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Pinning down what Power is, and explaining the facts.

By:David K. Every
©Copyright 1999

Of all the PC myths, this is my favorite - it has been around the longest. From the day the Mac was released, PC-users were telling Mac users that "the Mac is just a toy", that the GUI was "just a fad" or a game and not for serious work, and that the Mac couldn't do what the PC could do.

Of course the opposite was true - the Mac enabled whole categories of Software that had never existed before (like desktop publishing), and 7 years later the PC's actually got a GUI. 11 years from the introduction of the Mac - PC's got Windows95 which is supposed to make PC's as good as a Mac with innovations like long file names, or something that pretends to work like the Mac finder. So it seems like PC users were wrong all along - and still are.

I still hear from PC-Users that "the PC's are more Powerful" - usually from those that have no ability to back up their claims, or even understand what real power is. The first thing I try to do is pin them down and figure out what is power?

Is power = expandability? Macs are more expandable, and more importantly come more "expanded" so that they are less likely to need to be expanded later -- so that can not be it.

Is power which machine is faster? Macs are usually faster for what people need speed for - so that can't be it either.

When you are talking about which machine is faster there is the issue of just being faster, or being able to do work faster (productivity). Well many studies have shown that the Mac users are more productive so productivity is definitely not power to a PC user.

Is power which machine is easier to upgrade or easier to configure or works better once it is set up? Hmmm, Macs have PnP that works (and have had so for years) and are easier to upgrade and configure - so it can't be that.

Or maybe power is stability and the likelihood of your Application or system not to crash? Well Macs have been superior to Windows in these areas since the beginning. Only now are PC's becoming close to as stable as Macs - so that seems to be the latest arguing point. But PC advocates don't want to look at overall stability -just at small parts of stability in which they excel. When you look at overall stability the Mac is still far ahead of them - and then amusingly they (and the press) use terms like "outdated" or "crashable" to describe the Mac. While it is true Macs can get better, this is definitely a case of the proverbial pot calling the proverbial snowman black.

Could power be the ability to run multiple applications at the same time? Or to take advantage of Powerful concepts like MP? Well Macs can do MP, and Win95 can not - so that probably is not the definition of power.

How about the ability to enable people to do new things first, to allow people to stretch their horizons and lead in capabilities - that could be Power? But Macs have lead in almost every single Microcomputer innovation - so again that is probably not a PC users definition of power.

Is it a CLI? Many claim that the GUI was a toy and could be used for serious work - and now the majority of machines are used that way. So a CLI can't be more powerful, and in fact it seems that for most users the GUI is more powerful.

Or could Power actually be a combination of all these things? Well since Macs clearly beat PC's in almost every single area, and the remaining few are very open to dispute, and since the Macs do it all from within one OS - while the PC's "Powerful" capabilities are among mutually exclusive choices (DOS, Windows95 or WindowsNT) - I think the last place a PC-advocates wants to define power is as the combination of these things. Usually PC users want to define Power in the area that a knowledgeable Mac user is not discussing at that particular time.

The definition of power to a PC users seems to be ethereal. They will give you a definition of power, and when you show the advantages of the Mac (or other system) over the PC and they will change the definition. Then you can nail them down again, and again it will change - it is like pushing down on a blob of mercury. So the solution seems to be the shotgun approach - just cover all the bases at once -- blast all their little myopic arguments down in one tremendous roar, then maybe they will see that the computer that is the most powerful is the one that people can use the best without having to be trained to think like a machine (or engineer) - and in that there is no dispute, it is the Macintosh.

The pages in this section are to explain each of the concepts of power - and show why the Mac really is the computer for "the rest of us".

Created: 02/04/97
Updated: 11/09/02

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