About six years ago, a good friend was looking to buy a computer and asked me what brand she should buy.
"Buy a Mac," I said without hesitation.
"But I need to use Microsoft Word and Excel," she whined.
"Buy a Mac," I repeated. "Microsoft makes Office for Mac."
She bought a Gateway PC. And every week she had a different problem with it. "Should've bought a Mac," I said unsympathetically. If you're going to ask my advice and then ignore it, I don't feel sorry for your bad fortune.
A little more than two years ago, after having bought a second Gateway because her son screwed up the hard drive on the first with online gaming, this same friend was having trouble with both PCs.
"What kind of computer should I buy?" she asked.
"Buy a Mac," I replied.
"But my son wants to play online video games."
"Your son's online video games and hacker friends are junking up your system with viruses and spyware," I said. She didn't believe me and took her PCs to a repair shop. Sure enough, the hard drives were fried from viruses and worms, and she had enough spyware loaded on them to be convicted of treason.
"Well, I need a new computer. What should I buy?" she whined.
"If you don't buy a Mac, then I don't want to hear about your PC issues," I said. She bought two Dell PCs — one for her, one for her son. She has, however, stopped asking me what she should do about her computer problems.
Yes, I am a longtime — 20 years — Mac user. I do think Steve Jobs is a genius. And I would never spend my money on a PC. My friend has gone through four computers in the last six years. I bought a grape iMac DV in 1999, and when I donated it last year to a local women's shelter it worked perfectly. The only reason I replaced it was I couldn't resist the beautiful new iMac G5. I had to have it.
One friend still has the black MacTV that Apple sold in 1993, while she was in college. Apple marketed the LC 520 to college students living in dorms: Here's your computer and TV all in one! Unfortunately, the MacTV was only sold through consumer electronics outlets, which made it hard to acquire. Apple only made 10,000 units and took the MacTV off the market after six months. My friend's MacTV still works.
A study conducted by Kelton Research on behalf of SupportSoft and released Monday by Digital Trends (http://news.digitaltrends.com/article12132.html) reveals that 65 percent of Americans spend more time with their computers than with their spouses or partners, and they spend an average of 12 hours a month dealing with computer problems. The Digital Trends article also states that people who experience computer problems feel "hurt and jilted by their computers," and more than 50 percent of Americans said that their last computer problem made them feel angry, sad and alienated. Furthermore, a psychotherapist quoted in the article said that computer problems leave "people feeling frustrated or helpless."
I am unfamiliar with these emotions and feelings caused by computer problems. I own a Mac. A beautiful, trouble-free, secure, white iMac G5. I wonder if PC users are more likely to take antidepressants than Mac users.
Radio talkshow host Tom Becka discussed the Digital Trends article on his show this evening. During his rant about how ridiculous it is that computers have such power over people, he tied this wave of emotions to people lined up for the recent opening of a new Apple Store. I immediately called the station and informed Becka, on air, that Mac owners do not experience these emotions. Macs don't crash.
Although Becka is a Mac user himself, he turned the discussion to the "crazy" Mac enthusiasts. He said that we're nuts over our computers and we think Steve Jobs is a genius. He likened it to a cult. I like to call it more of a club. A club of really smart people who spend their money wisely and understand what it is to enjoy using a computer. A club of people who appreciate form and function, and who not only want the best computer on the market but also want an aesthetically pleasing computer.
Apple prides itself in making some of the best quality computers in the world. Users love Apple and its products because nothing goes wrong with them. The only reason we replace our Apple devices is that we can't resist the new, more beautiful device. Apple's products are user friendly, so we never feel like it's us against the evil computer; they work right out of the box — literally. Take it out of the box, plug it in and hit the power button. And let's face it, Apple's marketing is extraordinarily clever: The "Yum" campaign for the first-generation fruit-colored iMacs. The new PC and Mac guy commercials. The "Think Different" slogan.
But most importantly, I say let the product speak for itself. Ever heard of a 14-year-old PC that still works?