Thursday, March 27, 2008

Windows vs. Mac: a picture that says it all

I've just stumbled upon this picture, which made me laugh inside and think: "This is so true!"

The picture actually says it all, and I know what I'm talking about. I've been a Windows user for many years until I recently decided to switch to a Mac. And due to the Apple philosophy of "things just work", the switching process was pretty peaceful.

But getting back to the picture, it really represents my state of mind towards the two operating systems. On Mac OS X, things are made simple and for most of them to work you just have to find the on/off button, which most of the times it is as easy to find as that big yellow button on the picture. It's really that simple and intuitive. Whereas in Windows, things are by nature complicated and most of them don't even work properly. And if you decide to pop up the hood and fiddle around with the settings, you may end up with a busted machine.

And while the picture may seem to favor the Mac way, it actually also reveals the dark side of Apple. Ok, things are simple, intuitive and they work. But what if you would like to change something? For example, what if instead of having the big yellow button on the engine of the car on the picture, you would like to see that button on the dashboard of the car? That's where things can go wrong.

Apple designs things to work in a specific way and they do it very well. But they do it by controlling what the user has access to. By limiting the user experience to the known-to-work-without-any-problems features, they avoid any "bad press" about their products.

Don't get me wrong, as I said above I love the Apple philosophy since it is the way to go with unexperienced users. But sometimes, when my nostalgic college Linux-geek part of the brain kicks in, I wish I could change some of the settings of Mac OS X. And to do so, you have to be an experienced user because if you take a wrong turn somewhere, you may end up like the guy in the picture. But not the one with the smiley face...I'm talking about the frustrated one next to the broken car.

Source: The Mac Newbie

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