Apple: The Toronto Blue Jays of the Computer World

apple1.jpgblue-jays.jpg

The headlines blasted the news earlier this week: MAC SALES SURGE! APPLE VAULTS TO THIRD PLACE IN COMPUTER SALES!

So, what does Apple have now, an 8% share of the computer market?

The computer world is a funny place. In most product categories, the users of the dominant brand are the snobs, while the users of “Brand X” are looked upon as outcasts. Think Yankees Red Sox sawx.jpg and Starbucks patrons. But in the computer world, MacIntosh users think anyone who uses the dominant Windows operating system creates inferior media applications, drives a covered wagon, eats without utensils, steal purses from old ladies, and should have their citizenship revoked. Ouch!

You might have guessed that I have a Windows-based PC. If not, now you know. I’ve come out of the Windows closet! But, but, but, Professor Curran…you teach audio and video and digital photography and animation and illustration…digital media thingies! How can you use a PC instead of a Mac? How can you look yourself in the mirror every morning?

Honestly, I catch a ton of crap about this all the time. Colleagues at other universities seem to think that my career path will be stymied and that my students will be doomed to a life behind the grill at White Castle because we don’t use Macs. I really don’t think that my request for promotion to full professor in a few years will hang on what OS I use, and my talented students will work as producers in media companies.

The weird thing is that I don’t really hate Macs. I used them in graduate school in the mid-90s. If UC-Clermont had them, I would be OK with that. But we are a PC shop. The college has a great volume deal with Dell, and it allows us to put a generous amount of powerful state-of-the-art machines in all of our computer labs. Macs are just too pricey, especially in these times of academic budget shortfalls. Most of our non-media programs insist on PCs because of proprietary software they use that is PC-only. Our IT department is PC-trained. On so on. Some colleges require their students to own Macs, but most of our students cannot afford that.

So here I am “stuck” inside a Mac media world with a PC. What, me worry? No way. We use the Adobe CS3 Suites, which are also used on Macs. The only real hangup is that we can’t use the video program Final Cut Pro, which is not made for PCs. You’d think they’d realize the market for this! But we do use Premiere, which allows for sophisticated video production.

So with one exception, my students can work in the same media programs doing the same tasks a Mac user can do. It comes down to talent and a good work ethic. If a student has an impressive portfolio, that will count more toward landing the job. They can learn how to use a Mac in a matter of hours at one of those “crash courses” that computer training firms offer,or just grab a book and learn it themselves. So it’s not really an issue, or at least it shouldn’t be.

Macs are not perfect, as witnessed by this analysis. As is the case with everything, there are plusses and minuses to any operating system.

The computer is simply a means to get you where you need to go. The inner talent of the developer is what separates the wheat from the chaff.

One final note: Mac users never give me legitimate reasons to use a Mac, other than to state that it’s what used in the design world. Sorry, not good enough.

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7 thoughts on “Apple: The Toronto Blue Jays of the Computer World

  1. “Mac users never give me legitimate reasons to use a Mac”

    Here’s one: You might learn to spell the name of the product you have such disdain for; it’s “Macintosh” not “MacIntosh.”

    Attention to life’s details is what separates a Mac from an arbitrary collection of metal and plastic.

  2. Dude, I was taking you seriously until that line where you said “Macs are not perfect, as witnessed by this analysis” and you linked to a site titled ‘Mac Sucks’.

    Seriously!?

  3. im still trying to figure out what you needed the reference to the Jays for…… maybe for my attention…..

    Apple right now is like the Jays of 1992 and good ol Joe Carter…. No body hated the Jays….. They hated the Braves!!!!

  4. “Mac users never give me legitimate reasons to use a Mac”

    You gave a very good one yourself a few paragraphs earlier. The latest version of Final Cut Studio is a fantastic set of apps (and one you’ll never see on the pc, by the way). You really ought to try it. Very powerful while remaining pretty accessible even for those just starting out.

  5. My serve….

    Kontra: You are correct. Attention to detail is important. I was wrong about the brand name. Attention to detail also includes accurately interpreting something before commenting on it. For instance, you claim that I “disdain” the Macintosh. However, I clearly stated, “The weird thing is that I don’t really hate Macs. I used them in graduate school in the mid-90s. If UC-Clermont had them, I would be OK with that.” I don’t know how you can deduce disdain from that statement. I guess you didn’t pay attention to the details.

    John5: I thought the Mac-Sucks site had some good points to make. Would it have been more credible if the site was named, “An Analysis of Some Mac Myths”?

    Maybe I should have linked to this site: http://macfixitforums.com/

    Take a look at one of the forums to see what Mac users are saying on the OS X troubleshooting page:
    http://www.macfixitforums.com/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=Forum35

    I am merely playing the hand I’m dealt. I have input but no control over the college’s computer infrastructure.

    Scott Brookes: The Jays were merely a third-place reference. I could have used the Minnesota Twins, I guess.

    Bart Lee: I would love to try Final Cut, but it’s hard to do that when they don’t make it available for me to use. I’ve seen demos, and I would probably use it if they made a Windows version.

    The bottom line is that I acknowledge that there are problems with Windows, but my computers “just work”, too. A scattering of problems since I started here in 2001, and most of those were related to hardware failures like cards and drives, not the operating system crapping out.

    What bothers me is that some Mac users I’ve met act like I’ve got leprosy because I don’t use a Mac.

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