A 'hidden cost' of being a pro Locked

Started Dec 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Michael Fryd
Michael Fryd Veteran Member • Posts: 6,808
Re: A 'hidden cost' of being a pro

AltLens wrote:

...

I'm thinking of coughing up the bucks and making the switch to Mac. I switched to an iPhone recently and like it, and bought my wife the latest iPad for Christmas and she likes it. It's just that for the price of an appropriate Mac I can build an AWESOME PC. Windows and app installs are such second nature to me that I don't even think about it, so much so that every year I save my stuff, format my drive, and do clean installs of everything. I'm always amazed at what I don't put back on each time. But yeah, Mac's are sounding better and better, and what you're saying about the apps is compelling. I did not know this. Thanks for the input.

There are good reasons for going Mac, and there are good reasons for going PC.

Apple and Microsoft have different philosophies.  If the Mac meets your needs it can be a great thing.

Some of the differences are:

The Mac is built on a Unix foundation.  Unix was originally developed by AT&T Bell Labs to with two design goals:

  1. it had to be absolutely reliable as it would be used to run the nation's telephone switching infrastructure
  2. It had to have security built-in, as it would be used to run mainframe computers shared by hundreds of users.

These design goals of security and reliability are an excellent foundation for an operating system.

Unix was the primary development environment for the Internet, and hence it has very robust and well developed networking code.

The Mac OS installed on a computer is generally not specific to that computer.  Take the boot drive out of any modern Mac, install it in a different Mac, and it should still boot.  I tend to keep an up-to-date clone copy of my internal laptop drive.  Should my MacBook need to be repaired, I make sure the clone is current, and drop my MacBook off at Apple for repair.  I take my external clone drive and plug it an iMac (or Mac Mini, or whatever we have lying around) and I can boot off of that, and continue my work.  All apps work, all my data is there.  When I get my MacBook back, I migrate the files back from the external, and I'm still in business.

The Mac includes a number of programs that are useful to many.

iPhoto is a bit too basic for my day to day photography business, it is great for showing of my portfolio.

Time Machine is the bundled, easy to use backup software.  When you get your new Mac, pick up an external hard drive at Staples.  Plug the HD into your Mac and it will ask if you want to use it for backups.  Click "Yes", and your backups are configured.  No need to worry, your backups happen automatically and you stay current.

As has been pointed out, when you buy a new Mac (or replace the HD in your existing Mac) just connect your external backup drive, and everything will be automatically restored.  If you just replaced your internal HD and it's blank, the Mac can boot into recovery mode over the Internet.  It can download and reinstall the OS from Apple's servers (no need to find the original disk) and then restore from backup.

Apple is moving to online distribution of third party software.  Want a new program, browse for it in the App Store.  See one you like, buy it and it downloads right away.  Anything you buy from the App store is licensed for all of your Macs.  Buy Aperture once, and you can use it on your laptop, your home desktop, and your work desktop.

Whether or not the Mac is more expensive is a more difficult question to answer.  I can show you comparisons where the Mac is cheaper, and I can show you comparisons where a PC is cheaper.  The problem is that it is difficult to find a PC that is exactly comparable to a Mac.  If you are going to compare, then compare the PC you would buy to the Mac you would buy.  Make sure you compare any software you would need to buy, as well as the maintenance costs.

For instance, many Windows owners choose to purchase virus protection software.  Few Mac owners choose to.  This should be a consideration.  You should also consider the cost of software you will need to buy.  For instance the Mac comes with backup software, movie editing software, etc.  If you need these, they may be extra cost items on the PC.  If you have multiple machines you might want to look at the cost savings of buying from the App Store.  Buy one copy of Aperture and run it on all your computers.  Buy Lightroom, and your license only covers two machines.  Some people find that with the Mac they spend less on IT guys to keep the computer up and running.  Obviously, everyone has different needs. Some costs are easy to quantify, and some are difficult.  For some, one platform is less aggravating than the other.  It's hard to put a specific price on reducing aggravation.  Some people will find Windows costs less, some will find the Mac costs less.

Of course the Mac isn't for everyone.  There are many good reasons to go with Windows instead of the Mac.

Many (but not all) find the Mac easier to use.  My understanding is that the average Mac requires less care and attention than the average Windows machine.  If you are intimately familiar with Windows, and enjoy system management, then the Mac may offer no advantage.  If you love photography, buy hate computers, you may find the Mac is a better choice.

I am sure that others will chime in pointing out valid problems with the Mac, and reasonable advantages of Windows.

Neither platform is perfect.

I am not suggesting that the Mac is universally better, or that Windows is better.   I am suggesting they are different and are both reasonable choices.

What I will say is:  if you find yourself frustrated by problems when upgrading new machines, and you think you are spending too much time managing your PC, then you should consider the possibility of a Mac as your next computer.

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