I’m getting a new laptop.
You would not believe how many things go into this decision process. (I mean, actually you probably would believe it, you are reading this on some kind of technical apparatus but… go with it, I needed that writing device right there.) There’s screen size: do I want something small and sassy and portable or something big enough that I can watch movies on it if it’s on my desk and I’m on my bed. There’s harddrive size: I’m too lazy to have an external, so you have to ask, how much music will I have in a year? Two years? Will this hold it all? What about RAM, am I a high performance user? How the hell am I supposed to know if this processor is better than that processor? Do I need a “gaming capable” laptop if my definition of gaming is getting re-obsessed with The Sims for a week every six months? Is there a chart somewhere that will tell me which audio, video and wireless cards suck or don’t suck? Is Toshiba better than Asus? IS ANYTHING BETTER THAN ANYTHING?!
Ultimately, you end up transforming into an unnecessary stress monster who constantly has like eight windows of CNet reviews open and of course, sometimes that stress bubbles over and it all spills out. And when that happens, the recipient of said spilling will almost always reply “Why don’t you get a Mac? If I had the money and needed a new computer, I would get a Mac.” When I say I’m not getting a Mac because I don’t want a Mac, I am invariably on the receiving end of an “Oh poor, uneducated you” look.
Look, Mac people: I get it. Macs are sexy. I mean, I still kind of balk at the way people love to describe computers as sexy – even my mom does it now, yikes – but Macs were kind of made to be described like that. All of them. I am not immune to their charms. When I was twelve, my dad, always ahead of the tech curve, got us our first Mac. It was this giant, shiny, silver laptop and I loved it. My best friend and I used it to make like eight music videos of ourselves lip syncing to Michelle Branch songs (just kidding, I’m pretty sure we only made three) and of course in the process I learned that iMovie is eons ahead of Windows Movie Maker and probably always will be. Macs also really don’t get viruses, which, as someone who has done the whole exhausting three-hour virus-eradicating procedure all by herself twice, I can totally appreciate. I feel like if my grandparents all had Macs I would spend a lot less time on the phone, explaining to them how to put music on their phones or open video files or set up their network connections because that stuff kind of just happens. It’s been awhile since I used iPhoto but I bet there’s a button you can press that will just automatically zip it off to Facebook. Macs are the very definition of user-friendly. They are the perfect machines for a lot of people. I am completely unsurprised they are so popular.
But maybe I don’t like user-friendly. I’m a control freak! I don’t want to zip my photo off to the internet before I stare at it for fifteen minutes, wonder if maybe it wouldn’t look a little better if the color hadn’t come out so blue, zoom in on it so I can crop it down to the specific pixel I want it to be cropped to. (This is all of course totally still possible on a Mac, just not on iPhoto.) I like to arrange my various folders for pictures and photos and everything very carefully, by myself, and I don’t appreciate the way Macs just kind of assume I want it all done for me, zipping around and putting stuff in weird folders and making me constantly have to use the search function.
Macs are so willing and happy to do stuff for you that it always ends up feeling like you are a guest on someone else’s computer. And I don’t get this stuff about Macs not ever freezing or crashing or breaking. Have people who said that ever used a Mac? Because they are clearly unfamiliar with that obnoxious, friendly little twirling rainbow spiral. And clearly they have not suffered from the indignity of having to take a Mac laptop to the genius bar because something’s wrong with it and then having the “genius” guy say he’s done all the diagnostics and he’s pretty sure there’s something wrong with it! Those geniuses are the worst of the smug Mac people: I will never forget the time my mom went to them for help removing a keylogger and the guy told her, without looking at her computer, that macs don’t get those. I am sure it is super tiresome to be a tech person because you are constantly dealing with people who don’t know anything but at the same time, sometimes people know what’s going on with their machines and sometimes listening to them will help you in your noble quest to fix things! Come on.
Ultimately, it is probably true that if you, like, took eight PCs and eight macs and gave them to people and diligently recorded when they crashed and froze, the macs would probably do it less overall. They probably really do break less, too. I mean, you have to realize “PC” is a much more arbitrary category than “Mac”: all Macs are built by the same company, with the same level of quality control going into them. But anyone can buy some parts and put together a PC for themselves, given the tech-savvy. More than twenty different companies put together and sell PCs. There’s just no way to set a bar for quality there. Of course they’re going to break. Sometimes I think Macs tend to break more thoroughly: one of the reasons I am such a stolid PC person is that when my computer breaks, it’s usually a small enough deal that I can Google my specific problem and find a specific solution (either that or it’s my fault: ask me about the time I smashed the screen of my laptop because I was late to pick up my friend at the airport and hastily smashed it in a car door) and delete some file or open it up and clean the fan or install a new keyboard or whatever and voilà! Fixed. It makes me feel cool, like a computer Macgyver. I inherited it from my dad, who is weirdly still a PC-fixing whiz, even though he has completed his transmogrification into smug Mac person and now gets all his computer maintenance done at the Apple store, like all normal, well-adjusted people.
So, is it just me? Would everyone really rather have a Mac? Am I just a PC person out of contrariness? Is price point the only real reason to get a Windows machine? Maybe. But here is the thing, Mac people: I respect your life choices. If you are happiest with your Apple computers, that is what you should always have! I support you! I have zero interest in imposing any of my weird tech values on you. But it is exhausting to be told that I must be an uncreative, conservative, unstylish stick-in-the-mud simply because of my choice in technology. I mean, John Hodgman may not be anywhere near as cute as Justin Long but he guests on stuff like This American Life and Battlestar Galatica. Who knows what inner value us PCs might inherently have? So maybe next time we say something ridiculous about preferring Windows, you could refrain from rolling your eyes until we can’t see you anymore.