The Changing Mac Community
Pages: 1, 2
Not everyone in the Mac community likes Apple's current direction. In fact, some feel that Apple has abandoned the very customer who supported it during the tough times.
"Mac OS X is not as elegant and not even remotely as intuitive as Mac OS 9. Also, with the change from 10.0 to 10.1 as an indicator, it will certainly never get there. Mac OS X was designed and written by the guys from NeXT (who never really "got" the Mac in the first place). They created an OS that they thought Mac users *should* want. Mac OS X *does* appeal to Unix geeks who have always secretly wanted their software to run on a mainstream platform. In college, I was exposed to Unix and I ran screaming from computers until I encountered the Mac. Now the Mac is dead." RB
"It is very hard dealing with people who six months ago put us down, yet now are now adopting this new OS." RM
"I have been a Mac user for years. I remember the original Lisa technology in the late '70s. I have ignored all the criticism from the PC Community at work when they wouldn't support the Mac--it is my platform of choice. But, right now I am disgusted. I went to OS X and it was such a hassle I asked my tech-support folks to put me back to OS 9.2 and I think that is where I am going to stay for awhile. Who needs it?" WJS
Just because a whole bunch of folks use Windows, that doesn't mean that they're happy with it. Mac OS X and current Apple hardware have lured more that a few people away from their PCs.
"I've used almost every version of MS-DOS and Windows since DOS 2.11, except Windows for Workgroups and Windows ME. One day when NT 3.51 blue-screened me for changing the desktop background I went on a quest to find a real OS ... I enjoy using my new G4 PowerBook with OS X 10.1.1. Over time I intend to fully understand all aspects of this OS from development to applications." DT
"Something happened last year. The woman who runs half of the not-for-profit really needed to start using email. I had tried for five years to get her to use a PC notebook or at least email ... no luck with WinCE, not 98, not PocketPC, not 2000. We tried very nice notebook PC's and subnotebooks and palmtops.
Then I saw the new white iBook. I started researching Mac OS and what was happening with OS X and all the iApps. My task was ... the lady co-director absolutely had to get into using email and calendaring ... so long story short... she has never really listened to anyone about computers and I had tried patiently and compassionately to feed her PC and all she really needed was a little Apple, Mac to be exact.
She is now using the iBook 'unconsciously.' I was dumfounded!" AS
"With Mac OS X I feel I am heading back to those early Mac days when every new little program was an adventure in itself and the software world was not yet dominated by the big guns. I don't regard myself as a geek, my (technical) knowledge of computers it too basic for that, but I like playing around with programs and finding out all the little details and attention that programmers put into them." MB
Like any creative community, the Mac ecosystem has its share of philosophers.
"The jump from System 7 to 8 was a big deal, but it had true backward compatibility. The jump from Mac OS 8 to OS 9 was rudimentary. The jump from Mac OS 9 to OS X is, well, a leap of faith." JA
"I remember the uproar from Pentax users when it switched from screwmount lenses to bayonet type because all the connections needed for auto exposure, auto focus, and the like couldn't be as reliably implemented with a screwmount. A few people still have their old cameras and are happy with them. But for the people who wanted the flexibility of the modern Pentax, the old gear had to go. There was a time when you could pick up screwmount lenses at the used counter of your favorite camera store, but hardly any are around anymore. My guess is that the same thing will happen with the move to OS X." PW
"So far a I am quite happy with OS X. I found that the secret to this OS is to avoid "Classic" as much as humanly possible." JC
"Those who need or want the new and are willing to do without the old move forward, the others do not. Never before have there been so many good reasons to upgrade and never before have there been so many reasons to not upgrade." MAK
Confusion Says ...
Many long time Mac users find OS X just plain confusing.
"Mac OS X is leaving a lot of older Macintosh users somewhat confused. These are the people who love the classic Mac OS for its ease of use, and generally stick to one system for several years. They do not care so much about how well the OS does its work, they simply want to get their work done." MS
"And to be quite honest, I hate the Aqua interface, the dock makes me feel like I'm a newbie." MM
"As for OS X, I loaded it on the new Cube, got a bit confused, found the manual to be borderline useless, and went back to 9.1 for both my wife and myself. I'm sure I could figure it out, but I didn't want to spend that much time. I liked what I saw on the screen. I've ordered two books on OS X, Mac OS X: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, and MacWorld OS X Bible by Lon Poole and Dennis Cohen. When I get those and go through them, I want to move both of us to OS X.1 (I have the upgrade), but I want to know what I'm doing without honking up my system." MED
One thing I noticed as I was reading hundreds of these letters is that the Mac community, even those who aren't happy right now, are looking forward. I know this seems like a small thing, but think about it for a second. People are assuming that the Mac will continue to survive; the question is, in what form. Four years ago I think the assumption was that Apple was near extinction.
"I have been under the opinion for a few years, since I learned Unix, that the first company that comes out with a good GUI shell over Unix will win. My bets were on Apple and they have done it. It may take a few years, but when the power of Unix begins to be implemented in applications, business users will love it. That's what it is going to take to increase market share--business users." SH
"Years back we were Mac users until Windows 95 and then converted to a PC running office 97. The tremendous amount of software and peripherals available for a PC was intoxicating, while Apple remained an obscure little section in the back of a CompUSA or Circuit City. When Apple opened its local company store we saw the platform demonstrated as never before and were blown away immediately by the platform's benefits. We purchased an ibook-600mhz to stick our toe in the water. We hope the ibook, when it arrives, will be a good neighbor with our Dell 4100 desktop. Once both are up and running, whichever platform becomes the favorite, will be our next machine." BDL
"Frankly, aside from the promised stability, all I have seen about OS X is that it still exhibits a lot of Unix eccentricities, rigid directory requirements, and so on, without the promised, vast increase in speed from a "native" PowerPC OS. If I want rigid and inflexible, I can pick up a Dell box for a song. Time will tell." LM
"As long as they stay on top of things- I'm staying with Apple." KM
One Last (Highly Subjective) Thought
Whether you're a big fan of Mac OS X or its most ardent critic, think about this: Do you remember how life in our community was before the return of Steve Jobs, the iMac, and Mac OS X?
What I remember was: the sneering PC establishment, bad newspaper headlines, huge quarterly losses, and doggone-it, beige boxes just as ugly as the Windoz garden variety. In the case of Power Computing, even uglier.
Now we're on the cover of Time magazine, have three of the coolest computers of all time, we're maintaining profits in a terrible economy, and arguably, have created the most exciting, controversial operating system ever implemented on a broad scale.
Recently, I heard former basketball coach John Thompson say this about Kobe Bryant while commenting on a Laker game, "He's so exciting I even like his misses." Seems to me that Kobe and Apple have a lot in common these days.
Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.
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