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A PC User Warms Up To Mac

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I have always been a "PC guy."

I never had anything against Mac products, it's just that I never really used them. One huge turn-off to the Mac for me was (and still kind of is) the "coolness" of them; we in the PC world refer to them as "Fanboys," people who MUST have a Mac or an iPod or an iPhone, not realizing that they have fallen hook, line, and sinker for Apple's genius marketing department. Not all Apple/Mac users are like this, but even they admit there is a segment of Apple product users who are gobbling Apple products up simply to be different (or because they are weak-minded towards simple ad campaigns), yet they don't realize they are being just like everyone else. I'm sure the "coolness" will wear off once these hip college students (who are trying to make a statement by owning a Mac) hit the corporate world where over 90% of the companies use PCs only.

However, I very much enjoy video editing and always give them the credit they deserved in the video realm, yet I still took sides on the PC field. Albeit, I am no fan of Microsoft and their way of treating customers like hostages, but I digress.

The company I work for has a 13" Macbook. No one really uses it. It was bought for one employee who insisted he have a Mac. I finally caved in, only to find out he quit four months later, leaving us with a $1,400 paper weight.

I tried to find another department to use it with little or no success. Finally it got passed around enough to someone who claimed they needed it as well. Months later they let me know (only when I asked them about it) that the Mac no longer worked.

I was sure the warranty had expired so like an idiot, I didn't even try to find out. I asked all my Mac-using friends about the problem this machine had. None had a clue. That's a gripe I have with you Apple users. Sure, you brag that your machine never breaks, yet when it does you stand in front of it like a primate watching ants carry food to their nest, scratching your head not knowing what to do. At least folks in the PC world have an idea as to how to fix a problem.

Nevertheless, I was unable to fix this on my own. On a whim one night, I decided to check Apple's support Web site to see if it was actually still under warranty. Was I wise enough to have gotten the three-year warranty when I bought this Macbook years ago? Yes, I was.

It still had about 9 months left on the warranty.

The support is different than what you may be used to. You don't call in and wait for someone to take your call, you schedule a call. Sometimes you can schedule Apple to call you immediately, other times you have to schedule them to call you the next day. Long story short, I got my call the next day at the exact time I asked to be called.

The tech support guy was really cool. He was not a stiff, boring, overly technical guy. He was not Indian. He was not Mexican. He was a red-blooded American who I have no doubt had a Yankees hat or a "Granny" still living on her own in a rural area of his state.

He used words like "Alright man" and "Hey guy" and "Awesome dude" which all may seem very plastic in an effort for Apple to keep their "cool" image, but it felt real to me. He was able to pick up immediately on the fact that I was not some moron as far as IT goes, but he was also able to pick up that I had no clue about anything related to Apple products. It was refreshing.

However, his support was kind of wrong. He sent me a new hard drive. I knew this would not fix the problem, but I was so enamoured by his coolness that I accepted his solution. It arrived two days later. The install was easy but the problem was not fixed. The box it was sent in had a peel-off FedEx overnight label on it so shipping back the old hard drive was a snap, and free.

After realizing the problem still existed, I called back (or rather scheduled a call). They were awesome about e-mail updates so I never had to worry about losing my dispatch or case numbers. This guy was just as cool and hip and the first guy. He went over a few easy steps with me and quickly realized that this problem could not be solved by me, the user. I will say that though Mac users brag that their machines break so seldom, there is little any individual user can do about it. This is about what the tech support conversation went like:

ME: "Hey, its broke."
MAC: "Did you try doing this?"
ME: "Yeah."
MAC: "Okay, we will send you out a box to send the Macbook to us in. Ship it back to us and we will fix it and ship it back to you overnight."

Sure enough, the next day there is an empty box waiting for me. I packed it up per their instructions, took it to FedEx, and got an e-mail this morning saying they had gotten it.

I have yet to get it back, but this article isn't about the fix-ability of a Mac, only about how cool and easy going their customer support is. May eventually convince me to use a Mac, who knows?

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About Jamison BraIy

  • SkateNy

    It’s an unfortunate myth that “Apple Fanboys MUST have a Mac or an iPod or an iPhone, not realizing that they have fallen hook, line, and sinker for Apple’s genius marketing department.”

    I’m certain that this is true of some people, and I also believe that these people are in the minority. If Apple were only about marketing skills, they wouldn’t have achieved the success that they have.

    Some of us, and you seem to be one of those people, just enjoy using their products.

    Human beings tend to complicate things by offering complex explanations. Sometimes we just like things that just work.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Sure, Mac’s can be pretty powerful and I do like their OS. BUT, they aren’t really “Mac” anymore.
    What’s the point in spending all that money when they now use Intel? Before, the price point was high because Apple offered up a top notch proprietary system that wasn’t software driven and always out performed PCs except for the “available software” department.

    Now, with their huge PC compatibility, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could just build one yourself.

    Albeit, I am no fan of Microsoft and their way of treating customers like hostages, but I digress.

    I agree, I cannot stand their licensing policy or the price they demand for their(mostly buggy) OS software but I do have to say that the Zune is a well built media player.

    Ultimately, I know tech support/customer service is how Dell got so popular but it is so easy and inexpensive,nowadays, to build a pretty powerful & reliable PC. Just don’t be a cheapskate, especially with the power supply:)

  • Thanks for the comments.
    I have several very good friends who are mac users. None of which I refer to as “fanboys”. 2 own Macs becasue they are in video production. They used to be PC users but the demands of their career pushed them towards the Mac. Same with my friend who used to own a recording studio. Another friend just uses his because, hey, it works and he likes it. But I also work for a high school and do some yearly work at a local college… the fanboy atmosphere is very thick. Kids beg their parents for an iPod. I try to tell parents their are cheaper alternatives. Heck, my Verizon xv6800 is my MP3 player since it has a headphone jack and Windows Mobile. Oh well.

  • I think I am a fanboy now.
    The Macbook arrived today.
    I turned it on. CD was already in the drive.
    OS X was installed before I blinked 3 times.
    Took me 7 minutes to do something that takes over an hour to do on a PC.
    What have I been doing all my life?
    Now if I can figure out how to use this thing.

  • Welcome to the cult, Jamison.

    I’ve seen it happen before: from the outside it looks like a stupid devotion to meaningless styles. Then, you try it, and it takes seconds to do what used to take minutes, or minutes to do what used to take hours, or you do something you simply couldn’t do before, and you’re in. 🙂

  • and let me just add while agreeing with pwinn that we are both software engineers, so the fanboy tag just doesn’t wash.

    it’s software that just works. imagine that.

  • Yeah, you cant get the fanboy tag… but understand I work at a high school, a private high school. An expensive private high school. Fanboys abound.

  • McDave

    So how’s the world looking with your second eye open?

    Here’s a thought…
    “not realizing that they have fallen hook, line, and sinker for Apple’s genius marketing department”

    By virtue of it’s small market share and the fact that most (not all) people who use them like them, I’d say Apple’s marketing isn’t that great. In fact it’s the other marketing effort, the one which gives you loads of choices and the belief you’re capable of making them, that has been winning. How good did you feel when you fixed/solved the problem on Windows when maybe it shouldn’t have existed in the first place?

    I like the iPod phenomenon, normal people buy it for marketing/popularity, techs hate that because they’re being “intellectually weak” or “had” whilst being “had” themselves and a growing number of us look on seeing that you can buy the right product for the wrong reasons. Which group got the best product in the end?

    Enjoy your Mac and check out the apple.com discussion groups to help iron out those little differences which will probably frustrate.


  • Thanks man, I am looking forward to learning the Mac, particularly the iMovie. Windows MovieMaker blows. I do hate iTunes. I really hate how it limits what I can do with my music. MP4? Please… but there are ways around all of that. Too bad you can’t just pay for the song and have thine own way with it like most music pay-by-song services allow you to do. A simple MP3 would salve all the worlds problems.

  • Jamison, forgive the mild snark, but do your tech tips include the nugget that URLs always start http:// ? You know, like the ones commenters put in the wee box marked URL directly above where you type in your comments..?

    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor

  • no, and thanks for making yourself feel awesome in a global forum.

  • bliffle

    I had a Mac IIci about 20 years ago and enjoyed it immensely, but I couldn’t make any money with it (I was too old, apparently, to be a credible Mac software developer) so i slipped into the PC, which was easy to make money with.

    Now, everytime I contemplate a new laptop I start looking at Mac again, but I always end up with a Thinkpad, partly because they have the best keyboard and I know how to repair and upgrade them. I think my next laptop may be a mac, but maybe it’ll be a tablet.

    I prepared a couple of thinkpads for my wifes use and she limped thru a couple years with them, and then reverted happily to Mac, which she had pioneered in the her publishing business in the 80s. She’ll never use a PC voluntarily. My granddaughter never uses the nice Thinkpad I prepared for her with all her favorite libraries on a large HDD.

    I must admit envying the ease of use that they have, which I can only get close to on the ubuntu partition I customarily use.

  • Jamison, it is always hard to be certain of people’s intentions on the net, but you appear to be attempting to outsnark me.

    Setting aside the sheer impossibility of besting the snarkmaster, I always feel awesome, so your wee dig was as ineffective as a mouse trying to rob a bank!

    Thanks for fixing your URL though, as people wouldn’t be able to click through to your site otherwise…

  • McDave

    Jamison: iTunes will manage music in many non-proprietary formats not just MPEG4/AAC including MP3 and uncompressed. It used to be MP3 but switched when the standard was upgraded in 2004. You’ll be amazed how many players are now MP4/AAC capable (natural progress of MPEG1 to MPEG4). Also iTunes is now unprotected so no DRM issues & 256Kbps! iTunes has had a load of bad press thanks to a single journalist’s ‘walled garden’ propaganda but it’s more open than you may think as is the rest of the platform.

    Have fun, oh & check out the latest iLife ’09 – puts a load of features back into iMovie that went missing in the make-over of ’08.


  • Beth Cornell

    I liked this story. Let us know when you get the computer back fixed. I had an IMac I had fixed at a local place(power cord problem.), it was fixed within a week.

  • Oh, I have had the Mac back for about a week. It took them one day, literally and they overnight-ed it back to me. Already ordered a new battery for it. I don’t know why, but I love it. I really have very little clue as to how to navigate it, but I bring it to work everyday, set it up, and fiddle with it when I have time. iMovie is going to be the first venture since I am very big on video editting. Any links to some simple how-to sites would be appreciated 🙂


    hi i am a mac user and well i dont like it that PC users hate mac users i just use a mac because thay have i life so PC users please dont hate us its just because you dont like macs well WHO CARES ABOUT MACS OR PC JUST PRETEND THERE EACH THE SAME AND DO NOT HATE US please!