Mac vs. PC: The Final Battle

Since PCs and Macs hit the market, the debate has raged on over which is best. Depending upon who you’re talking to, the Mac vs. PC debate is often even hotter than politics or religion. While you have many who are die hard Microsoft PC users, another group exists that are just as dedicated to Apple’s Mac. A final group exists in the undecided computer category, with either no clue what to use or a version of Linux. I’m here to sort this out, I am not going to be biased, but I will state my opinion. If you think differently, leave a comment below.

Cost

For many users, cost is key. You want to get the absolute most for your money. In years past, PCs dominated the budget friendly market, with Macs ranging anywhere from £100 to £500 more than a comparable PC. Now this price gap has lessened significantly. However, you will notice a few key features that Macs tend to lack in order to provide a lower price: memory and hard drive space

PC = 8/10
Mac = 6/10

Memory

Most PCs have anywhere from 2GB to 8GB of RAM in laptops and desktops, while Macs usually have only 1GB to 4GB. Keep in mind that this is for standard models, not custom orders

PC= 7/10
Mac = 4/10

Hard Drive Space

Macs typically have smaller hard drives than PCs. This could be because some Mac files and applications are slightly smaller than their PC counterparts. On average, you will still see price gaps of several hundred dollars between comparable Macs and PCs. For computing on a budget, PCs win.

There are a few things to take into consideration that may actually make Macs more cost effective: stability and compatibility.

PC = 7/10
Mac = 8/10

Stability

In years past, PCs were known to crash and users would get the blue screen of death, but Microsoft has made their operating systems more reliable in recent years. On the other hand, Mac hardware and software has tended to be stable and crashes occur infrequently.

PC = 6/10
Mac = 8/10

Compatibility

Unlike with a PC, a Mac can also run Windows using a tool such as Boot Camp or Parallels. If you want to have a combination Mac and PC, a Mac is your best option.

PC = 5/10
Mac = 8/10

Availability

Macs are exclusive to Apple. This means for the most part, prices and features are the same no matter where you shop. This limits Mac availability. With the numerous Apple Stores around the world, however, it’s even easier to buy Macs and Mac accessories.  Any upgrades or repairs can only be done by an authorized Apple support centre.

PCs on the other hand, are available from a wide range of retailers and manufacturers. This means more variation, a wider price range for all budgets and repairs and upgrades available at most electronics retailers and manufacturers. It also makes it easier for the home user to perform upgrades and repairs themselves as parts are easy to find.

PC = 9/10
Mac = 7/10

Software

The final Mac vs. PC comparison comes down to software. For the most part, the two are neck and neck. Microsoft has even released Microsoft Office specifically for Mac, proving Apple and Microsoft can get along. All and all, Macs are more software compatible as PCs only support Windows friendly software. Both systems support most open-source software. Software for both systems is user friendly and easy to learn.

PC = 8/10
Mac = 8/10

Conclusion

Many people say that they want to get a Mac for things like Photo Booth and GarageBand along with the rest of Apple’s software,  however this is pointless as you can get better alternatives on Windows. If you have the money for a Mac, you have the money for a high-end Windows machine too. In the end, the choice comes down to personal preference. Due to price and availability, PCs tend to be the winner, while Macs remain the choice for the more elite or anti-Microsoft computer users. As you can tell, I’m a PC and this verdict was my idea.

PC = 50
Mac =49

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Birdwatching: A bite out of the Apple

Bird Watching is a column by Eddie King. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Digixav.

The Angry Bird has landed! I seem to be the latest contributor to this acclaimed site, and my specialty is getting very angry very quickly about the things that we all get bugged by. I rant and rage for your entertainment and interest so be bloody grateful. For a time I have been flying high, watching, waiting and searching. At last I have chosen a worthy target to reign down my feathery wroth upon: the enigma of the technological world that is Apple.

I first got passionate about Apple when my uncle bought an original iPod Touch back when America still thought it was a good idea to vote for a piece of shrubbery with a particular low IQ for their President. He would taunt me and only let me use it for limited amounts of time (this was back when I was very young as I say) and it was then I decided to prove that Apple as ineffective as a hammock full of cheese. Unfortunately it didn’t work. No matter what I tried or researched, Apple was seemingly brilliant in every way. At this point the rest of my close family had started believing my uncle and I found myself using Apple products loads. Despite this, Apple is still second to Microsoft and, to tell you the truth, it probably will stay that way for a very long time. This is why.

Firstly there is the price. The biggest complaint about Apple internationally is that you have to own several oil fields to be able to afford the parking space outside an Apple Store before actually trying to buy anything, which means at this point only Bill Gates could contemplate this without bankrupting himself. Usually I take the view that price is no object because if something is worth the quality then save a little and buy something that will serve better and for longer, but that is based on the idea that the other product will fall apart soon after you get it home. But let’s be honest – if you wanted to buy a 15” MacBook Pro for normal laptopping purposes you would have to spend at least a thousand pounds. Yes, you get a lump of beautiful aluminium and some impressive specs, but the same money could get you a Dell XPS, an HP Envy that is almost identical in appearance or even a highly customised Alienware M14x with a wallet-melting solid state drive, all of which certainly aren’t going to fall apart the moment you get them home.

The next problem is when you get it home and you start using it you will find that the entire world has a vendetta against your every wish. Compatibility is lots better than it was a few years ago, but even still you will have to get Windows programs such as Microsoft Office and you will have to re-learn most of what you know about computers because, despite OS X Lion (and the upcoming Mountain Lion) being awesome, being raised in a society that uses Windows means that the ropes once again need learning. It will add up. Then there are the over-stylised looks. In the beginning, they were just arrogant, and in the modern day they may be unique, but they are no longer the only good looking laptops out there as other companies are discovering the revolution of ‘metal’. They still look great but not for the excessive price.

To cap it all off, there is the lack of any gaming opportunities. The only games which you can play will cost too much, be out of date and won’t work online. Boot Camp is a convenient solution for running Windows software, but you still have to buy your own copy of Windows and experience torrid battery life, while additionally losing some of the awesome smoothness that has become Apple’s signature.

And yet even though on paper Apple looks to be to Microsoft what the iPad is to the iPod Touch. But, like the iPad, once you try it you seem to feel as though your life will not be able to continue. Apple are here to stay and will continue to be the overpriced thorn that sticks in every sane person’s side; and why? Because, as I found out all those years ago, it just has an annoying habit of working like a dream. Simple smooth and care free, Apple appeals to everyone from technophobes and graphics designers to designer people who want it to look good and those who are convinced that the internet is a little black box kept safe by some super nerds on top of Big Ben. Yes, you can’t play anything except Minecraft on Macs and you have to pay three times as much for the privilege, but, when you are playing the one game that exists, it will be better than most others. What started as an angry rant has turned into a feeling of acceptance. For all their faults no one in their right minds would dare turn an Apple product away. So the choice is yours, respect, a car, a girlfriend and a life, or a super computer made of adamantium.

How to use a Mac

So you got yourself a Mac. You have invested in the Apple ecosystem and you’re probably new to all of this. Before you get all cocky and consider yourself to be a rich computer god, you need to think a few things through.

Step 1: Telling everyone

First, and arguably most importantly, is you are not, repeat NOT, a ‘computer overlord’. You just have an overpriced computer with a glowing piece of fruit on the back. Yes, Macs are cool, but bragging is not. Let’s start on how to tell your friends. Telling them through a computer is OK, but think before you post.

This is not the way to tell people. You will lose a lot of friends very quickly. Instead of them going…

You’re the guy with the Mac, right? You’re epic!

It will be more like…

You got a Mac? Screw you. Did you know that millions of little Chinese kids died making that?

This is the way you should do it. It shows your friends that you consider yourself equal to them while humanising yourself with the admission of being a noob. Your friends will coincidentally become closer and will be always be asking to have a look.

Now you have your Mac and your friends all love you, you might think to make a movie. Well, I did anyway.

Step 2: Making your first movie

Macs are often used by creative people and, as such, many creative programs exist for content production on OS X. If you are just an amateur who wants to get started, you should use Apple’s own iMovie software, preinstalled as part of the iLife suite on every new Mac. It is very simple and has loads of bundled themes and effects, but they aren’t necessarily the best things to go for.

The option of a built-in theme is possibly the the worst idea for any film-maker seeking their own identity. I know you’re (probably) not George Lucas, but, with its crappy music and terrible transitions, any video like this uploaded to the internet will be trolled from all sides, posted on forums and ripped to shreds by haters. All the comments will be by pathetic idiots with nothing constructive to say. Expect things along the lines of…

ur a default n00b
i hope you never reproduce
worse than beiber
FIRST!!!!

Using the “No Theme” option will boost your creativity and spread your wings. giving you billions of new options that will allow you to build a film that is your own. If you go down the individual route, creating your own transitions and design, it will take longer but, done well, you may get some better responses.

Marry me!
I hope you win the lottery! 😀
Look out Hollywood!
The dislike bar is smaller than Justin Bieber’s penis!!!
FIRST!!!

So, with only one small change in the settings, you will be a movie making legend.

After a small amount of time, your shiny Mac will start to fill up with programs, movies and pictures. What happens then?

Step 3: Clearing up the mess

You have been on your Mac for a month or two now, but you must remember its not a PC. It’s a Mac. Desktop items should be non-existent. So, if you spend your time dragging funny pictures off Facebook, you should stop right now.

Well done. You have destroyed everything your Mac stands for with your custom background and your jumbled mess. If this was a human, I’d shoot it in the face. Do the people around you a favour and clear it up. Until you clear up that mess, don’t even think about talking to me. Why the heck do you have all those stupid pictures on your desktop? Sort it out!

That’s better.  First, make some folders. An original Apple background or a minimalist image is definitely the best for your computer, with a maximum of 3 folders present on your desktop. Don’t just make a folder called “Everything” either. There is no point and I will hunt you down.

Now you have mastered things like the desktop, you might want to mess about with the settings.

Step 4: Changing the settings

One thing I hate about people with Macs is them changing the settings. They spend their time mucking around with the background change time and dock position. Why? Don’t you think Apple tried hard enough to make sure your experience good enough? It’s people like you that make Steve turn in his grave.

Look at this! You have changed the settings so that you get a different background every 5 seconds! Other then your computer lagging all the time and overheating when it try’s to go into standby, life’s perfect. You can see a different colourful default background every 5 seconds when not looking at your background! Well done. Slow clap GIF for you. Let me go post a Facebook status about it.

Wait a second. Where’s the dock? Oh, you put it on the side.

WHY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? WHAT IS THE POINT? SERIOUSLY!  WHY DID YOU THINK THAT THE LEFT HAND OF YOUR SCREEN NEEDED MORE LOVE? WHAT ABOUT EVERY TIME YOU TRY TO CLOSE A WINDOW?

Instant improvement. Seeing the dock in its rightful place makes me feel a lot calmer. I’m happy to say that I would love to use this Mac. Go into any Apple Store and you will see all the computers are set up like this. Why? Because that is how it is meant to be. Sir Jony Ive does things for a reason.

When I get stressed like to listen to some music on iTunes or Spotify.

Step 5: Listening to music

As a movie maker, I have quite a few sound effects in my iTunes library. Sometimes I forget this and sit down listening to some deadmau5 on shuffle when *BANG* I am shot through the brain with some gun sound effect I forgot to put in a folder.

When I sit down at my friends computer and see this I almost want to cry. Yes, it has sorted into automatic playlists, but  there is one separate playlist of one song! What is this madness? Also, I will be listening to some Alex Day when the wrong deadmau5 song will come on and ruin my happy clappy poppy mood!

This is the way it should be done. All my sound effects, audiobooks, music and voice memos have their own places and don’t get mixed up. I can continue to listen to my music in peace.

Now you know how to use a Mac. Have a GIF!

I have taught you all you need to avoid noobing out. Stick to these rules and you will experience your Mac as Apple intended. You will love it and it’s all thanks to me. Whenever somebody you care about gets a Mac, do the right thing and send them here. It’s the only way to be certain that they will make the most of the fruits of Apple’s labour.

Happy Maccing everyone!

Apple unveils OS X Mountain Lion

In 2011, Apple launched Mac OS X Lion, an operating system that combined multitouch capabilities with a classic desktop OS but even after this short time, they have confirmed the release of an updated version to launch in the summer. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, confirmed on Thursday, is an improved and tweaked version Mac OS X that adds new features like AirPlay mirroring, iMessages and Notification Center, aiming to bridge the gap further between OS X and iOS.

Messages

The integration of iMessage and other services will greatly improve the iChat system. As a Mac user I am disappointed to say that I have never used iChat because, not knowing many other Mac users, I have a tendency to use Facebook and Windows Live to communicate. I do however know many people that have some sort of Apple product that uses the Message software. This will definitely make me use that software more, but, under all the fancy new features, the new name and slight redesign, it is just a update to iChat. But at least it has GIF support.

Notification Center

The Notification Center will be familiar to all iOS 5 users. The annoying thing that you pull down when trying to play Temple Run will now also be found on your Mac. I have never used this feature on my iPod other then to check my Facebook notifications, but it will be more handy to see what apps need updating. Other then that I find it pretty pointless but a nice touch nevertheless.

AirPlay Mirroring

One of the most advanced new feature of the software is AirPlay Mirroring, which allows you to duplicate your Mac’s screen through your Apple TV in 720p. In the past, this was only achievable by using a HDMI cable or with a device sporting iOS 5. This will be great if you have one of the hockey pucks or when the much rumoured real Apple TV gets released.

There’s loads of stuff in Mountain Lion and I have barely scratched the surface of this product. I’m definitely looking forward to getting to use the software and I will be sure to get it when it gets its Mac App Store release in the summer.