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May 07, 2014

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I've had a Macbook for 4-5 years now. The only thing I had to do was replace the battery. That is extremely easy to remove. I don't do my own computer repair so I can't talk about ease of service for any other part, also I have never needed to service it. Also, if you have an Apple store nearby, they will clean it for you at no charge. I've gotten in the habit of taking it in yearly just to get the dust, etc. out. If you are storing everything on the Cloud, you may want to look into Seagate backup drives. They are several Terrabytes and some of the models back up over WiFi, so you can back up things like an Ipad or Macbook Air with no problem.

As you noted, there aren't as many apps as a Windows machine will have, but what apps are out there work pretty reliably. The one weakness is the power cord. Apple finally gave up and if you bring your broken made by Apple power cord to a Mac store they will replace it for free. Which is nice because I went through several until I found out about the free replacement thing.

I hope that helps.

I built myself a new computer last year. It was pretty easy and not that expensive, although I have been doing this kind of thing for a long long time. I know every component in it and I can get suitable replacements delivered to me overnight if necessary.

Obviously you can't do this with a laptop. My advice for that is just to buy something cheap. Even the cheapest laptop has far more computing power than the average user really need. Keep your files back up in several places - cloud, thumb drive, home server - and when the laptop breaks, toss it and get a new one.

Yes, it's kinda crappy that you can't fix your laptop these days, but the fact is that that's always been problematic. I used to fix my laptops back in the day and it was always a bear of job, even for minor nonsense like replacing the keyboard.

Truthfully, the number of people who would even want to fix their laptop is pretty small. It doesn't pay to make the unit bigger, heavier and more expensive so that the one person out of a hundred who buys the thing can fix with when it breaks.

Sorry to burst the bubble, but until the skinniest iMac, we were absolutely able to work on every other Mac: replacing power supplies, changing hard drives, different video cards etc.

And using 'Fanboy" is a dead giveaway that we're not going to be talking science here.

For Apple and Dell, I'd suggest looking at iFixit. Their teardowns include an assessment of repairability. Unfortunately, I can't think of anything from either they've been happy with recently.

My personal recommendation for repairability is Lenovo. They still publish the service manuals for ThinkPads (does any other OEM these days?), so you can look them over in advance and decide what you are and aren't comfortable with. I wouldn't worry too much about losing your educational discounts if you go with them. If you haunt the various internet coupon sites for a few weeks a "friends and family" offer should pop up that should be very competitive (if not better).

That being said, my other recommendation for minimizing laptop downtime is to just pay extra for an extended warranty, with accidental damage protection and next-business-day on-site service. Unlike most other gadgets, extended warranties on laptops can easily pay for themselves. In my experience, laptops are reasonably likely to break at least once during their expected life - at which point the reduced downtime and access to the manufacturer's lower repair cost both become extremely valuable. If you intend to keep using the laptop longer than the longest offered extended warranty, you may still care about repairability after that, but that's not an argument against buying as much warranty as you can.

If the choices are Dell or Mac, I'd actually consider recommending the Mac. And I say this as someone who feels great satisfaction at never having bought anything from Apple. The top-of-the-line Dell that proceeded my current extremely-cheap, bought-on-sale, 4yo-and-nothing-replaced Gateway (which accompanied me to Afghanistan and back, TYVM) slowly fell to pieces over three years of routine usage, with one of its chronic woes being overheating. My last professional laptop, also a Dell, was likewise plagued by overheating, amongst its many woes. I've had a few Dells that gave me little trouble, but they seem pretty hit or miss from model to model.

I'm a confirmed Mac user, but my daughters' laptops have been from Acer.

We've found them to be cheap & reliable (apart from the power cord, which seems to have broken on every laptop we have owned... when ordering a replacement, pay close attention to the Amazon reviews).

Buying a midrange model, and aiming for a 3 year life works out pretty inexpensive compared to most other family expenses.

For permanent backups, BRD burners and discs are now affordable.
20GB or so per disc isn't really enough, but I don't trust hard drives, and the effort is worth it for essential/irreplaceable stuff.

I'd purchased quite a bit of perfectly legitimate indy music at MP3.com, and being a troglodyte who remembers when dinasaurs roamed the Earth, (Or, anyway, learned to program on a computer using core memory, which is much the same thing.) went to the extra expense of getting shipped CDs. Despite the perpetual right to download it to any computer I was using.

Came in handy when the mainstream recording industry won that lawsuit, took them over, and deleted all the legal content without warning, in violation of numerous contracts.

Put not your trust in the cloud. Keep your data on physical media in your own possession. At least that way they have to break into your house to steal it.

"I found a YouTube video of someone dis-assembling the related NP355, and followed along (deeply amused by the guy's Scots accent.."

and it was all wonderful, until he got down to the Warp Drive and started pulling the dilithium crystals, and I started to have doubts.

FIFY.

Physical backup onsite of important documents.

The sprog might not be able to afford an external hd, but you can! Looks like a terabyte for as low as 60 USD from Best Buy - you could probably fit two average laptops' entire contents on one of those. I could fit all my documents and personal settings on a USB drive, if I needed to move in quickly to a fresh install. And physical media can last for years. We've got one that's like 6 years old and slow but perfectly functional.

I assume you're thinking about the sprog who is preparing for AP tests moving away from home. If they are going to be more than an hour or so away, backing up to a home server like chuchundra says will probably not be practical (OTOH, backing up to a home server/a desktop's internal storage, is a simple and very convenient method if you have a settled residence). I would say hd (everything or almost everything), USB (minus media files) and cloud (everything). You can get free backup programs that make this easy, and I think automate it as well.

If you really want to back up a batch of music or video files - but not hundreds of gigs' worth - then buying a stack of burnable DVDs is probably best (if your laptop has an internal DVD burner). I wouldn't trust the Cloud to safely store music you've bought and want to hold onto.

We've had good experiences with a couple of Asus laptops. That said, not good enough that we wouldn't have been screwed sometimes if they were our sole computer. Barring paying extra for those extended warranties mentioned by Ravi, Apple is now the only source for even somewhat trustworthy service and repair that I (and perhaps most people?) even know of. That makes up for the price difference for some people (not me, but I'm cheap).

Perhaps if you could order a laptop with extended warranty etc etc from a chain store with a branch local to the sprog's college residence?

Yogi,
She said that Apple products weren't modular, had fewer options, and that Apple's walled garden approach is actually at odds with their marketing shtick. She also complained about how laptops in general are harder to do serious repairs on.
To my reading, those are two quite distinct thoughts. Ironically, she even includes Apple in her list of possible vendors, but that can't save her from your displeasure- she has said bad things about Apple! And also suggested that some Apple users irrationally defend its products! How dare she!

Interesting that you use cars as a comparison. Once upon a time, you could repair a car yourself in your garage (outside major repairs requiring a crane). But today, about all you can do is change the tires and the oil. There are so many computers, and they are all tied in together that you need your mechanic's computer tools to figure out what is wrong. And, frequently, to fix it.

Gotta second Brett's note. And not only am I reluctant to store stuff in the Cloud, I try not to keep much on my laptop's hard drive either. When it's all on an external USB drive, I can stick all of my files in my pocket, even when I have to leave the laptop home (or in my hotel room). The chances of the thumb drive (and thus my files) getting physically stolen are thus reduce to nil. (Not that I expect my files to get stolen for themselves. But the laptop might be -- and there goes a lot of stuff I don't want to lose access to.

Percysowner:

I didn't know about the free cleaning service, that definitely tips the scales towards Apple when looking for college-student laptops. A *lot* of the problem with laptops is, well, *laps*: full of fibers and pet hair and crumbs and every kind of dust. No wonder they so often get fan/power supply problems.

I'm struck by how many of you report power-cord issues with your laptops, regardless of brand. Sprog the Elder had so many power-cord problems with her old Lenovo that she swore she'd never buy that brand again, but maybe it's just something about the basic technology. They can't seem to make the right kind of connector between the poower supply (inside the laptop) and an external source.

Put not your trust in the cloud.

On this, Brett Bellmore and I are in perfect accord.

learned to program on a computer using core memory

and punch cards, amirite?
Probably FORTRAN or, if you were lucky, PL/1

I wasn't so lucky, and first studied algorithms and numerical analysis programming in IBM BASIC on an actual teletype, editing using the BASIC interpreter's built-in line editor, and using punched yellow tape as the storage medium. The host computer was an Itel AS/5 running IBM MVS/TSO, with 4 entire megabytes of core memory.

I stiffen the power cord at the junction between the laptop-end plug and the rest of the cord with electrical tape. I think our HP laptop will fall apart structurally before the power cord or the internals fail.

I'm shocked at everyone here simultaneously lamenting endless dearly departed power cords. I've always had one or more laptops for more than a decade now, and that's one part that I've never had trouble with. Even the Dell that had almost every other part fail in turn before I gave up on it had a perfectly functional power cord from delivery to decommission. What am I doing wrong?

What am I doing wrong?

You are most likely properly grabbing the "cap" or "plug" ends of the power cord to disconnect from the outlet and/or the device in lieu of simply grabbing the cord at some random spot in between and yanking on it.

This marks you as a fuss-budget. :)

Would anyone like to talk about power chords?

does john gruber know you're saying unkind things about apple?

What am I doing wrong?

Not moving around enough while said laptop is plugged in to the mains.
Or tripping over the cable... Or reading in bed a lot.

Mainly not being a teen.

The point of failure is invariably the cable just before the laptop jack. It's why Apple introduced the magnetic connectors while back.

I've been required to start using a Mac laptop at work instead of the Dell running some flavor of linux I'd been happily using for the last several years. I find the Apple company-town software thing annoying, the OS as if it's designed to piss me off, and the mac versions of libreoffice totes lame, but I must commend the hardware. The lightness of this macbook pro is exceedingly convenient on the many days I can't get a seat on the train but still want to work for the half-hour it takes to get into the city. And indeed, the power cable is a nice design. I think I've lost a power cable every 18 months or so before this machine.

Carleton wu:
"Despite what many Apple-fanboys have long appeared to believe, the attraction of PCs over Macs has *always* been centered on the fact that PCs are modular, both for hardware and for software. You have more options for which monitor or hard drive or spreadsheet program you use, you can customize.[1] "

That's actually an untrue statement, said the man who is currently typing this on a mac, next to 3 different unix and Linux devices, while the PCs reside in a separate room.

So, despite your fail at identifying me as an apple "fanboi" (Christ, at least get the spelling right), the reality is that the fact that macs weren't "modular" had little or nothing to do with why they were a distant second in corporate buying, which drove acceptance in the home market. Price, availability, programmers all were at a premium for years, and no business was willing to be teh poster boy for early adoption until the creatives got into it.

(Or, anyway, learned to program on a computer using core memory, which is much the same thing.)

Indeed. There are still those of us who remember that "core" was an actual physical thing.

And I don't trust the cloud either.

hsh: I am always happy to talk about power chords, although depending on the context (e.g., Debussy) I may call them "open fifths."

Core memory was so bulky you could easily see each bit with the unaided eye.

I buy Dell Latitudes because they've been very reliable for me personally and for a number of businesses I've worked with. The downside is that they aren't cheap. I always spring for an extra $300 or so for a several-year warranty with next business day on site service and accidental damage coverage. That buys me a laptop that is almost never unavailable even if I drop it or a family member dumps a can of Coke on it. Though the upfront price is a bit steep, the total cost of ownership is very reasonable, particularly when you consider the time and frustration I don't have to spend if something goes wrong. My current Latitude is in it's third year of a four-year warranty. It has needed a new battery and a new CD drive since I bought it. The upside of the warranty is that I know there will not be an unexpected expense until the end of the warranty (barring theft, but I can control that reasonably well).I bought it refurbished from the Dell Outlet since they cost less there but you still get a good choice of the same warranties as a new one. In my experience, Dell's cheaper models aimed at the home market are significantly less reliable and harder to fix, even for professional service people.

As you say, for me, a laptop is like a car. It's a necessity, not a luxury and downtime is a disaster. I don't go looking for the cheapest car I can find nor one I can fix myself. I look for a car that's going to be there when I need it with very few exceptions.

I have nothing against Apple (I'm typing this on an iPad) or Macs, in my experience they are quite reliable. Like Latitudes, Macs are expensive and, unlike Dell, Apple doesn't like to sell warranties that will cover the reasonable lifetime of a computer.

Doretta,

I don't know anything about Dell's extended warranty, but I can say that I have found AppleCare a good investment. It gives you three years, and includes technical support which has solved more than a few problems for me. It's the only tech support that I've ever found remotely helpful.

personally, i hate laptops. they're always underpowered, awkward to use, bulky to carry unless they're too small to have any kind of utility at all, etc..

the best thing about laptops is that they fit on my bookshelf. that means i can buy a cheap one and dedicate it to serving internet video and music from iTunes to my A/V receiver.

long live the desktop!

Yogi,
That's actually an untrue statement, said the man who is currently typing this on a mac, next to 3 different unix and Linux devices, while the PCs reside in a separate room.

No it's not, said the man who has been a sysadmin for 15 years from his corporate mac, a few floors above the rooms of *nix, mac, and windows servers (and switches, fws, etc) that he tends. Seriously, you do not want this debate settled by who is tending more devices, especially if you think "3" is a big number on that score.

Bluntly, that's a big part of the Mac "it just works" philosophy. It's *upside*, for people who don't want to tinker. It's why my parents have macs. You may want the Mac to be simultaneously the most powerful, most flexible, simplest to use, etc system, but in the real world there are usually tradeoffs involved. Not necessarily 1-1, some products are actually better than others, but still- 'most flexible/modular' and 'simplest to use' are usually in tension.

So, despite your fail at identifying me as an apple "fanboi" (Christ, at least get the spelling right)

That was Doc Science- reading comprehension pls. You will not last long here if you cannot consistently 1)identify the actual argument being made and 2)who is making it. So far, 0 for 2.
Also afaict "fanboy" and "fanboi" are basically interchangeable (based on google hit numbers). "Mac fanboi" may be a popular choice (slightly edging out "Mac fanboy" 42k to 34k), but it's a little hysterical to call upon a deity to aid you in coping with the slightly-less-popular spelling.

the reality is that the fact that macs weren't "modular" had little or nothing to do with why they were a distant second in corporate buying, which drove acceptance in the home market. Price, availability, programmers all were at a premium for years, and no business was willing to be teh poster boy for early adoption until the creatives got into it.

"The reality" is a shortcut for "my opinion". You're entitled to it. Not particularly interested in debating the point; not a particularly interesting point IMO.

You merrily skipped past the reason I originally corrected you: your snarky correct of a point that Doc Science didn't actually make (ie that Macs are *difficult to repair*). Shall I take it that you understand your error and your silence is a not-particularly-classy way of admitting a mistake, or were you so excited to correct my(?) spelling of "fanboi" that you forgot about that point? Or perhaps is this more along the lines of 'extremism in the defense of Apple is no vice'?

My advice:

1) I've found Apple Store service to be extremely good for my iPad, iPod, iPhone. I have no idea of how it works for their laptops.

2) The BALAC will likely have a Dell/Apple choice, and either offer a 3-year warranty or bundle it. Pick one, and get a really good warranty with next-day service. My university bundles as a requirement. I figure that they decided to get out of the major repair business.

3) Get an external hard drive. The portable ones will run $100 or so (better on sale), and will hold the laptop's contents plus extra stuff, and can be carried in a pocket. Add Carbonite to that, and you will have double back-up, with one local (I agree with Brett on that - mark the date!). Carbonite offers tiers of service, with the premium tier offering something like rush shipment of a hard drive, in addition to online retrieval.

4) Make sure that your kid preserves all original DVD's and license materials for user-installed software.

5) Call the BALAC's computer store, or better yet, stop by. Everything which you anticipate is something which they deal with several times an hour. They'll know which things give the least trouble. They'll know which standard things they are used to dealing with, and can reliably fix quickly and easily.

6) I've used a cheap Lenovo, from Best Buy ($330) for a few years. It's offered good service. It comes with mother-@$%@#$, father-%@#$%@#% crapware, so assume that with anything other than a Mac, you should budget $100 to reinstall Windows, to cut out the crap.

It's *upside*, for people who don't want to tinker.

That would be me.

I write code all day, when I'm home I don't want to think about computers or devices or software or compatibility or whatever.

There are only about million other things in the world to be interested in.

At home I use a Macbook Pro, Mac OS X.

I read email, browse the web, and run music apps. The Mac works great for all of that. I've had it for a few years now, and have had absolutely zero problem or issue with anything. It's dead bulletproof.

Different strokes.

Cool, a Mac vs. Windows fight on ObWi -
do go on :)

Get an external hard drive. The portable ones will run $100 or so (better on sale), and will hold the laptop's contents plus extra stuff, and can be carried in a pocket.

Unless you're talking top-of-the-line, they're even cheaper. Their prices have been dropping fast. You can get a mildly-obsolete 500GB for ~$50 not on sale, a 1TB for ~$20 more not on sale (or $40-50 on sale or with a rebate), and 2TBs for ~$100-110. Unless you're storing a pile of media, even just a 500GB will probably do quite well to back up a laptop, though I'd still spring for a 2TB. I snagged one on Black Friday for ~$90, and am almost disgusted that it's barely larger than a chunky smartphone from a few years ago. Ah, technology...

i use a portable USB drive for monthly full backups. every month i do the backup, then take it to work and put it in my desk.

i trust the cleaning people not to swipe it far more than i trust 'the cloud'. plus, the bandwidth of a car carrying a 2TB drive far exceeds my upload speed from home.

"a Mac vs. Windows fight on ObWi"

Im not going to defend Windows except for saying: it's an easy default when everyone else is using it (eg most businesses), and might as well play games on the OS they were designed for (although that's less of an issue than it was 5 years ago, old habits die hard).
I wouldn't even defend linux against mac for a desktop- desktop is all about what works for you, and if linux doesn't work for you as a workstation then go suck eggs good for you.

That's the reason I might buy an apple product soon- ipad has become the standard for board game implementations, and while Im fond of android for phones Im not religious about it. Whatever does the job.

Get an external hard drive.

If you're willing to distinguish between stuff that needs backing up (ie data) and stuff that doesn't (ie OS, apps), you can probably back up to a flash drive (unless you do a lot of data-heavy stuff like movie editing). You can stuff quite a few term papers and selfies into a 64GB flash drive. Get two, you can swap them out and never have all your backups sitting next to the primary system.

a Mac vs. Windows fight on ObWi

For the record, I have no dog in the Windows vs Mac fight. I work, and have worked, in MS environments (and Unix) for many many years.

They're fine.

My comment was about the aspect of being a tinkerer or not. If you like to get under the hood and tweak stuff, you will probably be less attracted to the Mac platforms.

If, as is so in my case (nowadays, anyway), you have zero interest in wrenching your own gear, it levels the playing field somewhat.

Don't know where Doc Science's kids fall on that spectrum.

In any case, there are lots of great options for everyone.

Different strokes.

Also, it's absolutely so that very large capacity external hard drives are dirt cheap nowadays. You can also find some kind of cloud provider that you can use to back up any normal home computer for either no money or very very short money.

No need to choose between external drive and the cloud, they each have their good and bad points, do both. It's a win/win.

As far as cloud backup providers, and without naming names, they vary widely as far as quality - speed, reliability, etc.

Caveat emptor.

If you have important stuff you want to keep (kids's photos, say), then be cautious about trusting hard drives.
They don't fail often - but they do fail.

Blue Ray drives are now affordable, and the media is around a dollar for 25GB. More hassle, but much more secure, I think ?

In any event, I use both.

Yeah, It sucks to have a fucking degree in CS, and interest dating back to 1974, when I got my first computer job (keypunch operator). It makes for a very different view of the modern times. So does being an early investor in Digital Research (DR-DOS?, remember them?) I was there for the entire MS-DOS/IBM debacle. So don't give me shit about being a sysop, or I'll clobber you with a 56K modem bank :-) of which there are still 1/2 dozen in the garage. We currently have, let's see, 14 separate units in my house: 4 laptops, 8 desktops, and god knows how many tablets/pads/newtons etc. I retired dude, that's the point. I don't need more than this. I gave up working on dozens of machines years ago.

What I took issue with was the statement that "Macs were less used BECAUSE they were less modular", what ever that is supposed to mean. My point, that you seem to have missed, is that that statement is not true. No-one buying hundreds of machines gave two shits about "modularity", as it was far cheaper to hang on to the failing machines for years and then replace them with whichever company would blow you best. And the retail crowd followed that businesses, not the other way around, which is why Bill G went to such lengths to get MS-DOS into IBM. That's where the money was.

And further, I don't know what your experience in the 80's and 90's was, but I was putting new power supplies, video cards, memory and floppy/CD-ROM drives in macs, just like I was in everything but the SparcStations (which were under contract.) So I'm not sure what other part except the motherboard you would want to replace? NOw, in a laptop, sure, that's another story. And even there, Apple isn't the only one playing that game.

You simply cannot tag me as a fanboi/y (apologies for the miss: I knew who said it, but was unclear), no matter how hard you try because it's simply not true. Accuracy is the issue for me, and the statement about modularity, which completely elides the real history, ticked me off.

I'm not sure what this argument is all about, but I was around in the early 80's, selling software. (Well, I didn't sell it myself, else none would have gotten sold, but co-workers did.)

The much greater popularity of the PC in those days stemmed, IMO, from corporate purchasing departments, who were still to some degree IBM devotees. ("Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM").

I don't think there were careful technical comparisons or anything like that, however they might have come out. So the company bought PC's - not then routine equipment like staplers - and that made it convenient to buy one yourself when the time came.

I'm currently using Macs. The innards are Unix, and that's enough for me. Anyway, some generic comments:

1. Apple laptops are expensive, but not as expensive as you might think when you compare equivalent capabilities and quality.

2. From what I hear from my friends who use Windows, the current Class Act ls Lenovo. I think that they are the only laptop label who actually manufactures their own hardware. Everything else is made on contract, which means that quality is going to vary wildly from model to model.

3. There are two ways to go. You can get a high-class, powerful, expensive laptop and expect it to last for five years, or you can get a cheapie and plan on replacing it every year. You need to consider both money and aggrivation as part of the "costs". (Computers, like all complex machinery, have a Critical Need Detector and an End Of Warranty Detector ...)

4. Yes, you need an extended warranty if you plan on keeping it for more than a year.

5. Backups? Yes. Trust the Cloud? No. (Use it, yes. Trust it? No.)

Windows vs Mac? IMHO, largely irrelevant. They've converged to the point where it's hard to say that one or the other is "better". Some factors:

* Microsoft Office actually works better on Mac than on Windows. To most businesses, a computer is nothing more than a device to run Office.

* All other laptop manufacturers should license Apple's power connector. Now. (It's held on by magnets, not friction. Trip over it and it pops off harmlessly.)

* Do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to get stuck with Windows 8. Saying that the interface is totally broken is a major understatement.

My teenage son just purchased a domain to start a blog and host games he has created. He insisted I buy him Alienware a year ago. Had to ask myself what do I know? Expensive but think it was a good investment. He is a happy boy.

"Do not, under any circumstances, allow yourself to get stuck with Windows 8. Saying that the interface is totally broken is a major understatement."

I use Windows 8 (8.1) on a Surface Pro 2 to do all of my work, and my xbox control, and run Netflix and read and, well everything. It has a magnetic power cord, and has completely replaced my kluge of laptop, ebook and tablet. I love the interface, a tablet/phone interface with a win desktop behind it for convenience of older apps.

So really, I use the older interface for documents, work, etc. and the win 8 interface for everything else.

Just another view

I recommend looking up the Foxconn suicides before deciding on what Laptop to buy.

Yeah, It sucks to have a &$*#&@& degree in CS...

What sucks is trying to use the argument from authority fallacy, and not having it work. Personally I don't feel the need to compare credential sizes since I feel that facts stand on their own, just pointing out that Im happy to do so if it's required to put the conversation back on the rails.
Also, posting rules. I dont make em, I just follow em. Usually.

"Macs were less used BECAUSE they were less modular", what ever that is supposed to mean. My point, that you seem to have missed, is that that statement is not true.

One of my many points is that history is complex enough that "this happened because of that" looks more like an opinion and less like a fact (ie something with a truth value) the futher back you pull. Why Macs didnt get traction is wide enough scope that it's more like an opinion than a fact to me- not that one opinion can't be better informed than another. If it can't be shown to be obviously and irrefutably true then it's not a fact.
As for what modularity is 'supposed to mean', Doc gave a pretty clear example of what she was thinking: You have more options for which monitor or hard drive or spreadsheet program you use, you can customize.
As I said before, I don't even care to debate whether that's true or not. I was simply pointing out that you rudely corrected the Doc's assertion that Macs were *hard to repair*, which wasn't even what she had said (earlier she had said that *modern laptops* were hard to repair). She said that Macs had *fewer customization options*. Because she said that in the present tense I assume she's talking recent history, not 80s, but it's not entirely clear since she also says this was "always" true.
Given that ambiguity, you might have started out a polite exchange by offering a bit of your history with Macs and asking what specifically was meant by this. That might have been more fun for you than having the troll come out from under the bridge.

You simply cannot tag me as a fanboi/y (apologies for the miss: I knew who said it, but was unclear), no matter how hard you try because it's simply not true.

You will not rise past yellow belt in debate until you can tell the diff between facts and opinions. Once you are able to do this, you will find it does wonders for your clarity of thought.

Here's the offending part of the post, without the particularly offensive introductory clause:

...the attraction of PCs over Macs has *always* been centered on the fact that PCs are modular, both for hardware and for software. You have more options for which monitor or hard drive or spreadsheet program you use, you can customize.[1] And this is why Window PCs continues to rule supreme for most businesses and government: multiple vendors means you can get competing bids, which means prices are *much* lower.

So the attraction of PCs over Macs has been based on modularity (agnosticism might be another word). This would obviously apply to those who would choose a PC over a Mac. This particular assertion, on its own, doesn't say anything about which gets chosen more often, rather why one gets chosen over the other.

Now the business and government choice of PCs over Macs, in quantity, is for the same, or at least similar, reasons - which is not to say that business and government followed individual home purchasers. It says nothing about which market segment led the way.

Getting back to modularity, or agnosticism, I'd ask whose computers you would be likely to run Windows on and whose computers you would likely run whatever Apple OS on. Forget monitors and spread sheets for bulk purchasers.

How many different vendors' boxes can you readily run a given OS on?

P.S. My level of expertise goes about as deep as knowing how to start in safe mode when things get glitchy and I want to run a scan or whatever.

In the time of yore when the Mac had emerged as the only challenge to the windows pc, the reason most companies went with PC's was there was simply a lot more business software written for the PC. In three separate corporate evaluations I participated in, three large corporations standardized on PC's due to the lack of availability of critical business systems on the Mac. Jobs learned that lesson and made sure his phone had the most apps, al kinds.

Macs settled for the few places where the standard and superior graphics actually mattered, mostly creative shops, and they were simpler so schools adopted them.

Slowly the kids grew up and preferred Macs simply due to familiarity and created a demand outside the workplace.

Now there is so much web front ended business software that the delta is shrinking, but the newest PC's have closed the creative gap.

All of the technical reasons applied to the 12 guys who sat around in a room at every company and yelled at each other about who's computer was better. None of them created the market differences.

In three separate corporate evaluations I participated in, three large corporations standardized on PC's due to the lack of availability of critical business systems on the Mac.

Sounds about right to me.

Windows runs MS Office. Other OS's, for all of their good points, don't.

The elegance of the architecture of the OS is not high on the list of criteria for business purchases. Out of pocket cost, total cost of operation, and what you can do with it, are.

Just before starting my current trial, I bought the Lenovo, with which I am typing. Generally, computers and I do not get along and this one is no exception. The assholes at MS have included a bunch of stupid "buy me now!" pop ups that I will have to get someone to remove. Plus, the screen automatically and randomly displays the time and a toolbar that brings typing to a halt. You have to right click to reactivate the screen. Also, the shift and cursor keys are easily confused. I'm in my third week of a four week trial. When I get finished, the guy at Microcenter is going to get an earfull.

Out of pocket cost, total cost of operation, and what you can do with it, are.

Once upon a time, in the 1990s, I tried to persuade my superiors at _____ ______ Corporation that it would be cost-effective in the long run, as well as conducive to better documentation products, if we were to install StarOffice or similar on our SiliconGraphix machines, rather than have two Macs that together weren't enough to handle the classified documentation needs of an entire large-scale support contract.

StarOffice is now dead, but there are some living spinoffs. For me, anything that did what Word and Excel do, and are furthermore compatible to some degree, was worthwhile to the extent that it addressed a current need at an attractive price. But there is one thing that I would add to russell's list of concerns, above: reluctance of management to look outside of the box even when the risk level is low.

Large corporations aren't going to make moves that don't show up on the bottom line right away. And it's large corporations, or a concerted, coordinated move on the part of smaller corporations, that is necessary to make new products compete for market share.

IMHO, naturally.

The assholes at MS have included a bunch of stupid "buy me now!" pop ups that I will have to get someone to remove.

That could be just the assholes at Lenovo, too. Cleaning the intrusive adware off a new computer is something that you, yourself, should not have to do. It's likely that your machine is loaded with "trial" versions of software, and those advertisements are the price you pay for trying things out. I know I have had this exact thing happen to me; buy a machine that purports to come loaded with software already; in reality it's the trial versions that you have to uninstall and then install the full versions that came on DVD with the machine.

MS does other, equally annoying things. Take Visual Studio, for example. VS is a decent development environment; it's a more visual way of organizing your code than e.g. the default file-folder and Makefile projects. Probably there are other, even more useful tools, but lots and LOTS of people used VS. But Microsoft has decided that it's going to chide you for using stock functions such as printf, and advise you to use a "safer" function that also happens not to be part of the ANSI standard and hence not transportable.

Probably russell is more familiar with this phenomenon than I am; all I know is that it annoys me greatly, without prompting action outside of sprinkling #pragma warning (disable: xxxx) compiler directives throughout my projects. Because if you don't do that, the compiler output will have about 3,000 warnings in it.

I am not exaggerating, here. I actually have a project that generates in excess of that many.

But Microsoft has decided that it's going to chide you for using stock functions such as printf, and advise you to use a "safer" function that also happens not to be part of the ANSI standard and hence not transportable.

luckily, those unsafe warnings tell you how to shut them up : add _CRT_SECURE_NO_WARNINGS to your project's preprocessor directives.

reluctance of management to look outside of the box even when the risk level is low.

Quite so.

I think the thought process there is:

What did we do last time?
Did it blow up in our faces?
No? Let's do that again.

It's a highly efficient process, when measured in terms of the amount of effort and attention expended.

By other metrics, less so, but the effects don't show up until later.

That could be just the assholes at Lenovo, too.

Yes, Lenovos are bundled with crap that will natter at you until you uninstall it.

That is down to Lenovo, not MS.

add _CRT_SECURE_NO_WARNINGS to your project's preprocessor directives.

You're a better man than I.

I've developed deprecated API blinders over the years. It's kind of like a pie filter.

There actually is a real issue there, so the warnings are useful if you're inclined to observe them. But if you're working with great big boxfuls of legacy code, there are only so many hours in the day.

See my comment above about "Did it blow up in our faces last time?".

There actually is a real issue there, so the warnings are useful if you're inclined to observe them.

they're useful if you have the luxury of sticking with Windows. my day job is all about cross-platform code so i can't use any of those MS-specific things. even pragmas are off limits because we write for systems where the C/C++ compiler doesn't understand them. one of the C++ compilers we write for doesn't even have a "std" namespace.

so, STFU MSVC is my default.

LOL.

I remember working with a cfront compiler that implemented about 85% of the language.

For the rest of the stuff, the compiler error was (verbatim) "Sorry, not implemented yet".

Good times!

one of the C++ compilers we write for doesn't even have a "std" namespace.

WTF? I don't even.

I like #pragma because it only shuts up the warnings that I don't give a crap about. One of these days I am going to knit or perl up a script to put pragma-warning-disables in all of my source-code files, whether they need them or not.

That'll fix em.

Can't do that to the actual flight code, mind, which is why I have to script it.

"Plus, the screen automatically and randomly displays the time and a toolbar that brings typing to a halt."

while this is not random, it is the only really irritating thing Win 8 does.

Sorry if I'm duplicating other comments. I'm a long time Mac user. (Thanks for the power cord tip.) With Parallel, you can run Windows on the Mac at the same time as OS X. Also, make sure she has an external hard drive to back up. They copy everything (including programs) so setting up a new computer is easy.

Slart: "That could be just the assholes at Lenovo, too. Cleaning the intrusive adware off a new computer is something that you, yourself, should not have to do. It's likely that your machine is loaded with "trial" versions of software, and those advertisements are the price you pay for trying things out. I know I have had this exact thing happen to me; buy a machine that purports to come loaded with software already; in reality it's the trial versions that you have to uninstall and then install the full versions that came on DVD with the machine."

It's Lenovo. When you get any low-end Windows PC, budget $100 to take it to the shop and have Windows reinstalled, wiping out the crapware.

It's not just annoying but causes problems; in my previous Lenovo (a high-end $900 'business' laptop that wasn't worth it), there seemed to be three different programs handling network connections, popping up in my face. I never figured out which one was essential and which two were disposable add-ons.

Which adds to my comments about Lenovo - great for low end laptops, but I found that their high end 'business' laptop and the cheapest one on sale were pretty much the same.

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