Friday, April 15, 2011

Putting it to rest.

Today I will be talking about the Mac vs. PC thing.  So, if you are a die hard fan of either one, turn away now if you do not want your truth shaken, because this is going to be a rough ride.

Myth 1: A Mac and a PC are completely different machines.
Truth: They are not, although this might have been true a few years ago when Apple was still using the PPC (PowerPC) platform. But they have moved on from there and are using the x86 (32 or 64 bit) platform, a.k.a. Intel processors. With this at the core of the machine they are the same, and many of the components that are in Macs are also compatible with other operating systems. This means the video cards can be found in both, the hard drives are the same, the wi-fi is the same, everything that you can find on the inside of a Mac can be found in a PC. At this point they are both PCs, and if you didn't know PC stands for Personal Computer. If a Mac is not a Personal Computer then that marketing directors need to do a little reading.

Myth 2: A Mac user is different than other people.
Truth:  It's a computer, just a computer, it does not carry who you are or your sense of purpose. An object does not make you different, and differences do not cause you to buy certain objects. If you really think that Mac users are different than everyone else, then let me offer some insight. If you are now, or ever have been part of a group that follow a certain trend, then you will look at all others outside of that group as the same. If you have ever been a jock, prep, goth, grunge, emo, hipster, etc. then you stick to others in that group and you end up calling everyone else the same (or robots, sheep, cattle, clones, etc.). But, if you reverse that and take one person out of everyone using a "PC" and they look at the Mac group they will notice a uniformity and a conformity of the Mac users. So, yes they are different but still the same in their own niche.

Myth 3: Macs run a different operating system than PCs.
Truth: This is true but in 2001 when Apple released OSX they became more like another small minority of computer users out there, the *nix crowd. Windows is Microsoft's incarnation, OSX is not Apple's baby. Apple OSX is derived from Unics (now Unix), an operating system conceived and incarnated by AT&T in 1969. The majority of *nix users (Unix and Linux) would be the hackers, geeks, nerds, etc. and Apple just jumped right in with them. I think this is because of stability issues, Unix and it's derivatives are known for stability an with Mac OS 9 and earlier they did have problems when the CPU was under heavy loads. But, the point is that I know many people that run Linux or Unix on their computer, myself included. This means that OSX is not different than other operating systems on PCs. Also, with other manufacturers building computers with some sort of Linux on it (Asus, Dell, HP, and other smaller names) they are becoming more and more similar.

Myth 4: Macs are more secure.
Truth: Really? People actually believe that? Any Operating System can be hacked, any computer can be hacked. Computer security is up to the person using it, if the user has the operating system open, has easy passwords, or has entire hard drives or system folders shared then they will be easy to hack. Or if the user does not have good virus protection (more on that later). I use FreeBSD 8 for my firewall/router at home, it is very secure. It can be hacked, though. It will be hard to do, password is a seemingly random combination of letters, numbers, and special characters, and if someone tries to guess it, they only get three tries then their IP address gets black listed. Then they have to change the IP address and they can have another three tries. But with many operating systems there are exploits, known as work arounds or back doors, the more programs that can connect to the internet the more chances of exploits there are. With this in mind, my laptop might be easier to hack (even though it's Linux) than my firewall because the firewall is stripped down to only what it needs to do its job. Same thing with OSX and Windows, if one of those systems is hacked then it depends on the permissions of the user that got hacked whether or not the system can be brought down.

Myth 5: With Macs I don't have to worry about getting viruses.
Truth: This is also laughable, this is more of a demographic thing really. Say I want to take up a life of crime, would I do this in a small rural town, population 500, where 300 of them are farmers? Or would I do this in a large city where there are many more targets and there are more places to hide? Go for the large city. This also applies to operating systems. Windows has about 90% of the market, almost all of the viruses, trojans, and malware is written for Windows. This does not mean that there are none written for OSX, Unix, or Linux, but with the file permissions that those operating systems have they will do little damage to the actual operating system. Another point of this is the possibility of carrying a virus. If a virus is written for Windows and you get that virus in an email (along with a cute, heartwarming story), and then you are so touched that you send it off to your entire contact list and of course 90% of them are Windows users. Well, guess what you just did. Always, have an anitvirus no matter what your operating system is.

So, the point of all this comes down to a simple formula: preference = needs * (performance/price) = operating system you use. Using a 10 point scale, for me was 10*10/1000=0.1 Linux. I need it to do just about anything including booting to Windows (10), I needed good performance (10 but leaning to 9), and I wanted no more than $1000. Again, what you want to do with your computer, how well you want it to perform at those tasks, and how much you want to spend.

There is more to this like the psychological aspects of computer buying and operating system of choice but that is for a later post.

Joke: Linux Commands:
unmount       any question?


  1. i have several questions but they'll need to be answered on Sunday.

  2. Very informative post. I was recommended here by Cognitive Thinking's blog. My girlfriend is MAC and I am PC. So we argue all the time on various aspects. This solves alot of questions

  3. This is a much needed post, I learned a lot from this.

  4. So true! I see these fierce arguments all the time -.- Neither side are affiliated with the companies ^^

  5. Macs are more expensive, plus I don't like hippies. Go Windows!