We at TidBITS generally try to avoid becoming entangled in the morass of computer religious wars, in particular the long-running battle between the Mac and Windows. We’re more or less functional in Windows, but we prefer using Macs, mostly because we find using the Mac to be both more enjoyable and more productive. Due to our obvious and long-standing preference for the Macintosh, and despite our trying to stay above the fray, people often ask us to help them argue for why their school, business, or family member should buy Macs instead of PCs.
It’s a tricky problem, because we like to help those in need, and we generally agree with the sentiment that the Mac is almost always just as good of a choice, if not a better one, than a comparable PC. But at the same time, we hate being dragged into the whole sordid discussion: we’re not zealots, and we simply don’t have the energy to participate in numerous individual efforts to establish Mac enclaves in a world dominated by Windows.
Our advice in this respect has long paralleled that of our late friend and colleague, Cary Lu, who always recommended that you buy the type of computer used by your closest technical friend, the sort of person you could call for help late on a Saturday night. Cary also noted that people concerned about what type of computers students would use after graduation shouldn’t worry about what happens in elementary school, because the rapid pace of computer evolution ensures radical differences by the time an elementary school student leaves college. Back in 1995, we published an article by Cary about the state of the Mac versus PC holy war; its details are amusingly out-of-date in places, but it’s still a trenchant read.
Well-reasoned though Cary’s arguments were, many people attempting to convince others of the advantages of the Macintosh find that they need more ammunition. Numerous news stories and studies have supported the pro-Macintosh position over the years, but it has been almost impossible to track them or find the relevant bits when needed.
Now, however, there’s a single site you can visit for a massive conglomeration of surveys, articles, and factoids relevant to the question of choosing Macs over PCs. The site was created by John Droz as part of a campaign he and a group of taxpayers in Carteret County, North Carolina, undertook to prevent the local Board of Education from switching county schools from Macs to PCs.
John fully admits he’s not a Web designer, so the individual pages, each filled with numerous links, can be somewhat daunting. (He welcomes design assistance, if you would like to help.) Nonetheless, if you’re in the middle of making the case for the Macintosh somewhere in your life, the more-than 400 referenced reports, studies, and news articles that John has collected will be helpful. In some cases, the best approach may be to download the 1 MB PDF version of the entire site, since it’s easier to scan or search for the specific pieces of information that may help your case. It has numerous internal links and bookmarks, along with external links to the Web where necessary. In the right circumstance, it might also be useful to print out the entire 112 pages so you have a stack of paper bolstering your argument.
The amount of work that John has put into collecting and compiling these resources is impressive, and it’s worth noting that many of the articles and reports are from 2002, so the information isn’t terribly out of date, like so much else on the Internet. If you find yourself needing references to support your argument in favor of using a Mac, you’ll find John’s efforts extremely welcome.
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