Apple Faithful: Arrogance Is Not a Virtue, and Why I Will Never Buy a Mac

Apple Faithful: Arrogance Is Not a Virtue, and Why I Will Never Buy a Mac

Summary: I've often been asked why I don't own a Mac. The answer is simple, and yet complex, and requires a trip down memory lane

TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, Software

Editor's Note: I wrote this article in June of 2009. While I would never undo what I wrote -- as my feelings about the man and his company have not changed -- I urge you to read my final words about Steve Jobs.

(artwork by Spidermonkey)

David Morgenstern’s column last week about Psystar’s imminent demise and his accompanying “Good Riddance” commentary struck a particular sour chord with me that reeked of the typical dismissive Mac fanboyism and “Not invented here” mentality which has plagued the company for decades.

While I enjoy David Morgenstern's work and I think he is a great guy, and a talented and knowledgeable writer about all things Apple, the tone of his piece brushed me in such a way that it took me an entire week to formulate a response, the process of which caused me to contemplate the very reasons why I often find myself at odds with Apple and its fans.

People have often characterized me as an “Apple hater”  but this is actually a simplistic assessment of what I feel about the company and its products, since arguably my entire history with personal computing began with Apple.

Do you really want to enter the deepest parts of the Perlow psyche? Then read on.

The Fanboy Template

Let’s flash back with the shimmer effect to late November of 1981.  Ronald Reagan was about to finish his first year in office. For my 13th birthday, and as part of my Bar-Mitzvah money, I was allowed to purchase a brand new Apple II+ PC, a beauty of a machine with dual floppy disks, 48K of RAM, 80 Column and CP/M cards, phosphor-green CRT display, with 300 baud Hayes SmartModem.

At the time, the machine was the state of the art, and I chose it because the kids in my upper middle-class suburban neighborhood of Great Neck, New York were all getting them, as were the local libraries.

I got several years of use out of the system, as well as having accumulated huge amounts of software via “trading” (we didn’t call it “Piracy” back then, we just went over to each others houses and copied floppies with Locksmith and played Dungeons and Dragons) and later on even traded up to a Apple IIc, a more “compact” and lower cost version of the unit.

The Apple ][ series had the distinction of being the last personal computer that Steve Wozniak (the true technical brains behind early Apple Computer) was responsible for engineering.

After a near fatal airplane crash in February of 1981, Wozniak spent his time recovering from amnesia and getting his college degree. He didn’t return to Apple for another two years, but by that time, he was completely out of the loop on any product development and his presence at the company was largely symbolic and motivational.

In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh. By this time, my interests had gravitated towards the IBM PC-XT and its MS-DOS clones, such as the Tandon and the Leading Edge, which my father had purchased to run his dental practice downstairs, and I wanted to learn software that actual businesses were now using, such as Lotus 123, WordStar, dBase, and Harvard Graphics.

My Apple IIc, while still useful, was showing its age. 1984 is also the year I came in contact with my first Mac Fanboy, my first cousin Andrew.

I remember the moment vividly. I was 15 or 16 years old, and was visiting my Aunt and Uncle at their home in New Rochelle, New York, and Andrew, several years my senior, was boasting about his new Macintosh, which had only recently been released.

Andrew at the time was in his second or third year of college, and he beckoned me up to his room upstairs to show the machine off to me, trying to appeal to my fellow geekishness.

The thing was tiny, with an integrated CPU and tiny monitor, and it had a GUI, which was the state-of-the-art at the time. It had 128K of memory, versus the 384K on my cranked out PC. But it came with a word processing program, Mac Write, as well as a simplistic painting program, Mac Paint.

While I don’t recall the exact wording of the conversation that Andrew and I had, it sounded something like this:

Andy: “Look Jason, I painted a picture of the loft I’m going to build in my dorm room! With the mouse! And it’s so small, I can bring the whole thing in one bag to school with me, it’s portable! Try that on your dad’s stupid PC! Steve Jobs is a genius!”

Jason: “Yeah but it can it run Lotus 123 or WordStar? Can you go onto CompuServe or BBSes with it?”

Andy: “Who cares? This thing is so cool!”

Jason: “Enjoy. I’ll stick with my keyboard, character mode graphics and PC-XT.”

Cousin Andy grew up to be a very nice, smart and successful guy and went into educational publishing. He got married and had a couple of kids, and is now a venture capitalist.

But at that time, when I was 15 or 16, I just remember him as my know-it-all older first cousin. Andrew, I love you man, but you are responsible for creating the master template for my complete distaste for Mac Fanboyism and my eventual disassociation from anything Apple. Sorry.

As far as I know, both Andy and his younger brother, Scott, who went into advertising, still use Macs.

The Structural Reinforcement

Flash forward to 1988. I’m in my first year of college at American University, in Washington DC. The year is particularly memorable because it was the same year that Steve Jobs introduced the NeXT, his answer and arrogant retort to the company which he founded that ousted him two years earlier.

American University turned out to be one of the first pilot schools to test the NeXT computer. It had a brand-new advanced computer lab that was built underneath a newly constructed dormitory (partially paid for by Saudi Sheik and Iran-Contra arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi) and virtually nobody knew anything about the new lab or the weird, new NeXT machines that were down there.

I ended up spending a lot of quality time with them because the main computer lab with the PCs in the student center was always busy and you could never get any time on them.

So I poured through the NeXTStep documentation and became an expert on the early NeXTCubes and was able to apply my skills from working for a XENIX/Altos system integrator during summers at home in Queens that I was able to learn the Mach-UNIX based OS on the Cube fairly easily.

I became so accustomed to their use and the technology that the local sales rep who frequented that lab to show the machines off to prospective customers in Washington, DC area used to have me talk to them about the system’s capabilities. I even had the pleasure of meeting Steve Jobs on several occasions when I worked at the lab.

NeXT, of course, turned out to be a total bust. The $6,500 graphical UNIX workstation that was targeted towards higher education was a technical marvel, but nobody in their right mind, let alone college students could actually afford one.

My experience with the NeXT Cube is where I first began to truly understand the simultaneous brilliance (for surrounding himself with technical geniuses to do his engineering for him) and arrogance of Steve Jobs (for having a penchant for creating expensive toys few people can actually afford).

Apparently, over $400.00 of the system’s cost came from the unique magnesium alloy casing created by frog design, which was reportedly chosen as the system’s housing because it matched the stereo system in Jobs’ house and it “Just looked cool.” If this didn't set a precedent for a behavioral pattern that would follow for over two decades, I don't know what did.

I didn’t fully appreciate Jobs’ arrogance until 1993, when I went to work at Canon as a software engineer. Canon was one of the original investors in NeXT.

Various sources on the web indicate that the Japanese electronics giant invested around $140M in the company, but I was told by various executives at the time that the debt that NeXT had owed to Canon had exceeded the several of hundreds of millions of dollars range, because Canon was the manufacturer for the unique Magneto-Optical drive unit in the NeXTCube and also produced the LBP-LX  printer engine for the NeXT laser printer.

As a partial debt settlement, Canon was supposed to take possession of NeXT’s manufacturing plant in California in order to produce PowerPC-based Windows NT systems, but the deal with Jobs fell through.

NeXT, instead of going bankrupt, laid off 300 of its staff of 540 people, keeping only its essential core of engineers, and went into a software partnership with Sun, Canon and Hewlett-Packard and produced a version of NeXTStep for Intel 486 and several other chip architectures, such as the Sun SPARC.

This software, although boasting a highly advanced, object-oriented software development platform yet again turned out to be a complete commercial failure because it was priced very high (Do we see a pattern evolving here?) and the RAM and disk requirements for running it on PC hardware at the time were very, very steep.

NextStep was also ported to run independent of the operating system as the OpenStep developer environment on Windows NT, Solaris and HP/UX, but it was horribly expensive ($1500) and saw little commercial interest. Today, a re-implementation of OpenStep lives on as the Open Source project GNUstep.

In 1995 NeXT did have one very impressive piece of software which had tremendous commercial potential, the beta release of WebObjects, which ran on Windows NT or NeXT machines and allowed you to build dynamic, object-oriented web sites.

Compared to Cold Fusion and other Web development tools at the time, it was state of the art. At the time, I was put in charge of developing Canon’s initial Web presence, and I thought it would be cool to have the software to develop our prototype with.

As I understand, when the Japanese head of IT for Canon USA asked NeXT if we could have a site license, Steve Jobs asked us to pay for it, and the IT director and the CEO of Canon blew their tops. After all, the company owed us a LOT of money.

NeXT, of course, was saved from oblivion by a failing Apple (that was under the stewardship of Gil Amelio) which needed a next-generation operating system to revive the Mac platform.

Jobs' triumphant return to Apple, and NextStep's transformation into Mac OS X of course is history, but whenever I am asked why I have such a rod up my rear end about Steve Jobs and Apple, I remember the proud and honorable Japanese electronics company that was completely screwed over by the ultimate snake oil salesman and techno-huckster.

The Present Day: The Song Remains The Same

So now you know why I have a massive distrust for Steve Jobs and his flock. Based on their prior track record, I’m convinced they are fully capable of screwing their partners and their developers, not to mention their customers and early adopters.

But back to why I’ll never own a Mac, and why I think Morgenstern and his characteristically Apple fanboy epithets about Mac clones need a dose of reality orientation.

After my praise for the Apple Airport Express, I got a number of lengthy emails about why I’m prejudiced about the company’s products and how “obviously having never used Apple products before” I was unable to comprehend the Mac’s and Apple’s greatness.

Oh believe me, I fully comprehend the greatness, which like on the classic Macs, and the Apple II before it, was created on the shoulders of software and hardware engineering geniuses like Avie Tevanian, who pioneered the development of NextStep, OpenStep and Mac OS X, and left the company in 2006.  Not turtleneck-wearing snake oil salesmen like Steve Jobs.

If anything, Jobs and his fixation on keeping everything in the Mac proprietary and locked-down has been an obstruction to the Mac and Apple from taking over the entire Personal Computing industry. Don’t believe me? Just ask Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer. They seem to have done a pretty good job of picking up the ball that Apple and Steve Jobs dropped in exchange for their Insane Greatness.

So why won’t I own a Mac? Well, for starters, I’m a systems integration expert by profession -- as in what I do that pays my day to day bills –- and the systems that I work with and architect are based on Windows as well as Mid-range/Enterprise platforms like Linux, VMWare, UNIX and mainframes.

The Mac, for all its Insane Greatness and cool factor, as well as having all the DNA to make it an enterprise platform, doesn’t get a lot of traction in large enterprises, so there isn’t a lot of motivation for me to own a system which has no bearing on stuff that I work with to make a living.

Additionally, most of the off-the-shelf tools which I work with that I need to do my job -– Microsoft Office, Visio and Microsoft Project are all Windows applications.  Indeed, you can get Office for Mac, and you can even dual boot a Mac into Windows, but what would be the point? Why not just buy a PC?

Why would I incur a large personal expense on a Mac for home use when my laptop is corporate managed and issued to me as a company asset, and when all our line of business systems are Web and Java-based? If anything, I want my personal assets to be compatible with what I work with.

And if I am going to use an alternative platform to Windows as either a desktop or a server, I’ll use Linux, because it has a huge library of Open Source software. Mac can use Open Source software too, but why bother if I can buy a commodity PC which I can purchase for a fraction of the cost?

Reality Orientation for Mactards

This gets us to Morgenstern and his poorly considered comments about a lousy economy saving us from “Clone Crap”. Really? He really thinks that a lousy economy is going to save Apple from cloning? He really thinks that the demise of some tiny upstart in Florida that overextended itself on loans is the end of the road for people who want inexpensive solutions which run on Mac OS when Apple won’t give it to them?

First of all, if anything, the economy is going to DRIVE us into more Mac clones. Particularly in countries like China, Russia and South Korea where Apple’s legal reach is going to be minimal. But there’s another reason why the economy is going to facilitate Mac Cloning, which is the sheer effect of the consolidation of vendors and manufacturers of the commodity parts that go into personal computers.

You see, with a crappy economy, a whole bunch of parts manufacturers are going to fail, or find themselves acquired by larger manufacturers with ample cash to absorb them.

Where we used to have a dozen or more companies in each category making graphics chips, I/O bridges and bus controllers for Intel and AMD processors, and all the other support electronics that goes into PCs, Notebooks and Laptops, you’ll maybe have a handful.

This effect will be further exacerbated by highly consolidated chipsets which companies like Intel and AMD will release in order to minimize the amount of components that go onto a mainboard –- like on Atom-based netbooks.

The net effect of this means that after the great supplier and manufacturer purge, there will only be a few basic reference designs for building systems, and the hardware variation between PCs will be minimal, allowing the Hackintosh community to focus on a much smaller set of hardware to support with their special kernels and boot loaders.

You know how easy it is to get Mac OS X running on a Dell netbook now? Within the next year, every new PC released to the market will be a Mac OS X Hackintosh candidate, with little or no technical expertise necessary in order to install it with Apple's OS.

Originally, I thought that on-chip virtualization on every PC would be the disruptive technology to cause Mac Cloning to explode like a hydrogen bomb. Little did I know that economy, not technology, would be the disruptive force to do it.

Arrogance and wishful thinking on the part of Apple and its rabid fan base will not stop Mac clones. But it will certainly stop me from buying a computer with an Apple logo on it.

Satisfied? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Software


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • wow i started out with apple too=/

    My first computer I bought was an apple IIc in 1985 and I loved it. It was beautiful, was very functional and had a lot of programs that I copied. (Back then EVERYBODY copied programs) Then my dad who was a computer programmer bought me a PC in 1989. It didnt have a lot of programs and was harder to use than the apple. But all the jobs I got after used PC's and I learned how to use them. Now everyone who is NOT a computer/techie person uses MACs so I thought only non technical people today use apple and the technical people use PC's.

    Then the last few years Ive started noticing a strange thing.... that all the really smart and cool programmers I work with all .....own MACS!!!! WTF?!?! Seriously, almost all the genius programmers I know own macs and prefer them over PC's. Maybe Im missing something?!? I know that the operating system is easy to use, but there are so few people working on the apple os that it MUST be full of bugs and security holes... Shouldnt it??? Im confused as to why so many of my programmer friends prefer macs. And im not talking about the mediocre tech or programmers....Im talking the best programmers in the companies ive worked at. I still wont use MACs simply because I just dont want to learn yet another operating system, not because I have some vendetta against apple. After all I started with apple...
    • I have met several computer geniuses and...

      ...not a one uses a Mac as their regular computer, although they have used them on occasions for different reasons, and admittedly they all seem to feel that Apple makes a fine computer.

      It seems to me there are plenty of good reasons for choosing an Apple but given what I have seen; to believe that the vast majority of the real computer elite use Mac's is out of step with reality. From everything I have EVER read seen or heard there are various sectors where Macs are the computer of choice for good reasons and in other areas, ...they are not. It appears to still be a situation of to each his own according to needs and purpose.
      • plus 1

        Also, ad me to the list. I started out writing
        code for apple computers. It was never so much a
        love affair as an exercise in masochism. I suppose
        it's all down to taste, and some people's lack of

        I now use visual and sun studio, and forsake apple
        coding whenever possible (xcode is abysmal)
      • Geniuses

        Hey, buddy! No one wants to hear a sane, balanced view that presents both sides of the issue and has no bias. Go away.
      • Who uses Apple?

        My 2nd son uses Apple, all his friends do also. They are in research at UCLA. From what he says, it's the only way the education field will work. The students use PCs, why is that? Could it be a way to set themselves apart?

        My oldest son is a machinist, he also has started up a computer repair company, it was always his hobby. He doesn't like Apple because they try to keep everything in house. Even though they are a nitch market, they try to get their clients to think that only their repair facilities can fix an Apple.

        Apples are just PCs with specific components. They used to use their own hardware, but they failed at it. Now they buy their hardware from Intel, their former arch rival.

        The main reason that Apple can run windows is because it uses windows hardware. The main reason that Window PCs can't run OS X is because they put codes into the software to check if the hardware is all Apple compatible.

        People use Mod Chips in XBoxs to be able to run copied software. If a person knows how to reply to the hardware check, you can run OS X on most any PC.

        Sooner or later courts will rule that Apple is wrong when they say you can't clone their product. If all the hardware you use is capable of running the O/S, the O/S is available for sale as a stand alone, they should not be able to keep you from running it on any build you want.

        • Hardware

          "Apples are just PCs with specific components. They used to use their own hardware, but
          they failed at it."

          You do realize this makes no sense, right?

          Apple started going with industry-standard parts back in ... it must have been the
          1990's or earlier.

          I recall clearly when they stopped making their own floppy drives and started buying
          them as components.

          It didn't make sense to manufacture the whole computer from the ground up. Nobody,
          but nobody, does this, anywhere.

          You may be thinking of the old PPC chips as being Apple "specific components".

          Uh, no. Motorola was making those originally, then Apple moved to IBM when Motorola
          couldn't keep up with demand.

          Motorola wanted to be a cell phone company, not a chip company. IBM seemed happy
          enough for the business.

          Apple, like everybody else, has been designing their computers to use standard
          components for decades.

          Unlike some manufacturers, they do a tight design. Lots of manufacturers don't even
          design their own motherboards, they farm that out.

          "Now they buy their hardware from Intel, their former arch rival. "

          Well, no. Intel wasn't Apple's arch rival, because Apple doesn't make chips and never

          • correction

            [i]then Apple moved to IBM when Motorola
            couldn't keep up with demand.[/i]

            Demand wasn't the issue, the problem for Apple was that they could no longer keep a straight face when making the "fastest computer in the world" repeat claims. It had never been true, but it was becoming so obvious even the most ardent fayboy had no choice but to doubt the obviously inaccurate claims.
          • Sorry...

            "Demand" as in demand for speed rather than throughput.
          • Actually...

            Actually, the PPC chips always outperformed PC's with comparable speed in benchmarks...
          • no, they used to go through an IBM based conglomorate...

            which WAS in fact rivalled by Intel... so is all the same. As a PC user I have the choice of AMD [i]or[/i] Intel, a choice yuo are not entitled to, and I would say never will be if Apple has a say in it!
          • OK, so..?

            So what about it? That does not put Apple in rivalry with Intel, just as it doesn't put Apple in rivalry with IBM now. That creates an opportunity for competition for business with Apple, but that is all between Intel and IBM...
        • Research before you speak

          Apple never used their own hardware. It used to be Motorola's chips in
          powerpc not they get their chips from Intel.

          The rest of the hardware is state of the art from other companies and is
          universal hardware in the computer industry and when was intel Apple's
          arch enemy, this was never the case. I think you are thinking about
          Microsoft who is the arch enemy of every computer user becuase they
          build shotty products.
        • Really?

          Windows PC's can't run OS X? Really? I have heard of several people who have gotten OS X running on their PC's. This can't be easy (although possible now), and I doubt it is as reliable as a real Mac, but it is definitely possible.
          As far as court's rulings go, there is nothing for courts to rule on as far as that goes. Apple has done nothing, as far as I know, to [i]stop[/i] their OS from being used on PC's, they have merely done things to [i]prevent[/i] it from going that direction. if they really wanted to stop that, they would never have abandoned the PPC chips for Intel chips. But using the more compatible and more popular Intel chips was more important than keeping their OS off PC's. The biggest thing they currently do to prevent this is not providing support for it. And this is not something that any court can require, unless they eventually at some point could possibly consider Apple to have a monopoly(not likely to happen).
          Back to the question in your first paragraph. The probable reason that other students use Windows PC's instead of Macs, is because Windows is still the most popular [i]and[/i] the most widely used OS. Which means (generally) more software available, more compatibility, and experience using software that they would most likely use in the real world.
      • Plus 1 - Worked as a programmer for decades

        I even wrote computer games for 9 of those years, including working on a couple Mac games, long ago. Some of the geniuses I worked with had PHD's in physics, visualization, and mathematics. The ONLY programmers I ever ran across who used Macs during those decades of my programming career were at one company which produced crap code and mediocre products. Sure, the programs looked pretty because the Mac libraries did most of the display work, but the programs were essentially crap and sold like it. You can't dress a pig in silk and change what it is.

        Perhaps you are confusing making programs look pretty using pre-written Mac libraries as being a "programming genius." In that case, the only genius would be the person who originally wrote the libraries, not the programmer using the Mac.

        In any case, my own experience, which dates from before the PC or Mac existed, included genius programmers who worked on Solaris, Unix, NexStep, and the PC. The only Mac programmers I've met in the 25 years the Mac has existed were definitely NOT geniuses. In fact, they were quite lucky that the Mac tools made them look like better programmers than they actually were. As somebody who got to see (and debug) their code, I can tell you this for certain.

        The hundreds of Mac users I've met in 25 years, except for two rare exceptions (you know who you are), were mostly less than what I would even consider computer literate, much less computer savvy. Yet, every one of spoke with the same unjustified arrogance that is described in this article. Sorry to the fanboys, but there isn't any perfect system out there and acting like yours is simply tells me you don't know what the hell you are talking about.

        I use a Mac Pro as one of the 6 systems I own and NEVER have I felt the compulsion to evangelize in a cultist fashion about the virtues of this TOOL. In fact, I am considering replacing OS X as the primary OS on the machine and using it as a Vista-based render machine because of the 8 cores. It's not because Vista is better. It's not because OS X is worse. It's because the software on Vista is more useful to me. Plus, switching back and forth just isn't worth the trouble of remembering the differences anymore.

        There just isn't enough variety of commercial software available for OS X to make it truly useful to me. If you don't want Apple software or Adobe software, you are basically stuck. Just try to look for software at Fry's or Best Buy to see the REAL WORLD limitations of OS X or Linux. Technical superiority doesn't mean squat if you can't go out and buy software for the damn thing.

        Anyway, I can't imagine where you met nothing but geniuses programming for the Mac considering there doesn't seem to be much software being sold for the Mac. What were these geniuses writing, pretty clock gadgets? My own decades of experience showed me the exact opposite is true.
        • There's your problem !

          "There just isn't enough variety of commercial software available for OS X to make it truly
          useful to me. If you don't want Apple software or Adobe software, you are basically stuck.
          Just try to look for software at Fry's or Best Buy"

          Ah. Looking at Best Buy?

          I'll let you in on a secret. Mac users have been buying 90% of their software in catalogs
          and online from the beginning.

          This was first, because it was convenient before the Apple stores came out.

          And second, because for some mysterious reason places like Best Buy, Circuit City, etc,
          didn't want to stock Mac software.

          So, because they didn't stock Mac Software, we kept buying from MacConnection,
          MacWarehouse, etc.

          And because we weren't buying from them, they didn't bother stocking Mac software.

          Catch-22 !

          The exception was Circuit City, for a while there. I made the trip to see what it was like.

          Let's see. One of the Mac aisles had excess inventory stacked in it so I couldn't get in.

          And while I was there, somebody came in to buy a Mac and the salesperson quite boldly
          dissed Macs and talked them into looking at a PC.

          I've seen that happen more than once, in fact. Surprising, given that I don't actually hang
          out at computer stores much.

          So Mac users have NO reason to feel all warm and fuzzy toward third-party computer

          You're spreading the usual FUD about there not being enough software for the Mac.


          Anybody who wants to know the truth can check MacConnection, MacWarehouse, or even

          Apple has a Product finder on their website.

          For any of the usual things you use a PC for, you'll find a Mac equivalent.

          Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Page Layout, Programming, educational software,
          electronic design, Photo editing, DVD and Movie production, sound editing, database

          There are just a few niche areas Mac software is lacking in. I'll save you the time looking
          and list them.

          1) If you want to run Computer Numeric Control software, you're got Cenon and
          CarveWright software.

          Cenon will run a CNC machine using GCode or HPGL: CarveWright is for those neat
          gadgets that you can buy at Sears... run a board through and carve a 3D design into it.

          Would I be happy if ArtCam Pro released a Mac version? Sure ! I don't expect that, but
          then again I certainly never expected AutoCAD to take an interest in the Mac market either.

          2) Laser engraving. Universal lasers, for example, use the Windows printing environment
          instead of writing their own drivers.

          That's okay, as I can obviously run XP in Parallels for that if I ever buy a laser engraver.

          Of course, most people won't need to run CNC software or a laser engraver.

          But lots and lots of people are going to want to do their taxes on TurboTax, organize and
          edit their photos with iPhoto or Photoshop, edit their music on GarageBand or Logic, keep
          track of their favorite recipes, surf the web with FireFox, and get their email.

          For the things most people do, there's a Mac app available.

          • Here's your reason...

            "For the things most people do, there's [i]A[/i] Mac app available."

            Sounds like we agree on that - very little commercial software selection available. ;)

            "The exception was Circuit City..."

            Sorry, I saw what they had and it was minimal, just like everywhere else. They just had a few more copies of each program stacked up, but the selection was crap. Best Buy and Frys actually sell Macs. Yet, they both had a total of maybe 8-10 programs on the shelf for the Mac (when I last counted). And two of those were programs to help Macs run Windows applications. *sigh*

            I've also been in three different Apple stores a number of times. (two in Vegas and one in Orlando) The Apple store software selection is a joke. It amazes me that people still buy the machines after seeing the 15 or so available programs sitting on their shelves. If ANYONE should be carrying a wide selection of Mac software, it's the Apple store. That's just wrong.

            I've also been on MacConnection, MacWarehouse, CNet's, and NewEgg. In most of their categories, they have a total selection of about 3 programs, unless you want to count the fact that they also include Windows software in their "Mac Software" lists. This is under the (correct) assumption that Mac users will nearly always have Windows installed, too. Or maybe you counted upgrades, full versions, and multiple user packages separately to make the selection seem larger? Anyway, I wasn't impressed with the variety.

            Windows users are accustomed to having lots of choices in each category. They are accustomed to being able to browse software at retail stores and even *gasp* impulse buy without using a browser. They're accustomed to buying software after reading the box and then taking it home ten minutes later. They like to buy without having to wait a week to get their choice shipped to them. We've never had to adapt to a lack of software in stores, and I really don't want to start now.

            Let me give you a real world example or two. One Saturday morning a few months ago, I decided I wanted to design new landscaping for our backyard. I went to Apple store, then Best Buy and then Frys to look for software, figuring I'd try to do this task on the shiny new Mac. Zero programs were available for Mac. Frys had 5 different Windows packages on the shelf for landscape design. I bought one and had my design finished by that afternoon. Another time I was looking for a legal program to create a Living Trust document. Again, I found zero programs on the shelf for Mac, several for Windows. There have been several other instances of software disappointment with OS X. This is cold hard reality guys, not some hopeful fantasy world generated by RDF implants. The software selection just isn't there for OS X, yet.

            I've been trying to live with and find uses for OS X for over 6 months now. I even used it sporadically before then. I started using the Mac Pro because I was intrigued by Aperature and Final Cut Studio. And yes, they're great programs. They are even easy to quickly learn and use, thanks to the online tutorials.

            Can I do everything those programs do using Lightroom and Adobe CS4 Production Premium? Definitely, and much more thanks to the VAST number of plug-ins available for Adobe. Conversely, does the OS X version of CS4 do everything the Windows version does? No, it currently does not. Can I buy at least 10 times as many other programs for Vista? Absolutely yes. In the games category, I can buy more like 50 times as many different programs.

            Any way you slice it, there are far more options in each software category for Windows than OS X and all the Elmer "Fanboy" FUD in the world won't change that fact, no matter how high you turn the power on your RDF(tm) implant. (Obviously, my implant didn't take, because I see the actual reality while trying to live with this machine.)

            As far as I'm concerned, if we need to install Windows on a Mac in order to have a larger software selection, why bother using the OS X versions of the few available programs at all? Basically, once I realized I was spending nearly all of my time in Vista on the Mac, I wondered why I was still trying to convert to OS X. The reality is, I was trying to convert solely because I really don't like Microsoft. Apparently, that's just not enough reason, because I'm still spending most of my time in Vista.

            So, this machine is just going to be rendering my CS4 files under Vista as soon as I get a free weekend to format it and install the software. Despite the 8 full cores, it sucks as a gaming machine compared to my main PC, thanks to a several generations old graphics card. In fact, my i7 965ee on my main PC actually renders video faster, too (clock speed difference, probably). But doing renders on the Mac/Vista will free up this machine to do other things - like game, edit, or even design landscapes.

            Don't misunderstand this as hating OS X. I actually like OS X (the chameleon task bar and key differences took some getting used to, but OS X installs software THE RIGHT WAY). I also seriously don't like Microsoft at all anymore. But for the wide variety of available commercial software, Microsoft's OS is still the best game in town. I had hoped that had changed over the past few years, so I tried using OS X for a while. The OS X software situation is better now than it was a couple years ago, but it still isn't good enough for me to use it daily. Sorry to burst the OS pissing contest bubble (especially since I don't like Microsoft), but I'm just going back to Windows for now. If OS X ever gets a similar selection of software on store shelves, Windows will be in BIG trouble.

            (I do love the quietness and appearance of this aluminum tower, for what that's worth. It's very solid and well-built. Plus, as a dual-Xeon machine, this system was really cheap.)

            (And before the Penguin huggers jump in here, YES, I've tried 3 distros of Linux for a while, too. No, I didn't like any of them, for most of the same reasons OS X falls short, plus a few extra. Sorry.)

            Jeezo, I type too fast and too much.
          • Shelf Strategy

            "It amazes me that people still buy the machines after seeing the 15 or so available programs sitting on their shelves"

            I'm afraid you're still obsessed with shelf strategy !

            This isn't WalMart. It's not like "If it's not on the shelf, we don't have it". Anybody who does a little searching will find a LOT of
            shareware on Versiontracker.

            And in a world where Clicks are becoming as important as Bricks, this obsession with boxes on shelves is ... out of date.

            The App Store is the future. No software boxes getting dusty. No need to rotate product when a new version comes out...

            " If ANYONE should be carrying a wide selection of Mac software, it's the Apple store. That's just wrong."

            There I agree with you. Apple took a minimalist approach to the Apple Stores.

            They could and probably should have included a dozen bookshelves in the back of the store, but obviously decided against it.

            BECAUSE Mac users buy our software online ! And because they like the "White Space" image they've got going and didn't want to
            clutter up their shelves.

            Don't believe me? Hah. Look at the giant glass cube they built in New York City. It's the ultimate in looking cool and uncluttered.

            " One Saturday morning a few months ago, I decided I wanted to design new landscaping for our backyard."

            This is something I've been interested in too.

            (You know, it's a real pity Apple had to drop their hybrid plugin software approach...

            You may never have heard of it, but it was pretty cool. It started with a basic NotePad approach, but you could add plugins to a
            document to add spreadsheet ability, image manipulation, Internet access.

            It would have changed how software is made. People would buy a Draw plugin, a Spreadsheet plugin, combine them and end up with
            a dragNdrop Landscape design app.

            And if someone came out with a better plugin, you'd just swap them out.

            It didn't go, as it threatened resale revenue. 30% of revenue for a software company comes from people buying upgrades. It was a
            good approach, but unless Open Source picks it up someday, it won't fly in Capitalism.)

            So I checked on Landscape design for the Mac. And I got :

            1) Punch! Home Design

            2) Home and Landscape Design Studio for Mac

            3) 3D Home Architect

            4) ConceptDraw

            Hmmm. "Home and Landscape Design Studio has the ability to build a 2D plan and review it in 3D instantly"

            This may be the app I've been looking for, and it's new as of January.

            "Another time I was looking for a legal program to create a Living Trust document. Again, I found zero programs on the shelf for
            Mac, several for Windows."

            Well, I did a Google search, as I've never used a Living Trust.

            Living Trust Maker v2.07 at Versiontracker.

            Nolo Quicken WillMaker With Living Trust Maker (W7L2) for Mac, PC

            Living Trust Builder

            That was easy enough to find. And a download is a lot faster than driving to the store.

            I could keep looking up more examples. But you get the point.

            And if you don't, it wouldn't matter if I tracked down every OS/X app in every category... you might still point out Windows has

            And I'm sure it does have MORE.

            But the Windows marketplace is ... well, there's a lot of software I've tried on Windows that I wasn't impressed with. We spent
            $3000 on ModelMill CNC software, for example. That STILL stings.

            Clutzy design, non-intuitive. And the salesman promised two days of training and vanished the day after he got his check.

            We could have had ArtCam Pro, a good package. But the salesman was pushing MM.

            Not everything is a well designed as PhotoShop, nor are all software salesmen honest.

            " Conversely, does the OS X version of CS4 do everything the Windows version does? No, it currently does not."

            Really? I haven't upgraded to CS4 yet and I've never used Photoshop on Windows anyway. Hard for me to imagine what you're
            talking about.

          • OK batman, riddle me this

            Let's take a look at real useful software.

            Look up mechanical design software, or eletrical design software under MAC OS X vs. Windows.

            Case closed!
          • yada yada

            As a digital arts teacher, the perfect example comes in 3D rendering software. The MARKET LEADER, producing both 3DS Max (retailing for around $3000 AUD) and Maya (retailing for around $5000 AUD), [i]dropped[/i] support for Apple a couple of versions ago, because most of the users realised that the PC offered better output/performance for far less!!

            Photoshop, an application you refer to, runs far better in the Windows environment even in CS4, due to the fact that in Windows it is able to share common Adobe files, but also due to the fact the MS allows direct tapping into system files (while still preventing alteration or deltion of said files) and not limiting system resource usage to a max of 95%, a limitation hardcoded into OS X.

            The elitist attitude of Mac users also extend into the software development environ. PC (both Windows and Linux users) can easilly tap into the opensource community, find excellent software for nix. Those tending to develop for OS X tend to take their ideas and charge for them, even if they are half as good as the free apps developed for other OS's. Those opensource aps (such as TrueCrypt, the BEST tool for creating encrypted vaults or even encrypting your entire HDD or OS, which is still only in its infacy for Mac users), tend to be lightyears behing what us PC users can enjoy.

            So realistically, the previous poster did in fact have a legitimate point.
          • Maya for OS X

            Not really interested in getting into the Mac vs. Windows debate, but would like to correct some mis-information.

            While 3ds Max has never been available for the Mac, as far as I know, the current version of Maya lists OS X 10.5.7 as a supported OS.

            I'm a Lightwave user, myself. That, and Blender.