A 'hidden cost' of being a pro Locked

Started Dec 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
Re: A 'hidden cost' of being a pro

I've been using Macs since 1997 and I have assisted various friends and clients when they switched to Macs or purchased their first computer. Most of the time spent with these folks was when the computer was set-up. After that dealing with hardware/software glitches has been minimal. I always recommend David Pogue's excellent "Missing Manual" edition for the specific operating system. The people who took the time to read the book and become proficient with the OS had the best overall experience with their Mac.

Do Macs sometimes have hardware problems? Of course, but it is usually easy to address or have Apple repair/replace the hardware under warranty. If you purchase a Mac from Apple and develop a problem with the first two weeks returning the computer is easy. When I have needed a hardware repair on a portable Mac Apple sent a pre-paid shipping box and picked it up when it was ready to ship. The fastest turnaround time was three days: two days in transit and one day in the shop.

I had a friend who got his first computer when he was 70. He had never even used a typewriter. His first Mac was a G3 iMac. Over the next 7 years he upgraded his Mac twice: his second computer was a G5 iMac and his last computer was an Intel iMac. He passed the Macs on to his adult children when he upgraded. My friend died a few years ago and the last I heard all three iMacs were still being used by his children and grandchildren.

During those 7 years my friend used his Mac every day for hours at a time. He did word processing, listened to music, composed e-mail, surfed the Internet, worked with images and did video chats with his far-flung family. And in those 7 years he never had a problem where he had to call me with a problem. I estimate that I spent around four hours total with him and most of that time was when he got his first G3 iMac helping him become comfortable with using the computer. He purchased and read a Missing Manual so he had a solid grounding in the OS and basic Apple software.

When I upgrade my Macs most of the time I just connect the two computers and let Migration Assistant do all the work. The longest it has taken is a couple of hours to transfer all the data. (Wireless takes longer because it is invariably slower than a wired connection.) The average time spent fine-tuning the new Mac after Migration Assistant is done is less than an hour.

I've worked with Windows and Macs and the reality is that Windows PCs and the OS are more difficult to set-up and configure. Hardware and driver incompatibility is a common source of frustration. Windows has security and other settings that are buried in out of the way and not-so-itnutitve locations. And let's not forget that PCs are vulnerable to outside threats as soon as you connect to the Internet; keep your antivirus and other security precautions up to date or reap the consequences.

My wife works at a regional medical center. There is a fully-manned IT and those technicians spend their days dealing with hardware and network glitches while attempting to assist employees of widely varying computer experience deal with the basic functions of the Windows OS. The hospital marketing department uses Macs. Most of the time they trouble-shoot problems themselves. Outside help is required so infrequently they don't even have a Mac technician on a contractual basis...

Mac software not as available as Windows? Maybe so in 1995 but it's hardly relevant in 2012. The people that I know with this problem are usually required to run certain business software that is only available for Windows or their employer wont support the Mac version. The solution? We set up Windows on the Mac using Bootcamp or a virtual PC. They can continue to enjoy OS X and Apple hardware while being able to use the Windows software.

The hidden cost of owning a PC has been well known for years. There are studies that have found that the long-term cost of maintaining a PC over its lifespan is higher than a Mac. And that Macs retain a significantly higher resale value, which essentially mitigates the sometimes initial higher cost of the Mac hardware.

So if you like to tinker and trouble-shoot your computer PC is the way to go. But if you just want to get some real work done with your computer then a Mac is the better choice.

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