Mac people are friendly, but are Macs?

Peter JonesInformation Ecology, Media Ecology

I often make a simple argument on behalf of the Windows (7) system, which I advocate as significantly more usable than the Mac OSX. And yes, I use both, regularly. I like the idea of just listing a number of operations the Mac does poorly, Dave Letterman style, from my own experience of working with both platforms in information product and everyday use.

Number 10.  You cannot easily update the OSX operating system. Every bit of the process is locked down. We have a Macbook Pro with Snow Leopard on one partition, and it refuses to allow the installation of Leopard on the other partition. Locked out. Windows, I could install on that partition. But not another version of OSX?

Number 9. The non-standard video interfaces. WHICH Macbook dongle did you need? I teach at a design school – you need a collection of 5 dongles and 5 minutes for each Mac to get them to display on projectors.

Number 8. Flexible hardware interfaces. Its all locked down, again. No SD card. USB is fussy and slow. Having to eject everything you plug in.

When it was time to get a tablet, I skipped the iPad even though I have and like the iPhone. I bought an Android machine, the Toshiba Thrive – because I can buy a cheap 16G machine and add all kinds of external memory. There’s the HDMI, SD, and a great display. Oh yeah, its an Android.

Number 7.  Flexible software interfaces and APIs. The whole Flash thing – really, does it always come down to a Steve Jobs Silicon Valley hater decision? Windows is seamless, plug and play.

Number 6. Installing new apps. Whats a DMG anyway and why does it stay on the desktop? Why the oddball arcane language? Even UNIX has simpler file names.

Number 5. The goddamn floating menu bar. Maybe its my Windows experience, but ALL the Mac applications require you to learn shortcuts to be proficient. Otherwise, its all menu bars, circa 1990.

Number 4. OK, Mac apps have a ribbon now, but only after Microsoft provided it. Its faster and easier than any menu bar. Its called Fitts Law, look it up.

Number 3. Lack of free software. I like experimenting with new software that I might or might not buy. Its not easy to do with Mac.

Number 2.  The Dock. Doesn’t it get better than that? I must have 200 applications on my Windows machine. How would i organize those on the dock? Oh right, the Finder. Maybe that should be #1.

No, Number 1 is Error messages. You shouldn’t even need these error messages. Windows allows you to do almost anything you think you can do. Mac lets you get halfway into an operation, and then locks you out. “That’s not allowed.”  Or my favorite, “Sorry, an error occurred.”

Mistakes were made.  Mistakes in design, that is.