Mac vs PC: is anyone ever going to run proper benchmarks again?

OK, it is a sign of age.   Do you remember back when people actually tested computers for their performance?   I especially fondly remember Charlie White’s heroic efforts.   He is now high up the Mashable food chain and doesn’t “attack” Macs anymore…. heck he writes about them like everyone else.   But who does actually give Apple machines an honest run for their money?   I’m not talking about their business practices, whether they do any charitable donations (they don’t) or kill loads of people in their factories without any serious signs of caring or doing much about it.   This is a techie question, not a social responsibility sermon.

It is a well established (statistically, theoretically, practically and well…obviously!) that Apple has journalists wrapped around its finger.   It’s i-finger or i-whatever it does.   It gets more coverage for free, more positive coverage and more simply adoring coverage than anyone else.   It gets in more movies than anyone else.   And it doesn’t pay for it.   They are marketing demi-gods.   The only recent mac vs pc test I could find ends up almost equating the two solutions even though the Mac is $450 more expensive!    (To be fair they end the comparison like this: “So, if you love Macs, stay put. For everyone else, the choice is simple: Save your money and buy a PC. It’ll get the job done.” )

But wait a minute.   These are, for the most part, tools.   Not gadgets but machines we use to get a job done.   Sure most of the iPad lot are just scrolling up and down aimlessly and playing Angry Birds.   But for every 100 PCs out there, at least half are for actually producing something.   In a finite Universe with finite time.   We should care how quickly it gets done.   If you are crunching numbers, running a business, serving a customer, these things matter.   Which is why you don’t see Macs in mission critical environments.   They are not only more expensive; some businesses would pay for the style.   They are also slower.

I will gloss over the pro Apple arguments.   About a sleeker interface, myths about it being more stable or more safe none of which apply for many years now and especially since Windows 7.  I am talking about performance.   You use Photoshop?   You should care if it takes forever to load an image, or twice as long to execute a plugin effect as an equally priced PC.   You spend all day doing it.   You could be gaining valuable hours of free time.   There are good business reasons why Apples are slower.   Not just because Apple spends all day figuring out how to sell phones, not PCs anymore.   Even seemingly secondary things like hybrid HDD drives have good Windows drivers months or years before they have any compatibility with Macs.   It’s simply not worth the time of any manufacturer to bother doing any research for a company like Apple with such a small hold on worldwide PC sales.   And on top of that, Apple doesn’t make any partner’s life easy of course…

Back then, even with huge, proven differences in performance of common tasks, Mac fanatics simply refused to change.   Even when they finally conceded that they were slower, much slower, they came back with “yeah, but PCs are ugly“!

What’s your excuse?


The planet is lucky Steve Jobs stuck to making gadgets

I think everyone in branding envies Steve Jobs.   Some turn it into adulation, others into hate.  He was the ultimate spin doctor.  From “we burn Pentiums to the ground” to “we love Intel” in the space of a few months.  Or “we will never use Adobe Flash” to “OK, we will implement it in everything again”; most politicians would do well to study how he did it.

From the Apple IIe back in the early 80s, to my Macintosh and then the Quadra at University, I must admit I never agreed with the company’s approach to doing business.   Because there was only one beneficiary:   Steve Jobs!  The concept of a sales channel simply didn’t exist in his mind.   Up or down his supply chain everyone was milked for everything they had.  5,6 or 8 billion dollars or whatever his net worth was as he died and not a cent given to charity.

And yet the whole planet mourns.   If this man was in charge of a country, he would have set his neighboring country off doing space exploration (he would keep the rights and take the credit though), we would all be earning $100 a month and he would be re-elected every time.   We would all believe we are living in a golden age of a perfect life as we waited for the next version of his social policies to actually work.   He would be president of the United Nations and kick everyone else out of the meetings.  We would put up with his laws being practically a dictatorship; and like it too!

We should all breathe a huge sigh of relief at the passing of this genius.   Because it wasn’t evil genius.   Simply a megalomaniac without a real vision.   Selling gadgets for people to play “Angry Birds” on, isn’t a vision.   Fighting poverty in Africa, famine or cancer is a vision.   Getting rich people to buy shiny hardware doesn’t change the world.

Read here about “The Other Steve Jobs: Censorship, Control and Labor Rights”