Mac or PC: dividing the Christian community

One of our students here at Moore, Joel Moroney, has written a very incisive piece about something which threatens to divide the Christian community in a very serious way.

I am talking about Mac vs PC.

And I wish I was joking. Have a look at this article from the UK Guardian newspaper. Sound familiar? Then there's those terribly smug ads - you know, 'I'm a PC - and I'm a Mac'.

Moroney is so concerned that he writes: 'I'm no longer convinced that this rivalry is friendly.'

The aggressive marketing of computer platforms is designed to produce a kind of tribal brand allegiance. It is quite by the design of the companies that people feel attached to PC or Mac as a badge of their very identity.

I'll let Joel continue:

I'm a PC user. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to buy a new computer. I carefully weighed up my options. I looked at the pros and cons of purchasing a PC or a Mac. And I made my decision. I bought a bright, shiny red PC. It made me happy.

When I posted my happy news on Facebook, as one does when one is happy, I received two types of comments. On one side were people asking me questions about the specs of my new computer, sharing in my joy. On the other side were Mac users. Their responses put me on the defensive. I was made to feel like I was sub par human being for purchasing a PC. That I was uncultured, ill-informed, and that I was very, very unwise. It made me feel like I wanted to take my happy news and hide it somewhere that no one could find it.

As a PC user, have you ever had a problem with your computer that has caused you frustration and anger? Maybe you were about to finish a massive essay the night before it was due, only to find that a computer malfunction caused your entire work to be deleted? Yeah, it happens. Have you shared this sorrow with friends on Facebook or in real life, only to be met with the reply "It wouldn't have happened if you had a Mac"? In that moment you're looking for compassion, for empathy. You're already down, but then it feels like the Mac user has kicked you in the gut. It's just not loving.

Joel then admits that he has made scathing comments about Macs in the past, too.

The thing is, this attitude and the attendant behaviours have crept into the Christian community, and even into the fraternity of ministers as a kind of middle-class version of Ford vs Holden. And it has to stop - it is ridiculous isn't it? But the passions involved are very strong and I have seen quite serious arguments occur about it. Can we - at least in our Christian subculture - rise above it?

Michael Jensen is rector of St Mark's Darling Point and is the author of the book My God, My God: Is it Possible to Believe Anymore? He's on twitter: @mpjensen

Comments (61)

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  • Andrew Mackinnon
    December 21, 09 - 7:01pm
    Life was much better before computers.
  • Michael Jensen
    December 21, 09 - 7:17pm
    Oh, we found other things to squabble about back then, too. But this one seems particularly inane, while at the same time being extremely prevalent.
  • Ian Welch
    December 21, 09 - 8:14pm
    I couldn't agree more with Michael Jensen. Much depends on what you were/are introduced to first. My federal agency had the first Mac (then called an Apple Lisa) back in the 1980s (not so long ago incidentally) and I have used both PC and Mac since. My personal computers have always been Mac. Given that Macs have such a small market share I don't think there is an issue involved other than the usual marketing spin and a not unnatural human propensity to score off others.

    But Andrew Mackinnon, Shame, Sir, Shame. May I mention the opening of the world of knowledge to ordinary people through computers, the ability to communicate instantly around the world, the capacity to recover previously inaccessible material through digitisation. The fact that this forum exists is another testimonial to the way in which computers contribute and I won't add medical and scientific research that has produced amazing blessings to the world.

    Life was incredibly narrow before computers. Of course they present a problem for people beset by original sin and hence a capacity to distort, dissemble and deceive. Computers are no better or worse than people.

    Ian Welch, Canberra
  • Hugh Bryant-Parsons
    December 21, 09 - 10:34pm
    I think the whole "Mac vs PC" thing should be viewed in the light of Paul's comments in Romans 14:1-12, especially as the rivalry seems to take on such 'religious' fervour.

    One person esteems one computer as better than another, while another esteems all computers alike.

    Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

    “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall confess to God.”

    So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.


    What I'm basically saying is that your choice of computer is one of freedom, choose one and get on with living for Christ. I'm sure we don't want Christ to return and find us busy squabbling about non-essentials like what computer we should use.
  • Kevin Goddard
    December 21, 09 - 10:57pm
    At first I was flabbergasted to read such a divisive article. But then I realised that such an honest confession from a PC addict is good for the soul. Joel's admission that PC's have the bad 'habit' of crashing at the most awkward times is certainly an 'inconvenient truth' - but one that needs to be addressed - perhaps he should attend one of those "PC AA" self help groups to learn how to cope.

    But surely he has also failed to see the generosity and evangelistic zeal of his Mac friends when they lovingly reach out to him as one in trouble when they say things like :
    “It wouldn’t have happened if you had a Mac”?


    This indeed is a truism - and worthy of all acceptation. I also can see the gospel parallel in seeing a troubled soul who has gone astray - and wondering how different their life would have been - IF only they had been seeking to live life according to The Maker's instructions as found in "The Master's Book of Instruction" ( available in parts 1 and 2. )

    I give daily thanks that my family - many years ago - went forward at a Macintosh rally and made a life-long decision to commit ourselves to be followers of The Apple. Apple Macs still continue to develop the creativity within us - and enable us to enjoy lives as we were ordained to live.

    Michael & Joel, it is time to move on, repent - and commit to the one true computer. Learn to travel the road less travelled - and "GET A LIFE - GET A MAC" ;)
  • Paul Hughes Knight
    December 22, 09 - 12:56am
    I read a quite amusing article a few years back that purported to settle this question with finality... Apple is indisputably of the devil. That article, since deleted, was a spoof of US style biblical literalism more than about technology. You can get the flavour of it at this link, (where a serious apple computer type has, wouldn't you know, taken it at face value).
    http://www.oreillynet.com/mac/blog/2002/04/apple_and_the_antichrist.html
    I will through my computer off a cliff after posting.
  • Hamish Blair
    December 22, 09 - 3:39am
    Been a Mac user for over a decade, and constantly subjected to ridicule by PC users. Lack of software, more expensive etc.

    So Mac users have had to develop a thick skin and come up with a few responses to "justify" their choice.

    Oh, and until recently, there was no competition to Accordance Bible software on the PC - its Mac only and well worth the choice of platform.
  • Michael Jensen
    December 22, 09 - 4:02am
    It is interesting that amongst local Christians mac has had a large following since the eighties. Care to speculate why?
  • Ian Welch
    December 22, 09 - 4:15am
    I suspect it has something to do with Adam and Eve and the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

    Ian Welch
  • Shane Rogerson
    December 22, 09 - 4:22am
    as a mac convert and evangelist - dare I say it is more reliable & usuable for the simple man like me who prefers to spend money over time.

    ...and if I was searching - it is the penultimate of cool amongst urban savvy iphone toting Sydney siders.

    lets face it, have Mac Book, have Iphone, have Crumpler, have VW Golf TSI , drink at the TAP House, ride a Vespa, wear Ben Sherman, download Driscoll, etc etc
    MAC have made their machinery another cool accessary (style and function).

    I don't think its anywhere near as drastically divisive as being suggested by the way.

    I do wonder whether we can learn from MAC converts though in terms of evangelism - they are incredibly passionate about the product and can't help but tell everyone that its awesome. :)
  • Hugh Bryant-Parsons
    December 22, 09 - 4:30am
    It is interesting that amongst local Christians mac has had a large following since the eighties. Care to speculate why?


    Sometimes it just takes time for people to see the light. :-)
  • Michael Jensen
    December 22, 09 - 4:32am
    ...yeah, this is the kind of thing I am talking about, right? You purchase of a consumer item is not 'the light'. I know you are joking... sort of...
  • Martin Kemp
    December 22, 09 - 4:35am
    You can't plant a church without a Mac.
    PC is so, like, denominational.
  • Ian Porter
    December 22, 09 - 4:37am
    I don't know how there can be any argument - as the Mac of God, Jesus was certainly not PC.
  • Hugh Bryant-Parsons
    December 22, 09 - 4:42am
    Yes, I was joking, as it is of no eternal consequence what computer you choose.

    As I said before, people should make their free will choice, and then move on living for Christ.

    There are more important things to dispute over then what computer you use.

    P.S. Just to be clear, I've worked in the Information Technology industry since 1972, where I got to use a LISA, the first Mac, the first IBM PC, Gem Windows, MS Windows (most versions) for work, and have used a Mac at work for about 2 years.

    At home, however, I have only ever owned a Mac.

    You're more then welcome to use a PC, that's your choice.
  • Michael Jensen
    December 22, 09 - 4:44am
    This is a guy thing, right: are there any girls out there who get this whole mac/pc debacle?
  • Kevin Goddard
    December 22, 09 - 6:45am
  • Ian Welch
    December 22, 09 - 8:11pm
    None of the women in my life would waste their time discussing such matters. As the TV ad puts it, this ain't life folks, lets move on.
  • Kevin Goddard
    December 22, 09 - 8:19pm
    I agree up to a point Ian. The women in my life would express it this way :
    I do have a life - afterall I have a Mac ;)
  • Michael Jensen
    December 22, 09 - 9:19pm
    Kevin.... aren't you perpetuating the very thing I argued against in my article?
  • Allan Dowthwaite
    December 22, 09 - 10:14pm
    a kind of middle-class version of Ford vs Holden


    Michael, I think this sentence gets to the heart of it. We're incredibly tribal creatures and the Mac v. PC thing is the tech version of what can be found right across our society.

    It's no different to Parramatta v. Canterbury, Tottenham v. Arsenal, or dare I say in Sydney Anglican circles, ESV v. NIV
  • Hans Norved
    December 22, 09 - 10:27pm
    Why are local Christians so keen on Mac? I was around in the 80s UNSW - I think it was beacuse if yoiu kneew nothing about computers but wanted the benefits of using one you went for Mac (Apple was the term mostly used back then) - If you were an enthusiast you bought a kit TRS80 computer from Dick Smith, there was also the Microbee, and of cause if money was no object you could buy a real IBM PC - windows was just new - you still had to know DOS and lots about file structure and manipulation etc. no drag'n'drop. So when Macs appeared it was fantastic - you need know nothing about what happened under the bonnet....
    And the Christians were busy 'library' lawning so they were by and large not interested in wasting time with computers unles you were in the Elec. Eng faculty.
    The first uni computer was the VAX mainframe - what a nightmare... Then in the Arts faculty (I had handed in several handwritten essays already) we got a Mac computer lab. Yea - just type yopur essay and whack in the (floppy) disc, and away you go!
    I notice that Christians in the media and FEVA and Matthias media are staunch Mac houses. MTS used to be but when I arrived the iMacs were so old they were better used as boat anchors. So we did a cost benefit analysis (when the Macs were still very expensive) and bought PCs - the board in a bisiness like fashion liked the decision.
  • Hans Norved
    December 22, 09 - 10:33pm
    As far as Mac vs PC I dont have religion - use the machine that suits your needs/preference/budget - in most office situations - PCs are the cheapest and perfectly functional solution - most only require the MS Office suite.
    These days Macs fit seamlesly on the network and Mac users who work in mixed environmenbts generally get MS Office anywhay.

    Now that I have started teaching which makes a heavy demand on multimedia I will be using a Mac - I have tried video editing on PC and I did not find it fun. So I am just moving to the machine that suits my needs (I still don't really want to learn about what happens inside the box - i just want it to work)
  • Shane Rogerson
    December 22, 09 - 10:56pm
    good point Hans
    it shouldn't surprise us that in a world where style often trumps substance, that the MAC marketing is pretty impressive, and not without substance. it does have some pretty powerful stuff under the bonnet, and like every car I've owned, I don't care what's there as long as it works.

    getting back to Michael's question, it is curious how much Christians are driven by what is cool. like the culture we inhabit, we feel with our eyes and think with our feelings.
  • John Forsyth
    December 22, 09 - 10:59pm
    I'm and Anglican and I use a PC...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwtt41Ad66A
  • Stuart Pearson
    December 23, 09 - 12:00am
    I am Stuart and I use a Mac and I'm Joel's boss at St. Luke's Liverpool and I'm the only Mac user amongst the staff at St. Luke's. At this point I'd like to offer a public apology to Joel for any hurt caused by my comments regarding Mac and PC. What I thought was friendly banter, like that between Ford and Holden, was clearly mistaken. I fear that my insensitivity towards Joel and his bright shiny red PC has stirred this storm in a tea cup.
  • Michael Jensen
    December 23, 09 - 12:45am
    Thanks Stuart!

    Is it a storm in a teacup? It ought to be, from one point of view. But the seriousness with which people take these badges of identity makes it potentially more than that... doesn't it?
  • Craig Schafer
    December 23, 09 - 1:27am
    Maybe my year at college was particularly blessed; we all seemed to have computer problems - PC and MAC users alike. But we also had David Cox, who made them all go away.

    Craig
    www.stmarks.com.au
  • John Forsyth
    December 23, 09 - 1:37am
    There is always this solution that some MTC student thought up... very creative!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NGV4YB9UWY
  • Luke D. Woodhouse
    December 23, 09 - 1:42am
    Hey Michael,
    I've always felt that the rivalry has been fairly light-hearted (hence the number of light-hearted comments on this fairly serious article) and not the cause of any harm. I didnt' think anyone was treating it as seriously as your article suggests.

    But I'll be more careful now, because clearly there are people who are affected by this stuff. Good warning Michael.
  • Dane Courtney
    December 23, 09 - 1:50am
    It is interesting that amongst local Christians mac has had a large following since the eighties. Care to speculate why?

    Michael, I bought my first computer in 1986, when I was in 3rd Year at College. A relatively small number of people at College had computers in those days - some early PCs and a few Apple II's (plus the odd Commodore!). I knew hardly anything about them, so set out with an open mind. The latest thing in the PC world was the IBM JX - which sank without trace months later! But the Macintosh Plus had just been released. Although it was massively expensive by comparison, it was clear that it had been designed for people in the communication business - which is what we are. I've stuck with Macs because I've built up expertise (and invested in software) over nearly 25 years.
    But the answer to your question is that in the 80s there was little alternative to the Mac if you wanted to produce good looking promotional material.
    The slogan 'Windows 98 = Macintosh 88' wasn't far wrong!
  • Con Campbell
    December 23, 09 - 3:05am
    The fact is, my computer is the most important tool for my work. It's not a trivial matter, like what car I drive, or whether it's cool. It's not a badge of identity. It really matters and makes a difference to me.
    If the banter between Mac and PC users is getting too serious, then sure, let's be sensitive about that. But having sincere conversations with each other about what tools work best for different needs is not something that should become un-PC (excuse the pun), in my opinion.
  • Michael Jensen
    December 23, 09 - 3:37am
    So owning Mac is purely a matter of function as far as you are concerned, CC?
  • Con Campbell
    December 23, 09 - 4:26am
    So owning Mac is purely a matter of function as far as you are concerned, CC?


    Yep, though I will admit to enjoying their stylishness too (post hoc).

    I'll also admit to a certain degree of tribal loyalty, though--in all seriousness--that has arisen from being so pleased with the functionality. If PC users are likewise pleased, then I rejoice with them!
  • Lachlan Orr
    December 23, 09 - 4:45am
    While the Mac vs. PC debate is, at one level, all in good fun and while I'm sure many keep the rivalry at the friendly level is it any wonder that people are so passionate about their computer of choice? People live through their computer screens using them for work, games, socialising, planning their day, watching TV, watching movies, creative expression and shopping (without even stopping to think too hard about it). Your computer can be a very personal device. It’s easy to get defensive about something that is such a big part of your life.

    With the increasing dependence of many ministries on computers it can be a pain in the butt when there are one or two people who operate on different computer platforms and things never seem to go quite as smoothly when sending them files (perhaps the PowerPoint presentation you worked so hard at getting just right didn't transfer well). It's a lot easier to attack someone for choosing a platform that is clearly inferior to yours, especially when you don't have the know how to easily get around the technical issues.
  • Gill Evans
    December 23, 09 - 5:12am
    Hi all
    I came home from Tanzania as a missionary in 1991. I had used an electric typewriter (yes, even in Tanzania)and a MAC (from an American missionary). In 1988 when I was home on leave, CMS had a Wang, and I figured out that if an electronic typewriter could bold and underline something at the same time, then this Wang must be able to do more. When I came home I had to buy a computer (I was a secretary and could not think about living without a "modern typewriter".) DOS etc was no problem, but the cost of a MAC was beyond my meagre earnings. At the time, Clergy friends who could not type, but needed to produce bulletins, loved the MAC because it meant they could drag and drop, so clergy who I knew from my years of being in link parishes, working in the Diocesan office etc., were all opting for a MAC, but I wanted a typewriter! I remember being amazed at one program I bought for my PC that meant I could design things it was weird.....I liked seeing a "sheet of paper" in front of me. I have always thought the difference and the passion was more about what was seen then as the function of the machine you were about to buy. I don't think that is so true now - obviously reading the above posts. I have had a good old chuckle as I have read along. Thanks folks!
  • Ian Welch
    December 23, 09 - 6:01am
    Oh Good Grief, all the wretched boxes do what they do and use identical software for basic purposes with most of us using a variant of Microsoft Office. They are all PC—personal computers.

    Apart from price, and Macs are undeniably dearer, it doesn't matter in the slightest which you decide to buy unless you have a particular specialist usage. They are simply tools, like a hammer, which some of us use from time to time as well. I am sure no-one would enter into such lengthy correspondence over a hammer.

    And as to which translation of the Bible you use. Who really cares so long as (a) you don't assume that your interpretation is the only one possible and (b) that someone else's reading isn't necessarily wrong because it doesn't agree with yours.

    Come on guys and gals, let's get on with something rather more significant.
  • Gill Evans
    December 23, 09 - 7:18am
    19 years ago they weren't all the same.(to me, and to others I knew at the time.)..That is all I was saying...
  • Steve Kryger
    December 23, 09 - 7:37am
    I wonder if a similar dynamic exists in how people speak about different Bible colleges?
  • Derek Cheng
    December 23, 09 - 7:37am
    I'm a happy PC user. Without knowing why, I'm reasonably convinced that Mac is probably better, but I just have no need for one given the things are so expensive. Part of me wonders why word ministers would need a Mac, apart from perhaps those doing stuff in graphic design, video editing etc.

    The new laptop I'm currently using is fairly basic. However I was just as happy using the (3yrs) old one... until I dropped it and broke the screen. Some of my financial supporters (I'm an ministry apprentice) very generously offered to buy me a new one and asked me what I need - and to be honest all I need is a plastic brain with keys and a screen.
  • Derek Cheng
    December 23, 09 - 7:39am
    On a somewhat lighter note, the sermon illustration I've been using a little lately is that being a Christian is a bit like being a Mac...

    Just like a Mac is still a computer, as Christians we are still people, but a lot of the time we're just not compatible with the rest of the world.
  • Gill Evans
    December 23, 09 - 7:58am
    Oh dear, I needed to lough out loud today, and I just did, thanks Derek.
  • Jason Matthew Partridge
    December 25, 09 - 11:23pm
    The PC vs Mac tribalism is a problem, it is another thing that can divide us Christians. Maybe I am just sensitive but the put down jokes can hurt. Is that my fault, maybe. Maybe I am a weaker brother in this respect, I never realised what computer you used mattered so much. But in Christ is it not the stronger brother's responsibility to control his tongue to protect his weaker brother?

    My wife has a Mac and I have a PC, and guess what they both failed at the same time. Yes, at the same time! Her Mac Hard drive failed, and we lost a lot of personal photos. My video card failed making it impossible to view the screen. Both where fixed under warranty, but we lost the photos permanently.

    What did this teach me! Back up your computer, PC or Mac, neither machine is perfect. At Moore I have had many people come up to me asking me to retrieve their essay because of a computer problem the day before it is due. And guess what, they where both Mac and PC users.

    Machines are great tools and we should talk about which tools are best for ministry. If you want a new computer the first thought shouldn't be 'Mac or PC?' but 'What do I want to do with this machine?'. Computer's are a good from God that we can use for ministry, lets keep it at that. Lets inform each other in lover rather than tear down with banter. When you tear down someone's choice of computer you are tearing down what they have on their hard drives, and that usually is family photos or days of work
  • Justin Moffatt
    December 26, 09 - 1:53am
    I guess I'm out of Joel's world, since I've only witnessed helpful conversations based on fact and reason. I can't even imagine what must be going on at College when someone could be crushed for comments about a product they bought.

    On just a reading of your article, I'm with Con (#32)

    Joel's post kind of supports basic relativism. :) Where the actual dialogue about what is better or worse is ignored, or smoothed to make people happy about their choices. I'm against pride, of course. But I am for robust conversation.

    (Disclosure: committed PC for 15 years, was 'evangelised' with humility, care, and reason, and switched over to Mac 2 months ago.)
  • Kevin Goddard
    December 26, 09 - 8:20am
    I can't even imagine what must be going on at College when someone could be crushed for comments about a product they bought.


    Good point Justin - what exactly is going on there ? Maybe that's where our emphasis should be.
  • Michael Jensen
    December 26, 09 - 8:41am
    woah, back it up a bit.

    My learned colleague Rev'd Moffatt is off the mark when he talk about 'going on at College'. That wasn't the context of my comments or of Joel Moroney's either. I don't perceive this to be a college issue - the less than good natured banter occurs in middle-class Australia, and therefore, in our computer-using Christian sub-culture.
  • Kevin Goddard
    December 26, 09 - 8:53am
    Woah, back it up a bit.

    Who are you calling "middle class" ?

    ( Please excuse my meagre attempt at 'good natured banter'. )

    Cheers ;)
  • Polly Seidler
    December 27, 09 - 1:00am
    How things change in 4-5 years. 2004 at moore colleage I had a mac and felt a 2nd class citizen (none of the computer committee had macs, and IVP-CD rom not available for mac). In 2005 I got a PC, and many in our year did a bulk order for Bibleworks (for PC). Now, macs (and mac i-phones) are the rage.
  • Kevin Goddard
    December 27, 09 - 1:04am
    Yes indeed - "enlightenment" comes late for some folk ;)

    ( Sorry Michael, I couldn't help myself ;0 )
  • Dave Lankshear
    December 28, 09 - 12:58pm
    Guys, anyone met the new player on the block? The mighty Penguin may one day rule us all! This day is yet far off, but I have already had some angst expressed about our Mac use when Linux Ubuntu is already so good, and Open Office is... free.

    Firefox is open source, and since mid-December 2009 is the world's most used browser. Even Joy switched from Safari to Firefox when she saw me demo the latest bookmarking features, and they were just the standard bookmarking while-browsing features, not the advanced stuff you can get in the plug-ins.

    As far as Operating Systems go, I get the impression Linux is still not as user-friendly to non-geeks yet, so Mac is probably still the way to go if you want to spend more time working and less time problem solving.;-)

    But the battle lines are starting to draw up out there. If the functionality and interface start to behave like a more commercial OS, then you just can't compete with FREE.
  • Kevin Goddard
    December 28, 09 - 6:32pm
    Dave, for true afficionados, you should know that it's NOT about price. Whatever happened to loyalty ?
  • Kevin Goddard
    December 28, 09 - 7:47pm
    Not free, but Apple just keeps getting better. From today's SMH :
    Apple readies new gadget December 29, 2009

    LONDON: Apple is expected to start the new year with the launch of its latest gadget: a tablet computer that will allow users to surf the internet, watch television shows and read online magazines and newspapers.

    Speculation is rife that Apple will unveil the device, which has no keyboard and resembles a large iPhone, on January 26 in San Francisco and two days later in Sydney.

    Some technology bloggers have named the touchscreen device the iSlate after it was disclosed that the company had registered the iSlate.com internet domain name.

    The company has previously investigated the possibility of producing a tablet computer and there are already tablets available from rival manufacturers. France's Archos, which 'pioneered digital music players but saw its market lead stolen by Apple, has already created an internet tablet based on Google's Android software. Microsoft's latest tablet prototype - codenamed Courier, rumours have it - involves two 18cm screens side-by-side in the form of a booklet.

    The explosion of digital content services, the rise of downloadable applications and the widespread availability of wireless broadband has created a market for a tablet PC that is more of a multimedia device than merely a ''keyboardless'' computer. It would essentially be a cross between the iPhone, Apple's TV service and an iPod......
  • Ian Welch
    December 28, 09 - 9:41pm
    Sorry Kevin, loyalty means nothing, and should mean nothing, when it comes to IT stuff. Either a thing does what is needed or it doesn't. If both do the same thing, then price is, and in stewardship terms, should be paramount.

    Apple lost much of its once 'loyal' academic market as universities realized that they could buy two or more PC machines for the price of just one Mac.

    And if you haven't noticed, Macs are coming down in price although still substantially dearer than an equivalent PC. And as far as notebooks are concerned, Macs are simply irrelevant in price and most functions.

    Manufacturers only talk about brand loyalty when it suits their marketing and sales profiles. Mac didn't give a hoot for those of us with old systems (9 and before) when it introduced System 10. I have to retain the old Classic System in order to open my oldest files but can't upgrade my current OS without, in practical terms, buying a new Mac. One of the BIG Mac features that generated loyalty for a couple of decades was the ability to open all the earlier files. That is no longer the case and is a major worry for older researchers who draw on earlier research notes.
  • Dave Lankshear
    December 28, 09 - 11:31pm
    Hi Ian,
    In stewardship terms surely we also have to account for:
    * time lost learning a new system
    * time lost learning new software and routines
    * time lost servicing a recalcitrant machine that we're not as familiar with and may not be designed 'for non-geeks', etc.

    My big beef with the whole PC/Mac/Linux thing is not so much the price difference, but the sheer human capital and learning investment that is LOST when you have to move from one to another. Mac has iWorks, and so mac users often snub Microsoft Office for iWorks. Moving from Mac to PC often means learning a new OS AND a new Word processor, spreadsheet, Powerpoint instead of Keynote, etc.

    This is just not acceptable! To an ex-army dude like myself, we must have ORDER! We must get this gear SQUARED AWAY! We SHALL eventually take the best features of Mac & PC, we SHALL merge them into Linux, we SHALL have a creative corporate team at the top (that draw some profits in from servicing contracts) and we SHALL also draw on the best bottom-up, grassroots open-source community ideas and develop free software that WILL DOMINATE THE WHOLE WORLD...!

    OK, enough of the Nazi routine.

    But you get my drift... it takes hundreds of hours of use to get to know something, and if it works for you, why change it?

    EG: I doubt that half the population can use half the functions of Word, and that's less than half as much as they deserve! Hang on a minute... saw that in a movie somewhere...
  • Justin Moffatt
    December 29, 09 - 1:02am
    My learned colleague Rev'd Moffatt is off the mark when he talk about 'going on at College'.


    Don't mean to say anything bad about College, my wise friend, Rev'd Dr Jensen. Love the College, as you know. It's just that I have never seen this kind of interaction -- was assuming it was a College issue, cos JOel mentioned it, and a section of his comments were from COllege Peeps.
  • Dave Lankshear
    December 31, 09 - 4:12am
    Hey Kevin,
    when Microsoft starts a high-powered job description for an Open Source 'liaison' (read, spy, chief strategist and General in the war against, enemy of) then we know that Microsoft is worried about their future.

    Most people regard OpenOffice.org as a distant runner-up to Microsoft Office, and certainly not a serious rival. Microsoft seems to feel otherwise, judging by a new job posting on its site for a ‘Linux and Open Office Compete Lead.’ According to this, competing with both GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.org is ‘one of the biggest issues that is top of mind’ for no less a person than Steve Ballmer. Interestingly, a key part of this position is ‘engaging with Open Source communities and organizations’ — which suggests that Microsoft’s new-found eagerness to ‘engage’ with open source has nothing to do with a real desire to reach a pacific accommodation with free software, but is simply a way for Microsoft to fight against it from close up, and armed with inside knowledge.”
  • Kevin Goddard
    December 31, 09 - 5:00am
    Thanks Dave - and Happy New Year !

    Interesting to see that you've started looking out for conspiracy theories too ;)
  • Dave Lankshear
    December 31, 09 - 5:17am
    Mate, I'm IN this one!* ;-)

    *(The 'conspiracy' to see all the best features of Windows7 and Mac slowly incorporated into the final 'hive-mind' of the Mighty Penguin!

    But until that day, inheriting hand-me-down Macs from Joy will just have to do! It's a tough life.

    ;-)

    More seriously, I just read one comment on Slashdot which said one Microsoft Word user went to Openoffice.org when Microsoft changed the Word GUI around so badly in 2007.

    Like myself, he just could not handle all the hours invested in learning one way of doing things and the Open Office GUI was more similar to pre-2007 Word than post-2007 Word with the "Ribbon" feature wrecking where you thought you knew everything was.

    I reckon 99% of Word users don't bother with most of the advanced features... so why they have to go and keep changing where those features are, and making it hard for the rest of us still trying to get to know the BASIC features, totally beats me.
  • Hamish Blair
    January 2, 10 - 1:13am
    OK - so here's a more pressing issue of godliness: software piracy. Are all your programmes bought and paid for? Have you downloaded cracked software, or gotten the serial numbers from the internet to unlock trial versions of the software?

    Have you bought and paid for all your music - ripped from CDs or via the iTunes store etc., or have they been downloaded via Bit torrent?

    What about your DVDs - copies bought back from some friends who went to Asia, or did you get them from JB Hi-Fi or Big W?

    Seems plenty of people I know who go to church haven't worked out that Exodus 20:15 applies to copyright.
  • Kevin Goddard
    January 2, 10 - 1:25am
    As you asked, the answer is YES, NO, YES*, NO* and YES.

    * Some of us older types who really love their music NEVER get their music off the internet ( legal or otherwise ) because we appreciate having the REAL thing in our hands - be it a genuine CD or vinyl album - both with usually fantastic cover art and cover notes. And we realise that artists receive their proper royalties when music etc is bought legally.
  • Dave Lankshear
    January 2, 10 - 1:27am
    Agreed Hamish, and it is a real problem, a "blind spot" in many eyes. We have been amazed at some of the fairly 'flexible' approaches to copyright issues software & fonts amongst even our Christian clients, and often have to gently remind them now and then that "Sending you that font to use on your own computer whenever you want would be illegal, wouldn't it?"