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Mac or PC—they are all annoying 

With my computer glitches this quarter, I have had a few friends advise me to ‘get a ’. More than a few. While I appreciate the sentiment, they don’t know me well enough. I can break any computer just by using it. Even a .
   The number-one reason for not switching is, of course, poverty. It’s not just that are cheaper, but the thousands I would need to invest for software—notably fonts from my colleagues—would be too much. OpenType is cross-platform now but I have a lot on Adobe PostScript Type 1. And Macs had font management issues: it was one area where PCs made more sense.
   Secondly, are Macs that much more reliable? If we were talking pre- days, I would have said yes. I worked a lot on Macs then and loved them. The memory management wasn’t quite as good on the really tough stuff, but for everyday use, for the graphics processing, they were plain unbeatable.
   These OS X machines have that fancy interface with programs enlarging down the bottom—the sort of fancy-pants gimmick I do not need. I know you can switch that off. But I remember one incident in 2005 that illustrates how computers sense I am near and go all funny. Think of it as the computer world’s Frank Spencer vibe.
   That time, three people spent 90 minutes trying to burn a CD on a Mac. This is a very hard thing to do on a Mac. The blank CD icon plain didn’t show up and we went online, through the help pages, and even called , who was of no help whatsoever (the usual crapola about ‘But it should be there’—yeah, no s***, Sherlock). Now, I know that with PCs there is plenty of advice on the web, most of it inapplicable to me since I am the only person on the planet that finds that one error that the programmers had bet that no one would ever find. But at least all the bad advice gives me clues and I don’t have to call or the program vendor. And the help pages are, for what it is worth, quite well written.
   The owner of the Mac was calling Apple Australia (since New Zealand couldn’t help) to get an answer when one of us accidentally stumbled on some setting three menu hierarchies down. It was not something that we should ever have had to deal with, but there it was. Tada! Ninety minutes to burn a CD.
   Of course I am not writing off Macs based on a single incident. There have been others with the Macs I have been in contact with, just that that one sticks in my mind. There have been missing emails, corrupted mailboxes in Thunderbird, networking issues, etc. In other words, just the usual computer fare that revolves around yours truly. And there is comparatively little help out there on the internet.
   I am the very first person to say that PCs do mega-stupid things. However, I wonder if the image of the more reliable Macintosh is due to the smaller user base. Per capita, I reckon that they are just as buggy, or they certainly would be for a person like me. Give me a Mac for a week and I will find fault just as often as with .
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Ever since I switched, I haven't regretted it, and that is partly because I've found it to be more reliable. They have bugs, too, just like you say, but I think in general, they are still more reliable. Especially when it comes to upgrading or getting your data out of them. Of course, the expense of having to re-buy lots of expensive software is a pretty big issue, and if your current PC setup is working well enough, why bother changing?  
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.

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