So the other day one of the Apple fan-boys I know said that he likes Apple products because he doesn’t like “tinkering”. He likes things that “just work.”
It’s funny, however, that sentiment is one of the reasons why I do not use Apple products. It almost seems like Apple fans are living in an alternate reality. The things they say just don’t seem to match with the things I’ve experienced.
Just a day or two after hearing this, I was browsing files on my Mac at work, and needed to move up a directory level. Seemingly a simple procedure. Normally I would do a search for the file I was looking for or memorize where I was then start from a new window, but I thought of this “it just works” sentiment and figured if the Apple fans were right, there must be a simple way to go up a directory level.
So I searched. I did find a page that claimed it was “easy” and then the page went on to say that you must write your own program, use PhotoShop to design a new button, then install that button, along with the app you wrote into your finder window so that you can have an “up” button.
To me, that sounds distinctly like tinkering. On Windows XP “up” was simply a button that could be clicked any time you want. With Windows 7 it’s even more convenient, with every directory level being its own button, allowing you to jump to whatever level you want instantly.
A couple days later a co-worker asked me how to mute the log-off sound that the macs make when you log off. (I think he was trying to make it so he didn’t attract attention to himself on days he was leaving early.) I told him to just mute the computer, but apparently, no. According to him, even if your computer is muted, it still plays the logoff sound. He mentioned later that he had searched and again, found someone saying it’s “easy” to mute the logoff sound. All you need to do is write out and install this app.
…but to me, installing a special app to be able to mute your computer sounds a lot like tinkering to me.
This reminds me a year ago, at a different job, I asked a co-worker how to get the file address of a file in Finder. He told me, of course, that it was “easy”. All I have to do is open Terminal, drag the file into Terminal, then copy the output. Again, this sounds a whole lot like tinkering. In Windows you always have your address available right there at the top and you can copy and paste any time you want. No special programs required.
I started thinking that maybe Apple fans are not seeing the whole picture. It’s simpler, for sure, perhaps easier to understand at the very beginning, but easier in the long run, I don’t believe so. They are constantly told it’s easier, but how? What specific examples are there of things that work easier on an Apple? People are constantly claiming they are easier to use, but can never seem to point to any real-world examples. But they are constantly told it’s easier, and that, combined with the slick white interface, makes them feel more at home, so they can convince themselves that things are going smoothly.
I have been electrocuted by Apple desktops several hundred times due to their poor static discharge. This has happened to me with half a dozen different Apple desktops over the years. The one I use currently, thankfully, has only electrocuted me four times in the three years that I’ve been using it, so it seems Apple has mostly fixed this issue.
I bought an iPod once, to discover I had to install a special program (iTunes), only to discover that my iPod would not recognize my music files because I did not have perfect track information implanted on them.
I once plugged an external hard drive into a mac and the first thing it did was wipe all the information, formatting it without my permission. I lost all my personal data backups and had to cancel my plans for the evening so I could go home and copy all my files over again to ensure I had a proper backup.
These, to me, are not examples of things “just working”. I understand why some people prefer macs, because they do have a shorter learning curve if you’re doing basic stuff, but to make blanket statements that they are always better, and call people idiots because they don’t use them, as a huge number of Apple fans tend to do, I think is entirely unfair and does not foster a fair playing field for modern technology.
As someone who spends many hours a day on a mac and many hours a day on a PC, and has done so for almost ten years, I can say with confidence that I personally prefer the PC experience.