In my previous article
, I talked about the culture shock you may experience when having to switch from PC to Mac, or from Mac to PC. These differences have fueled a strong debate for years about which is better: Mac or Windows? In this blog post, I’ll wrap up my thoughts on that subject.
Macs are for fun; PCs are for business
This has been the oft-rehashed refrain concerning Macs and PCs for several years now; that if you want to have fun, sure use a Mac or an iPad, but when you’re ready to get serious and get some work done, use a PC. On the other side of this, for many years it was assumed that if you intended on doing anything creative professionally—photography, graphic design, videography, music production—then you should use an expensive Mac, and have a PC to handle QuickBooks and email. I’d like to go on the record as saying that both of those ideas are old and outdated. Apple is the single most profitable company in the world, worth twice as much as Exxon, and I guarantee you they do all of their “business” on Macs, and not just fun stuff. On the other hand, the idea that you need a Mac to do creative work professionally is simply not true. In fact, I’d say that the reason photographers and designers still tend toward Mac is more of an issue of culture-shock avoidance rather than informed decision. The latest Mac Pro is virtually impossible to upgrade, which gives a custom-built PC a huge advantage for video and audio editing, and designing it for your specific needs.
Cross-platform is the Future
There was a time when a floppy disk from a Mac couldn’t even be read by a PC, despite being identical in size, shape, and functionality. Photoshop used to give you the option to save your file in Mac or PC format, because once you picked one, that’s what you were stuck with. Adobe’s release of the Portable Document Format (PDF) and the birth of the World Wide Web did a lot to start breaking down those walls between platforms. Recently, Microsoft announced that their strategy for the company is to target “mobile first, cloud first,” which simply means that rather than fight a war to put Windows on top, they’d rather focus on putting their software on all devices, whether a smart-phone/tablet, or as an internet service. Adobe also released their famous Photoshop software (and accompanying apps, collectively referred to as “Creative Cloud”) completely cross-platform. Meaning they work equally well on Windows or Mac. This is the way the world is going, and I think it’s a great thing. If you want to work on a Mac, or an iPad, or a Windows tablet, or a Dell laptop, or an old-school desktop PC, you don’t have to worry about compromise anymore. In fact, I don’t think it will be many years before our smart-phones become so advanced and powerful, laptops will be relegated to the same space desktops are in today.
Jack of all Trades
I personally own both MacBook Pro and a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and I use both of them every day. I use an iPad 3 and an iPhone 6 on a daily basis, also, but recently purchased a Lumia Windows Phone. In fact, the reason I wrote this two-part article is because I recently had to demo some software on an Android phone, and felt completely lost because I’ve never owned an Android device. This is something I should rectify! As an IT professional, I feel it is my responsibility to be proficient in as many technologies as possible so that I can help as many people as possible. The early phases of culture shock make it easy to be a “fanboy” where bragging about a platform, and insulting others is considered acceptable. We see it everywhere on the Internet. “I’ll die before I buy a MacBook” or “Android phones are WAY better than iPhones” or “Microsoft totally copied that feature.” None of that matters. A good musician can make an old beat up instrument sound amazing. A good craftsman can use the tools available to achieve the goal. This same principle applies to IT.
Good Practices = Happy Users
In general, the most important thing isn’t what OS or hardware manufacturer is being used, but instead asking the question, “Is this getting the job done?” After that, the only trick is to adhere to good practices; don’t use low-quality passwords, and don’t re-use them. Don’t download things you don’t know what they are. Don’t open attachments in emails you’re not sure about. Don’t open links in emails to log into secure accounts. Once you’ve got these few principles under your belt, it really doesn’t matter which tools you use. As long as you’re happy and getting the job done!