The platform wars are over. And you won.
I’m Leo Notenboom for askleo.com.
I got a question the other day, actually, yesterday. Someone was asking me about two computers that they were considering. One was a Macintosh laptop, MacBook and the other, I believe, was a Lenovo which is actually a computer I can also recommend myself, and asking me to compare and contrast, which one would I choose, what would I do, that kind of thing.
And it got me to thinking about something that I’ve been thinking about for actually a couple of years now and that is that ultimately, I think the whole Mac vs. PC debate is over or irrelevant.
The issue is that so much of what we’re doing today is online that what platform you’re using to do it on is pretty much irrelevant be it email, certainly web surfing, even sharing photos and to some degree, some amount of video, it all kind of sort of works no matter what platform you’re running on.
Now, personally, I consider myself “platform agnostic”. What that means is that I honestly am not particularly tied or the other. Yes, by virtue of my job experience, my expertise is more deeply rooted in Windows and Microsoft products but the fact is I’m running Macintoshes. I’ve got a Mac Pro for my desktop; I’ve got a MacBook Pro for my laptop these days and of course I run Windows on them.
I run virtual machines. You’ve probably heard me talk about virtual machine technology that allows me to run Windows and Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows 7, all the different versions of Windows in separate windows on each of these PCs. And indeed on both of my Macs I have at least one installation of Windows. I tend to prefer the PC version of Microsoft Office for example so I tend to gravitate towards that but that’s a preference.
There are certainly Mac versions of all of the above, and on top of that, I also have Linux servers. I’ve got a Linux box in my basement that I use for a few things (mostly backing up) and the actual Ask Leo! server itself is running a variant of Linux.
So, with the kind of whole Mac/PC debate really being relegated to irrelevancy, what do you make your decisions based on? How do you determine what kind of computer to get? And, the thinking that I’ve been coming to is it really is all about support.
When something goes wrong, and don’t get me wrong, something will go wrong regardless of what platform you choose, there will be hardware problems, there will be software problems, something will happen, it always does.
Who are you going to turn to? When you’re making a decision about what platform, what computer to get, one of the important characteristics I think you need to think about is what is your circle of support? By that I mean, when something goes wrong, who can you reach out to?
Are there hardware resources available to you if the computer has a hardware problem? Are there software resources available to you? Q&A sites, services that you are familiar with and comfortable with that you can reach out to when you have a problem? What are your friends running? Are your friends going to be able to help you should you have an issue? Do you have a knowledgeable techie friend and is he tied to a specific platform or not?
Now, this is all beside the point that maybe, it may be the fact that your work or your school is actually answering this question for you already. You may need to get a Windows based machine because that’s what your work is based on.
If you want to take work home with you, maybe there’s software that your company uses, maybe there’s a remote access tool that your company uses that fundamentally require that you run Windows. Question answered. Ditto for a Mac. Ditto for Linux for that matter.
There are Linux based workplaces out there as well. The same is true for school. When you are going to school, what is the requirement? Much of what’s going on in school these days is online so it may not matter what platform you have in which case you can start thinking about things like your support and your ability to get things fixed.
On the other hand, it may be again, driven by what your school or your teachers or whatever have standardized. So, once you get past those kinds of requirements, think a little bit more about support; about how you’ll get your questions answered; how you’ll get your hardware fixed; how you’ll get your software repaired when something goes wrong.
Now I will tell you that my path that took me to a Mac is a little bit different but it’s also could be instructive. As you might imagine after I’ve worked at Microsoft for many years, I left there with a lot of Windows experience. It’s what I’ve basically based a lot of what I do on and one of the reasons I’m very comfortable in the Windows environment to this day.
My servers ended up being Linux based almost entirely and that was a wonderful learning experience for me. As I hope you realize, much of what I do with Ask Leo! and even what I’m doing right now is for me, a form of play. I’m learning things all the time and you’ll see why here in a second. I ended up getting a Mac because I heard about a feature in a piece of software that was available on a Mac only and that feature is in the video editing software that I’m using to process this video after I’m done recording it.
The feature is simply that it can take multiple different sources like camera here, and it works, I’ve got a camera over here and the audio that’s being recorded that’s actually going to a little recorder I’ve got in my back pocket, I take all of those files and Final Cut Pro, on the Mac allows me to synchronize those and it allows me to switch the view, do the various things with a multi-camera set up while I’m in the video editing software.
It’s actually pretty cool. Fundamentally, that’s why I have a Mac. I got a MacBook Pro when my laptop needed replacing and I ran Final Cut on that. Then, last year, when I decided it was time for a new desktop, the new Mac Pro, the paint can, as I call it, came out. And that’s what my desktop machine is. Now, the interesting about all of these, both of these, is that they both also run Windows.
I have Windows on both of these machines in virtual machines so I can run my Windows software. I can do what I need to do in Windows. I have ham radio software that absolutely has to run in Windows. I can do that in Windows on my Mac.
Again, a lot of the decisions driven by software. Not an adherence to one platform or the other; not a particularly religious feeling that this platform is better than the other. A lot of it’s moot in my opinion.
So when you’re thinking about what kind of a machine to get, when you’re thinking about what platform should you look at, look at them both, look at them all. See what which ones you like. See which ones fit your budget.
See which ones you believe you’ll be able to get help with when you need help. And choose based on that. It no longer has to be about some kind of oh you can only do that on a PC for 90% of what we do every day.
Like I said, email, web surfing, any platform will do that. It’s when you get into these odd cases where you may have something that’s specific but for most users, for most computer users, the average home user, it’s just not an issue. Get what you like.
Now, if you’ve viewing this video anywhere but on AskLeo.com, I’m going to put a link right here and you can go to that link and leave your comments on this video.
As I’ll explain next week, I don’t have comments turned on for YouTube. I have comments turned on at Ask Leo!. That’s where the discussion happens; that’s where moderation happens; that’s where I read every comment and respond to many of them. I would love to hear what you think about the old Mac vs. PC debate. Is it even relevant for you anymore? If it is or if it isn’t, why?
Why is it still an issue? I’d love you to hear from you. I’d love to understand what people believe especially if it’s different than what I’ve just outlined for you.
That being said, see ya there. I hope you have a great week. Thanks for watching.