impress me so. It's not just that they build pretty technology, the make the pretty facade so useful that in pretty much all cases, it easily matches its counterparts, but in some cases surpasses them with ease--and style.

But their technology is pretty much always at least a year behind the cutting edge ... look at the list you quoted at the top of this post ...

Quote
While I agree with you that Apple seems to be out for profit, I disagree with the notion that that's their prime motivation.

Apple (like MS) is a multinational - their only motivation is market share and profit.

Quote
They really seem to strive to innovate and make beauty extremely useful. That's why I really respect them. They may be overpriced, and that sucks, but what you get really stands out from the crowd in more than one way.

Another way you could look at it is 'also-ran hardware' in a 'minimalistic design' that reduces choice and expandability.

I don't have a particular axe to grind with Apple, and I'm certainly not an apologist for the MS empire, but genuine innovation has been lost these days because the innovators can't compete.

Apple were innovative in the Apple II and early Mac days, now they just shift pretty boxes.

MS were innovative in the early years, but are now purely cash driven (which is why almost identical versions of Office are released every year that many neither want nor need).

[personal rant]
Looking back in time there were some really innovative companies. For example, Acorn in the UK invented RISC technology, and spawned ARM (how many people know the name used to be short for Acorn RISC Machines) but sadly Acorn have been completely lost to the PC consumer world. I still have an Acorn RISC based computer. It is about 15-20 years old now, and still runs faster than modern Windows boxes (and could do things like Desktop publishing far more efficiently than many modern systems) and that was based on a massive 8Mb of RAM and 120Mb of Hard Disc.

Anyone come across XARA graphics package on Windows - an excellent Adobe Illustrator substitute. It was originally written for Acorn Machines and still runs like lightening on those machines.
[/personal rant]