Why I Prefer Macintosh
Winning contest entry, posted Wednesday, January 10, 1996
Winner: David Caren
I used to be a die-hard PC user...
I was a Windows 95 beta tester and I used to make fun of Mac users. I was
really excited by the beta, despite a few shortcomings, but I figured,
"They'll fix them by the time the release version comes along." Wrong.
My best friend had a Mac and I kind of made fun of him too. But then I saw
that he was doing the kinds of things on his Mac--such as advanced graphics
and multimedia--that I could only dream about doing on my PC. Seeing that, I
became bored with the Wintel platform. I decided to buy a Mac.
I brought my brand new Power Macintosh 7500 home and with the help of a
couple of Mac cables and adapters, I plugged in my peripherals (which were
originally connected to my PC): my Mag 17" monitor, my USR modem, my printer
(which had a Mac interface), my HP scanner, my Wacom tablet and my Zip
drive. My friend brought over MacTCP and MacPPP and in five minutes we were
downloading the Mac drivers I needed to make my former PC peripherals work
with my Mac.
When I loaded the drivers, they didn't spray ini and dll's all over my hard
drive, they each just installed one extension into my extensions folder.
This makes hard disk management much easier. If I no longer need a certain
driver, I just drag its extension out of the extensions folder and that's
it. In Windows, I would have to scour the \windows and \windows\system
directories and delete the driver. Hey, there is a reason why there is no
such thing as Uninstaller for the Mac.
Then I would have to scrutinize the win.ini and system.ini files (and in
Win95, the registry too) and delete all the references to the driver, or
else I would get an error message at boot-up saying "Windows can not find
the device driver 'decpw.386' which may be needed to run Windows, please
reinstall this file, press any key to continue..." Depending on whether or
not it really needs that file, Windows 95 will either boot or crash, and if
it crashes, you get to spend the next 2 hours reinstalling Windows 95. On my
Mac, if something goes wrong, I boot from the CD (try that on a PC) and look
in my extensions folder for the offending extension, and I'll be up and
running again in less than 10 minutes.
PC people are always opening up their systems to tweak them (some even leave
the screws off their cases). So I thought I'd open up my Mac and take a look
inside. Taking off the cover was a snap, just push these two buttons under
the front bezel and slide off the case. And then once you are inside, you
slide these two locking tabs and voila! the drive chassis swings away and
all the memory and expansion slots are completely exposed with no cables or
anything else blocking them. When I installed my RAM and cache, it took five
minutes from powering it down to booting it up with the new RAM and cache.
All I can say is Bravo! to the 7500 design team.
I know this is starting to get long...honestly I could go on all day about
this machine. I didn't even mention its distortion and hiss-free sound or
its built-in video capture hardware or the video conferencing software that
it came with.
I will leave you with this: at work, I am a network administrator. I manage
a small Windows 95 network and (now that I know Mac) a small Mac network.
The PCs are used for word processing and spreadsheets. The Macs are used for
more demanding work like photo-editing, graphic design and layout. I spend
all day fixing crashes on the Windows 95 network. But I never get one call
from the art department to fix the Macs because they just work.
What a concept.
Why I Prefer Macintosh
contest entry posted Friday, January 26, 1996
From: Marlene Wegner
My story starts and ends in a computer store. I recently ungraded to a new,
faster, name brand PC for my family with Windows 95 pre-installed and was so
frustrated and overwhelmed that I returned it after two days. I had been use
to all the quirks in Windows 3.1, but the Windows 95 environment was no
My experience with Windows 95 was a nightmare. I tried to run one of my
DOS-based programs, guaranteed by the sales associate to work, and spent a
lot of time waiting. First I had to wait for the system to boot into Windows
95, then I had to shut it down to reboot into DOS mode before installation.
I felt like I had wasted my money on a faster computer with all the waiting,
and waiting, and waiting.
My program kept locking up so I "tried" to uninstall it, which was another
experience I'd like to forget. The Windows 95 tutorial was lacking in this
area, and the uninstall utility only supports Windows 95 programs, so I
called the Microsoft's Windows 95 technical assistance line. That's when I
learned about OEMs and was referred back to the computer manufacturer (after
I spent several minutes on hold before talking to a real person). I called
the manufacturer's 1-800 technical support line and after going through the
same wait, I got a technician who was incompetent in the realm of Windows 95
knowledge. He told me that if I deleted the wrong files that I could always
use the Master CD to restore the system back to its original configuration.
With a sudden burst of confidence I deleted anything that had the
appropriate prefix or extension, even though the program was throughout the
Windows directory like a cancer. I rebooted, more time wasted, and had no
mouse. I called technical support, who gave me a long distance phone number
to call to get "walked through" the restore process without a mouse. I asked
"What happened to the free tech support I was promised with purchase?" and
to my surprise was told that the software was supported differently. It's no
wonder there are so many advertisements for help books for Windows 95 and
video tutorials, because nobody seems to know how the thing works.
All the time I was trying to use Windows 95, my eight year old daughter was
begging me to let her play her game, which I hadn't been able to install as
yet. I went to bed that night with a twitch in my right index finger from
all the double clicking I'd been doing.
I spent the next day reading the Window 95 manual, and became even more
confused. "Click on Start", up pops the menu. "Click on Programs", groups
and directories start popping up and jumping around. My pre-schooler had
trouble controlling the mouse and getting the right directory, since there
were no icon picture program launchers for her, and she couldn't read. She
was as frustrated as I was. At that point I packed the thing back up and
returned it to the store.
While at the store, my eight year old saw the Macs and immediately started
playing, to my surprise. She said, "Mom, we have Macs at school. Can we get
one?" Her little sister, the preschooler, picked right up on using the demo
machine with minimal supervision. I was impressed. The Mac was very user
friendly keeping all age groups in mind, and the tutorials were very
helpful. The only problem with the Mac was deciding which one to get. The
sales associate helped me pick out a unit with my family's needs in mind,
and assured me that Apple's technical support was full service, and open
around the clock. The unit operated much faster and smoother than the
previously purchased PC, and came loaded with lots of practical software for
the whole family.
The Mac OS environment is everything that Windows 95 wishes it could be, but
can only dream about.
My problem now is that I never get to use the system since my family is
always using it.p
Why I Prefer Macintosh
From: Brian D. Baker
By the time Microsoft released Windows 95 I'd owned several computers, taken
them apart, and put them back together again - well most of them together
again. I'd learned to configure jumpers, set IRQs, and "REM" lines in the
system configuration files. So when I finally decided to upgrade my PC, I
thought I knew all I'd need to know about installing Microsoft's new "Plug
n' Play" operating system. After all, I'd already configured my CD, sound
card, and modem successfully under Windows 3.1, most of the hard work had
When the install program finished and I restarted the computer, a few
cryptic DOS lines flashed across the screen before being replaced by the
Windows 95 splash screen. After a moment a dialog box appeared telling me
that Windows had detected a new device and could install the appropriate
drivers. I clicked "OK" and waited as the drive light flickered. The system
restarted, a few more command lines rolled from the DOS Prompt and the
Windows 95 splash screen appeared again. Then the message box, "Windows has
detected new hardware and can install the appropriate drivers", "OK" I
responded. The fourth time Windows restarted I wondered why I needed to
endure this process again since I only had three internal devices installed,
but I waited. Windows restarted a fifth, sixth, and seventh time and I
realized the loop was not going to be broken, so I shut down the computer.
There must be a conflict, I reasoned, and began to pull each of the IDE
cards one at a time. By process of elimination I was able to determine that
I could resolve the problem by removing the CD-ROM adapter card, Windows
On the surface Windows 95 did appear to be somewhat similar to System
7...well except for the loss of my CD-ROM drive and the fact that my version
of Photoshop 3.0 won't work properly and that to date I've spent about forty
hours trying to get the system to run as well as in did before the
installation of Windows 95. Microsoft has told me that the maker of my
CD-ROM drive has decided not to support Windows 95. They suggest that I run
the system in "Real Mode" which means, "turn off all the 32 bit features of
Windows 95 and try again". As of this writing I've tried three different
products and have finally been able to access the CD-ROM files, but cannot
play any of the sounds associated with them. I still haven't tried to
connect the printer.
When Apple asked why I prefer using a Mac running System 7 over a PC running
Windows 95, my most difficult task was where to begin. But I suppose the
best reason is the most obvious one. My Mac has twelve peripherals connected
to it: a microphone, CD-ROM drive, speakers, two printers, a modem, a
Syquest removable drive, a scanner, video camera and, of course, a keyboard,
mouse and monitor. I have never needed to reconfigure any jumpers, IRQs or
system files. I simply plugged each component into its appropriate spot and
turned the computer on.
In closing, let me also mention that I'm a professional designer and
consultant. I own both systems because I have to, but I typed this letter on
my Mac. You decide.
Why I Prefer Macintosh
From: Susan Kohler
As a working mother of three children, I depend on my Macintoshes almost as
much as I do my babysitter! My fourth and fifth grader come home from school
and sit down at the Mac to do their homework. They are usually finished by
the time I get home from work--they have done their research, typed their
papers, added graphics to their assignments, and even had time to play a
couple of rounds of SpellBinder. My four-year-old spends hours clicking the
mouse and playing educational games. With At Ease, I don't have to worry
about them getting into my files or making any unwanted changes. We have a
color printer that they use with no problems; printing is the same no matter
what program they are using. Dialing into our Internet provider is no big
deal; my kids love to cruise AOL and send e-mail to their aunts and uncles.
We watch movie clips, create greeting cards, cruise the 'net, and do all the
things a '90s family could want to do on our little Performa!
Since I work on computers, my friends with Windows call me and ask:
"Why doesn't my CD drive play music?"
"I keep getting 'Can't find olecli.dll'--Where is it? What is it?"
My friends with Macs call and say:
"I got the coolest Quicktime movie. I just e-mailed it to you!"
"Did you see Dilbert today on the 'net? It was great!"
My daughter came home from her friend's house the other day and said,
"Brittany's mom got her a SoundBlaster card. Can we get one?" I smiled, ever
so patiently, and answered, "Honey, we don't need one. We have a Mac!" :)