Archive for April, 2008


Why I don’t have an Apple

April 15, 2008

I like to do things with audio, video and photos, so it would seem like I’d be a natural Apple Fan. In fact, I used to be, back in the day. My first computer was a Laser 128, which was a clone of the Apple II series. I had that machine for about 3 years and it served me extremely well. When that machine finally died, I really, really wanted a Mac, and so I bought a used Mac 512 with an extra external drive. This served me well for a couple of years and then I bought a Mac Color classic. I loved this machine a lot with 4 MB of RAM and 8 MB hard drive. It lasted several years, and I learned that a little bit of power and capability on a Mac seemed to go a lot further than it did on a PC.

But there were problems in the early 1990’s with being a mac user and trying to get online. Basically, AOL was the only real game in town, and it was expensive. I could have joined a Macintosh users group (MUG) and gotten an email address an access to their online forums but most of the people I really wanted to interact with were PC users. What really got me was when I needed to buy another keyboard do to a liquid spill and saw the difference in price. Everything having to do with a Mac was more expensive. Printers, modems, keyboards and every other peripheral were costing 2-3x more for the Mac. Plus they had very limited expandability, and any expansions also cost a premium. When I went into my local CompUSA store, I saw acres and acres of shelf space devoted to PC games and peripherals and maybe one shelf devoted to Apple stuff. I had to travel further to visit an Apple store for the privilege of paying more money to get whatever stuff I wanted. And I always wanted more than I could afford. I got sick of it.

So when my wife got a special Wal-Mart discount on a 486, we went for it. The Color Classic went to a relative who didn’t have a computer, but all the preteen daughter wanted to do was go online which was exceedingly difficult with the Mac. Within a year. They bought a PC.

By now, you know the story. We can buy a PC anywhere at anytime for a much lower price than a Mac. Macs do work and they work very well for what they do. They had better do well for what Apple is charging for them. The markup on an Apple machine is by a factor of several hundreds. Mac fans can not afford to be anything less than totally devoted to their machines because they have paid so dearly and must constantly fend off the temptation to buy 2 or 3 PCs for the cost of one of theirs. Being a bit closed-minded is part of the Mac culture because that is what is built into the Mac’s themselves. The economics of productivity and computing power can not be factors as much as a certain religious fanaticism toward the Mac platform.

I like Macs and always have considered getting one when it was time to buy a new PC. However, I shrink away from paying thousands for a machine when I can trade off my PC knowledge for performance and come out ahead.

This is not Mac bashing, but I have always had issues with Apple’s closed-off, elitist proprietary business practices that almost make Microsoft’s business model look very soft and snuggly by comparison! This little trip down memory lane was brought on by the issue of Apple trying to squash an effort by a Mac Clone company that will offer an OS X Leopard machine for about $500, which is way, way less than anything Apple is selling close performance and hardware wise.

The Apple company and fan base has always been hostile towards free-market competition. Whether this whole thing blows over or not, it does highlight the problem Apple has always had and will probably always have with Steve Jobs at the helm. Thank goodness they were not as able to put a headlock around the mp3 player business! They make good products and they should be allowed to do price their stuff for whatever the market is willing to pay. People can and will vote with their feet and their wallets, which is what I did 15 years ago. Now, with Linux, we have an even better playing field and even more choices and options. With that in mind, that makes the PC and even better buy than an Apple. I’ve always wondered why someone would clear off OS X for Ubuntu, but to each their own.