18 March 2009

Mac and Cheesy

(image shamelessly stolen from: http://foozle.wordpress.com/)

I don't care if you have a Mac. Nobody does. Except other Mac users, that is.

I'm not saying you should choose one platform over the other. If you like using a Mac, or a Windows box, or Linux, then you should use that. I am fully aware of each platform's superiority or inferiority relative to others with respect to certain activities or qualities. Frankly, I don't care. I use what I like.

Myself, I am a part-time Windows user, but mostly, I use Linux. Not because it's better, so much, or because I live my professional life immersed in UN*X (in fact, this is a great reason for me to not use Linux), but because it was free, it boots fast and shuts down fast. Really. That's the whole reason why.

It's just that I'm tired of reading about how someone's doing this, that, or the other thing on his or her Mac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, or any of the other instances of that lineage.

How, exactly, does this conversational brand-injection help to convey any idea? Of course if you're actually talking about your Mac, in a way that is specific to it being a Mac, then sure, I can see that. But identifying your computer by brand and model every time you reference it should strike you as a bit elitist, no?

Why not "the computer," "my computer," "online," or nothing at all. It strikes me the same way as a guy who stands around talking about "driving my Mercedes," or "parking my Porsche," or, for all you highschool contemporaries of mine, "cruising in my Camaro."

Maybe it's that Mac folks believe they're part of a move toward a more perfect computing world, free of the iron-fisted control of a corporate giant, and the lemming-like jump off of the Microsoft cliff of the masses at large. I hate to rain on that parade, but Mac isn't a movement; it's a product. Apple Computer is simply selling the market on a free-thinking, revolutionary, counterculture image that just doesn't reflect reality.

Go to any coffeehouse or college lounge. Look around for the big glowing white apples. Lots of them, right? Tough to use your computer as a symbol of free thought or your rebellious, counterculture nature when you're just doing what everyone else does. Seriously, if you think that big apple throbbing on the cover of every MacBook is for anything other than creating more marketshare, you're fooling yourself.

Now, maybe it's that people need everyone to know that they're being creative with their computers rather than stooping to the pedestrian activities of the Microsoft drones. Sadly, and contrary to what people would have you believe, Mac owners, by and large, are not A) in need of a professional audio or music production facility, B) an independent ("indie" for all you hipsters) film producer, or C) a professional photographer.

For some of us, clearly, that is not true, but, for the most part, almost all of us all do the exact same lowbrow crap with our computers. I've been observing for months in my local coffeeshops what people do on their laptops. Shockingly, here is what I find:

  1. Me: Mail, Googling things, social networking, eBay, Craigslist, wordprocessing, and blogs.
  2. Typical Windows user: Mail, Googling things, social networking, eBay, Craigslist, wordprocessing, and blogs.
  3. Typical Mac user: Mail, Googling things, social networking, eBay, Craigslist, wordprocessing, blogs, and telling everyone how much better a Mac is for creative work.
My best guess is that these usage patterns change dramatically at home, each requiring the addition of "porn."

So, yes, perhaps the Mac is a better creative platform, but we as users are, on the whole, not a terribly creative lot, and we probably need to turn down the conversational product-worship just a tad.

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Blogger Leah said...

Love the title! FYI, I use a Mac, and notice how I've never mentioned it. : ) But I completely agree - they can be a very sanctimonious lot.

3:31 PM  
Blogger heath said...

As I write this from my Mac Pro desktop that is running Windows XP Pro, I just wanted to make a slight tweak to your comments. It should have been, ""cruising in my *bitchin'* Camaro."


4:44 PM  
Blogger Mark of NOLA said...

You rock, man!

5:41 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

loved the latest post. read it on my Mac. :)

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was always a UNIX user myself. Then Windows of course. Husband gave me a Mac for Christmas even though he LOATHES them. I have to say that I think, for me anyway, the Mac chatter is solely to irritate other platform users. Because we can. :)

9:00 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

we run a windows shop...and I have a Mac..LOVE the Mac...it's dumbed down just enough for it to be usable.

3:09 PM  

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