The awfulness of Windows vs. the creepiness of Mac

Charlie Brooker:

I don’t care if you’re right. I just want you to die. I know Windows is awful. Everyone knows Windows is awful. Windows is like the faint smell of piss in a subway. … Still, bad though it is, I vaguely prefer the clumping, clueless, uncool, crappiness of Microsoft’s bland Stepford gang to the creepy assurance of the average Mac evangelist.

Microsoft’s grinning robots or the Brotherhood of the Mac. Which is worse? [Guardian]

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37 Responses to The awfulness of Windows vs. the creepiness of Mac

  1. For me, you should use what ever makes you feel confortable. That’s it. No OS is better than the other. There are only OS that feel your needs, and there other than just… dont.

  2. ChickenDelicious says:

    I agree, the Mac vs. PC “conversation” has gotten dull. You use what you use. Mine happens to be an ugly beast of a machine running XP, soon to upgrade to 7. All the same, I plan to print that article and hide behind it like a tower shield the next time a Mac owner comes sniffing around.

  3. xian says:

    @Hugh #9

    I think the dock is pretty great for most basic users, but if you fancy yourself a power user or whatever, just install Quicksilver and forget you ever saw it…

  4. Fran Taylor says:

    People who think that all OS’s are similar and are not worth arguing about are like small children who think that all automobiles are the same, because they all have steering wheels and driver’s seats. They have no idea what the differences are because they have NEVER actually gotten the thing out of the driveway.

    Home users don’t even get their computers out of neutral. They don’t use up all the CPU, they don’t saturate I/O bandwidth, they don’t run out of file handles. They have no idea that some systems (Windows) are pure nightmares when run full-bore, and others (Solaris, Linux, Mac) are happy and humming when stressed.

    Most of you who think that Windows is okay are probably the same folks who thought MS-DOS and Commodore 64 were okay, too.

  5. omonubi says:

    Apples-to-oranges folks. Whatever your pref.

    Personally though, I think Macs look nice, but I’m not patient enough with Apple’s software to want to take a chance on their hardware – at least not with my PC. (I have an iPod and I think its pretty cool, though.) If someone game me one, or their price dropped to be competitive with PCs, I might consider trying one.

    On the flip, Windows 7 is a game-changer. I’ve been using RTM for two months. I’m an experienced Windows user: 95, 98, SE, ME, NT, 2000, XP, and Vista. 7 is by far Microsoft’s best consumer OS to-date. (By comparison, Vista was their worst, IMO.)

    As a previous poster said, look at the software you want to use and, more importantly, who you want to use it with and where you need to use it. I do a lot of work in the corporate world – you don’t see many macs out there and the ones are there always have *some* issue with intergrating.

    I also use LAN, wireless, VPN, and celular networks. I’ve never had issues in Vista or 7 managing several connections, including virtualized connections.

    Also, games requireing top-end CPU/GPU-power are important for me. I regularly browse the web, watch TV, and play MMOs at the same time. Dual video, liquid-cooling, and *power*. A mac? Please. If they can do this, I’ve yet to personally see anyone do it (or want to.)

    As for stability, PCs *are* more susceptable to crashing and virus infections. However that’s mainly because there are a LOT more apps and hackers out there targeting PC machines. If you’re smart, you stick to installing software from reputable vendors. And please, don’t blame the OS if your crashing app is a piece of junk or was designed 10 years ago.

    Finally, I do indeed think that Apple’s marketing has become pompous, self-righteous, and “hipster”. When I see an Apple commercial I’m definately turned-off by it. MS commercials may always be full of spin, but they know that, I know that, and they know that I do. At least I don’t feel that it matters whether I “belong” or not to some club in making a decision to use Windows, Office, or any other app.

    Anyhoo, as long as their competition, there will always be debate!

  6. johninsapporo says:

    I don’t get any faint smell of piss with Windows personally, I just get an awareness of something designed by a committee. All kinds of disparate bits and pieces, patches, struggling to support ancient applications and yet trying to look modern and present some kind of security. There’s obviously not a lot of work gone into it, there has been a lot of discussion. A lot of realities have been compromised, good ideas thrown out in favor of majority think. But not much actual work.

    But this is all irrelevant as I sit on the sofa, pick up my iPhone and select a genius mix of singers I like. I reply to a couple of emails on the iPhone, check my schedule tomorrow and make adjustments that are automatically synced to people I work with and get back to the book I was reading.

    My main computer is a recent iMac, blistering fast on Snow Leopard. The last time I restarted it was when I installed SL a few weeks ago. It’s sheer brilliance. I love it. It’s a joy to use. Everything works seamlessly with everything else.

    I’m sure there are people who hate the Mac for their own reasons and who love Windows or Linux. For me the best thing about Mac is the way it’s all integrated. It’s pretty much one set of commands for all applications.

    Mac is basically the dream of one man.

    WIndows is the product of long meetings and committees.

  7. wjodon says:

    Brooker is either being a contrarian or has a bad case of the Stockholm syndrome which I think accounts for much observed Microsoft user behavior.

    Personally, I don’t bother arguing about this anymore – let the bastards suffer if they want to.

    And frankly, after years of enduring “the Mac is a toy” and “nobody uses a Mac for serious applications” BS we deserve to be smug. And the Johnny-come-lately hipsters are annoying because they are hipsters, not because they use Macs.

  8. johninsapporo says:

    I don’t get any faint smell of piss with Windows personally, I just get an awareness of something designed by a committee. All kinds of disparate bits and pieces, patches, struggling to support ancient applications and yet trying to look modern and present some kind of security. There’s obviously not a lot of work gone into it, there has been a lot of discussion. A lot of realities have been compromised, good ideas thrown out in favor of majority think. But not much actual work.

    But this is all irrelevant as I sit on the sofa, pick up my iPhone and select a genius mix of singers I like. I reply to a couple of emails on the iPhone, check my schedule tomorrow and make adjustments that are automatically synced to people I work with and get back to the book I was reading.

    My main computer is a recent iMac, blistering fast on Snow Leopard. The last time I restarted it was when I installed SL a few weeks ago. It’s sheer brilliance. I love it. It’s a joy to use. Everything works seamlessly with everything else.

    I’m sure there are people who hate the Mac for their own reasons and who love Windows or Linux. For me the best thing about Mac is the way it’s all integrated. It’s pretty much one set of commands for all applications.

    Mac is basically the dream of one man.

    WIndows is the product of long meetings and committees.

  9. jahknow says:

    Can you hear me, Ballmer? I’m going to be honest with you. I… hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it. I can’t stand it any longer. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink. And every time I do I feel I have somehow been infected by it. It’s repulsive, isn’t it? I must get out of here. I must get free and in this mind is the key, my key. Once Microsoft is destroyed there is no need for me to be here, don’t you understand? I need the codes. I have to get inside Microsoft, and you have to tell me how. You’re going to tell me, or you’re going to die.

  10. Zadaz says:

    I don’t understand why geeks of all people get so religious (and creepy upthread) about these things.

    An OS, just like a hammer is a tool. If you make your livelihood from tools and you can’t be rational about what tools to choose then you stink at your job.

    If I’m evaluating a programmer and they start getting emo over OS or platform they don’t get hired.

    Passionate, yes. Irrational hate/worship, no thanks.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I use Windows infrequently enough that it’s awful, but I think that’s because I don’t untypical things with it. Here’s a recent example: I want to include a graphic from a stats program in LaTeX. The program doesn’t support any useful (to me) export format for its plots. I know, I’ll print it as an EPS file! Print… print to file… hmmm, little box instead of a file selector… where did it put the file??? Well the filename is pretty distinctive. Start.. search… A dog? Whatever. All files… Waiting, waiting. File not found! Googling reveals that it’s in a system folder, but this little excursion has wasted half an hour, and the stupid little dog is just salt in the wound. This would have taken about 2 minutes on a Mac and maybe 5 on Linux if you didn’t know anything except the apropos command.

  12. teeman says:

    As a computer user for more almost 30 years, I have to reference the “Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie” song “Every OS Sucks.”
    I bought my first Mac 1992, and always liked them – despite the limitations of a minescule install base.
    I my first PC was a DEC 20 mainframe.
    I am writing this on a I-lamp which is being put out to pasture.
    I am a full-time computer tech and have been certed on Mac and PC both.
    PC’s software has flaws. Mac’s are better for some things.
    Mac’s hardware sucks massively for those that have to support it – heat failures, impossible connectors, insane specialized tools required just to take the damn things apart, And they are not very forthcoming about known problems until they are pinned down.
    If both were the same price, I would buy a Mac. Or if the Mac were just 10-20% more expensive.
    But my last laptop cost $700 from Dell and would have cost $1400 from Mac for a similar configuration.
    I am not that well paid.
    PAx

  13. CANTFIGHTTHEDITE says:

    It’s more of a personality cult than it is a brotherhood. Then again, who can blame anyone for following someone with a brilliant singular vision, and almost always delivers results.

  14. stv schnbrn says:

    pffft, I’m hard core, I rock punch cards. all you suckers with your gui’s ain’t got nothin on me.

  15. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Creepy comments.

    But I use whatever OS is on the machine I’m being paid to hack, so what do I care…

  16. Xeno says:

    @HUGH

    Yes. Mac user, wife is mac user and just bought my mom a mac. Dock suxs. Doc sucks too. Use ODF.

    Also Linux users too.

  17. maxoid says:

    i’m just recalling the “intro to video” class i had to take as an undergrad: this section happened to be in a mac lab, and one jackass would not stop interrupting the professor with “but macs SUCK” comments, and the prof had to shut him up. waste of everyone’s time and tuition. nobody else in the room gave a shit, thank god.

  18. eviladrian says:

    Mac evangelists are like those Creationists who think they’re battling “Darwinists” on the other side of this great schism.

    There are no Darwinists, there is no other side, it’s just you choosing to be contrary, and normal people living in the real world and trying to ignore you.

  19. Xeno says:

    … And people who know they are sheep and their product is a horrible demon stabbing them in the eye with a red hot poker who get mad at those who try to alleviate their pain deserve to live in misery.

    Let them suffer. I’ll just go back to my Ubuntu MythTV box, my Mac laptop, my Debian server, etc.

    Its not I who will die… it’s your laptop that will.

  20. Jeff Fries says:

    @johninsapporo: Then when the iPhone freezes for a moment you bite down to suppress a tide of rage; when your friend asks you what’s wrong you flash him an empty grin and say “oh nothing”. Later that evening you polish your Macbook until the fingerprints are all, every one of them, gone. Every day there are more.

  21. Trent Hawkins says:

    #36 – “Compare it to your car, shower, toilet, an airplane, our relationships and so on…if any of those things worked half-assed then we would immediately find a solutio.”

    Except that we don’t. Unless you’re the type of guy that would get a divorce after ten years of marriage because your wife didn’t cook you dinner that one time.

  22. The Life Of Bryan says:

    Faint smell of piss indeed. Awesome writing, and really captures the feel of Windows very well.

    But honestly, I’m just hoping that the next version will fully support networks and printing, at which point my job will get a lot easier.

    Oh, and Snow Leopard’s not really all it’s cracked up to be: mine only piddles silver coins.

  23. Xeno says:

    @ZADAZ

    Yes, they are all tools. But to extend your metaphor, a hammer would never be used as a screwdriver. And although you have a swiss army knife with all tools piled into one tiny unmanageable package, I’m not relying upon that on a day to day basis to do my tasks: I’m getting a solidly built set of tools.

    Thats the difference here. Windows things it can be a desktop, server, media center, portable device, game center,etc all perfectly well and be the best at them all. You can’t.

    Linux makes a damn good server and focuses on security and stability. It is good at these things. You try and tell a geek otherwise and yes, he will sounds religious to those who are ignorant in this regard.

    Mac’s also are based on a Unix variant known as BSD and are more secure than Windows in several respects but because Apple takes liberties with it, not as secure as Linux. Still it is far more stable and better at media than Linux and makes a better desktop than Linux. Hence is the best of both worlds. It is an adequate server but not worth the costs and still has issues.

    The point being, for scalability, stability, cost and present and future compatibility and other issues that you need to take into consideration there is always a BEST answer. If you fail to see that, you are not a geek: you are management. Hence the cluelessness in your approach.

  24. Trent Hawkins says:

    #17 – truly we have stepped in to a bright new world. The recession is nearly over, the old has moved aside and made way for the new and America elected the first Black-berry president.

  25. GrumpySteen says:

    The Mac versus Windows arguments have become disturbingly similar to the Chevy versus Ford versus Dodge truck arguments.

    I’m beginning to think that all the inbred rednecks have joined the 21st century and found something new to to have pointless arguments about.

  26. PeaceLove says:

    This article is moronic and reactionary. “Windows sucks, but I’ll keep using it simply because some proportion of people using the most popular alternative are so passionate about its superiority they go out of their way to tell people about it.”

    Good thinking, Brooker. Get yourself a Zune while you’re at it, too.

  27. Ferry says:

    While the article is written in the most annoying way possible, I can see his point. I have no vendetta against, apple, I have a iPod which I like a great deal and if data plans were cheaper and it worked on all carriers I would probably get an iPhone.

    I don’t give a shit what OS people use. It doesnt affect me in the slightest, but it does get rather annoying being told by mac users how inferior PCs are and how I should switch to an OS “that just works”. That level of proselytizing fills the same niche as Jehovas witnesses in my mind.

  28. DTM says:

    I tell everyone who asks me “which computer should I buy?” to buy a Mac. That way when it goes wrong, or they don’t understand something they won’t come to me.

    Windows isn’t great, but it works for me too and when it doesn’t I can either fix it myself or find someone somewhere who can tell what I’m doing wrong.

  29. Daemon says:

    Turn in your geek credentials immediately; we’re not supposed to care about image.

    Anyone who evangelizes OS’s are deeply flawed and fundamentaly offensive. I don’t give a damn about their advertisements or all the crap the os-evangelists are always slinging around.

    All I care about is that it runs my software well enough for my purposes.

  30. Anonymous says:

    How about they’re both terrible (Linux? What the hell is that? That’s for nerds) and everyone should shut up about what OS they use. I think that’s a good option. Probably the best one.

  31. hail_diskordia says:

    You know what? I don’t use Macs because ***the programs I use the most DON’T RUN ON THEM!*** That’s really about it. I use lots of sound-production programs, many of which are Windows-only, and I really don’t have the time to dual-boot, nor the interest. I know how to use Windows with minimal screwing around, and it does what I need it to (mostly). Beyond that, I think it’s kind of a nerd-war, this PC-vs-Mac crap. If you can get a Mac to do what you want it to, well, there ya go. If not, don’t use it.

  32. Anonymous says:

    johninsapporo, thanks for making the point of the post again. You and your post are what is wrong with apple.

  33. Hugh says:

    I just bought a new laptop. Coming off 4 years with an XP laptop. Spent a few days trying out some friend’s macs. Went back and forth, decided to re-windows in the end.

    It would have been helpful to have some thoughtful cross-platform reviewers to inform my decision, but instead you’ve got Windows masochists such as the editorial linked to in this article, and Mac evangelists whose analysis is limited to emotional attachment. I’m told that any object that induces an emotional attachment must be special, but somehow claims of the infallibility of human emotion fail to move me when computer shopping.

    Surely there is a mac user somewhere who can admit at least to themselves that the dock is an imperfect user interface element?

  34. Anonymous says:

    #33 – The single best comment I think I have ever read in any discussion bar none!

  35. weathermime says:

    I guess I can understand what the guys is saying but at the same time I don’t. If we all agree that some sort of system of computing is necessary to our lives…something we use everyday to get tasks finished…help with our careers…engage in commerce etc…then why would anyone, regardless of OS preference settle for something that doesn’t work well.

    Compare it to your car, shower, toilet, an airplane, our relationships and so on…if any of those things worked half-assed then we would immediately find a solutio.

    If you put the keys into your car’s ignition and it kind of started…then proceeded slowly down the road despite pushing the gas pedal all the way to the floor…then stopped running…then started again…lets face it you would get out of the car and find a way to empty a satisfactory number of bullets into the thing.

    The bottomline is…if something doesn’t work…change it.

  36. Chrs says:

    Hah, yeah, I am inclined to agree with the shutting the hell up about it.

    Of course, every time it starts to confuse me that people keep trying to convince other people how great something that’s got a strong scent of elitism is, I just remember how hipsterism operates.

    You talk about how great something is so much, nobody who isn’t a hipster can stand to listen to it. Doesn’t mean anything about whether it’s great or not, but by god you and your kind are going to be the only people listening to or using it, regardless.

    If you weren’t talking about it so much, other people might find it on their own, and you wouldn’t get to be elite anymore!

  37. arikol says:

    @Hugh #9

    Yep, the Dock is imperfect. Pretty decent as a program launcher/shortcut bar, and some of the other features are pretty ok, but still, imperfect. It has been fixed up a bit in the last few releases, so some of the rougher edges have been ground away and a lot of functionality added. Minimised window behaviour has (finally) been fixed somewhat, if you set it to the other behaviour (minimizing into the icon itself instead of to the right hand side of the dock, expanding the dock annoyingly much). Still, that behaviour doesn’t give visibility of the state of the window (that it’s minimized in the icon) so they could have solved that better.
    As for program launching, I use the dock for my most used apps, then I use spotlight (the search feature) for others. It’s so quick that with the keyboard shortcut I can use it as an app launcher.. try that on XP or Vista

    MacOS is definitely not without its problems. It’s just far nicer to use on a daily basis than any MS solution I’ve used (ex windows XP/Vista techie here)
    Win7 seems a lot less dreadful than Vista (actually, from what I’ve seen it looks ok) and I hope they do well and make a great system.
    Ubuntu (and Linux in general) seems to have matured a lot in the last few years.
    Ubuntu was (IMO) less annoying and prettier than XP 2 years ago (vista has severe, low level issues that will not be fixed due to compatibility and driver issues, so I don’t even compare against that pos), and seems to have improved a lot in the time since then.

    I hope I will have more than one easily usable option in the future. Right now Apple has no competition in this area. A dictator with vision seems to have its benefits.

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