Ben is a lifelong Nintendo fan who likes to build websites, and make video games. He buys way too much Lego.
I recently turned to the dark side and got a Mac… well… an iPod Nano to be specific (so not a Mac at all then). It was actually my Christmas present from work and is quite a nice little mp3 player. However, having used it for a few weeks I have a few things to say (about Mac’s in general).
One of the things you will hear absolutely everywhere, is all the Apple zealots talking about the iPod interface and how no-one can do any better, but to tell the truth I’ve found it all rather confusing.
When I first got the iPod it took me roughly ten minutes to work out how to change the volume. I realised it would involve the wheel, which I didn’t have any problem with using, but where was the menu option to change the volume? It was only when I accidentally knocked the wheel whilst listening to a song that I realised you play with the wheel whilst it’s playing to change the volume. To me this is totally unintuitive; there are no icons or clues suggesting how to do, what should have been, an incredibly simple task.
The second problem I have is how on earth do you stop the music playing? There is no stop button. Sure you can pause the music but I did that one morning when I got to work, thinking it would automatically turn off, and when I was getting ready to go home at the end of the day the thing was still on, the backlight eating up the rather short battery life.
All that said, it does look very cool, and the thing is tiny! I didn’t realise just how small the Nano was until I got one.
A quick note for those for those pc users who don’t like the overly restrictive nature of iTunes. I use the WinAmp iPod plugin ml_iPod. This lets me add music to my iPod both at home AND at work (no DRM). It’s not perfect, but at least it doesn’t force the iTunes store down my throat and it doesn’t install Quicktime either (I use media player classic with the Quicklime alternative plugin for that).
Style over Substance..?
Roger over at 456Berea Street recently made a post about The Myth of the overpriced Mac.
Before I go any further I should clarify that I’m a PC user. I have used Macs extensively in the past (I studied Digital Art at university – like it or not I had to use Macs) yet I choose a PC. I work in design and know a few people who use Apple built computers but I choose a PC. I should probably also point out that I think the new MacBook looks rather tasty, and since they run Windows AND OSX I may just get one.
The issue I have (apart from the fact that it’s not a myth – Macs ARE overpriced) is the reasoning.
Until you show me a Wintel PC that is designed with the same sense of aesthetics, feels just as good in your hands, and can run Mac OS X
People buy Macs because they look nice, not because they’re necessarily the best at what they do. I have always found Apple computers to be incredibly slow, and unless you have massive amounts of RAM (Gigabytes) they slow to a crawl very quickly.
That’s what I don’t understand. I don’t care what my pc looks like, or how it feels in my hands. I’m not dating the thing, it’s a tool that I use to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible – how it looks matters not at all
As for using OSX I just don’t like it. Sure it looks nice, but that doesn’t matter if everything is backwards. I always find it amusing that when a new version of OSX comes out you get all the blog posts from Mac fans where they talk about the new features and there is generally at least three or four ‘new features’ that have been available on the PC forever (well since windows 95). I get the impression that Apple, in their effort to keep everything simple, actually make things harder for the more tech savvy user, which is, rather ironically I would say, their average user.
When I was at university everyone used to carry paper clips around with them (including the Mac fanatics) so they could eject their zip disks which invariably got swallowed and wouldn’t eject, no matter how many times they were dragged to the trash (I realise OSX doesn’t use the trash metaphor for ejecting disks any more, but this was before OSX came out). Why can’t they have buttons on the front of the computers like everyone else?
I actually quite like Rogers comparison with cars. You do indeed get what you pay for, and if you want to spend lots of money on a nice looking computer then a Mac is fine, but then again you could get something from Alienware, Shuttle (who did the pc mini long before Apple released the Mac mini) or one of the other pc manufacturers that do custom designs. Sure they’re more expensive, but you get what you pay for!
To tell the truth I don’t care what platform you choose, you should use whatever you’re happiest with. I gave up on arguing over brands years ago, although Nintendo kicks Sony’s arse any day of the week – but that’s a totally different conversation. I just felt like having a whinge 🙂