Windows vs. Mac – My 10 cents to the age-old debate

Well, how should I start this one? I am not surprised if your thoughts after reading this post’s title go something similar to this, “uh! Not one more of these never ending, 15 year old debate”. Also, there is a high chance you already have your own strong ‘opinions’ about both platforms. I am merely trying to add my own 10 cents to it.

My work – because of its ‘complexity’ – makes it a necessity for me to be well versed with Windows & Linux. Since MAC provides a Linux-similar development setup and Windows similar user environment in one box, my office issued me a Macbook Pro. Being a self-proclaimed gadget geek, I wanted to review it then itself. Later I decided against it thinking its better to wait a bit more and get to know the new toy.

Steve Jobs and his company sure know how to make users feel great. ‘Feel great’ is actually an understatement. The feeling of using a Mac is different. It’s not like using a PC, which is just another tool to check mails or get jobs done. With Mac, the whole ‘computer experience’ is different. Its simply different – in an awesome way. That’s the first and the most important thing I felt after using a Mac. By user experience, I mean whatever the user is directly in contact with - the touchpad or the display or the sound or the cool looks & feel.

I am a person who shuts down my windows pc/laptop after I use it, or else the whole system simply slows down over time. With Macbooks, I just close the lid. It’s just like switching on/off a TV set. I have used many windows laptops and none of them ‘gets ready’ as fast as a Mac – as soon as you open the lid. With Windows, it simply won’t work.

For embedded developers (like me), a Mac is a good choice as it runs a Linux-like kernel. Also, for graphics designers a Mac is the best choice as the display is stunning. There is no comparison.

Being said all that, I still can’t imagine a Mac replacing Windows. Mac allows good Windows integration with Bootcamp (Yes, I use dual boot). I also have a windows VM running in background all the time.

Most of the general-purpose software is available in both platforms. Exceptions are Picasa Photo Viewer or irfan view or gTalk, which I use extensively in Windows. It’s very hard and sometimes impossible to find support for some software especially specialized (industrial) software/hardware in Mac. Another reason I can’t let go of Windows, is gaming. Mac is not an option for a true gamer.

If anyone has a misconception that Macs wont get stuck or there is no Ctrl-Alt-Del in Mac, now is a good time to leave them behind. Macs do get stuck in the middle of nothing, some times even for trivial things like muting. Also they are not significantly faster than Windows, as some may suggest. Its just that Macs always come with expensive and high performance hardware associated with them.

Even though Safari is their flagship browser with a cool look and feel, it's one of the worst browser I have used, till date. It simply won’t work with Gmail or even blogger. It also has compatibility problems. Firefox is not as evolved as in Windows and so most of the times I end up using Chrome in Mac.

The biggest problem of all is that Macs are super pricey. Not only a Mac, but any software or accessory that is associated with a Mac comes with a hefty price tag. A normal Mac is almost as costly as a top class Windows laptop (which makes Mac a rich man's toy, in my opinion).

I can’t conclude in a single statement whether Windows or Mac is better. I would like to put my conclusion in this way. If you are planning to purchase a computer/laptop,
1.    If you are in a budget, don’t even think about going for a Mac, you’ll probably end up bankrupt.
2.    If you have just enough money to buy a Mac, use it to buy a top class Windows machine.
3.    If you have surplus amount of money at your disposal (or your office is providing you the machine), buy a Mac and install Windows in it so that you can exploit the good of both worlds (which is what I am doing currently).

That’s it, I would never choose a 'Mac only world', but having a Mac with Windows is a powerful combination – something I would like having always.

Something’s, I will never get over with!

I felt it again, the same feelings which I felt around 7 years back, when I had to leave everything I knew in my life behind and had to step out in to the open world on my own – yes, I am talking about the time when I graduated. I saw the same sequence of events happening all over again, even though the environment and the people were totally different. It was as though history was repeating itself all over again.

Since I work in a university, I got the privilege of being part of a student club. Last weekend, it was their big annual event and as a club member, I also decided to do my part by helping them out. At first, I was a bit irritated due to the fact that I will loose a hard earned weekend and also I had to get up early (believe me, I cant remember the last time I did that). But it turned out to be way better than what I expected.

I got the opportunity of being in the middle of a bunch of highly motivated undergrad students who are organizing an event. Any one who had organized an event in their school/college days knows how it feels like. It’s too damn hectic and tiring at the time of the event. You have to run around fixing stuff, manage others, and no matter how good the planning is, things go haywire all the time.  But after the event, when you look back, you get the satisfaction of a great achievement. And you feel more bonded with your teammates.

All these totally reminded me of the events I had been part of organizing, during my undergrad days. Even though I didn’t do much this time, I got a feel of it. It was a kind of Déjà vu for me. The people who did marketing/publicity reminded me of those times when we went around looking for sponsors or travelled far and wide with the posters of the events. I could correlate almost anything I saw there to my college days, like the registration team or the participation in the events or rushing with a last minute change or people sleeping in the organizing area who were tired to death. I even witnessed people having crushes on others.

But the moment that inspired me to write this blog happened after the event. When it was only the club members, the juniors decided to give going away presents to the graduating students from the club. There was this very friendly girl among them who got totally surprised by this and as I expected, got emotionally overwhelmed. Tears started flowing from her eyes. The gift only made things worse. It was a collage with all those great moments with her friends. Gosh, that’s when I went back to the time when we all sang ‘Kabhi Alvida na Kehana (never say goodbye)’. I wanted to pass on to her something a very good friend of mine told me precisely at the time when I was feeling really depressed about leaving college. “Don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it has happened.” But then I thought it’s better to let her figure it out on her own. Besides, I am never good with words at moments like these.

I do wonder sometimes, why do we need “goodbyes” and “thank you”s? I feel it too formal. For me, the best thing to do is to just walk away. No “goodbyes”, no “see you”s; just like you are coming back the next day. We don’t say goodbye at the end of a typical day. People say “One must move on when its time to move on”. There are times when I think I have moved on from a lot of things. But moments like these prove me wrong, that no matter what, I won’t be able to get over with some things, that even now, I look back in time and long to relive those crazy & nostalgic moments of my life.