Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

A new category

A reader wrote and asked me why I never write about Apple computers, and while he was very polite about it, sort of accused me of being ignorant of one whole aspect of personal computing… at the very least, favoring Microsoft products, and he wanted to know why. And he was– partly– right: I do favor Windows over Macs.

I learned how to use computers on a Mac. The first software I ever mac.jpg purchased was Macintosh software (a u-boat commander game..) and I learned MS Office and Photoshop on a Mac (PageMaker, too). I had access to machines with Windows on them (Windows 3.1), but way back then, Macs were where it was at. I was a Mac enthusiast until the release of Windows 95 and the advent of “3D” graphics cards (remember Hercules?) and 32-bit sound cards… and Duke Nukem 3D: the Halo 3 of its day. What I’m saying here is quite simple — I was a Mac-guy, right up until games went “3D” and the first-person shooter genre was born.
Sure, Windows 95 and those early cards were “buggy”, but it simply wasn’t possible to open up a Mac and add the expansion cards one needed. (And in fact, Apple maintained a hardware “ownership” [proprietary] until quite recently.) I left Apple for Windows and I’ve never looked back. I really do prefer, and have enthusiasm for, Windows PC’s.

1) Because early versions of Windows, and early PnP, and early expansion cards were so buggy, crash-prone, and incompatible, I had to learn how to fix and tweak things in Windows and get thing working right. This led to the discovery that I enjoyed building and repairing and tweaking computers; and eventually I became a certified computer technician. I enjoy helping people and my Tech Support business (and this blog) allows me to help people every day.
2) There’s so much MORE in Windows. There’s tons more software. Hundreds of more game titles (the “biggie” for me). More devices (this is not as true as it was a couple of years ago). More everything than there is in Apple. This is especially true in freeware (free programs), which Loyal Friends and True know is another particular passion of mine.
3) Apple doesn’t let you tweak like Windows does. I simply need — being a bit of a control freak — to be able to go deep into my Registry, blindly delete some vital entry, and destroy my Windows functionality (so I can re-Install, and start from scratch). If I cannot do this, I am not in control– the OS is. Apple prefers that you not have easy access to key Settings so that you cause fewer fatal errors.
4) Apple (hardware) is ridiculously over-priced; and Help Desk types ain’t millionaires. Apple has a certain “cachet”, and I am not the slightest bit image-conscious.

But where the letter writer was wrong is that I am not ignorant of Apple at all. I run an OSX 10.4 “Tiger” machine on my personal network. I watched them erect the first Apple building, and I live near where the yearly MacWorld Expo is held. I grew up in “Silicon Valley”… which there wouldn’t have been without Apple (IMHO). And, I was the only “Windows guy” in an Apple family.

So, thanks to this letter writer, I am adding a category to Tech–for Everyone (labeled, simply, “Apple”) and I will endeavour to write more articles about working with Apple products. Such as…

The new Apple “Air” — the “world’s thinnest notebook” — is not for you (how’s that for an opening statement?!). It’s (true) target demographic is corporate jet-setters and other mover-and-shaker types for whom cachet and image is everything.. people who spend $800 on a haircut and $20K on a briefcase.. who simply must make a splash when they walk into the boardroom.. (I think I’ve made my point). How can I say that?

The Air has one USB port, and doesn’t allow you to “upgrade” your RAM or your hard drive — the two most common laptop upgrades — and doesn’t have an optical drive. If you want more RAM, no. If you want more than 80 GB’s of (parallel, not SATA) storage, you can attach an external drive. If you want to play a DVD or CD, you can attach an external drive… if you want to do both, you can attach a USB hub, and then attach the external drives. There is simply no Firewire ability. There’s no Ethernet or modem port…and the headphone jack is mono.

Today’s free link: It is time to start thinking about taxes (Yippee!) and I, like so many others, use a program to help me figure out, and prepare my statements. The tax-prep software I use is the free TaxCut Basic from H&R Block. E-filing is optional. There are a wide array of services available through this link, that are definitely worth taking a look at. And, there’s a Mac version.

Copyright © 2007-8 Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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January 25, 2008 Posted by | Apple, computers, Gaming, hardware, PC, tech, Windows | | Leave a comment