Friday, January 13, 2006

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Left in the wake of CES and Macworld, I just can’t stop thinking about Microsoft and Apple’s bitter rivalry. I really can’t. I really want to cheer both sides on since competition is a wonderful thing when developing new sorts of ideas in the world of technology. However, people seem to choose a company and automatically be it’s elite, super consumer-servant. My gosh man! It’s pretty childish to choose one thing and berate its closest substitute. People throw the word ‘elitist’ around, and the most common elitist out there is the “Mac elitist.” These guys are just so adamant about their holy crusade against Microsoft and anything to do with the Windows/Linux PC world. (Because Apple Computers are still Personal Computers in and of themselves.) Apple CEO Steve Jobs leads the elitist pack with his very condescending remarks about the PC, especially notable in the Apple advertisement they debuted at Macworld showing off their brand-new Intel Processors.

When you throw out the word elitist, however, you automatically define yourself as a person on the other end of the spectrum. Speaking from my own point of view, I really can’t see myself switching over to the Apple-end. I’ve become heavily reliant on my Windows OS and the subtleties that go with 15 years of experience on Windows machines. (Yes, yes, I’ve spent a very long time fiddling around with PCs! I still can picture myself playing the Bialosky Bear program when I was 4 on such a primitive IBM PC. I still can picture the time I played my first direct connect (TCP/IP) multiplayer game using my 36.6k modem!) If you think I am oblivious to the other side, you are wrong. I have been using Macintosh computers ever since Kindergarten and throughout my life in academia I have always befriended an Apple computer. I’ve had plenty of time to discover and explore the Apple OS. It just feels chunky (in the sense that I know where everything is in Windows) to me, and not useable. This is of course, through my computing preference and how I work. With Apple’s newest OS, called OS X, I just feel myself looking at it. Looking at its beauty and how it’s so streamlined and pretty (for a lack of a better word)! So clean, so organized, yet so simple. Windows pop out graphically with an animation, a little “dock” sits on the screen holding any application you want with it just waiting for you to click, little innovative, elegant widgets are scattered throughout the screen. Everything seems so “in-reach.” To me, though, my praise of OS X mostly deals with the aesthetic. And also! How could I forget? The machines themselves are absolutely gorgeous! Sleek and stylish. That’s how I would define most of Apple’s products. Thus, for the looks, I’d definately buy a copy and dual-boot my system with OS X for my internet and word processing needs while use Windows for gaming and other such PC-oriented software.

So whenever I look at that and compare it to my Windows XP PC, I just can’t help to be envious. Maybe that’s why Microsoft’s upcoming OS, Windows Vista, is so appealing to me. They incorporate some of Apple’s strong points and integrate it into their own OS and also making improvements on the basic foundations of any Windows PC (like the Start menu). Many people keep making side-by-side comparisons of Mac’s current OS X and Windows Vista. They make snide comments on how Microsoft “copied this” and “stole this.” Well, good for you. Finally, Microsoft is trying to appease the customer. Can’t you be happy about that? What would happen if they were gone? No competition! Ideas would be churning out slowly, and nothing would ever come about.

One could point out that, “Ooo! Finally Mac made the switch to Intel processors, finally they see the light! Hey, wait a minute, they’re copying PCs now!” Through my internet adventures, I’ve found less people making that comment on internet blogs or newssites and more people making hateful “Micro$oft” ones. Now the focus is on Apple, who, with their new Intel chips, decided they would not hinder the installation process of Windows Vista (WinXp would not work because the new Intel Duo processors are not built upon the BIOS code, which processors traditionally were built upon) on new Intel Macs. However, Mac has decided to let their OS X be made just for Apples; meaning, Windows users like me would not be able to use their pretty OS on Windows machines (unless of course, the OS is hacked). That just angers me. A lot. Why does it have to keep being a battle of rights managements between these big corporations! I just may be naïve or oblivious to the whole point behind this, but I don’t like the fact that one side supports the other’s software (allowing users to choose), while the other side gets no choice. That’s just crude and selfish. Let the consumers choose Apple, don’t be a selfish brute and make our decisions for us.

Will I buy a Mac now that I can run Windows on it? Maybe. They certainly seem faster at the moment, being the first with the new Intel D chips in them, which would mean the new Macs would perform twice as fast as a regular Pentium M 1.86 GhZ chip. But no worries, Apple isn’t the only one utilizing the new Intel D chip with Dell and other PC manufacturers waiting in the ranks. So, at this point in time, I’ll be waiting patiently for OS X to come to the PC. I’m sure someone out there will figure it out in like 2 days.

P.S. By the way Apple, please implement better audio quality hardware into your iPods and don’t force us to convert files to freakin’ .m4a and .m4v files and use iTunes. There you go again Apple! Making decisions for us once again! Shame on you!


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