Don’t Dis Macs. Ever.

By Deane Barker on October 17, 2004

Mac users froth, while Linux users befriend: Here’s a pretty funny story about a USA Today writer, Andrew Kantor, who penned a piece about the supercomputer at the University of Virgina that’s made out of G5 Macs. We’ve talked about this computer several times.

A Mac site took offense at his article stating:

Kantor’s insidious article is designed to accomplish some things that are not readily apparent during the first read. It has a purpose: to tell the vast amount of McPaper readers that Apple Macs aren’t for them, that Apple certainly deserves no credit for developing and offering very powerful computers and operating systems, and, subliminally and by defualt, that regular people want Intel and Windows.

That article prompted a stunning volume of mail to Mr. Kantor. Much of it not fit to print in a public venue. Kantor writes about the experience:

Mania can lead to unintentional humor, which you’ve got to appreciate when you’re wading through this sort of muck. I particularly liked the letters calling me a “lemming” for using a PC. Why were they funny? Because they were identical — cut-and-pasted from a site demanding that people write to me.

Here’s an example of what he got hit with:

Although I got some polite letters “correcting” me (my information was already correct), most were along the lines of what Mac user “gabeharville” wrote. His note had a subject of “you suck, you f——n little b——f—” and read simply, “F—K YOU, F—K YOUF—K YOUF—K YOUF—K…” And so on, for several more lines. I’ve added the dashes here; he didn’t.

I want a computer that I feel that strongly about. I just don’t feel the need to educate anyone about my PC to that extent.



  1. There are more MS zealots and apologists out there than Mac lovers. You don’t hear from them as much because they never feel picked on like some Evangelists of the Church of Mac. Ask 99% of Mac owners why they like them and they’ll tell you and if you buy or use something else they won’t call you an idiot. Tell 50% of MS users that you use a Mac and they’ll look at you like you’re insane. Primarily because they don’t have a full understanding of the Mac OS and what is capable of. Mac users on the other hand have a complete understanding of the abilities and shortcomings of Windows.

    For what it’s worth, the USA Today article was a load of crap.

  2. In the sidebar of his article, Kantor talks about how Linux users went out of their way to offer advice, which is the kind of thing I’ve experienced and come to expect from the Mac community. But there are some forums where the users have a little less maturity than others, and it doesn’t take much looking to figure out what kind of advice you’ll get from a given forum.

    It’s unfortunate that MDN put that kind of spin on the original article. They read way too much into the original, and the response from their readers was pretty predictable and does nothing but give a black eye to the Mac community.

  3. Rob, I guess I disagree about the PC zealots. That’s really my point — I don’t feel strongly enough about a PC to defend it to that extent. My PC is just a platform. To get all uppity about it would be like creating an owners club around an ’83 Chevy Citation.

    I understand that Mac users feel so much more strongly about their platforms than PC users. That’s why there are owners clubs for Jaguars and BMWs, which gets back into the whole budget vs. luxury argument.

    I think the proof that Macs are a luxury item lies in both the price tag and in the way their owners feel about them, as evidenced here. (And this isn’t a slam — it’s just the way it is. I’m a little jealous, in fact.)

  4. Once again Deane you miss my point. You have other things in your life to be passionate about (as do I), but that cannot be said for a great many Windows (or Mac) users. Many users on both sides take it personally when you criticize their platform of choice. My comment that there are more PC zealots is simply a matter of numbers. If the Mac community only makes up 5% of the market then of course there will be more PC enthusiasts willing to defend Windows. Check out some of the forums on Windows-centric sites. You’ll see what I mean. This is really no different than Ford vs Chevy, Democrat vs Republican or Palm vs PocketPC. The same debates exist everywhere.

    Your insistence that they are luxury items is still misguided. You’re still thinking of the price differences that existed five to ten years ago. They’re gone now. I challenge you to use one for six months. At the end of the six months ask yourself how much TIME and money you saved by not having to deal with viruses and security holes. (And no, you cannot borrow my Powerbook – Get your own.)

  5. I’m surprised that you haven’t run into any militant PC users, but that might be due to you not being a Mac user. Once these wackos find out you’re a Mac user, they have nothing but anger and contempt for you.

    And again, I have to disagree with you on the budget vs. luxury argument; If you’re looking at the top of the line G5, sure that’s spendy, but what would a top of the line PC that’s outfitted with comparable hardware & software going to cost you? Probably not a lot less. Add to that the stuff you don’t have to worry about — viruses, worms, trojans, spyware; there’s a lot to be said for that.

    There are many people who prefer Macs but don’t let the sticker price of a new machine scare them off. I’ve never bought a new Mac for use at home — always used — and I’ve never paid more than $400 for one. And I’m not alone in that, which is probably why used Macs hold their value so much better than PC’s. I am looking at buying a new one, but the eMac I’m looking at only costs $800. And there are refurb units that come with a full warranty available for about $250 less.

  6. I’ve complained about PCs a number of times, but I’ve never met a PC zealot — at least not one on par with the Mac folks. I think that PC people either A) think of their machines as tools to do the jobs and not something that defines who they are, or B) self-confident enough about their machines not to care if someone bashes Windows.

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