Mac Users are Dense

I had a Mac user write me and seem surprised that he had to upgrade a piece of expensive software to keep up with his latest install of OSX 10.4. I actually love Macs, but I just hate dealing with Mac users. Here’s why.

No matter what O/S someone runs, there is no substitute for education - for knowing what (exactly) you have under the hood, and learning how hardware and software interface on your machine, editing config files, adjusting parameters, etc. Just like a car, right? You can buy a Toyota at $30,000 and say it is better and never breaks down and blah, blah, blah, and that is just fine. But don’t blame me if the whole world thinks the Toyota person is a moron because he can’t change a flat tire, or change his oil. It is still a car. Spending more doesn’t isolate you from that cold reality.

If Toyota owners wanted to say that they bought it for style or whatever, at least I could understand that. Same goes for Mac owners. If they want to tell me all the reasons why they love their Mac, that is fine.

But, when they start making claims like “we don’t get viruses” or “everything always works just out of the box”, I have to laugh. They wouldn’t know a virus if it had lived on their machine for years, stealing processing cycles, and they sure as heck will be paralyzed with fear if they ever have something not work. Sometimes PC people do this too, although it seems to be not as often.

There should be a basic computer course for Mac users that goes beyond click and point. It should explain to them what type of processor is in their machine (and what that means to them), what type of memory is in there, what type of hard drive, and other components. It should teach them the fundamental principles of an O/S - which is no different on a Mac than a PC 20 years ago, or a Linux machine today, or a BellLabs Unix machine from 40 years ago. The basics are all the same. It should explain to them what a BIOS is. And so forth.

It should explain basic computer fundamentals like heat dissipation (which is the real problem with MacBooks overheating - the Macs are designed just fine) and stuff like that. And then they should tell them (with a booming voice) that “Apple did not invent all this stuff”. I know some Mac users might actually go into cardiac arrest if they heard that. What? We bought chips from (gasp!!) Motorola?, hard drives from Western Digital?, surface-mount boards from China?? — AAaaack!!

Anyway, at least they might start to be able to do their own oil changes and fix a flat once in a while. I doubt that day will ever happen, because, at the core of this whole problem is the type of person who because a Mac fanatic. The average Mac fanatic doesn’t self-educate, doesn’t read, has some kind of twisted ADHD, and can’t even organize their document folders or inbox into some kind of logical hierarchy. There is a great magazine called Mac User - they don’t read it. There are great blogs out there to help them become self-sufficient, educated, and knowledgeable about their machines - they never read them.

And so, I go back to my old trite saying… the average Mac fanatic is like a woman. Sure, Detroit makes billions every year selling cars to women. Why shouldn’t they? And those women spend billions more every year having their oil changed by…. who???? MEN!!! How many ASE-certified auto mechanics are women? Less than 1 percent! How many women know how to change a tire, much less ever actually do it? Very few.

So, the average Mac fanatic is like a women - pleased as punch to drive all over town and to show her little Toyota Hybrid to all her friends and play around with the 6-disc CD changer (as if it was part of the actual car!) and fool with her seat adjustment memory settings, and go to the car wash twice a week. Nothing wrong with that.

But it would be sheer madness for her to pull up to a stoplight and yell over to the guy driving his Ford F-250 4×4 and say she has a better car! She doesn’t even know what she has, and she sure as heck doesn’t know what he has! And that is why Mac users, so far, have been relegated to a distinct class known as “idiots”.

It shouldn’t be that way - maybe there is a way they can be helped. They have great machines sitting on their desks they know nothing about. The Mac’s reputation itself is at stake because its biggest fans are dolts.

Someone in Apple needs to do something about this. Maybe they could install an education system that when a Mac first boots requires a user to go through it and pass some exam before they can use their Mac. It should start off and say:

“The Mac in front of you is not Magic or Sorcery. It can break. It can be improved. It has parts in it that you can replace on your own. You can do it. It can be tinkered with. It can have software compatibility issues. It can get a virus. You could, if you were a big enough moron, install spyware on your machine. It needs to stay cool - and dry! Your Mac can not tell you the future. And most of all, until you pass this exam, you might want to avoid battles of wits with PC users - they will eat you alive and spit out the bones.”

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thats a stupid, broad generalization about mac users… because EVERY PC user knows what a BIOS is and whats under the hood right?

You, sir, are my hero for today. I use both machines interchangeably, and have both sitting on my desk, but there’s a smug elitism that seems to grow on Mac purists like a malignancy. These are the same people who wail about how PCs are so inferior, yet they would be lost if they opened the case on their Miracle Toys. The AppleCare program is where Apple really makes its money….

This sums up exactly how I feel about car and computers. I’ve been a PC/Mac user for a number of years… PCs at home, Macs at work. My co-workers are all (for the most part) Mac Zealots. They blame everything that’s wrong with computers on PCs, but don’t really educate themselves on the machines they use everyday.

If something goes wrong with the network, they blame the PC server. Never mind the fact that the person administering the network knows nothing about networking, it couldn’t possibly be user error in their eyes. It’s not the machine, it’s the person in front of it. The ‘Administrator’ doesn’t see that, she just wants to switch the servers to Macs.

I’ve always been platform agnostic, but hanging around these Mac people all day makes me want to hug my crappy Dell and stand in defiance. It’s really hard not to choose sides when Mac users can be such bullies.

I have to agree with tweezy. I use both PC’s and Macs. I still prefer PC’s and have always been amazed by not only the elitism of the Mac people but also of the inability and lack of care that they have for what goes on in the macs. I’ve seen people that don’t know at all how to clean up the machine and with as many as 5 of the same programs in the machine, e.g. 5 versions of whatever the word processor is, etc. Just a lot of clutter. I can think of at least 7 avid Mac people right now that I know and not a one knows or cares how to deal with the memory or just general maintenance.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a Microsoft fan either. I’m all for OSS and Linux…if I ever can get it all installed and working right LOL…

So I suppose the average “average” PC user is going to explain to me how many processor cycles they are using with IE? They know how how to use the BIOS?
They can explain what a .dll file is?
Doubtful. PC users are just as helpless when it comes to knowing what makes it “tick”.
I’m a PC user who recently switched and I find OSX much easier to use and much more fun. I can hop on and surf in 10 minutes instead of excavating my system files to stop the BSOD plague.

I agree with #5 - I’ve run into plenty of PC and Mac users alike that are dense. Maybe you’ve just been fortunate enough not to run into as many of those particular PC users. There’s a reason those help desk emails of people using CD trays for coffee holders and the like are floating around. The percent of the population that knows or cares about how and why computers work is minuscule (as with cars). Making broad generalizations about a whole group of users is unfair.

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