I just read an interesting article, "Conservatives are So PC." The author poses this question.
Why do liberals like Macs, while
conservatives shun them?
I guess I could argue against the whole question since Rush Limbaugh has over the years been a well known Mac user. There was an interesting article a few years ago suggesting Rush could help Apple crack the conservative market.
Steve Jobs has always been something a counter culture icon and putting Al Gore on Apple's board pretty well shows Steve's political leanings. Still I don't believe what computer you use has much to do with your politics.
At one time I thought maybe Macs were an urban phenomenon. Of course it's hard to think that would be case since I spent over ten years running Tay Ridge Farms with its two hundred head of Black and Red Angus. I then ended up selling Apple computers for twenty two years which included nearly twenty working at Apple.
I have worked with enough PC people (and I don't mean politically correct) to have learned that it is quite possible to be very productive with a Windows based PC. I have learned from my son that it you want high productivity in remotely managed servers, Linux is probably your operating system of choice.
For a long time people who used Macs were looking for computers that were easier to use. Most importantly the Mac often let you do things without really having to be a computer person.
Today with Windows and maybe even Linux, it is possible to get lots of tasks done without really being a computer geek. Of course the Mac probably still leads the way in ease of use, but as many people have said, a personal computer from Dell, Sony, Gateway, or HP is close enough for most people's purposes.
Still it is an interesting question as to why one person uses a Macs while another might choose Windows or Linux. While I don't claim to have an answer that will please everyone, I do think that I might have an idea or two which might shed some light on platform choice.
I think a lot of platform choice boils down to how you relate to technology. I think most PC users got their PCs for very specific reasons. They wanted to read email, do spreadsheets, or even browse the web. I don't think most Macs users knew what they were going to do with their first Mac. They knew it could do the basics, but they also felt that it could do more so they were willing to gamble on a machine which might change things a little more than a PC from Dell.
As Windows has evolved, it is now quite possible to do maybe even more on a PC than on a Mac, though depending on the task, it still could be easier on a Mac.
I think the people drawn to the Mac chose it more for what it might do, than for what they knew it would do. At one time there was a study that showed the average Mac user experimented with far more programs than the average PC user.
I'm sure there are people buy Macs because they think it will make them cool, just like people buy cars because they believe the car defines them.
In the end the idea that the Mac just might let you do something that you haven't even thought of is most likely the defining difference. It could be a powerful influence for some people.
Maybe that just means that Mac people are dreamers who have little idea of what they want to do and PC users are very practical folks who have business plans defining what they are going to create and know exactly what they need to make it happen.
Then again, maybe it is all random. So what am I using for this post.
The picture was imported from my Nikon camera to my Dual G5 Mac and iPhoto. Then I saved the photo to a shared folder that I had set up for my Windows computer. I actually accessed the folder from a Dell desktop running Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft! I did the post using Firefox 220.127.116.11 running under Linux and accessing Typepad. After publishing I've made a couple of changes from my Mac.
In the end what operating system you use isn't nearly as important as what you do with it. Since I have a farm background, I like to think of it this way. I have seen fields hayed with horses and pitch forks, square balers, round balers, and even hay stackers. It has never been about the technology , it has always been about the person and how they do the job. You can do a sloppy job with a pitch fork or a fantastic job with a giant tractor and a round baler.
The same goes for operating systems. No operating system is going to define the quality of work done. Steve Jobs might not agree with me, but I'm pretty sure the evidence is with me on this one.
If you're committed to doing a great job, you'll get it done well with whatever tool is at your disposal. If you have very efficient tools you might not have to work as hard, but I doubt that will define how well the dedicated craftsperson does his or her job.