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Macs vs. PCs

Mac vs. PC arguments are kind of like the nerd equivalent of Ford vs. Chevy pissing contests. They spring up all over the place on the Internet, and a couple of them happened to catch my eye recently on forums that I read regularly. So, I decided to send a reply to one of them, the Ercoupe Mailing List, that I decided to copy on this blog to get it off my chest to a wider audience.

Okay, I'll add my two cents on the Mac/PC discussion, and I'll even get it back to being aviation related, for those getting tired of a pure computer discussion. One of my responsibities where I work is taking care of our flight simulator (http://www.cartercopters.com/cctd_simulator.html - there's a picture of the sim at the bottom of the page). The program we use for the simulator is X-Plane (www.x-plane.com) We used to use an old Mac running OS 9. As newer versions of X-Plane came out with new features that we wanted to run, we needed to get a more powerful computer to run them. I thought about replacing it with another Mac just so I could get a chance to play around with OSX, but when I got to pricing the computers, I just couldn't believe the price difference between Macs and PCs for comparable hardware, so I went with the PC.

Between our old simulator and a computer lab back when I was in school, I got a fair amount of experience using OS 9, and I never really thought it was all that much different than Windows - certainly not head and shoulders better like all the Mac fans would have lead you to believe. I've never used OSX, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's overrated, too.

So, maybe OSX is a superior operating system, and maybe if price were no object, a Mac would be my next computer. But unfortunately for me, price is an object, so I'll probably stick with PCs for the forseeable future. Then again, if all you need is a home computer where just about you'll do is browse the Internet and send a few e-mails, the supposedly superior Mac OS might be a better choice.

The other argument that caught my attention was from a comment thread over at Pharyngula, How Not to Teach Biology. Myers discussed a teacher using PowerPoint presentations during a biology class, and made the comment, "Aficionados of both bad creationism and bad PowerPoint will savor these." And obviously, that drew a few of the inevitable PowerPoint & Microsoft bashing comments. In defense of Microsoft, I've used PowerPoint quite a bit, and don't have any problems with it. Yes, I've seen horrible PowerPoint presentations - but it's the fault of the people creating the presentations. I've seen some pretty bad presentations running off of Macs, too, that weren't PowerPoint based, with annoying animations every time a slide changed.

I'm not trying to defend everything Microsoft's done. They've certainly had some stinkers. I just recently wrote a blog entry complaining about IE7. And where I work, the guy that maintained the website before me had used FrontPage, and it took me a couple months to go through all the websites with Notepad to fix the horrible code that Frontpage had generated. All I'm saying is, I'm tired of people assuming a program's bad just because it came from Microsoft, or that a different program's good just because it comes from one of Microsoft's competitors.

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