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Mac vs PC = Intellectual Self-Abuse

First off, as a person who not only has to purchase but support the 
and software, much of it bought by the studio execs I work for who don't
often know what they're buying, I have to finally toss in my experience
regarding this stuff.  Having worked with the PC since 1980, and the Mac
since '85, I have to always make the decision based upon the questions of
longevity, support, available parts, and maintenance before I start
listening to the kind of religious fervor that this common (and tiresome)
argument contains.  In short, I have to select the best hardware/software
combination for the job-at-hand; not because some salesman told me to, nor
because the item-in-question is the only thing I know.

I generally walk away from Mac vs. PC arguments since they're some of the
most repetitive crap-throwing parties around.  In this case, I have to put
in an opinion before this turns into an unnecessary fire fight.

First and foremost, a select group of companies - just like in the synth 
instrument businesses - have held a singular hold at times on
software/hardware solutions for audio/video.  For some years it WAS the Mac
in terms of a desktop solution on this level, but dem days has been gone 
a bit.  The Mac is very similar to its cousins on the SGI side in their
ability to handle multimedia deftly early on in the 'game'; but also with
respect to how one has to pay with blood and too much money to both get and
keep it all running.

The structure for support for the Mac is too proprietary to allow "just
anyone" to learn about its maintenance; this began with the strict
guidelines to require users to use only Apple Certified Technicians.  After
all, if anyone other than Apple started horning in on their game, they'd 
them out of existence, in the early days.  PC users who've been working on
networks only need look at Novell to see this same kind of tactic: $7000 
a four-day course, just to say you're 'certified', combined with a program
structure that most folks couldn't figure out without purchasing yet more
documentation from Novell.

In the first place, proprietary structure is not only infeasible on a
platform that's supposed to be accessible, it's marketing chicanery.  As
Xerox, alas, taught all too many MBAs in the 70s and 80s, they didn't sell
the copier, they sold the service that copier was often engineered to need.
Then the PC started emerging as The Business Machine (with the exceptions 
semi-creative arenae like 'desktop publishing', audio recording, 
markets, and at the time graphics).  The platform is not overpriced at the
behest of its makers, parts are always available, and noone is restricted
from learning more about it.  It was an eventuality to grow that was
unfortunately lost on those so embroiled in defending 'the computer for the
rest of us' (hah!) that they lost their market share.  PCs have gotten much
faster and capable in the past 10 years.  Macs no longer compete except on
one level, and that's the "soft and fuzzy" image sold by millions of Mac
Adherents world wide; this, alas, is also fluff, based more upon religious
opinion than actual fact.

As far as no 'professional' (what DOES that mean anymore?) audio production
being done on a PC, most of the major vendors who pay attention to the
market-at-hand have already introduced PC migrations some time ago.  Given
the inability with which Mac-borne programmers have demonstrated in writing
ports of Mac software (remember QuickMail, anyone?), the majority of ports
have been less-than-useable, only prompting the Mac users again to shout
with glee, "See??  Shouda got a Mac!", which is just more sniping with the
flavor of sour grapes, as they watch their platform lose its dominance.

>ProTools for the Mac is still the standard as far as I can tell.
>It's very pricey, but it is professional hardware/software, and that stuff
>is always pricey.

Which is another reason why people have been moving to the PC for some 
now; PC software-hardware solutions are less- and less-pricey all the time,
by design of the platform.  Since everyone has access to the specifications
for about as close to 'free' as you can get, there is an aspect of
non-qualification that makes it possible for anyone to create software or
hardware for the PC.  This has led to more innovation and lower prices as a
function of continuing innovation.  The same has never been true on the
Mac/SGI side.

>Now for the fun part...Guess what?  WINDOWS SUCKS! (every version of it)

Ah, the animal reveals itself.  Need I say more to this eloquent emission?

>We use both at my current job, and it's unanimous: Macintosh operating
>system version is far, far more stable and easy to use than Windows 95.

Yes, after several years of troubleshooting the ill-borne System 7 it was
actually able to load without locking your machine (though sometimes this
wasn't evident, since a 'frowning face' can mean just about anything in
addition to 'call a Mac technician').

>Another thing is that most better Macs come with very good 16bit sound
>cards that let you record directly to your hard disk AS YOU ARE LISTENING
>TO YOUR PREVIOUS SOUND TRACKS.  To do this on a PC you need extra audio
>cards which drive the price of that cheep maching up.

Wrong, buffalo breath!  There have been 32-bit duplex cards out for the PC
for a few years now, and nowadays there are also multitracking packages for
sale far under the inflated prices that the finite and unfortunately
over-controlled Mac market sports.

>When I bought my
>Mac 2 years ago, I did a a/b price compair of Mac and name brand PC clones
>(not crap) and came up with only a $300 difference, and that was when Macs
>were much more expencive than they are now.  Well worth is for the ease of
>use and reliability.

Stuff and nonsense.   $300 is nothing compared to being able to share data
with more people than just use your kind of computer.

>Pretty soon there will be a version of the Mac OS that will blow
>everything away on the consumer market (Steve Jobs NextOS for the Mac)
>When that hits I think things may change a lot, as they already have a
>version that will run on intel pc machines.

We were hearing this about 4 years ago, and again, 8 years ago.  And if the
Mac was so superior, why did they have to work on a version (still
enshrouded in smoke and marketing bs, and perhaps non-existent at this 
to work on the non-68000 platform?

Think about it.  People who don't want to be trapped into a support
dependency cycle and know what they're buying don't buy Macs anymore.  The
folks at the studio I support have been replacing their formerly adored 
for several years now, since there are much more reliable and 
solutions on the PC platform.  And eventually, the law of diminishing
returns will kick in even more than it has.

And, finally, if you buy a PC you won't find yourself feeling like you need
to embroil yourself in arguments defending, at this point, the 
which, in this case, is a platform that made its contribution in its own
time, but eventually will be seen to have fallen from an over-insulated
perch.  You'll just be using your PC, since, after all, you bought it to 
it, period.

Some Tips:

1.  Go to Windows NT for audio-video production.  It appears that more
applications of this kind are emerging for NT in particular.  Windows as
such is after all designed for a single-user machine/workstation.

2.  Seriously consider the Cyrix 6x86 as opposed to Intel Pentium or the
rest.  The 6x86 chip they're making has far more ports through it than the
Pentium or the Pentium II, and as such is less subject to any bottlenecks
that may occur.

And finally, I won't engage in any firefights on the above since it's a
waste of time.  It's like me saying "the sky is blue", and having to argue
with shrill individuals who insist that, because it's not ALWAYS blue, my
argument is invalid.  I'm sure there are still uses for Macs out there, but
it's not by any stretch of the imagination a standardized, dominant
platform, as much as it's becoming a positive signpost of development of 
home computer.

History, that is.

Stephen Goodman       * Download The Loop Of The Week and more!
EarthLight Studios         * http://www.earthlight.net/Studios