A Visit to the Darkside

Sometimes we Mac users are every bit as bad as windows users, in our own way. We donít hesitate to point out that if they only knew better, they would certainly Switch. But they donít know better. Sometimes, we donít either.

I confess, I very often donít speak from experience. Some things Iíve read about, some Iíve heard about second hand, and others Iíve seen. Thatís not to say I donít ever get my hands dirty. I do. In fact I have a peecee that I used on a daily basis. I just donít use it very much.

Thatís changed.

Over the last couple of weeks Iíve gotten up close and personal with Win2k and with XP. I have to say theyíre both usable, more or less, after a fashion. The first thing I noticed with both of them is the lack of responsiveness. Iíve seen 2k and Xp both running on PIII hardware and Iíve seen XP running on P4 hardware. The overall feel of both were easily equaled, and often excelled, by my wifeís iBook, which is powered by a G3/600 processor.

More annoying is the day-to-day, run of the mill user experience that windows users have to contend with. I was observing a help desk call today and was surprised to find just how difficult this whole file mapping issue can be. Of course, logging in is now picnic. The next time you have to wait the meager count of seconds it takes for OS X to log you in as a user, count your lucky stars. You could be waiting on win2k to do, whatever it is its doing. It must be doing a lot too cause it takes a lot longer than it should. Iím not even going to begin to compare the differences between OS X and XP when it comes to managing network connections, let alone what it takes to set up dial-in connections.

In many ways, XP has closely approximated, or ripped off, MacOS X. The thing is that there is this intangible something that continues to plague that platform. Iím sure windows users rarely recognize or notice this. Its kind of like someone who learned to drive on in some ancient precursor to the modern automobile. He doesnít know any better when he hand-cranks the engine to start it or struggles with the worn-out clutch to shift gears. He doesnít know any better because thatís what heís used to and he hasnít gotten to drive something better.

On the one hand I intensely dislike coercing winblows into doing what I want it to do. On the other I have to confess that its for the best. After all, I didnít really know any better. Now I do. Iím sure Iíll be relearning that lesson over and over again.