Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The problem with Macs

So, no sooner have I arrived in a new country, but they're trying to get me to use a new operating system. As a native XP user I was a little concerned with having to go over to Mac and my worries were well founded.

For a start, the people at the Mac shop are clearly either lazy or stupid. They came along with my computer in a box, but forgot to actually bring anything but a keyboard, mouse and monitor. Luckily there seems to be some widget in the monitor which presumably connects wirelessly to the hard drive, motherboard, CPU and memory which must still be in the shop, or even the factory, I still haven't got to the bottom of that.

Secondly, when I switch the computer on, I have absolutely no time to make a cup of tea, eat my breakfast or read the paper. I switch it on and then it's on. With XP I could clearly get a lot more done in the time between turning it on and actually being logged in.

Next, I'm horribly confused with where all my little files have gone. Normally if I want to install or uninstall something I have to make sure my dlls are all in the right place, and then make sure they've all gone when I remove the program. It seems that they've forgotten about that too. What am I going to do without a thousand files flitting around that were nominally used by a program five years ago?

Next, and most embarrassingly the user interface to Mac OS X is such that everything swirls around the screen, zooming in and out and warping to fit into the appropriate spaces so much that I occasionally find myself lost in the user interface from Minority Report, I spend several minutes waving my arms around in front of my face, one eye closed, trying to move my icons around and save my documents, while those around me in the office are trying to work out what I'm doing. Lucky most of them are on XP and so have programs to look after.

I also miss the friendly Windows task manager which I would have to pull up every hour or so to manual close a temporarily frozen program. At these points I felt I was really at one with my computer.

By the end of the evening I am left with a surplus of frowns, which would otherwise have been used up throughout day on the fascinating panoply of errors which would colour my day. This is making my nights considerably more depressing.

These things and more make me think that I will have to go back to Windows where I am safe in the knowledge that I am working with a thinking, delicate, edgy machine that I have to at all times nurture and feed. I am distraught without this bond.


helensotiriadis said...

et tu brute?

Luca said...

I know it's terribly frustrating to work on an OS, which actually works like a charm.

Welcome to the new world ...

James said...

Don't worry, Jon, I hear Fedora 8 works on Macs. OS X is just a strange form of UNIX. It may look pretty on the surface, but underneath it just Mach with bits of an old FreeBSD kernel and some other stuff grafted on.

Unknown said...

TMT, yeah, I'm afraid so.

Luca, having now configured the keyboard and mouse to do, more or less, what I expect, I think I'm sorted.


That makes me dread to think what is lurking beneath windows these days. I presume somehow in the land of leftovers of pieces of code, they have all been incorporated at some point.

James said...

Lurking beneath Windows is the NT kernel (see Wikipedia for a rather detailed dissection of this beast). Which is actually a reasonably well-designed and engineered piece of software. The userspace running atop it is a separate matter. [I'll stop now as this has been the subject of 1001 Slashdot discussions...]