Sunday, July 03, 2005

Tell me again why the Mac is better?

Kevin Werback - werblog

I'm still finding the Mac experience surprisingly frustrating. I posted this in the comments, but it's worth putting it on my main blog to invite people to respond.
My biggest surprise is that I'm seeing few things that are actually better on my Powerbook than my old Thinkpad. Can someone help me out here?
The reasons for preferring the Mac that I've heard so far are:
Better stability -- I believe this is true, but in a week with the Powerbook I've had two crashes requiring me to remove the battery, and at least one force quit per day. No unexplained chronic problems like I got from time to time with Windows, but again, it has only been a week.
fewer viruses -- Definitely true. On the other hand, I used a firewall and virus checker on my Windows machine, and didn't use Microsoft's email or Web browser apps. So I never spent any time dealing with viruses on my Thinkpad.
Better networking -- So far, this has been the biggest surprise. My Powerbook doesn't recognize the Linksys WiFi access point right next to it, and it often fails to recognize USB hard drives and keychain drives. Since I use USB drives all the time for backup and file transfer, the latter is a royal pain. I also couldn't get the Powerbook to print over the Internet to a laser printer that worked right away on my Thinkpad. So, how is the Mac actually better in this department?
Print to PDF -- Useful, but that's just bundling a feature I already had with Acrobat.
Dashboard -- Doesn't do it for me. If I'm going to use widgets, I want them always available on the desktop, rather than requiring a mode switch. I know I can get that with Konfabulator, but I had that on Windows.
Spotlight -- A nice feature. But the biggest thing I search through is email, and I can already do that with much more powerful features within Eudora.
Instant on from sleep -- Better, but trivial.
So, what am I missing? Why is a Mac today actually better than a PC? Virtually everything I've seen so far is an improvement in basic, out-of-the-box functionality, but not an advantage over the tuned Thinkpad I gave up.
And before anyone flames me, I'll reiterate that I was a die-hard Mac user for a decade before I (grudgingly) went over to Windows. I've just spent $9,000 on Mac hardware and software, and I want to feel that I made the right choice.


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