Friday, December 17, 2010


Someone else’s impressions of a Mac

Here’s an odd essay in the Huffington Post (one might call that a tautology), a rant by one Joshua Kors, who calls himself an Investigative Reporter, about why he’s returning the iMac he just bought.

I say that it’s odd because it seems that anyone who’s paid any attention to recent technology would know a few things that Mr Kors seems not to: that Mac computers are different from Windows machines, that there are usually ways to accomplish what you want, if you’re willing to look into it a bit (investigate, one might say), and suchwhat.

When I got my first (and, so far, only) Mac, three and a half years ago, I knew there’d be differences between it and Windows, and I knew there’d be things it’d take me a while to learn. I wrote about some of those differences here and here. My overall impression was (and is) that Macs aren’t better than Windows machines, nor are they worse; they’re just different. And the differences in either take some getting used to, if you’re accustomed to the other. From my first impression, after only one day:

There’s a lot that seems like it’s wrong until you find out that it’s really there, and you just need to learn how to do it. I’ve found quite a few of those so far (the Dock is much nicer than it first seems, for instance). We’ll see how I like it as I learn more.

And that’s the thing: Mr Kors didn’t seem to be interested in learning the differences, or in figuring out what works better for him and what doesn’t. He says he was really excited to buy an iMac, but then, after two weeks, he returned it, annoyed:

Two weeks later I’m back at Apple headquarters — my teeth worn down, my face prematurely aged from endless hours of sleeplessness and technological frustration — certain that the iMac was the worst purchase I’d ever made.

His account, though, starts off with hyperbole and goes from there:

My iMac and I got off on the wrong foot. Turns out there’s a video camera embedded in the screen, and before I could boot her up for the very first time, she wanted to take my picture. For identity purposes, she said. I stumbled to the bathroom, brushed my hair (and my teeth), exchanged my raggedy Raiders t-shirt for a professionally ironed button-up and returned to my desk, smirking at the turn of events. My old PC didn’t care if I called the Pentagon in my bathrobe. My iMac apparently had registered with

Come on, Mr Kors. Just put your cat in front of the camera, and move on. I do agree that the overly familiar tone of things is annoying, at least to this techie, but it’s also not rocket science to understand that it’s just fluff. Windows, too, wants a personal image for the login screen. Only, Windows starts off with some canned images — a chess piece, a flower, a skateboard, and so on. Whatever.

He goes on to complain about the mouse and the keyboard, before getting used to them. He complains that not all the software he wants is bundled with his machine (was it really so on Windows?), and that the software he’s used to doesn’t work (had no one clued him in about needing new software?), and he implies that he knows of no alternatives.

He says he knew that he wouldn’t be able to transfer files from one computer to another over the network, something that’s news to this Mac-and-Windows user, who does that all the time — Mac to Mac, Mac to Windows, Windows to Mac... it all works fine. In copying files using an intermediate external drive (a canoe, in his metaphor), he’s frustrated at the manual bookkeeping he has to do because he can’t figure out that copy; move to trash is the equivalent to move (yes, I find the two-step requirement mildly annoying as well, but it’s hardly critical).

Migrating settings from iTunes, Thunderbird, and so on is much easier than he makes out, with or without an ocean of Mac dork chat boards. Changing display fonts is also easy, and you don’t have to change the font size in your sent mail in order to do it.

All in all, it appears that Mr Kors didn’t want to try something new, but just wanted to write a rant. And so he did. Only, he comes across as an idiot in the process.

Well, he writes for the Huffington Post, so maybe that’s enough to make him come across as an idiot all by itself.

1 comment:

Brent said...

It would be fun to see a similar post about someone moving from the US to Canada - what doesn't work the same way, etc.