Saturday, April 28, 2007

MAC vs PC: Ease of use (or; Along came Vista)

The MAC OS ease of use is legendary. If you’ve ever used one for any length of time you’ll know what I mean.

In my experience, the only people who have ever argued the point are those who have actually never used it or are the type of person my friend Jesus is. He is a “computer guy” (FYI so am I). He claims to be able to fix any and all PC problems (FYI so can I). If you visit his house you would see the panels of every PC and when you ask him, all his computers have some kind of problem that he's “working on”. You see that’s what he want his computer for, to fix/upgrade/tweak. He doesn’t want to run programs or actually do things, he wants to fix his computer and is perpetually doing so. Defrag this, re-install windows that. Thats why the MAC OS doesn't suit him less thing that need attention (FYI my PC works just dandy, and I spend time doing stuff rater than tweaking).

I not really his fault, Windows has always been famous for having to be re-installed after some months the keep it running smoothly (because it simply becoms slugish and problimatic over time). Not to mention unstable. Can you say “blue screen of death”? The problem was then, that you have to be the type of user who can deal with that. Most users aren't.

However with the introduction of Wndows XP, the Microsoft OS offering was finally becoming acceptably stable with a longer install life span.

Theres no question that the Windows family was heading towards user friendliness. On the other hand, MAC OS X has gotten a bit more complicated. No real fault of Apples though, MAC OS has been getting more complicated just as the computing world itself has been getting more complicated. The better the processors become,the more we can do with out computers.

Was it now too complicated? I once wanted to change my OS X so it would auto log on, allowing it to boot without user intervention. So I asked my brother to do it. He had hardly ever used a MAC before and had never used OS X. It only took him about 4 minutes (we timed it) to find the setting and change it (and two of those were me just showing him some non task related MAC things). Yes it would seem that the learning curve on an Apple MAC is still palpable for noobs.

What about Vista, can it claim the same? When I installed Vista I was immediately impressed with its sleek new look. After about five minutes I was shocked to discover the looks are about the only things that have changed for the better. So much had changed that one had to reacquaint oneself with where to do common tasks. Had this been an improvement I would have had no gripe, but burying programs under new topic names is not intuitive. After playing for 10 minutes I was even less impressed, these changes where going to make things harder for a lot of people.

One of the big problems with Windows is that it gives one the impression it was designed for geeks, by geeks. Vista I'm sad to say is not an exception. If anything it the OS that proves the rule. I shuddered to think of all the 'non computer' people who in this world will have to use Vista because they don't know any better.

One of the arguments people like this have always used is that they don't want a MAC because they don't want to have to learn a new OS. “Learning 'computer stuff' was already harder than it should be” (I agree). It always stuck my as a funny kind of argument “I'm not moving to something easy to use and learn because I've gotten used to something difficult”.

For anyone with XP thinking of going to Vista, Believe me, going from Windows XP to MAC OS X would be easier than moving to Vista.

MAC OS X is definitely easier to use.

No comments: