Apple or PC/Windows? The endless debate

I see WordPress has managed to introduce an inconvenient new feature in my absence.

I can just imagine the conversation at WP HQ.

‘Hey have you noticed that cranky roughseas isn’t around at the moment?’

‘Yeah, life’s a bit quiet without her complaining about something all the time.’

‘Well let’s introduce an ‘improvement’ that will annoy her to bits when she returns.’

‘Any ideas?’

‘Yeah, how about we mess around with the Reader on her blogs she follows? When she clicks on a blog post she wants to read, she will get a pop-up window. Then if she wants to look at the actual blog, she will have to click again. When she wants to close the blog, the pop-up window will still be there, so she will have to click again to get rid of that and go back to her Reader.’

‘Great idea. It will so annoy her, two unnecessary clicks. She hates that sort of thing, she is so impatient and doesn’t appreciate developmental design and clever features.’

‘I know, let’s get on with it so it’s all in place for when she returns to WP. She might even blog about it or moan on the forum.’

“I think she’s learned her lesson on the forum, we never pay attention to her silly complaints. But she might blog about how annoying it is.’

WordPress Annoyance Happiness Engineers collapse over their workbenches in hoots of laughter.

So having got that off my not very large chest, on with the rest of the post.

Is Apple just a must-have status symbol and fashion accessory or is it really better than PC and Windows?

When I first trained as a journalist we used tripewriters. The comps (compositors) in the setting department painstakingly put the pages together in the old-fashioned way for production. It was rumoured that management had secret plans to change everything and new machinery was stored in the basement waiting for the right moment, but it never happened while I was there.

However Eddie Shah, and the later Wapping Dispute, marked a milestone in journalism. Wapping in particular, was also a turning point for trade unions in the UK. Ah, the Thatcher years of course. Kill off the unions.

In the civil service, press officers also used tripewriters back in the 80s. Only the secretary was allowed the privilege of a computer, an HP. We dutifully typed up our press releases and she dutifully copied them to her computer and then they were printed off. Back then, the label distribution run took overnight for them all to be printed.

If we were in a rush with an urgent press release, all the press officers would join the clerical staff. Folding press releases, stashing them in envelopes, and sticking the address labels on. I quite enjoyed it. The nationals and Press Association would get a faxed copy.

Meanwhile, also in the late 80s, we bought our first home computer. An Amstrad. I was too tight to pay for hard drive so we loaded up with a floppy and then happily used it for writing and printing estimates.

We sold it a few years later (91, ie 1991, not 91 years later) when we moved to our third house. One of the removal men bought it for £50 so his daughter could use it for games. It was a good computer and was working perfectly when we flogged it.

Next up, the IBM. This was extremely good. Probably the best computer in terms of hardware that I have ever had. But by then, I’d returned to journalism for a few years – using apples of course. I went on design and sub-editing courses – using apples. Working in health service public relations, I contracted work from graphic designers and the local newspapers – again, all using apples. Obviously the health service didn’t use apple, but I’d used them enough by then to have been bitten by the apple.

But I couldn’t justify buying one for home when the IBM was so resilient and reliable. It had Windows 3 point something.

When Year 2000 arrived, I merrily went into DOS, switched the date and we were back up and running. This was in the days when computers came with huge printed manuals and you could sort any problem yourself by looking it up and fiddling with the OS. I still have the manuals. To die for.

One day in Spain, not having a surge protector, because we didn’t even know about them, the IBM crashed during a nasty storm. A Spaniard stuck a new box on the back (couldn’t get one inside because the model was now pretty old) and we were back up and running again.

A few years later, the printer stuffed up. HP Laserjet. This was a serious problem. The rest of the world had moved onto USB and we were still on parallel ports. No parallel port printers or adapters to be had in my part of the world. I’m sure they were available but I couldn’t find any, especially without internet.

As my main use for the computer is always printing documents, letters, etc, it meant not just a new printer, but a new computer. So in 2006, I finally got me a nice iMac. Big screen (largest one available at the time). Beautiful. The first thing to say about Apple is that the design is good. It is not an ugly set of boxes on your desk/table. It is an elegant piece of kit.

The following year in Gibflat, I bought a MacBook Pro. Again biggest screen and highest specification, because I like fast.

When I was looking around in Spain for a computer I went to an English shop where they would build a computer to your spec. I wanted to know what it would look like, as they had no models ready to go. Hmm. Not good. Then he asked what I wanted it for. ‘Oh, just to print out a few things, but I might want more – eg graphic design.’

Music – no

Games – no

Videos – no

I could see him looking at me as though I was an idiot grandma housewife who just wrote a short letter to her children/grandkids back in the UK.

‘I want it fast,’ I said firmly.

‘No, you don’t need a high specification.’

That was a big mistake. I had spent years in the health service printing out 40 page documents only for them to crash part way through – unsaved. This was because the IT manager gave the good new computers to accountants based on her flawed assumption that as they used spreadsheets they therefore needed more capacity than the rest of us who merely wrote lengthy documents, used graphs, and publishing programmes. Luckily she left. As soon as the new manager was in post, I got me a new computer.

Back to my two darling Hals. (For anyone who doesn’t know Hal is a reference to the computer in 2001 A Space Odyssey who takes control of the ship).

Not much after the year’s guarantee expired, Hal MacBook Pro went on strike. He needed a new logicboard (motherboard in PC speak). It cost a fortune. I could have bought two cheap PC laptops for the price of the repair. I lost most of my photos. Just as well for blogs, as at least some of my photos are happily preserved for posterity.

I read later that it was a well-known problem with my year and model of MBP and many computers in America had been repaired for free because of this, even when they were out of warranty. Shame it didn’t happen here.

Next the desktop iMac decided to strike. I revived him recently but he’s cleared off again.

So, to date, two PCs, no problems. Two Macs – two problems.

What about iPhone? Love it. Easy, fast and decent pix and vids. Of course you can’t use the iTunes store for Gib because we don’t yet exist on the list. So no extra apps. Some weeks ago, the charger failed, the shop tested it for free and, using our other charger, it’s back working again. Or at least it would be if I hadn’t left the second charger in Spain. Because … Partner told me we had a new charger for the iPhone 5 that I could use. Except they aren’t compatible. A bit like needing a new (tiny) Sim card for the iPhone 5.

Onto compatibility. Not only can I not charge the iPhone 3G (yes I know it’s old but it works) I can’t activate the iPhone 5 on Hal MBP because the OSX is obsolete. I am on 10.4, Tiger, and you need 10.5 to activate through iTunes these days. Oh, I don’t have WiFi either which is the other way to do it. This is just so wasteful and consumerist. Why should I have to buy WiFi or new software, or a new computer to activate my iPhone? Bad Apple. A Very Bad Apple in fact.

Although, it seems every Windows version under the sun is supported by Apple! Poaching customers from PC/Windows? It won’t work. An iPhone is not the same as a laptop or a desktop. iPhone buyers are not necessarily Apple computer buyers, although I suppose they may buy iPads – I don’t have one of those in case anyone was wondering whether or not I had the complete family.

Record so far with adorable Hals: faults with every product.

Summary of results:

Computer   Apple                             PC

Design        Excellent                        Normally crap tin box style

OS               Superb                            Terrible, Windows should be nuked

Speed          Very fast                         I’m surprised I have any hair left when I use a PC

Problems    Too many                       None

The trouble is that 1,2 and 3 really do it for me. Even in spite of the problems. I can’t see me (or Partner) ever buying a PC again, although I might consider insurance for Hals next time around. Whereupon no doubt I will buy a perfect trouble-free Hal.

And, to return to the beginning – is Apple just a status symbol?

For some I think it is. A long-ago friend sent me a mail some years ago saying she wanted to send me some photos, but she had an APPLE and didn’t know if I would be able to receive them. I don’t think she was very savvy with computers, an Apple was probably wasted on her. So she is a good example of the snobbery brigade rather than the people who use it for the ease of the OS. For anyone of my age (more or less) however, who has worked in graphic design, journalism, photography, it is an automatic choice. A tool of the trade if you like. A bit like my partner not buying inferior paint or paint brushes.

For me it is Apple all the way – in spite of the faults. But one of the other downsides is compatibility. For example, my Canon laserjet printer/scanner will print from Hal MBP but won’t scan. Why can’t these companies provide full compatibility for both Apple OS and Windows? Apart from anything else, if people are going to buy Hals, they are probably going to buy decent quality ie expensive printers etc.

Or, even worse scenario. How soon before Apple and MS join forces and create a very nasty monopoly? Seems unlikely, but who knows?

About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
This entry was posted in blogging, computers, consumerism, journalism, musings, thoughts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Apple or PC/Windows? The endless debate

  1. I could not agree more about that terrible change to the reader. Great for people who like posts without reading them-seriously – but useless for those who read. Can’t figure out if it an be turned off but hope that WordPress realizes that this is a back step. As for PC vs. Mac, I don’t mind either. If you spend around the same money I think you can be satisfied either way. The big deal as I see it is that with Apple ‘s approach you’re pretty much guaranteed a quality setup but with the more open PC you have to be much more careful. Whenever anyone asks me for advice I try and find out which environment they’ll be more comfortable with, taking into account what they are used to doing, and for which platform they’re most likely to easily find Tech support for when/if they need help.


    • Nice to know I’m not alone when I complain about WP. Apart from anything else, I like to click on the blogs to see if I have missed anything (obviously now I have missed loads), and read all the comments. Blogging isn’t just about what I exchange with the writer, it’s what everyone else says too. And to be fair to WP, I do find the dialogue and discussion much better than it was on blogger.

      A couple of comments below suggest that there may be a workround, so I’ll investigate.

      I tend to forget I have computer whizzes reading my blogs. What I really don’t like is the Windows software. It is just too fiddly and full of rubbish. When I bought the iMac some seven years ago, I was disappointed because it all seemed too easy. There was nothing to learn about or experiment with. And of course, that’s part of the attraction. I would take Wndows if it was the same as it was back in the early 1990s, but on my PC, I think it’s Vista, it is just a pain in the neck. And don’t even start me on explorer. Even the internet cafe I use in Span has Safari, Opera, may have Chrome and Firefox, not sure if it actually has Explorer.

      I think if you know what you are talking about it’s ok giving advice. I was annoyed with the chaps in the computer shop telling me I didn’t need a high spec. I do. I’m sure all the experts in the world would say I don’t, but I do. So that is that. I want to have 50 windows open at once, whether on the internet or just on the computer, I want everything to be done faster than the speed of light, and I want to be able to produce huge documents and fiddle around with graphic design.

      Rather than give advice, I would just say why I like one and don’t like the other. But one of the reasons for this post was to put some objectivity into it, and say that I have had hardware problems with every single Apple product (technically not the 3G iPhone as the charger I was using came from a 3 that was nicked three years ago – nicked from me, I mean not by me, so I still had the charger), and none with my Amstrad or the brilliant IBM. Actually I should have added that the CD mechanism on the HP laotop doesn’t work.

      As for tech support, the apple forum is pretty good. I contacted HP about some printer problems (HP printer at the time) and they were appalling. -50 on a scale of 1-10. I couldn’t work out whether the replies came from bots or someone reading from a Q and A sheet but the replies bore no resemblance to my questions. Plus I do have an Apple shop five or ten minutes walk away which helps, even though it is pricey.


      • Yes, I just tried clicking on the time stamp and it seemed to work. I still don’t like it and am still convinced it’s to encourage lazy likes and pretend reads.
        On the bright side I will say that wordpress seems to have slightly fixed the so-called upgrade they made to the android app. An “upgrade” from about two weeks back totally messed up the stats section. It’s almost back and working as well as it was before the upgrade, but not quite. They still haven’t fixed the annoying but in the reader that only allows me to read a few posts before going back to the home screen and refreshing. Wait–double annoying because if I simply scroll quickly through, load a bunch without actually taking the time to read (just skim the headlines) it does not do that. It only bottoms out when you read and comment. Once again, WP seems NOT to encourage people to read and comment 😦
        About HP, in a recent article, they were rated dead last (out of a field of 10-12 – I forget the actual number – of larger manufacturers) in terms of tech support. Asus rated highest, Apple 3rd and HP was, as I said, last. Presently there are 7 working laptops in my household: 3 HP, 2 Dell and 2 Toshiba. I’m happy to say that none has given any hardware trouble at all…so far. There are also 6 smartphones: 2 iphone 4S, 2 Samsung Galaxy S3, 1 Sony Xperia T and 1 LG Raider. Again, no problems so far. There’s also a slew of gaming devices and the only trouble has been with the XBox-360, which has fried totally twice. LOL–no surprise there given the use it seems to get.
        As regards specs when I get a computer for myself I use much the same mentality as when I’m getting a car: as much power as I need but not one bit more. My present laptop has an i5 processor. That’s right in the middle of Intel’s line. My work laptop had an i7 and I found that I just did not need it and figured I had better things to do with the approximately $300 it would have cost me to to have that in my one at home. Now, on the other hand, an i3 would just not have cut it, even though that would have shaved off $250 from the cost. Likewise memory. I have 6gigs of onboard memory on my current machine and find it just right.
        Sometime over teh nexy year I will get another computer. I know this: I do not like windows 8! I feel about it the same as I did about Vista–horrible! It seems like Microsoft wavers between great (Win 7, win XP) and horrible (Windows ME, Vista and 8). Mac always seems to get it right. When its time I certainly will be considering a macbook pro (I love the look and feel of the airs but just can’t read the dinky screens). In the end it will come down to (1) does MS have a decent operating system at the time because 8 is a non-starter) and (2) Can I afford the apple macbook pro.


        • I just think it is unnecessary, but am pleased there is a way round it. I just have to train myself to click on the right part and NOT on the title. I don’t use reader on the mobile, but I do have a few blogs bookmarked for when I need a desperate fix, one of which is yours. I just don’t comment from the mobile as it’s too expensive. But sometimes I need something interesting to read.

          HP used to pretty good, but I have to say I think they are appalling now, not just in terms of support but the products are crap too. While my laserjet is a canon, my colour printer is brother, which seems pretty god, touch wood. I would go out of my way to avoid buying HP these days which is a shame as years ago I did think they produced quality kit.

          I did consider Dell at one point, they were meant to be pretty good back in 1990 something. I remember you said you had a variety of ‘phones.

          The car analogy is good. I could do the same. As much as I need and when I want more, I want it to be there. Which is why we have a V8 Series III Land Rover, a 3.5 diesel Santana six pot, and a TD5 Defender. I like to have something in reserve.

          Laughing at your spec though. I’ve got a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, and 2 gigs memory. At the time it was top of the range, which is why it’s still good enough now. I want my computers to last rather than replace them every few years when they slow down.

          I’m not even sure if I have XP or Vista on my HP, seeing as I can’t find all the connections to get the damn thing to plug in 😀 Either way, the software is still rubbish.

          I wouldn’t get an air. A bit like I wouldn’t get an iPad, but I like solid. I think the Pros are good although I see they have shrunk them in my local store. Mine is 17″ and the biggest now is only 15″. I love me big screens. Top of range Pro in gib is £1840. Bet it will be cheaper where you are. As usual the price actually hasn’t gone up over the years, it wasn’t dissimilar when I bought this one six years ago.

          As ever it depends how you want to use your computer. Based on my experience though, if you do go Mac, get the insurance. But on the bright side, I’ve never bought security software.


  2. Vicky says:

    Check out M4Fun, he had the same complaint regarding WP, with a way around it too.
    As for Apple (which I bought for photography) v PC, no contest, as Im finding out this very minute while logged into WP on my mums Windows laptop It so ****ing slow!!!!!!!

    I brought my iphone with me, but the rest of my Apple family is back home, which I’m guessing T is enjoying.


    • Aaagh! M4F and I have something in common?! I suppose that doesn’t surprise me 😀

      Apple is very visual and always has been. So although normally in journalism I was just typing in copy, of course the subs were doing design and layout. I remember a comment from Mags on FB once that always stayed with me. She had bought a new Apple and someone had asked her why she had spent so much money when she didn’t have a lot at the time, and she replied about being a graphic designer. To me she didn’t need to say any more, but I guess to someone who hasn’t worked in the fields of media/design/photog it meant nothing.

      Have to admire your mum at her age having a laptop though! Even if it is Windows.

      Ah yes, T will be happily appling the sport eh?


  3. Oh, yes WP has been busy. The big thing seems to be making stuff display on cell phones/small tablets (easy to read and manage)…always the mystery workings behind the scenes…
    Laughed over your keyboards I have known progression – so similar.
    Now on Apple. Our office computers are PC due to the engineering programs piled in there – but old trusty became too quirky and was replace a month ago with a new PC…with the latest Window software (since they won’t let you have the old versions you are used to and could do in your sleep – and no support for those anymore), And it’s been a nightmare.
    Probably the last PC coming in here.
    The perfect opening line!


    • I hate using the ‘phone for internet use. And I don’t have a tablet, which seem to be a cross between a phone and a laptop, so wd rather have one each of those than a compromise, but each to their own.

      It’s sad that I bought more computers in two or three years than I did in nearly 20 😦

      Racks me off that there is no support for old systems. A bit like my Apple OS X 10.4. Works fine for me, so I see no need to spend more money upgrade to the latest brightest OS X.

      Perfect opening line? Is there such a thing?


  4. I’m with you all the way! 🙂


  5. pinkagendist says:

    There’s a way around the double clicking. Instead of clicking on the title you click on where it says 872 (or whatever other number) more words…


  6. EllaDee says:

    Well, WordPress had to do something to get your attention 🙂 Now that you mention it, I noticed the chnages to but they mustn;t have annoyed me enough to really register.
    Currently my life is PC based work and at home, but have happily used Mac in a desktop publishing environment.
    I think much depends on individual circumstances – both had pros and cons but I’ve had few problems with my PC’s, although my needs are modest.
    Mid year I supplemented my trusty old Toshiba laptop top with a Toshiba Ultrabook with a slide out keyboard, and the regrets I thought I might have had didn’t eventuate. It’s fabulous and just what I wanted, fortunately, because I did hell of a lot of research before I made what will be at least a 5 year commitment.
    My old Toshiba laptop started running a bit hot with multiple internet browser windows open, apparently a common problem that develops as they gte older and not worth fixing. It will now reside at TA as a e-photo album and player of music, as I spend a lot of hours burning all our CDs to it.
    And that is my answer to the question of Mac vs PC; patience and due diligence, and you will get the best product for you.


    • Multiple windows open is one of my main requirements. I can’t work with a window at a time, I need lots and lots open all at once, which is why Apple works well for me, because it caters for that sort of market. As soon as anything starts hanging, I go ballistic.

      I think if people don’t have a specific reason for getting a Mac then a basic PC will do the job, and no need to waste the money. My first two computers were probably the best I’ve had in terms of hardware, and the software was nice and simple two. But, regardless of all that, I love the Macs. One of the good points about deciding to go with Apple is that you don’t need to spend a lot of time researching, you just decide what model and what spec.

      When I was buying a laptop PC it was a nightmare. Plus salespeople are neither use nor ornament. And as for ethical shopping they are all pretty crap, inc Apple. Ethically I should use pen and paper to communicate, and a cafe/library for internet. But even I’m not going back into that cave.


  7. Iquitoz says:

    We have used both PCs (at work) and Apples (at home). Apple wins hands down in my opinion. I just gave my three year old iPad One to my son and purchased the iPad Air. What a difference! This summer we had to replace our 7 1/2 year old iMac with a MacBook Pro. The iMac did need a new logic board after three years. That has been the only problem we have experienced with any Apple product we have owned since the mid 1970s. Would always pay more for quality and ease of use.


    • I’m wondering if my iMac needs a new logicboard. I don’t feel like forking out for one of those again. It would be more sensible to just buy a new MacBook Pro. I’m convinced there is a built-in failure with the logicboards to make you either buy the insurance or even better, a new computer. I don’t really think Macs should have dodgy logicboards. Not for the cost, and it doesn’t go with the quality reputation. But I still keep buying them.

      Mid 70s??!! I was at school then. I’d probably not even heard of computers let alone Macs!


  8. Good points about the Reader although I have to say that I really haven’t found it so much of a bummer as everyone else seems to have!
    Never had a granny smith so don’t have any real thoughts about the apple!
    Anyway, nice to see yo back after your prolonged Spanish sojourn!


    • Hi Andrew. I swear WordPress happy little engineers go out of their way to rack me off 😀
      Extra clicks are not advantageous, especially for irritable impatient people like me. My requirements are so simple, extremely fast loading, to be able to scan loads on a screen (instead of scrolling down endlessly), and as few clicks as possible. What’s difficult about that?

      Granny Smiths aren’t what they used to be. I loved them, and then they started to taste funny as though they had been coated with with a) plastic b) DDT or c) possibly both. Consistency changed too. I think I have Fuji in the fridge at the moment, whatever the hell that is.

      Thanks, but I still haven’t worked out whether it’s nice to be back or not. Probably not helped by the first deadline to meet was the annual tax return by last Friday, and now I’m faced with three months of cleaning and tidying the flat. Doing not very much at the finca is looking very good right now, am trying to find an excuse for another three months off.


  9. Margie says:

    You are not alone in your frustration with the ‘Happiness Engineers”! I think WordPress, (and every other software company), is constantly changing things that don’t need changing and not changing things that do need changing!
    I’ve been using PC’s for years and though I am fluent in MAC too (and have an iPad and iPhone), I think I will continue to buy PC’s in the near term because there are just so many computer models and manufacturers to choose from.


    • Some of them are ok. But you need to ask them the right questions and even then they can’t always resolve something, eg my import of one of my blogs from blogger. Yet Kathryn (spl?) gave a really sensible answer about what sort of info to provide if people had a query, iie how much coding do you know. I doubt most people blogging are fluent in HTML let alone CSS.

      I don’t know anyone who has bought a Mac that has ever gone back to PC, cost maybe rules? They are expensive. I don’t have an iPad, but given that I have an iPhone and a MacBookPro and an iMac I don’t really think I need one. I just can’t bear Windows, it is too frustrating for words.


I appreciate any comments you leave, so long as they are relatively polite. And thanks for reading.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s