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PC vs. Mac -- Microsoft continues the war with a new website that compares Windows 7 to Mac OS X (Download Squad)

Aug 14th 2010 5:32PM I have owned a Mac, and after it bit the dust, I decided never again. As far as I could tell, the Mac was designed to take money out of my pocket. Not only was the initial cost higher than an equivalent PC would have been, but almost everything I wanted to do with it had a cost. I found it difficult to connect with peripherals -- and after trying to find solutions, the answer was often to just buy a new peripheral.

I was surprised to discover that many utility software applications, the kind that would ordinarily be free on a PC, were almost always only available for a fee. True, they didn't always cost much, but they always came at some sort of cost. With the PC I can always find a wide variety of applications for anything I as looking to do, and with a wide variety of price points ranging from free to very expensive, but with the Mac there was usually only one or two choices, and rarely a free option. As for the highly touted software suite that came with the Mac, I personally felt they were overly complicated pieces of bloatware. They looked pretty, but were cumbersome to use, and more surprisingly, their user interfaces were neither particularly intuitive, nor did they match each other all that well -- requiring a separate learning curve for each one. The only software I liked to use was iMovie, but there, too, the Mac uses Quicktime, which was completely different than what all of my other friends had, and I always had to do bothersome format conversions.

In the four years that I owned the Mac, the operating system was updated three times, and by the end, my version was virtually obsolete. Newer software couldn't run on it. Had this been my only machine I would have been forced to keep upgrading the operating system. In the PC world, only now is Win98 to the same point where most new software won't work with it, and I expect to run my XP machines for several more years without having to upgrade.

Even more surprising was the discovery that my Mac would occasionally freeze and locked up. With the smug, condescending superiority exhibited my Mac fans ("it just works"), I would've expected the machine to be something markedly superior, but it wasn't. It didn't perform worse than my XP machines, but it certainly wasn't better.

I know there are people who love their Macs, and God bless 'em, but I love my PC all the more now that I've spent time with the Mac.

Pirate Bay 2.0 plans coming along, and content providers are excited? Arrr, matey. (Download Squad)

Jul 18th 2009 1:06PM Sounds promising. One reason for the success (if you will) of Pirate Bay is that it made content available globally. In a global market and a 24/7 world it seems to be ridiculous to limit access to content according to the accident of where the consumer happens to reside. After all, what was Pirate Bay but an indication of a vast under served market. (And a sort of proto iTunes.)

I understand that content providers are in business to make money, and I am happy to pay a fair price for content if I think it has worth. I also understand that there are complexities involving royalty payments that need to be worked out. I hope that this works out to the mutual satisfaction of both consumers and providers.

It's the end of Google Video, Notebook, and Jaiku as we know it (Download Squad)

Jan 17th 2009 11:08AM I like Google notebooks because it can be installed on IE and Firefox, so I can access my notes from work, where we are only allowed to use IE. I'm glad it's not going away altogether, and considering how annoying Google's recent tweaks have been for iGoogle and Google Reader, I am relieved to hear that they won't be messing around with it anymore.

Microsoft's latest ads don't suck (Download Squad)

Sep 20th 2008 3:22PM The Mac vs. PC ads have always had the reverse effect on me. That is, I like the PC guy WAAAAY better than the Mac guy. It doesn't matter how much the Mac guy tells me about how much better a Mac is than a PC, I find him kind of smarmy and creepy. John Hodgman, on the other hand, is quite endearing. And all those things John Hodgman tells us about how PCs don't do those things he says they don't, well, we PC users know from experience that he's not exactly correct. So we watch, entranced by that lovable John Hodgman, and wrinkle our noses at the lame Mac guy, and continue happily using our PCs. (Honestly, it took me almost a year to discover that the Mac guy was supposed to be someone "cool", not John Hodgman.)

Here's the thing that Mac fanboys don't get about PC users. We really like our machines. As they're fond of telling us about their Macs, our PCs "just work" too. In fact, I have both a Mac and a PC. I have found that both machines are about equal in performance, but I vastly prefer my PC. I like my PC so much that my THIRD computer is also a PC, and it runs Vista! Yes, I was apprehensive about Vista, but now that I've been using it, I found that I like it, too! It's nothing remotely as bad as people have been making it out to be. My Mac, however, is used with less and less frequency.

Not only do Mac fanboys refuse to understand that we PC users like our machines, but they also simply can't understand that some people might be turned off by the Mac dude on those Mac vs. PC ads. Worse yet, they believe that by mocking us and calling us stupid, that somehow they will convince us to switch!

You watch. Some Mac fanboy is going to respond to this comment by telling me some variation of how I'm stupid/blind/obstinatelyblind or that I just don't "get it". Yep, I don't "get it". Not even owning one has made me "get it". But they don't either.

Perhaps the Mac fanboys can't understand that "being cool" isn't a driving force for most people, and that shiny good-looking objects aren't enough to make us give up the machines that provide us so much utility. Most of all, they don't seem to understand how that sort of smug, in your face, I'm-better-than-you attitude is actually an ANTI-advertisement for a Mac! It's kind of like one of those born-agains who get in your face about "being saved", or the Jehovah's Witnesses who keep knocking on your door and leaving you pamphlets. Each encounter leaves you grateful that you already have something that works perfectly well, and a little more determined to never ever become like one of those people.

Mozilla preparing to push Firefox 3 update on all Firefox 2 users (Download Squad)

Aug 23rd 2008 10:05PM C'mon, are they going to push FF 3 on Mac Panther users?? Really? Even if FF3 wasn't built to be installed on Panther?

Wow. I think that'll take some doing.

Is Lastpass as good as they make it sound? (Download Squad)

Aug 23rd 2008 10:55AM Hey, how about Palm users? I know the iPhone and Blackberry are the new *in* things, and sexier than Pamela Anderson on a clamshell, but the Palm platform still has a sizeable user base, and a lot of us aren't going to throw our Treos, PDAs, or Centrinos away anytime soon.

I use SplashID, which I totally rely on, but it would be cool to be able to export the file to my Mac and my Vista machines as well.

Firefox 3 download day made possible by Windows (Download Squad)

Jun 28th 2008 8:34PM My Mac still runs Panther, and FF3 can only run on Tiger or Leopard. I'm stuck with FF2 for the time being.

Cattails - The Supermarket of the Swamp (Slashfood)

Jun 21st 2008 12:55PM Ah, I remember many years ago a foodie introduced me to cattail roots. The taste sensation was indescribable. She sliced the roots and then sauteed them (I can't remember if it was butter or oil), and I thought they tasted like a cross between potatoes and corn. Delicious! I thought they were good enough to be made into a cash crop.

Sadly, I never again ventured into a swamp to get some. Cattails grow like weeds here in the midwest, and they can be found in ditches everywhere. Perhaps it's the thought that one never knows exactly what's in those ditches that keeps me from trying to get me some. Nonetheless, the memory of that meal has stayed with me for the past 25 years.

Classic, homemade mayonnaise (Slashfood)

Jun 21st 2008 12:22PM I've made mayonnaise for myself before -- following Alton Brown's recipe. However, I'm not a big fan of mayo, especially most commercial mayonnaise. I once received a tube (yes, that's TUBE) of mayonnaise from Hungary, and that was the first time that I began to understand its appeal. The Hungarian mayo was light and almost buttery, and definitely a revelation, whereas I've always thought that Hellmans was heavy, greasy, and bland. Homemade is definitely better than commercial, but since I don't eat a lot of mayo, it usually ends up going bad on me.

Despite my ambivalence to mayonnaise, I usually have a jar of Hellmans always around (it has a longer shelf life), which I often use for cream-style salad dressings and dips. (Er...for salads made from GREENS, that is.)

I actually do like Miracle Whip too -- but in the same ambivalent way I like mayonnaise. I use it exclusively for tuna salad, and sometimes as a spread on lunchmeat sandwiches. I think it gives a zip to those particular dishes, and find that substituting mayonnaise makes those taste utterly bland.

My sister and I use the same recipe for tuna salad, and both of us consider it a "killer" recipe. What's curious, however, is that she insists that it only tastes good when made with mayonnaise, and I think it only tastes good when made with Miracle Whip. Maybe it's kind of like one of those yin/yang things, where there are two kinds of people: those who like Mayonnaise, and those who like Miracle Whip. Neither is wrong, and neither is right.

What I don't understand is the elitism that's conveyed by those of the Mayonnaise persuasion. Those of us who like Miracle Whip aren't ipso facto vulgar lowerclass ignorant rednecks who simply don't know better.

10 Online TV guides compared (Download Squad)

Apr 6th 2007 9:30PM I use my ReplayTV guide normally, but once in a while when I DO use the internet to check TV listings, I use the listings at MyWay.com, but only because they have "no banners. no popups. no kidding." It's not that it's full of whiz-bang features, but I really like NOT being annoyed by ads, popups, and banners.

I'll give some of these others a try, just in case there's something I might like better.