A Tale Of Two LANs
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times
He who is convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
FROM SOMEWHERE ON MINNESOTAâ€™S THAWING TUNDRA â€” I am a failure.
I say this with pride, because I distinguish between being a “loser” and being a “failure.” A failure picks himself up after each setback and moves on, never looking at a particular failure as a waste of time but more as a learning experience. On the other hand, a loser isâ€¦well, a loser. Lifeâ€™s challenges beat him down, demoralizing him, turning them into an insufferable pessimists instead of instilling a never-give-up attitude.
I am fortunate that Iâ€™ve been such a failure. Failure has allowed me to work at several companies: big, small and every other size between the twain. Unlike most people, I do not succumb to the mentality rampant today, like always being on the lookout for job openings with companies that have better benefits. I prefer to hunker down with a company, pay some dues. Itâ€™s more gratifying than always looking for the green pastures on the other side, job hopping at the drop of a hat, always seeking that elusive (not to mention illusive) dream job.
For example, I worked for a few years in the bowels of Corporate America, supposedly the largest company in its field in America. I learned the hard way that some companies are pits of hell far worse than Microsoft â€” and you know thatâ€™s pretty evil:
- Many companies are full of backstabbing, ladder climbing sons of bitches; they are all hellbent on stock options and corner offices â€” after all, the ladder climbers must pay for that status car, for that home ensconced in the suburbs and for that nose job. That kind of life takes its toll. In short, they are paper-pushing pin heads who are so uptight that if they farted, they would explode.
- I also noticed that most companies use PCs as their assigned work stations
Companies that use Macs and those that use PCs are governed by totally divergent views on life; contrasting zeitgeists comprise the respective company cultures. The differences are obvious, and knowing the differences can spell the difference between job satisfaction and Toxic Work Syndrome (a phrase thatâ€™s just waiting to be coined). If you are a true Mac believer, you donâ€™t want to pass up the opportunity to work for a Mac-focused company when presented with such an option. When I say “Mac focused” or “PC focused,” I mean more than just a company that uses all PCs or all Macs. I mean a company which embodies the Think Different spirit instead of that damned “Where do you want to go today?” nonsense.
That said, here are various and sundry observations Iâ€™ve collected on the subject.
- A PC-focused company is obviously a more sterile environment. Well, duh, since the PC is your typical, antiseptic-beige machine; the PC â€” no matter how hard PC manufacturers try to disguise it â€” is not designed to evoke fun, laughter and joie de vivre. Mac users, on the other hand, canâ€™t help but smile a little bit more than the average PeeCee user. After all, our computers smile back.
- PC system administrators (you know, the guys who maintain the network and think that they are God) are some of the most negative SOBs Iâ€™ve ever meet. I guess Iâ€™d be negative, too, if Windows crashed on me every day. Sometimes, I wish I could put a mood ring on every sysadmin that Iâ€™d talked to when I tried to connect my PowerBook to the PeeCee network. That thing probably turned pitch black when I enter the room.
- Female Mac users are cuter. (Hey, you canâ€™t just look at your Mac all day.)
- If you want to install new software on your PC, you must call a PC sysadmin, set up an appointment, and wait for them to come an install your new software. And if youâ€™re using NT, donâ€™t watch; that thing crashes at least five times when you try to install anything. On the Mac side: “Yeah, go ahead and install <fill-in-the-blank> yourself. Itâ€™s all good.”
- Another point about installing software on a PC: If you want a PC sysadmin to install new software, you have to walk the long trek to his office, bow three times before his golden statue, and enter his sanctum sanctorum. On your knees. Then you have to kiss his pinky ring and make your request to him, making sure to address him as “Godfather.”
- If you work for a PC company, you have to deal with having to buy software from that arrogant Redmond company.
- If you work for a Mac company, you have to deal with having to buy hardware from that arrogant Cupertino company.
- Watch the people who work for PC-using companies. “Uptight” is a PC-userâ€™s by-word. They constantly act as though they are waiting for their laxatives to kick in. Donâ€™t try to inject humor into the situation, â€˜cause all theyâ€™re interested in is cost analyses, Gannt charts, playing that lame-o Solitaire game and using the word “utilize.” Pocket protectors are in vogue for them, also.
- Watch the employees at Mac-using companies. They actually laugh while they’re working. Look! There’s an employee gushing over that Aqua Kaleidescope theme sheâ€™s just installed. Look! A crucial meeting with venture capitalists has erupted into laughter after someone tried to open up a PowerPoint file and mistakenly hit the Play button on the latest “Wassup” QuickTime movie.
- My iCEO can beat your mCEO. â€˜Nuff said.
To sum it up, PC users donâ€™t realize that their computer contributes to their well-being â€” or rather, the lack thereof. I wish they could stop believing the hype and get a Mac for a week. Thereâ€™s an idea, Apple: give away iMacs to PC users for a week or so and let them discover the proof in the pudding. I have worked in offices that use all Macs and all PCs, and there is no one in the world who can tell me that using a PC in the office environment is the best and least stressful computing experience around.
Ditto for Linux â€” sorry, geeks, but Linux isnâ€™t suitable for anyone less than a mensa. Besides, I value my free time.
Having lived in both worlds, Iâ€™m thoroughly convinced that Apple has the best consumer products on the market. Even after all of the Eff-ups of the last 15 years, Apple is still years ahead of the competition (that megahertz thing notwithstanding) and has more than a head start to make computing fun again for the unwashed masses living in misery outside of the Macintosh cult.
My ramblings may not convey the best argument â€” 24 hours of sleep deprivation will do that to a writer (the things I do for you, dear reader) â€” but I had to debunk the myth that the Wintel PC makes easier the life of the hoi polloi, the proletariat.
Now, all Apple needs is a viable enterprise solution, a few more upgrades to the product line, and I have highest confidence that the Mac will make major inroads into computer-shopping mindshare, creating the needed critical mass that will make Appleâ€™s and the Mac product lineâ€™s future success assured.
Note: This column is dedicated to Chris, who has been recently hired to work for Microsoft in the next few days. After today, Chris, we will refer to you as Chris-cutous. Your distinctiveness will be added to the Collective. Your knowledge and skill will enhance the countless drones that have gone beforeâ€¦ your implants await you. No longer are you an individual. You are Borg.