Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Time to Skip Out of the Mac Fan Club?

macbookWell, I have to say…I’ve loved my two Macs. It was a big transition — moving from the PC environment to the Mac environment is not an easy thing, and finding workarounds to get your Mac to do things that were SOP on the PC is a time-consuming PITA. Once you’ve accomplished all that, you really don’t want to go back. The rock-solid reliability, the seemingly infinite lifespan, the relative immunity to malware and hacks (not 100%, but at least you don’t have to keep the works permanently gummed up with anti-virus software), the general whimsical charm of the Mac…they’re hard to beat.

But the wonderful little MacBook is aging. I’ve actually worn the characters off the keyboard. Though it still chugs along, sooner or later it is gonna have to be replaced. Guess I’d rather have a computer in place and running before this one falls apart like the Minister’s One-Hoss Shay.

Given the shrieks of dismay from the Apple Fan-boy Legions over the latest Macs, my plan to buy a new MacBook Pro met with a serious pause.

Apple  has gotten rid of all the MacBook’s USB ports, leaving only one hole into which to plug any and all external hardware. And there’s no SD card slot or adapter.

Well. Right now mine, which annoyingly has only two USB ports, is fully occupied with the hard-drive to which Time Machine is backing up these very characters as they’re typed, along with everything else that happens on this device, and with a device that talks to a rodent, should I choose to use a rodent instead of the touchpad. Which I occasionally do. And I often back stuff up for clients onto flash drives.

It looks like plugging in even the few external devices I use is going to consign me to Dongle Hell with the new MacBook. Plus…yeah, it is tiresome not to be able to use Quicken, and yeah, it is tiresome that an e-book designed on a Mac ends up with Kindle-unreadable table of contents…and things. And the new version of iPhoto is annoying, and the weak photo editing software: annoying. And…the fact that Apple has raised the MacBook price significantly is especially annoying.

For about $1400 less than a new 15-inch MacBook, I can buy a pretty damn spectacular PC at Costco, one that has a screen comparable to mine and a built-in numeric keypad (a blandishment whose absence on the Apple machine is another annoyance), and my very own, NOT-rented-in-the-cloud, up-to-date version of Office.

It’s true I’d have to do battle with virus-checkers, a constant annoyance. And it’s true I’d have to back up to Carbonite, which I’d druther not do. BUT I could use Quicken for PC, a mixed blessing because over the past few years Quicken has apparently gone to Hell. As a practical matter, Excel is far better, except for the fact that it doesn’t talk to your bank…and that may not be such a bad thing…

It will take some doing to relearn Windows. But I have a friend who’s a PC Magician, and I think I also can walk into the computer commons at the junior college and ask to be shown how to operate it. Really, all I’d need to do is sign up for a yoga class over there to get access to the computer commons hardware.

So…I dunno. But I’m thinking that without Steve Jobs, Apple is just another computer maker. Apple is no longer Apple.

Welp, speaking of Excel, I need to do some bookkeeping. And so, away!

What’s your thought about the new MacBook? And about the prospect of retrograde movement from Mac to PC?


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Author: funny

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  1. I’ve never myself paid the ‘Apple tax’ for any device, so it’s been PC and Android for me as far as technology goes.

    I know that Windows has gotten a lot better as far as stability, plus the new computers have drives and such that make it tremendously faster then it ever used to be. Obviously there would be the learning curve which would definitely be your biggest frustration. You have to just figure out if that’s worth the money you’ll likely save.

    • Stability is big. Sometimes it seemed like the wind blowing against the front window would bring my old PCs down…honestly, what a PITA. And the _accursed_ antivirus software…holy sh!t. I got very tired of the works being gummed up by those things.

      The Mac is very stable unless you have a WHOLE lot of programs and files within programs going at once. Unfortunately, given the kind of work I do, that tends to be my habit. If I would train myself to close out of any program I’m not working on right this minute, and if I would break the habit of leaving files open when I imagine I might come back to them later today or tomorrow, the machine would rarely hang. If ever.

      The Mac has lasted longer than any of my many PCs have lasted. So I do have to say…if Machine A costs $2,000 and lasts, say, 8 years and Machine B costs $1,000 and lasts 4 or even 5 years, obviously a purchase of Machine B is ultimately penny-wise and pound-foolish.

  2. Apple seems to go where the “kids” are OR the “kids” seem to be where Apple is…..IMHO Apple is directing it’s energies to hand held devices. I see “young folk” all the time using their I-Phones for call, texts, internet, and some composing. So maybe that’s their “computer”. It just seems Apple doesn’t have a lot of interest in the lower margin Mac’s. Add to that the difference in price between Macs and PC’s has grown and the “mystique” doesn’t seem to be as attractive to price sensitive consumers.

    • It’s a very powerful machine, and it’s practically impervious to viruses, so far. As annoyed as I get with the thing, it’s an annoyance IN GENERAL with computers. I found the PC many times more annoying than the Mac.

  3. you could always buy a second-hand Mac laptop from a trusted seller (plenty exist). Macs are hearty computers so while Apple hates that people do this, there is a thriving second-hand market for their computers. A Mac laptop that is 1, 2, even 3 years old can be had for a discount and would still work for you and possibly have all the ports you need (and last you another 5 years). Plus it’s good for the environment and your wallet, a true win-win. My husband’s 2012 MacBook (of the variety that still could have extra RAM added manually), well my brother upgraded the RAM and the hard drive and it is still kicking, quite good I might add. My husband babied his battery so there was no need to replace it but we still might do that in the future.

    • Ah ha! I would like to know how to find such trusted sellers. Got a lead?

    • How do you find these second-hand computers, and how can you know the thing is OK?

      One thing I would like to get for the present aged MacBook (ca. 2011) is a new battery. This one seems be manifesting shorter & shorter staying power…I suspect it’s about to conk out. If there are new batteries that fit in this machine and last longer than two or three hours, I’d grab one in an instant.

  4. I use both Mac and PC laptops in my work. I find that my PCs, while less expensive than a Mac, only last for 1-2 years before needing to be replaced and are usually bulkier/heavier than a Mac. I can usually get 5 years of use out of my Macs. I also like that when I have an issue with my Mac, I can go to the Apple store. With a PC I’m on my own or having to pay someone.

    The new Macbook Pro isn’t knock your socks off amazing, but for all but power users (think application developers) it’s sufficient. The new Mac also eschews the USB-A ports, which have been around since the 1990s, in favor of including 4 USB-C ports which is the up and coming replacement standard for USB-A. When Apple made a similar move away from legacy serial and parallel ports in favor of USB in the ’90s, it set the stage for USB becoming the standard. I see the move from USB-A to USB-C being a similar push. I’ve yet to see a PC that has made the switch.

    For me the Mac vs PC debate largely comes down to user preference. Over time I find the costs tend to even out.

    • Yeah, one thing you have to say for the Mac: it goes on and on and on… The thing runs like the Energizer Bunny. Compared to PCs, I’ve had minimal troubles running it.

      There are some PC things it doesn’t do, or that it has to be forced to do in a cumbersome way. By and large, though, over time one finds work-arounds. Except for the keyboard commands. The fact that Word keyboard commands are Mac system commands: that’s a major PITA. I really do hate pointing-and-clicking…and that time-suck is just part of doing business on a Mac.

  5. This is a timely article I ran across and thought of you. I haven’t had time to look into it but may be something you might peer into:

    • Thanks! That’s an interesting discovery.

      I don’t think I’d turn over one of my Apples — not while they’re working, anyway. If it were completely busted and dead and irreparable, sure. But this machine has a lot of data on it and it still works. So far…

  6. I use a Windows laptop for work and have a MacBook for my personal computing. This wasn’t always the case, though. I’ve always used Windows at my jobs and when I decided to buy my first home computer it was a PC running Windows, too. After several years I got rid of that PC as I was able to use my work-issued laptop for nearly everything. The few times I needed to access stuff that I preferred not to do on a work computer I used my ex-husbands PC.

    Then we got divorced and I was back to just a work-issued computer. I was tempted to buy a MacBook, but decided to instead purchase a high end Windows laptop that was going to cost me about $200 less. That was a big mistake. This was when Windows Vista was the standard OS and it was horrible. I had no idea how much extra work our corporate IT department had put into making our laptops run so well until I was forced to use Vista on a home computer. Wow. After only a year, I gave up and bought a MacBook. Sure, I could have upgraded to the newer Windows that was released the next year, but I had had enough.

    I still have the MacBook I bought back in 2010 and it is going strong. It seems a little slow to launch stuff at times, one of the keys is wonky, and one of the little “feet” on the bottom has come off, but it’s running just great. I had the memory upgraded last year and was told that changing to a solid state drive may help make it speedier, but I’m happy enough with it. Most of what I do on it is cloud-based stuff, anyway.

    For backup I use a WD My Cloud that I bought a few years ago. I think it has 2 terabytes of storage, which is more than enough for my needs. I back up wirelessly, so no ports are needed.

    I can’t say I’ve ever learned how to use the OS well, but I like the reliability of the Mac. It looks like the MacBook Air still has standard USB ports. Maybe you should get one of those before they change it to have the new style ports.