I ordered a Mac on Friday - a G4 eMac which is all I could reasonably afford, but I did order some extra memory for it - and I also bought a copy of the Mac users’ magazine MacFormat, which is published by the same people as Linux Format of which I have been a regular reader since late 2002. There’s a feature in there comparing the Mac to the PC, and why should you buy a Mac rather than a PC. Now, the reason I decided to buy a Mac was mainly due to the OS X operating system. OS X has the advantages of Linux (ie. security, stability and lack of viruses) with the various applications which come with a recognised platform. Linux, while a better OS than Windoze by a long, long way, suffers from a serious lack of applications. The Mac has one other important advantage: Macs are generally all the same, which means everything fits together and there are few compatibility problems like those which affect Linux. To me, it seems that at the moment it’s the only computer which just works.
The problem with this feature is that the magazine dwells too much on the appearance of the Mac, and came back to that issue again and again. Sure, it looks lovely, which may attract first-time buyers and people who really want a computer that looks cool. PCs, they say, “look like sheds” (mostly), and “only look acceptable in a teenager’s bedroom, where they blend in with the congealed Pot Noodles and dog-eared copies of Front. The thing about sheds, though, is that you can put lots of stuff in them, like storage devices, for example. The cheapest PC you can buy comes with a lot more expansion room than the eMac, the cheaper of which currently costs about Â£650, and comes with a 40 Gig hard drive, 128 Meg of memory and a built-in monitor. (At the moment, PC World is doing a bundled printer and scanner.) Admittedly, though, the cheap PCs don’t come with anything like the big software bundle you get with the eMac.
I think the solution to the Mac’s penetration problem is for Apple to release the components, and allow other manufacturers to make and sell Macs. That way, a geek like me can buy a Mac in a tower case with lots of expansion room and leave out all the multimedia stuff if they don’t want it (I personally don’t need a video DVD player on my computer) and the bundled software, and Apple can continue to sell their bundled eMacs in PC World as family computers. People will pay that amount of money for a good family computer, which the eMac certainly is.
Insha Allah my Mac should be delivered tomorrow, something to which I am very much looking forward! I’ll keep you all posted insha Allah and I also intend to write to the magazine, but I can’t do that until I’ve tested out my new Mac.
(I got mine from Computer Warehouse in Brentford, Middlesex, which gives a free email account for a year.)
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