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Why I’m a Mac User | Jason E. Shao

Why I’m a Mac User

[Richard Scoble](http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/) of Microsoft asked:

> “Mark: tell me what you can do on a Mac that you can’t do on a PC?
> Give me, say, five examples. Here’s your chance to do some great
> advertising for Apple. The kind they can’t buy.”

While I don’ feel the zealous need to defend my choice of personal computers, it didn’t seem like it would be bad as an intellectual exercise. It does make me articulate the reasons I prefer Macs to Windows PC’s. They are:

1. System-wide spellchecking (services)
2. Syncing/802.11/Bluetooth that works
3. Media Creation, Manipulation & Organization
4. UNIX/Scripting/Developer tools
5. Lower Maintenance & Trouble-free Operation

#### 1. System-wide spellchecking (services) ####

Apple released a simple to implement text editing control that includes on-the-fly spell, and now it’s everywhere. You can type in all kinds of places and get little red spelling corrections. Web page text-areas–great for bloggers, and forum posters. Personal information entry fields in the address book application. iChat windows.

This is something you don’t see in PC’s in programs much smaller than the size of MS Word. I think this is probably due to Microsoft having a business reason for not wanting to trivialize one of the biggest selling points of its enormously profitable Office suite. While MS Word has more features than I can count, I think automatic spell-checking is one that casual users find the most useful (and most worth shelling out $150 for)

We increasingly live in a society where you are often judged by how you present yourself in writing long before personal contact comes into play. Correct spelling can make a big difference in how people perceive you.

#### 2. Syncing/802.11/Bluetooth that works ####

I sync my bluetooth phones contacts and numbers wirelessly with my iBook. I can seamlessly sync my browser bookmarks, addresses, and other items so they’re available online. If I’m listening to music in iTunes, and a call comes into my cell phone, the music mutes itself until the call is done. I can use my phone as a remote to control photo slideshows and presentations. When I’m traveling I can use my phone as a modem without worrying about whether I brought the link cable. I flawlessly pick up and connect to 802.11 hotspots everywhere, with no external dongle to worry about breaking.

#### 3. Media Creation, Manipulation & Organization ####

[iLife](http://www.apple.com/ilife) really is phenomenal consumer media software. Surprisingly, I use [iPhoto](http://www.apple.com/iphoto) more than anything else (even iTunes). Everyone I know has, is getting, or wants a digital camera–you can’t argue that digital photography isn’t a raging growth area. Unfortunately though, most people take lots of (bad) photos, print or email them unedited, and then clear the originals off their camera never to be seen again. In my experience iPhoto makes basic retouching easy enough for even my wife (due to low patience for learning new software, not technical ineptitude) and makes options like printing photo books or producing slideshows and web-pages simple enough for even very casual, non-technical users. While similar software exists for the PC (Adobe Photoshop Album & Picasa both seem fine after a casual examination) they are either more expensive or have much less reach than iPhoto.

iMovie would be fantastic if I had a video camera (and the patience to tape events) and is hands-down slicker than pretty much any PC video editing software at any price.

#### 4. UNIX/Scripting/Developer tools ####

Admittedly not a priority for most, and most of the popular open-source projects get ported in a first rate fashion to Windows. There’s just something about being able to fire up Python or vim right out of the box that eases the learning curve for the rich collection of software tools Unix users take for granted. While even after a Computer Science degree I admittedly seldom turn to scripting or coding to solve day-to-day problems the easy and standard accessibility of the tools has encouraged even me to automate some of my routine computer tasks.

Applescript support is pervasive and common, and the *FREE* developer tools included by Apple are excellent, and probably largely responsible for the vibrant utilities and hobbyist programming community that has developed around OSX. (Admittedly Microsoft has a lot of tool vendors that they likely don’t want to push to other platforms like JAVA that probably influences their decision not to bundle Visual Studio with every copy of Windows).

#### 5. Lower Maintenance & Trouble-free Operation ####

*I am NOT arguing that Microsoft writes poor code or why they suffer through more spyware.* It’s hard to argue however, that Windows users do experience more viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, and patches to keep their systems in good health. I simply find Macs to be generally more stable, and worry-free. This allows me to concentrate on the tasks I want to accomplish–not–maintaining my computer.