Russ might switch, gets Mac users angry

Russell Beattie has an entertaining rant about how he might switch back to Windows after buying two Macs in a row. It’s fun – there’s a lot of things that Russ clearly got annoyed about all at once and got off his chest in tub-thumping fashion. And, as he says at the end, "I probably need to swap back to Windows for a bit to realize how good I
have it. Or better yet, move to Linux for a few days to make me really
appreciate a Desktop OS with popular support."
But, as you might imagine, some of the commentors make your head spin. One that I picked out was this one, from "George" (why do these people never leave a web address?):

Ok, be honest, how much did MS pay you for this FUD?
I know they are “strategically” paying for propaganda disguised as articles even in Slashdot!

Or then there’s "Stizz":

You are sooo obviously not a mac person It’s useless to argue otherwise
or even attempt to refute any of your claims. Go back to windows and
good riddance to ya.

Both of these guys – and you can look through the comments here whenever I write something that’s not "loyal" enough about the Mac for more examples – seem to believe the same thing: If you’re not totally committed to the Mac and to Apple, then you’re either in the pay of Microsoft or irrational. There’s a complete and utter failure to understand that not everyone thinks the same way as you, that some people prefer Windows for whatever reason – and that, surprisingly, not everything about Mac OS X is perfect.
It’s funny, because this kind of attitude is so much rarer in the Windows world than in the Mac one. Oh, I know that someone is going to complain in the comments that there are Windows zealots, and why don’t I have a go at them – but really, I can’t find them. There’s the occasional troll who likes teasing the Maccies – but beyond that? Nope, I really don’t come across Windows Zealots.
If you want evidence, take a look at the difference in the number and frequency of posts in comp.sys.ms-windows.advocacy compared to its Mac equivalent. Sure, there’s people out there who like Windows, and who promote it – particularly bits like Tablet PC and Media Center – but you simply don’t come across the same shrieking tone from them. No Windows user comes here claiming that I’m in the pay of Apple when I post something positive about the Mac.
I come back to this again and again, because I’m baffled by it. The Mac is great. A little Microsoft-bashing I can understand. But personal abuse towards someone because they prefer a different computer operating system?
So here’s a public appeal: if you’re the kind of person that posts the kind of comments that I’ve quoted above, tell me why you do it. I’m actually, seriously, interested in what’s making you that angry. And it’ll be good to get it out in the open.

  • http://nickminers.co.uk Nick Miners

    I can’t believe you’re not using Blogger to host your blog. I mean, what have you got against Google? Are you in the pay of Microsoft or something? I bet you’ve got pictures of Larry and Sergey on your wall at home, and throw darts at them all the time… ;-)

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Mena pays me to use TypePad! :)

  • Matthew

    Well, there are some crazy comments on there. That happens in all discussion boards. Why didn’t you note how crazy some of Russ’s comments were? I mean, his stability comments on Mac OS X vs Windows XP are not in line with reality for most users. If it’s his experience, then that’s ok, but since most users are having a completely different experience with OS X vs Windows XP, it’s hard for people to swallow it. His piece comes across as complete trolling, so is he really shocked at the comments he is getting? BTW, if you don’t think it’s trolling, how can you possibly think anybody would like the thumbnails in Windows’ “My Pictures” window over the iPhoto software in Mac OS X?

  • http://www.geise.com/index.php/GD-Linksville/Items/ PXLated

    I think the best comment on Russell’s blog was…”Yawn”
    ;-)

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Matthew, you’re doing something that I often see when asking people about this kind of behaviour: Avoidance. “Never mind that. Why don’t you ask X about why *they* post crazy things?”

    And no, I don’t think Russ is trolling. In fact, when you say “how can you possibly think anybody would like the thumbnails in Windows’ “My Pictures” window over the iPhoto software in Mac OS X?” you’re exhibiting exactly the kind of behaviour that I mention above: The complete inability to understand that someone might Think Different (!) when it comes to Macs and Windows. A very good friend of mine things exactly the same way: she finds the thumbnails in Windows to be far more intuitive than iPhoto, so Russ isn’t an isolated case. I don’t agree, but neither do I think *everyone* should use a Mac :)

  • meintucson

    I didn’t find anything all that insulting. Why are there now Windows zealots? Gee I can’t figure that one out. This guy has obviously not bothered to learn the first thing about Macs let alone running a few troubleshooting utilities like Cocktail that would fix his “problems”. He cannot be taken seriously. Esepcially when he comapres Windows thumbnails to iPhoto. One of the dumbest things I have ever heard and thats saying something. But he’s getting alot of advertising revenue out of slamming Apple and he would not be the first.

  • meintucson

    “In fact, when you say “how can you possibly think anybody would like the thumbnails in Windows’ “My Pictures” window over the iPhoto software in Mac OS X?” you’re exhibiting exactly the kind of behaviour that I mention above: The complete inability to understand that someone might Think Different (!) when it comes to Macs and Windows.”

    Wow. Ok stay with me here. Viewing thumbnails in Windows is a function of the file system. You can view thumbnails in OS X too. iPhotos a viewer, with some fairly decent editing functions as wells a means of storing and cataloging photos. See the difference? I can only assume that you have never actually seen iPhoto but are posting your “opinion” about it anyway. Go here and learn something.

    http://www.apple.com/ilife/iphoto/

  • cesjr

    Here’s what I have to say – what geeks think and believe is, 90 percent of the time, IRRELEVANT. That includes Beattie. Windows is fine for geeks and people supported by geeks (IT dept’s). For everyone else, it’s frustrating and unsatisfying and annoying.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Meintucson: Here’s a little tip for you. If you want to persuade someone to do something, it’s best to (1) listen to what they’re saying to you, and (2) not come across like an arrogant fool. If you can’t understand what I mean when I say “I don’t agree” that iPhoto isn’t better than thumbnails, then I suggest you read a little more slowly next time.

    It might be really, really difficult for you to understand, but some people – at least one of my friends included – prefer using Windows thumbnails to iPhoto (and no, they don’t behave in the same way in OS X – for a start, OS X has a nasty habit of ignoring the View options you’ve set in the Finder). And it’s this – the complete and utter inability to understand the concept that not everyone likes the same thing or works in the same way – that lies at the root of the anger and frustration that comes out of certain MacZealots when they attack Windows users.

  • Dan

    “It’s funny, because this kind of attitude is so much rarer in the Windows world than in the Mac one. Oh, I know that someone is going to complain in the comments that there are Windows zealots, and why don’t I have a go at them – but really, I can’t find them.”

    I dunno, Ian … maybe because the Mac is a minority platform? Being a Microsoft fanboy is like being a fanboy for General Motors; it’s so ubiquitous that in most people’s minds there’s simply nothing special about it. So why bother posting in some Windows advocacy newsgroup, when about 19 out of 20 people already “know” Windows is good? Mac users are conscious of their minority status; the Mac platform may be stronger today than at any time in the last 10 years, but it’s still a Windows world out there, filled with reminders of the inconvenient and often difficult choice we have made. Mac users swim upstream; Windows users flow with the current, and that kind of easy choice is not something people tend to get passionate about, or indeed, have any need to be passionate about.

  • Glide

    Ian,folks call me a “Mac Bigot” and I’m hardly that since I use Macs, Windows and a few others. Russ’ comments are understandable. He got worked up over things. We all do. I think though Mac users are passionate about using Macs because they CHOSE to do so.Many Win users do so because it’s what they have at work,it’s what they were told was better by someone they know, or they chose it on price and speed. The choice is made for different reasons.

    As to your comment that if one looks at the frequency and content of posts in “comp.sys.ms-windows.advocacy or its Mac equivalent”you see a huge difference, you’re right!

    Look in the Windows group and you see far less than the Mac Advocacy group. Look in the Mac Advocacy group and what happens there is posters who don’t go to the Windows group and are Windows users find some reason to come to the Mac group and look for ANY reason they can dream up and bash or criticize the Mac,Apple and even your Grandmother! So there are lots of posts in the Mac group from Mac users responding to the posts. Maybe it’s taking the bait, but regardless the reason,that’s what happens there.

  • lookmark

    I see pig-headed fanatics (who can’t debate their way out of their way of a paper bag, let alone recognize the validity of someone else’s viewpoint ) on both platforms, honestly.

    I suspect that one notices more on the Mac side, unfortunately, ’cause minorities (understandably) tend feel more threatened, and there’s more of a impassioned community.

    But there’s always going to be noise in public forums. You just have to tune the idiots out.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Because nobody *loves* Windows and many Mac users indeed love Macs.

  • James Quagmire

    I would think the reason some Mac owners are a bit touchy when it comes to their choice of computing platform is simple. For years we have been put down and laughed at for our choice and some of us strike back in the only way we know how. That doesn’t make it right when some of us respond with such anger but it does make it understandable. I myself have learned to accept my minority status while enjoying the benefits it confers. Life is too short to be angry about minor stuff.

    P.S. Why are there no Windows zealots indeed? Perhaps because it lacks that one thing that inspires Mac users to be so zealous. If Bill Gates can ever figure that out he may just end up with all the market under his control. That, of course, will never happen and we all can be grateful for that.

  • Anona

    Why make fun of Windows? Because it is so much fun.

  • http://madefromacubicle.blogspot.com Michael Collins

    I think Windows not having ANY zealots says a lot about the OS. Why doesn’t the most used OS in the world gain ANY hardcore fans? My assumption is because it’s mediocre. I’d like to hear your explanations.

  • Bandu Tiglue

    Let us all know if you should have something intelligent that’s worth reading.

    Your mindless blather is a waste of all our time. If you have nothing well thought out with immediate interest and traction for most then DON’T write. If that should happen one day then write, otherwise shut the fuck up.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Bandu, thanks for dropping by. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

    It’s good to see that intelligent criticism isn’t dead.

  • http://my.yahoo.com Ed Madux

    hey ian, if you cant tell already, it is in fact your point of view that slants your own editorial. so when people pick up for the other side, being mac, you seem to have no clue why people love these omputers/os. maybe it is because you are essentially in the same boat as russ- bred on trash trying to get used to filet mignon. i’ve been into computers since commodore 64 so no one can question my knowledge and my experienced opinion- windows is built from a selsesperson/marketing point of view. macs are built for creativity. Its like the marketing department warring with the art department- 2 diffefeent languages, one set of innovators and and another set of innovative paper pushers.

    I have seen your “point” shut down in many of your articles. what is that point anyways? Why do they care when we don’t? whats so special÷ Its like coming onto the world with a tainted heart- who needs love, right?

    Many mac users are just completely startled on how do you lik eso many others are so placid with mediocrity. Winows OS looks like a spreadsheet- and im not even being funny. of cousre it does many things, and im sure does many things well. but the fact is windoze monopolizes the market so thats the only reason why there is “so many more apps” and such. it is a completely different philosophy from the mac. how many windows users anc ven tell you how theier machine works? how many are virus free users?

    both platforms are still just tools, and its what you do with them that matters. windoze is meant to be an everytool to everybody- jack of all trades, master of none. creatvely, mac has that down packed- but lacks in other areas such as games- a viction of market forces. and yes, there are many people out there that appreciate a tool that focuses more on usabilty at the expense of some other areas rather then just getting the dull standard.

    Everyone is not a follower. maybe you think we all should be?

  • http://cheerleader.yoz.com/ Yoz

    I’m with Dan, lookmark and Glide on this one: it’s about minority, and it’s about having made a specific choice to go against the grain. The smaller a minority a platform has, the more rabid their users are – as anyone who’s met a RiscOS user in a dark alley will tell you.

    In terms of pure quality, there does seem to be a bizarre emotional factor in the Mac design that provokes a response, perhaps the same thing that makes me desperately hope that PalmOS survives. But it may just be the minority factor playing tricks again.

    But other than that, nope.

    All those who say that it’s just because MacOS is better: Sorry, bullshit. Mac fanaticism was just as bad back in ’97, when I saw plenty of propaganda from nutty fanboy sites (such as MacKido and MacOSRumors) being taken as Scripture by other Mac fans who seriously thought – really, actually seriously, as in one or two actually took bets on it with me and lost – that System 8 was more stable than Windows NT. This was when David Every was claiming that pointless doodads like protected memory and pre-emptive multitasking were only for people who couldn’t code properly, and the Mac platform didn’t have any of those, oh no. (Of course, once MacOS finally got them, it was EVEN MORE THE BEST OS EVAR)

    All those who say it’s just because Windows doesn’t have any zealots and nobody loves it: Also bullshit. I’ve met some, and no, they weren’t MS employees. There are people who prefer Windows to Mac, some of them loudly. If you find that utterly incomprehensible, there may be more wrong in your worldview than theirs, because at least most of the Windows fans I’ve met can (a) appreciate that Windows has many problems and (b) understand that people have reasons for choosing other platforms.

    Meanwhile in the thread above I see people claiming that Russ is wrong because

    (1) MacOS is clearly much more usable than Windows, and if he can’t work that out then he’s stupid (proper usability theory going on here, I can tell)

    (2) MacOS just needs time to learn (apparently having owned two Macs is clearly not enough)

    (3) Windows just looks like a spreadsheet (though apparently Windows’s UI is just a clone of MacOS, or so Mac zealots keep telling me, so I’m not sure what’s going on there)

    (4) Windows is only for geeks and IT departments

    (5) Windows is only for people who don’t know what’s going on inside their computer

    Oh, and Ian, apparently you know nothing about Macs and have never seen iPhoto, your previous blog entries and editorship of MacUser UK notwithstanding :)

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Ed, I understand love for Macs – I have it too, so I can understand being enthusiastic about the platform. But what I don’t get is the need to slate anything and everything that Microsoft does, or the desire to avoid admitting there could be anything good it ever does.

    It’s like if you were in love with your girlfriend, and as a result of this you felt you had to criticise every other woman in the world.

  • http://www.madross.com Gaz

    I agree that a number of posts on the ’33′ list smacked of zealotry. However, there was a lot of interesting feedback on there too with a genuine attempt to explain to Russell where his comments were misleading, and occasionally not exactly well though out:

    “I thought having “Unix” underneath would be an advantage. But it’s not Linux. Linux is what I know, the wackiness that is OSX confuses the hell out of me.”

    = I looked forward to the chocolate icecream but in fact it was coffee ice cream, and coffee is not chocolate which I like.

    Well, at least we’ve found out why his machine crashes so often :-)

    Comments like criticizing the Mac for having GarageBand instead of the alternative (not having GarageBand) shriek of a deliberate attempt to be provocative.

    Sure, there is Mac Zealotry but perhaps in this case it was somewhat deserved. It’s a shame really because there’s lots to improve with the Mac but Russell is not the person to be drawing our attention to it.

  • http://example.org/ Christopher

    Wow. Some people are just crazy. Or can’t read.

    I mean, this Russell guy didn’t actually criticise things like GarageBand. Up the top, he just said that they were “non-plusses”, which is far from the all-out hatred that some people seem to think he’s harbouring for half of the OS X default apps.

    He was saying that most people go on about all the amazing things that come with Macs, but in his case (as with many), these “things” aren’t actually of any value.