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The Cult of Mac 374

Posted by timothy
from the distant-drumbeats dept.
cgjherr (Jack Herrington) writes "The Cult of Mac, a new book by Leander Kahney, is a love letter to the Macintosh community. The book seeks to simultaneously define and evangelize the Apple cultural phenomenon. With 25 million users (in the author's estimation) there is a lot of culture to go around. The tattoos. The modified machines. The pilgrimage to MacWorld. The sub-cult of iPod. It's all here." Read on for the rest of Herrington's review.
The Cult of Mac
author Leander Kahney
pages 268
publisher No Starch
rating Excellent
reviewer Jack Herrington
ISBN 1886411832
summary A love letter to the Mac community

The form and structure of the book is a cross between a Wired magazine (for which Kahney has long written on Apple) and a coffee table book. There are great pictures of people, machines and art to appeal to the eye. Some pages are all pictures, while others are primarily text -- most are a combination of the two. The layout is always attractive. If this were a book from Apple, the style would be cleaner and there would be less emphasis on the past; this book is from and for the fans, though, so the style is more edgy and chaotic.

The book is divided into five large sections. The first covers the Macintosh itself, its users, its evangelists, and a little of its history. Including, to my amusement, but not surprise, its connection with pot, which occupies three pages. Wozniak is covered lovingly, and Jobs is painted with the same awe, love and hate brush that the community uses. Leander even covers the TV and movie Macintosh spotting, where the good guys always use Macs and the bad guys always use PCs.

Section two takes us into the MacWorld phenomenon. The secrecy, the crazy crowds, the keynote -- the whole shebang. We also get a look into the Mac phenomenon in Japan.

The final three sections are the most interesting to the hardware lovers. Section four covers modifying the Macintosh, futuristic designs, and the variety of things that have been built from dead Macs. The fourth section is about collecting Macintoshes; there is an excellent image here of a reception desk built entirely of old Mac Classics. Some attention is also paid to the devotees of Apple tsotchkes -- the shirts, the pins, the shoes, and other logo-branded novelties.

The final section is all about what comes next. Here Leander covers the iPod and its subculture, as well as the ongoing cultural battle between Microsoft users and the Mac world. The author even goes so far as to associate the construction of the swivel head iMac to that of a newborn baby to justify our attachment to it. And that makes my Powerbook a what?

There is a lot of great material in this book just to flip through, or to sit down for an enjoyable read. For the technically minded, there is nothing here to help you write better code or get more out of the operating system. This is a book about a culture, its icons, its people, and its ideology.

I can't recommend this book for a PC person, Unless he's interested in learning about the phenomenon or becoming part of it, I doubt there is much he'd interesting in this book. A PC user uses his machine to perform a task and thinks little of the machine itself. A Mac, on the other hand, is a key component of an integrated lifestyle. If you don't live the lifestyle and you care to know more about it, then check out the book. Otherwise, you might as well skip it.

As a Mac enthusiast myself I really enjoy this book. I started programming on the Macintosh with the first 128K machine, took a hiatus on Windows for a couple of years, and switched back with OS X. I've been to a MacWorld and seen some of the phenomenon first-hand. But it's nice to see it catalogued here in such an attractive, nicely constructed, well-written book.

In the early days of Apple versus Microsoft we had a real culture war, command line versus GUI. Windows won. Which is bad because Mac is, IMHO, better. But the Windows victory does allow us in the Mac camp to revel in our own individuality. This book is a fun way for new and old Mac fans alike to share in the common insanity which is our somewhat unrealistic love for this computer and it's company.

I'm certainly glad this book came out before Christmas. Now I know what I am going to give a couple of my fellow Macaddicts.


Reviewer Jack Herrington authored Code Generation in Action, and edits the Code Generation Network. You can purchase The Cult of Mac from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, carefully read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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The Cult of Mac

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  • Uhhh No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JavaLord (680960) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:50PM (#10667328) Journal
    A PC user uses his machine to perform a task and thinks little of the machine itself. A Mac, on the other hand, is a key component of an integrated lifestyle. If you don't live the lifestyle and you care to know more about it, then check out the book. Otherwise, you might as well skip it.

    Being someone who spends equal time all day on a PC and Mac (G4 and G5), I can tell you that a Mac in no way is a "key component of an integrated lifestyle". It's a computer that happens to run an alternate OS and have a good marketing department, which is nice if you don't like windows or you are a drone consumer who cares about what is 'cool'.
  • Excuse me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr.henry (618818) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:51PM (#10667335) Journal
    A PC user uses his machine to perform a task and thinks little of the machine itself.

    WTF? Certainly [thebestcasescenario.com] PC users [modthebox.com] don't [case-mod.com] care [twistedmods.com] about [hardforum.com] the machine [directron.com].

    Fucking Mac snobs.

  • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:51PM (#10667336) Homepage
    It doesn't get much more main stream as far as Apple products go.
  • Newton (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elid (672471) <eli@ipod.gmail@com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:54PM (#10667364)
    Let's not forget the Apple Newton [wikipedia.org] fan club.
  • by l4m3z0r (799504) <kevin@uber[ ]le.net ['sty' in gap]> on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:56PM (#10667392)
    The PC users that constantly come on here with dell quotes talking about how you can get a "Better" machine for cheaper should be forced to read this book. Maybe then they will understand that price is not the end all be all factor in why someone would want a Mac. I know that the culture is probably the number one reason I own a Mac. I pay the extra price because I am proud of this high quality product. Furthermore by paying "more" i find I'm supporting a company and a group of people that are doing an excellent job. Even at 1/2 the price I wouldn't feel the same way about buying a PC or MS software. I just don't feel like they earned my money but Apple on the otherhand has.

    This is where the culture comes in bringing in a sense of loyalty to the product you use. I don't feel like PC users have that same phenomenon and maybe if they understood it they wouldn't rant and piss and flame on here about price differences and single mouse buttons.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:01PM (#10667445)
    ...has been in my sig for months. It's not mine, but it's hysterical.

    As a mac user, btw, I'd like to say that there are so many stereotypes that are simply not true about many Mac users.

    • Not all of us are rabid evangelists(I grew out of that when I was 16)
    • Not all of us think a computer is some life-changing gee-golly piece of technology. It's my computer. I do stuff on it. That's it. Buying a mac doesn't change your life, or more accurately, it -shouldn't- change your life.
    • Not all of us think it's "Mac or nothing". I use the best tool for the job. My powerbook is my system; I serve stuff using Linux. I have a PC in the corner for games other than the really big stuff that gets ported to the Mac.
    • Not all of us think Steve's the greatest.

    I'm constantly amazed by how many stereotypes there are of Macintosh users, and it's actually quite offensive sometimes. "Oh, you're a MAC GUY, I see....our PCs aren't GOOD ENOUGH for you" is what invariably follows. Most of the time, I politely side-step platform-preference questions now, because of the assumptions and image people place on me when they learn I'm a mac user are just so goddamn tiresome.

  • Re:Excuse me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dreadfire (781564) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:03PM (#10667474) Homepage
    Macs are hot. Hands down, they are designed for multimedia power and design. All of those cases you should didn't have the style of a mac. Macs are hot.
  • by Teese (89081) <[beezel] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:07PM (#10667506)
    Says the reviewer:
    In the early days of Apple versus Microsoft we had a real culture war, command line versus GUI. Windows won.
    Actually, the Mac won. Its just that nobody used a mac, they just waited for another company to make a good enough implementation at an acceptable price before switching (notice I didn't say a cheap second-rate rip-off, I'm getting better! honestly!). Pretty much the entire industry uses the GUI way, not the command line way.

    (Arguments that its Xerox's GUI, some people use a command-line, There's a command-line in Mac OS X now aside.)

  • The cult of Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JonKatzIsAnIdiot (303978) <a4261_2000@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:08PM (#10667519)
    • Putting on a shirt and tie and carrying a briefcase won't make you smart
    • Wearing black leather and driving a Harley won't make you tough
    • Listening an indie band that no-one else has heard of doesn't make you an 'individual'
    • Swearing undying fealty to Apple ( or Sony or IBM ...) doesn't make you 'hip' or 'cool'.

    But these things will make you into a trend-humping fashion lemming.

    Apple's core product isn't computers or electronics. It's elitism.
  • Re:Excuse me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:14PM (#10667566)
    That isn't the same thing. Also, those links are exceptions to the rule. Mac users, as a rule, really appreciate their machines in a way that most PC users just wouldn't understand. Macs are hightly integrated and are presented to the user as a whole package rather than having, for example, a Dell computer running Microsoft Windows XP.

    FWIW, I'm a PC (but not Windows) user, but my wife is a long time Mac user.

    -matthew
  • by LihTox (754597) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:15PM (#10667573)
    So to that minority of Apple zealots, get a damn life.

    Ah, the classic "get a life" business. What kind of life do you have in mind? Passions are what make life interesting. Some people obsess over sports, some over Macs, some over Star Trek, some over toy trains-- they have lives. People who obsess over other people have lives too. People who go around criticizing any show of exuberance as juvenile...well, I'm not sure about them.

    Planning on making a trip to Boston this weekend, to tell everyone here how they should "get a damn life, it's only a baseball team, they're not a church or anything"?

  • Maybe (Score:3, Insightful)

    by abb3w (696381) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:15PM (#10667576) Journal
    Then you are not a Mac User, your just happen to use a Mac.

    I think the term you are looking for isn't "User" but rather Bigot [catb.org]. I use a Mac at work. I even like it. I even didn't mind adding Mac troubleshooting skills to my Windows and Linux skills-- it wasn't that different. I would even go so far as to say that I prefer doing 90% of my Real Work at a Mac. (Games are another story.) But I while I think the iPod is kinda cool, I'm not planning on replacing my Archos Jukebox 20 until it keels over dead... which, incidentally, won't be due to the batteries [ipodsdirtysecret.com]. I have better ways [newegg.com] to waste my money [dansdata.com] than donating to the Church of Steve.

    I'd also disagree slightly with the assessment of the review. Based on what's said, there may be some interest in the material to anthropologists (amateur and professional) who study computer nerds. If I see the book at Barnes & Noble, I might sit down and leaf through it for an hour or two. I might check it out if it hits the local library. I wouldn't spend real money on it, though.

  • by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:21PM (#10667631) Journal
    The PC users that constantly come on here with dell quotes talking about how you can get a "Better" machine for cheaper should be forced to read this book. Maybe then they will understand that price is not the end all be all factor in why someone would want a Mac. I know that the culture is probably the number one reason I own a Mac. I pay the extra price because I am proud of this high quality product.

    I am typing these very words on an iBook and actually price WAS an important factor when choosing a portable (somehow all x86 alternatives are either bigger and heavier or stripped down of some important functions like combo-drive... or pricey as hell). I am really happy with my machine but I don't think of it as of a "high quality product". It's just a notebook, dammit. Quoting the Russian astronaut from "Armageddon", "Russian computers, American computers, they are all made in Taiwan". The same relates to notebook computers - "Apple notebooks, Dell notebooks, they are all made by subcontractors in Taiwan". You don't get "higher quality product" when choosing Apple instead of Dell, they are both made by the same company (usually Quanta [quantatw.com]). My advice: be a member of Mac community. Be a member of Mac user group. Be a member of Mac developers society. But don't be a member of Mac culture, because it's nothing but marketing tool for a corporation like any other.
  • Re:Excuse me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:25PM (#10667669) Homepage Journal
    I'd say those users think little of their PCs. They look more like riced computers than anything else. :)

    Before you flame, I'm not a Mac user or owner. But seriously, IMO, usually the thing that happens when people individualize their PC make it uglier or more contrived. Same goes for cars too, most of the time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:30PM (#10667719)
    Maybe then they will understand that price is not the end all be all factor in why someone would want a Mac

    Offer me a loaded Mac G5 or a loaded PC desktop from Dell, Alienware or Falcon NW - I'll take the PC thanks. Because I can actually use it for high-end graphical apps, playing games - and have a chance in hell of being able to reuse some of the components in 5 years when the machine is nearing the end of it's useful life.

    I pay the extra price because I am proud of this high quality product.

    Absolute bullshit. You pay extra because they are a tiny fraction of the market and have "exclusive" small market prices.

    My Powerbook, running Mac OS X - locks up more frequently than my bolted-together-from-spare-parts Windows machine does (I use Windows for games, I use my Mac for email). And when the Mac goes down - as it invariably does - I have to TAKE THE BATTERY OUT to get the fucking thing to shut off.

    Then there were the numerous Powerbook / iPod battery problems, failing Powerbook screens, failing mainboards that needed to be replaced. Apple spells "Quality" with a "K", I tell ya. Too much emphassis on flash and shiny cases - not enough substance (performance, value, industry standards and upgradability).

    This is where the culture comes in bringing in a sense of loyalty to the product you use. I don't feel like PC users have that same phenomenon and maybe if they understood it they wouldn't rant and piss and flame

    "Understood it"? Excuse me? Apple machines have faults - just as Windows machines do. But the difference is that Windows users complain when something doesn't go right. Apple users seem to go "oh well, it must have fucked up because I'm retarded and don't know anything about computers" and ignore it. Guess what - they are retarded - not for the reasons they think, but for repeatedly putting up with it.

    single mouse buttons

    ARE FUCKING STUPID. Half the Mac OS X apps require you to hold down the control key, then click in order to emulate a 2nd mouse button (or you can hold the 1st button down for 5 seconds and go make a sandwich and take a nap before the system realises what you're trying to do and pretends to click the 2nd mouse button for you). What should be simple mousing ends up being retarded keyboard chording. Which wouldn't annoy me too much as I can use an external mouse - except when I'm using my Powerbook on the road and don't want the bulk with me.

    My kingdom for a hard power switch and a 2nd mouse button on my Powerbook. Don't get me wrong, I do actually like my Powerbook. But Apple computers are't the Silver Bricks From God that some Apple fanatics would have everyone think. They're not superior - they're just different. All products have flaws (Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeBSD, whatever).
  • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:30PM (#10667728) Homepage
    umm, they are made by the same subcontractors, but what Dell considers ok as far as QA, and what Apple considers OK as far as QA is what makes the difference is quality. not to mention the Engineering that went into the design of the system itself.
  • by poptones (653660) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:42PM (#10667838) Journal
    That's what many of "we" do not understand about MacLoonies. Apple is, no matter how "cool," still just a coprorate entity that exists for profit. Like any good company they speak to their core and try to foster appeal to that core with each new product.

    I built my PC myself. While I don't have skill as a sculptor I still strive to make a unique machine that has as much power as I need while fashioning my desktop to meet my individual needs. I don't rely on a coporation to provide me this, I create it myself. Along the way I pick up more skills that are relevant to my craft, and I help build community by assisting others with learning how they, too, can shape their tools to meet their individual and unique needs.

    The difference between the mac and linux is the difference between owning your culture and purchasing it. No matter how "cool" a mac might be, it's ultimately just more commercial art - another piece of your "culture" you choose to license - to borrow at fee - from a corporation rather than own and shape yourself.

    How is this, in any way, "revolutionary?"

    Seems to me the revolution was televised, only none of you owned a "TV" because it wasn't fashionable.

  • by dswensen (252552) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:46PM (#10667880) Homepage
    A hearty amen to that. I work at an ISP where generally everyone uses Windows machines. I bought a Powerbook a while back (I use it as a writing tool), and after I brought it to work, I instantly became the "Mac guy."

    Not only was I expected to know everything about Macs going back to System 7.5 (I hate anything before OS X), but people would come up to me and make all sorts of political comments about how stupid Mac users were, how much Macs sucked, etc. as if they expected me to get offended and evangelistic about it.

    I even had a couple people say things like "Ugh, you're a Mac user? Don't let it touch me!" and "EWW!" and the like. Which just amazed me -- perfectly mature adults (for the most part) acting in this outlandish manner. I still own a Windows PC, and have plenty of experience in the platform, but suddenly ownership of a Mac makes me The Enemy.

    For all the reputation that Mac users have for being elitist and snobbish, I've seen way more snobbish, rude behavior from Windows people. Of course, what's funny, is they have an equal amount of hatred for "their" operating system. No Mac user I know talks about how much OS X sucks... yet, with Windows, it happens all the time. It makes me wonder if there's not more than a little defensiveness going on.

    My Powerbook does exactly what I want it to very well, and i find OS X a great computing environment to work in. I despise the politics that go with owning a machine, and like you, I just try to ignore it.
  • Re:Excuse me? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:51PM (#10667925) Homepage
    A PC user uses his machine to perform a task and thinks little of the machine itself.

    Yeah, sounds like BS to me, too. A lot of people on a lot of different platforms appreciate their machines for different reasons. Some people get their biggest kicks out of the latest and greatest, some from an old Amiga/NeXT/Commodore64. Some love a big honkin' box with all sorts of fans... they like to feel like their machine has enough power to get you from NY to LA in 3 hours, if you just put wings on it. Some dig those tiny little devices that can only be operated by Japanese midgets.

    Very few, however, have such a rediculous pseudo-religious attachment to their computers as Mac users. Except maybe Gentoo users.

    I happen to be both, but not because I can then "appreciate" and "think of" the machine. I like them specifically because, once set up properly, they both work reliably (for what I do) and don't require thought. When I go to check my e-mail, I don't have to worry about viruses. When I go to look at a web page, I don't have to think about spyware. The machines go about happily doing what they're supposed to do with little in the way of maintenance.

    What I like about MacOSX (over gentoo) is really only the ease with which I can get it to the point of "set up properly". (well, and I do like some eye-candy here and there. And photoshop/dreamweaver without jumping through hoops)

    So, not all people who use Macs are whacked out fanatics. Some of us enjoy thinking little of the machine itself. But saying Macintosh users are unique in their appreciation of their computers sounds about the same as if someone had claimed only Porche drivers like their cars, and everyone else just thinks of their cars as a means to get to and from work.

  • Define change (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:58PM (#10667974)
    Not all of us think a computer is some life-changing gee-golly piece of technology. It's my computer. I do stuff on it. That's it. Buying a mac doesn't change your life, or more accurately, it -shouldn't- change your life.

    What level of change though? Aren't computers supposed to be able to help you do things you couldn't otherwise - is that not a example of change?

    I'm pretty happy using a Mac desktop at home because I don't have to constantly clean the system or upgrade things all the time like I used to with the Windows system. That is a change, and it's damn positive.

    Another change that's possibly even better is having family members (like my mom) have Macs. That means almost no support work at all. That too is a lifestyle change, as it frees me to spend more times with them as family and less as tech-support guy.

    All computers change your life. Not earth-shattering changes to be sure - but change nonetheless. A computer allows you access to the internet, to play more games, or what have you and those are all examples of things that do change your life in subtle ways.

    I'm not Mac or nothing either. I use LINUX and Sun servers. I use a PC at work. I am in agreemnet that Mac users are far too typically sterotyped, even though I probably fall closer to that sterotype than most.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:06PM (#10668033)
    No PC user on this earth is more rabid than the devoted PC gamer. Rabid in many good ways, to be sure. But part of that then is probably the huge expense they sink into systems, like $600 video cards.

    Paying a little bit more for a Mac over a PC does not look nearly so extreme compared to that.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:10PM (#10668067)
    I personally think there is a far deeper cult around people who hate Apple, and hate Apple users. These are people that seem unable to acknowledge very real benefits from the Apple systems like ease of access, good ergonomic design, and thoughtful OS design.

    For many Apple users the computer is not aboult style, but about ability. Apple haters cannot see beyond this however, and have an overly simplified equation for life where functionality decreasing in direct proportion to looks. So which is more cultish, the group of people that like well designed products or the people that fanatically dismiss anything that is produced by the company as "Trendy" and "Elitist"?

    Look past the glitz and take another look.
  • Re:Excuse me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NeoSkandranon (515696) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:29PM (#10668267)
    Because if the group doing the integrating decides you dont need it, you dont get it.
  • Re:Uhhh No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RoofPig (590281) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:30PM (#10668272)
    Waaaaait a minute. What about those car analogies you Mac people love to go on about? Like how you have your cool Ferraris and everyone else has their Ford Taurus or whatever. As often as not, people think their stuff is cool precisely because they think it makes them somehow edgy and unique. Don't even try to play dumb with me, mister. "Us Mac users do not think our computers are cool!" Yeah.
  • Re:apple tattoos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:41PM (#10668370) Homepage Journal
    No shit. There are several products (Macs, Toyotas, Badger Blades) that inspire in me a strong degree of brand loyalty, but I simply cannot envision being so devoted to any product that I'd get a tattoo representing it. My brand loyalty is based on experience -- I prize products that do the job, consistently and well, and hold up under hard use -- rather than any sense of mystical connection.

    Then again, I can't imagine getting a tattoo representing a sports team, a band, a movie, a drink, or a drug, either, and I've seen all of them. [shrug] Seems to me that anything you're going to put on your body forever should represent a core part of your identity -- if someone else's manufacture product has that kind of significance to you, I guess that's your problem ...
  • conformist.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:43PM (#10668400)
    all the mac zelots are just conformists, and people who either wanted to be in the "in crowd" in high school or were in the in crowd and want to follow the herd now.

    personally I started on apple machines, and even was a "mac" guy but when i started building my own machines and apple eliminated the power computing knock offs i said "fuck em", and went total pc. I still have to use mac's at work, and find them just as a pain in the ass as i do a pc that is built so i can't "fudge" with it from compaq or another corp entity.

    Fact of the matter is, tattoing anying thing on your body that is a corp symbol is fucking stupid. fucking cheerleaders..........
  • by cocoa moe (530541) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:17PM (#10668647)
    Most of the comments seem to center around the Question wheter Macs are good at all, wheter the community is acceptable/credible or even if it is good to be a fan.

    Well, of course I have an oppinion on those questions too, but I'd like to make a comment about the book. About a month ago I browsed through some pages of a book with the same subject, at first I thought it might be this one, but I cant remember enough details to really make sure.

    The book I was browsing seemed rather unsatisfactory to me. The author was seemingly fascinated about some of the Mac-users he interviewed. Unfortunately the way they are presented distorts to a carricature.

    While it is true that Mac-users love to talk about Macs and their benefits (maybe due to the ignorance of their peers), they are not funny in general.

    The book I was browsing didn't care about that and It didn't provide too much background about the company.

    There is no "Cult of Mac". There is a community, much like the Linux-community or the C# enthusiasts. Of course the image is different. It's a strange topic to write a book about, but if you enjoyed a book about bikers and Harley-Davidson-clubs, you may like it, no matter if you hack DOS or push rectangles all the time.
  • by dantum_sh (776686) on Friday October 29, 2004 @07:11PM (#10669004) Homepage
    This is one of those slashdot posts that gets crazy people from MAC vs Windows (NOT PC) camps out of bed and all wet.

    As one of the posters said, hardware is the same. This is a neverending battle between people who like one thing and people who like another. You can't argue about peoples tastes adn choices, they are always going to be different. What is better for one is bad for another, some Mac users don't like pcs cause they don't look as good as macs. PC users don't like Macs cause the advertising is too annoying or they don't run new game.

    I think you use what you like and what you need. I like to think that most people use a certain type of machine/software because that is what suits their needs and not because it looks cool.

    "is this thing on?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @07:56PM (#10669227)
    Most of the "techies" (Tech savvy people that aren't programmers or engineers or anything) I've met admit that Macs are much better. Even hardcore Windows users I know admit that Macs are OK. Maybe a little better than Windows. Only one person I know absolutely hates macs, and he thinks satan worships him, and that he is a better programmer than ME (Yeah right).

    That last part is completely true.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:35PM (#10669378)
    "Not our fault, we tried to work with Apple to get them to raise their standards in some specific areas, but they're not interested right now."

    First off, take a look at a book called "The Macintosh Way" by Guy Kawasaki. He has some commentary about "dealing with the mothership."

    By the tone, though, I'm not amazingly surprised that Apple "wasn't interested right now." When someone comes to your company and tries to get you "raise your standards in some specific area" because, obviously, your "standards" are too low, you'd probably tell them that you weren't interested.

    Many software companies come to Apple with the attitude that, by developing software for the Mac, they are somehow doing Apple a huge favor and Apple should bend over backwards to help them. Try that tack with Microsoft and see how far it gets you. Heck, go to Sun and try to get them to "raise their standards" with Solaris. Same thing--they'll be nice, they'll be polite, they'll take your suggestions and incorporate them into some database that will get looked at someday when someone is sitting around with time on their hands. But, needless to say, helping you write your software is not frontmost in their mind.

    " Since Mac users can't use our stuff, we don't want them hounding our sales people about it, so we don't let them on our website."

    Now, to me, this is just plain stupid.

    Does your software support Windows 95? Do you ding the Windows 95 users from your website? I assume you also ding anyone using Linux, right?

    "(various rude Mac users' quotes...)"

    While I'll agree about the childishness of these comments, I'd also have to ask who's also being childish. Again, the tone you're giving sounds like a calm and collected version of "We'll take our ball and go home."

    Suppose the users' comments had been "Would you please support the Mac?" Would that have changed your mind? Heck, if you're not supporting the Mac, give the reasons. Be specific--not a general "Apple needs to raise their standards"--but what standards in particular. "We cannot develop our product for Mac OS X until it allows network kernel extensions access to raw sockets." Boom. Heck, if nothing else, you might turn all those rabid Mac people on Apple saying, "Hey! Someone needs this!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:50PM (#10669439)
    I buy windows products, and a lot of them. But I use a Mac to surf the web. So let me get this straight: I'm a potential customer of yours, but you've decided to lock me out of your website based on my choice of web browser?

    Total moron. You deserve the idiots pinging you like that.
  • Well Put (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:56PM (#10669463) Homepage Journal
    I can't speak for anyone else, but I didn't buy a Powerbook to be cool. Believe me, using a Mac you have to develop a thick skin very quickly, as everyone who sees you using one will accuse you of being a crazy evangelist or snobby elitist. (Case in point.)

    If mac users tend to congretate it's for the protection that a herd offers. There are two factors at work here. First is the need to enforce conformity that so many humans feel. The kids who beat the shit out of the kid with glasses because he has glasses. When they see a Mac user they feel the need to berate him for being different.

    Second is the insecurity that many PC users feel. At some level they know that Windows 95+ is a Mac rip-off that's been historically crash-prone and reboot-happy and if they're paying attention they've heard that their Windows systems are insecure and Macs aren't. Some of them also know they're supporting a convicted monopolist. So, they have to excuse this irrational/unwise behavior. The easy answer is that Mac users are weird, cultists, and like ethnic food. They feel justified in not being that way so they therefore justify their continuing use of Windows.

    Then there are the introspective, enlightened lot. We call them "switchers".

    Interestingly enough, I don't see these behaviors from people who use their computers for an essential Windows-only app. They tend to treat their computer as an appliance and not get emotionally entangled with it.
  • by JeffTL (667728) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:11PM (#10669538)
    Some of us just don't like Windows much -- though I personally use Mac and Windows both...as well as Linux, though due to reliability issues and the presence of a good version of Word I use the Mac for all my school stuff.

    Though I will confess that I do tell others to get a Mac -- though mainly when they complain about their Windows PCs. Then they'll shut up about Windows, I have enough trouble with Windows on my Windows boxes at home, but also have a geek reputation and therefore have to take up some of the aspects of the Rabid Mac Zealot (but not the tattoos!) in order to sort of get people not wanting me to fix their Windows machines. I'll still help them to the best of my ability, just mention the Mac while I do it -- and that position may change if and when Longhorn starts turning up, because I'm probably not going to be getting too familiar with it. Plus, I like my friends to not have as many computer problems -- the actual emotion at the heart of the much-touted "evangelism." Yeah, you heard it here; plain old altruism for your friends' nerves, spouses, and pocketbooks, of the sort that has existed since time immemorial, is the reason some people tell others to get a Macintosh.

    The actual Mac lifestyle, if there is one, is actually the lifestyle of there not being a Mac lifestyle, but rather just a state of not having to worry so much about whether the computer will work (unless it's particularly old, of course). As has been said in this thread, there's actually a bigger problem with the need for a Windows lifestyle...and has been recounted, the Windows zealots who will treat those who choose to use a Mac as pariah.

    There are those who go to conferences to see Steve Jobs and stuff, and if it were convenient for me to see Jobs I'd probably do it for much the same reason I'd go see Clinton -- an interesting speaker discoursing on an interesting topic, worth attending for the sheer oratorical value of it. Cicero and Clay are dead, someone's gotta fill their shoes.

    But you know, I think I've just wasted a lot of time yammering -- let me check MacRumors ;)
  • Re:Excuse me? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:17PM (#10669574)
    Yeah, I'm sure that is why people buy Windows. :-P

    I think people tend to feel like their choice in computers is mostly made for them. Want all the apps and games? Windows. Want to be compatable with your coworkers? Windows. Windows is the default. Buying Apple is a choice. Deciding to give Linux a try is a choice. This is why you get so much fanaticism either of these alternatives... because it is a choice rather than just something you get because you want a computer.

    -matthew

  • by MattHaffner (101554) on Friday October 29, 2004 @11:11PM (#10670061)
    Because if the group doing the integrating decides you dont need it, you dont get it.

    Unless the group doing the integrating decides, on a lark, to join [macworld.com], embrace [apple.com], and even contribute [linuxjournal.com] to the open standard/software movement. 'Cause then you might be able to still decide what you want [metadistribution.org] or need [sourceforge.net].

    But that couldn't possibly come from some over [linuxinsider.com] priced [no-ip.com], consumer-electronic excuse [macosxlabs.org] for a computer [weblogs.com], now could it? No way.

    Just keep doing yer thing, man... [homestarrunner.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @11:30PM (#10670166)
    >> I'll still help them to the best of my ability,
    >> just mention the Mac while I do it

    Wow... that's like when the family mini-van breaks down and the mechanic mentions that his volvo is way more reliable and never has this problem.

    All it does it piss people off. People have what they have, and don't care that you have something better.

    >> Plus, I like my friends to not have as many
    >> computer problems

    Yup, because the practical solution for everyone who doesn't have what you have is to immediately sell it, and get what you have. I mean, who cares the fact they are coming to you for help means they have trouble in the first place. Changing things immediately is the solution.

    When will people start helping people to help them, and stop using it as an opportunity to show off?
  • Re:Excuse me? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @11:32PM (#10670180)
    There simply isn't a PC case that's as well-engineered and designed as the G5 case (Or the G4 case. Or the new iMac.) There doesn't exist a cooling system that's as well designed and elegant as the current Apple state-of-the-art. You can't find an operating system that works as well, as elegantly, as flexibly as Apple's.

    I have a HP computer. It's got air ducts which the air can flow through, and the whole system is run by a low speed fan in the power supply. There are rubber pads that hold the harddrive in. The side of the case is the same way. The thing is almost totally silent. The whole thing snaps together too, I can install a PCI card in literally 30 seconds. So who says PC manufacturers can't do the same thing a Apple? (true, it's really difficult to pull something off like this if you build it yourself though).

    Apple's cases don't seem that special. The G4's were loud and kind of ugly. Big case and little room to expand. The iMac has no room to expand. And it's expensive (why would I get an iMac over an iBook/Powerbook?) The G5 is a pretty nice set up though, that they did a decent job on.
  • by JeffTL (667728) on Friday October 29, 2004 @11:44PM (#10670243)
    I never tell people to immediately sell their Windows box, but to consider something different at their next purchasing time. As I said, I help them, but on the other hand I might suggest they look down another path.

    If the mechanic is a paid employee of the Chevy garage, I can see your analogy, but if the mechanic is someone who is just fixing the van for a favor, I can see mentioning Volvo (or as a better analogy, Ford or Chrysler). If you never hear that you may have not made the wisest purchasing decision they're bound to repeat it -- and not consider any alternatives. People should be aware of the alternatives when making any decision; it's simple informed buying. Basically the same thing as using Linux rather than Windows for just reading your e-mail and Slashdot -- cheaper and more reliable.
  • Mac Cultists (Score:2, Insightful)

    by johnnywheeze (792148) on Friday October 29, 2004 @11:45PM (#10670248)
    Now, I own three macs, they're great machines, but they are just that.

    Mac Cultists really creep me out. I remember one past NAB tradeshow, watching this group of 5-7 mac people walking together. From behind, you could see that all of them were wearing IDENTICAL jackets with "Think Different" across the back. Ironic? or just creepy?

    At any rate, everyone knows that there is only one computer that is worthy of religious devotion, and that is the Amiga.

    Thank you,

    The Wheeze
  • by dswensen (252552) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @11:56PM (#10670310) Homepage
    Pleased to meet you. I own a mac powerbook, and I'd like to tell you how much OS X sucks. Why?

    These are some interesting points you make. I'd like to offer my input on them.

    - Only one mouse button. Thats really debilitating. Sure, you can get a USB mouse for a desktop system, but on a laptop you are stuck having to hit the keyboard and the mouse button every time you want to right click. Not that there are ever any usefull funcitons in the drop down menus anyway - Mac applications are designed for people who can't use computers very well to be able to use. Those of us who want more functionality from their applications are stuck.

    I'm using a $25 wireless USB mouse on my Powerbook right now and it works great. I hate track-pads on ANY laptop. I find hitting ctrl-and the trackpad button is a little counterintuitive at first, but eventually I just got used to it.

    As for the contextual menu being useless by default, I rather agree... FruitMenu [unsanity.com] is a neat little app that makes the contextual menu completely customizable, and Menu Master [unsanity.com] does the same for drop-downs. Yeah, they're payware, but pretty inexpensive.

    The phrase "Mac applications are designed for people who can't use computers very well to be able to use" makes me wonder if IHBT, but I'm going to continue on anyway.

    - Window management is rediculous. You can't maximize a window without jumping through hoops. And those pretty eye-candy window control buttons in the tilte bar are way to small and easy to miss.

    OS X is skinnable, so you can find a skin that makes those buttons bigger. Maximizing is different than Windows, and I agree can be a bit counterintuitive, but it's not a big deal in my opinion. Just click and drag the window to its maximum size... the Finder should remember it next time.

    - The Finder is lame. Windows Explorer is crap too, but you can get a lot more functionality out of it if you know where to look.

    I barely use the Finder anymore, as I use Quicksilver [blacktree.com] to launch all my apps and find things. Much easier that way. I actually find the opposite to be true now; the Finder's search function works seamlessly and quickly, while searching in Windows explorer takes too many steps for my taste. For an out and out Finder replacement, Pathfinder [cocoatech.com] looks good, though I haven't worked with it enough yet to know if it's worth the money.

    - Crashes just as often as my windows PC. I bought the thing for stability and have been very dissapointed.

    I hate to be one of those guys that says "my Mac never crashes," but it never does. I had maybe three or four lockups back during 10.2 and none since. My uptime regularly runs into the months, until I need to reboot for security updates. And it's not like I don't try out a lot of new applications, either. It really should not be crashing that much, or at all, if it's running right. You might try doing some maintenance [macdevcenter.com].

    - Safari is way better than Internet Explorer on Windows, but far, far the inferior of Firefox

    I find Firefox way too slow on OS X -- which is sad, because I like Firefox, but it's just too much of a hog on my Powerbook. I've gotten really used to working with Safari, and have very few complaints with it, even compared to Firefox (which I like a lot).

    Don't get me wrong, I think Windows sucks too, and I do appreciate the OS X command line. But OS X's much ballyhooed GUI interface runs a far second behind windows in terms of actual utility.

    So to anyone who is considering the switch, I say, dont. Take the extra money you would blow on a powerbook and buy yourself a nice Sony laptop.


    I would have to respectfully disagree -- I think OS X takes
  • by type40 (310531) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @12:22AM (#10670439)
    Its that Picassoish light bulb. People ask me what it is and I tell them its a symbol for good ideas that no one knows what to do with.
  • by crazyphilman (609923) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @01:21AM (#10670649) Journal
    I know what you mean.

    Up a couple of years ago, I didn't have much use for macs. I thought they were pretty machines, but they just didn't feel all that useful to me. Since '95, I've generally leant heavily towards Linux systems, built from parts. I bought a blueberry iBook as an experiment, but I didn't think it was suitable for my purposes. I ended up giving it to my parents, who never touched it. I ended up selling it on Ebay.

    But when they came out with OS/X, things changed. I got an iBook, and it was perfect for me. I really liked it. I ended up getting my folks an eMac, which solved their virus/trojan problem instantly. And, I found that just about anything I might want to do was there.

    OS/X was the turning point for the company, I think. Their older OSes were pretty limited, but this one is great, top notch. And, my iBook rules, I use it as my main computer at home. Nothing else is as smooth to use, as refined. I really dig it.

    But like you said, I like it because of what it is NOW. I didn't like their older stuff.

  • by zpok (604055) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @01:53PM (#10673899) Homepage
    "My company distributes a product that is not compatible with Macs. Not our fault, we tried to work with Apple to get them to raise their standards in some specific areas, but they're not interested right now. No big deal. Since Mac users can't use our stuff, we don't want them hounding our sales people about it, so we don't let them on our website."

    This reminds me of the joke about the bad salesman who goes "For the last time, we don't have this in stock!" when the hundredth customer comes in to ask for the same thing.

    You go on feeling superior because Apple doesn't go down on all fours to fix your problem, that makes beautiful business sense. Given your attitude, I'm sure they're very motivated to do so.

    Afterthought: how do you treat Windows users who for some reason can't use your product? Like shit, or like customers?

    Really, your generalisations and "people skills" are just the thing that gives COMPUTER users a bad name (not that I care, I don't try to sell them things).

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