Why Macs are Shit
I’ve been using computers since I was about six years old. My first was an Amiga 500+. I had a lot of fun on that machine, dying on Wing Commander than having to insert a new floppy disk in order to witness my own casket being blasted out into space as part of a futuristic funerary rite.
When PCs came along, they were great. I actually had to type stuff for anything to happen. On Windows 3.1, I remember using a combination of Windows Resource Toolkit and LView Pro to change all the backs of the Solitaire cards to images of Pamela Anderson’s vagina.
When Windows 95 came along, this was the turning point whereby anyone with an IQ lower than 110 could suddenly use computers. That was a bad idea, since making things easier for people necessarily lowers intelligence in the long run (just look at socialism as a prime example). The good news was that CD writers still cost about £300 each so, as the only middle-class kid at my school, and therefore the only person whose family could afford both a CD writer and a 56K modem, I was the only one who could download and distribute hardcore pornography — for a price.
In a short space of time, I became a PC “power user” — more time was spent on the keyboard than the mouse, as Windows has intuitive shortcut keys for practically every action imaginable. Using a PC was more akin to playing an instrument than operating a computer. Symphonies could be written and art practically built itself.
When I seriously asked “those in the know” (derision implied) why Macs were better, I tended to receive the following kinds of answers:
- “Macs are more stable”
- “Macs don’t crash”
- “Macs can’t get viruses”
- “Macs are better for design”
Knowing the first three were utter shite (no computer is particularly stable or resilient to viruses), I was nevertheless still intrigued by this idea that Macs were somehow better for design — yet nobody could tell me specifically why. I had been designing both graphics and websites very well on PCs up to that date and could not really see how some other computer, a Mac, could do a better job than the one I was already doing.
About two months ago I got a job as a web and graphic designer at a company where I have to use a Mac.
It is now two months in and, if things were going to get better, they already would have. I am a fast learner and one thing I can do above all else is create systems of efficiency in the use of devices. The fact that things have barely got better at all — and, in real terms, that my work rate has suffered significantly — suggests to me that Macs may have some real fundamental problems.
The first thing is the file system. You navigate around a Mac using an interface called “Finder”. Finder is bizarre. There are so many basic problems with Finder that I would have to sit here for an hour using it in order to begin documenting them, but I’d rather blow my own brains out. So here instead is a short list off the top of my head:
- When a file is selected, hitting the Enter key does not open it — it renames it. Yes, you read that right. It renames it. To open the file, you have to hit Command+O. Remember, I am a power user. I expect things to work intuitively. Everything about a Mac seems to be my idea of intuitiveness, inverted.
- You can copy a folder (Command+C) then paste it elsewhere (Command+V). Howevere, there is no “cut”, so you have to go back and delete the original once the copy is complete.
- If you have a window open in List view and are a few folders deep, then copy a file by hitting Command+C, Command+V, it will copy the new file to the top of the tree — i.e. not the folder you are currently working in. Example: Let’s say you are in List view and you have the following file selected: “Hard drive > lemonparty.org > old man 1 pics > enhanced genital view > erection-experimental-pixel-enhance1.jpg” and you hit Command+C, Command+V to duplicate it. Instead of duplicating in the folder the source file is in, it would put the new copy at the top of the tree (e.g. Hard drive). To get around this, you would have to right-click the source file and select Duplicate — which has no fucking shortcut key.
There are just some of the basic fuck-ups of Finder. I can quite honestly say that 90% of my most simple expectations when it comes to functionality in Finder are not implemented. Not only are they not implemented, but something bizarre will tend to happen instead.
Now, on to some other points about the Mac interface:
- The screen is huge but gets cluttered easily. On Windows 7+, you can dock a window by dragging it to the far side of the monitor, where it will resize and stick. It’s a beautiful feature. On a Mac, you have to carefully put stuff where you think you might not end up shoving something on top of it later — which you almost certainly will. The result of using a Mac is that the screen could be the size of a football field but you’d still find a way to turn it into a Mongolian clusterfuck within a few minutes.
- The windows system sucks. Let’s say I have a Chrome window open with 7 tabs, and another Chrome window open with 3 tabs. On a PC, you just Alt+Tab to the correct Chrome icon and find the window you want. On Mac, there is just one Chrome icon in the list. You land on that, then have to hit Command+~ to cycle through the Chrome windows. Everything on this operating system is geared for waste. If something takes 2 hot keys on Windows, it takes between 4 and 8 on a Mac. That’s the God’s honest truth. If you aren’t aware of this waste, you’re not a power user. And you probably think Macs are good, because you don’t have what it takes to be fast and efficient with your device.
- Files get inexplicably locked. Want to delete something? “File X is still open” (even though it’s not). Sometimes only a reboot will fix that. At least on later versions of Windows the program using that file would be reported to you so you could deal with it.
Now let’s talk about Mac programs:
- Received 8 file attachments in one email on Mac Outlook 10? Just select them all then drag them into a Finder window to save them, right? Wrong. Despite all files being selected in Outlook, mouse-dragging them will only actually drag the first file the mouse cursor is placed on. This is just one of those things that makes you think, Nothing works on Mac. Nothing works. You have to drag them all individually or do a Save All. If you do a Save All, finding your way through your computer’s directory structure is a massive nightmare — something I should have covered in the Finder section of this rant. On a PC, you can click onto the target window, copy the path from the address bar, then paste that into the save screen of the program whose files you are saving. You can’t do this with Mac. You have to manually click through shit to find your target save location. Nothing works.
- Adobe Creative Suite seems to have been developed on a PC. If you look at each tool in the various programs, they have hotkeys written next to them. For example, in Photoshop, to get the canvas back to 100% size, you just have to press Ctrl+0. On the Mac, the advertised shortcut key for the same feature is just the “n” key. No. That doesn’t work. Instead you have to double-click the zoom tool. Then you are on the zoom tool and need to click back to the tool you actually wanted to use. Three steps instead of one. Nothing works. This is highly typical of Macs.
- To take a screenshot on a PC, guess what the key is? You won’t believe it. 🙂 Man, it’s complex. Are you ready for this? Oh god, here it is: PrintScreen.
Do you know what the same function is on a Mac? Oh, it’s a piece of a cake. You barely need to remember it at all. It’s just: Command + Ctrl + Shift + 3. That’s all there is to it! What were you worried about? Macs are so simple to use, didn’t you know!
This is just a handful, the first tranche of bullshit I could think of off the top of my head, which makes using Macs some sort of slow Sisyphean task.
Now let’s talk Mac OSX updates:
- They release these quite frequently and you just click a button to install them. The latest one I believe is called El Capitan or something else “wacky”. The previous was called Yosemite. My colleague, a graphic designer, upgraded to El Capitan (since it hounds you to do so). It fucked up InDesign completely. The operating system itself absolutely destroyed a previously stable program. IT had to come down and reformat his machine and put it back to Yosemite. Thanks Mac, you’re so stable and robust! What would we do without you?
Let’s talk hardware:
- Some paedophile provided myself and the other designers with the ultracondensed “elite” Mac keyboards. These things are about 8 inches wide and 4 inches high. They are also wireless, meaning they connect to other people’s machines unintentionally from time to time, because Mac’s philosophy is that “if it’s new, it’s better, even it’s a step back into the Dark Ages”. The batteries on these things last a couple of weeks and we have wall racks of chargers priming up new batteries for these colossal wastes of time. That’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is that these ultra-compact keyboard things that look like Michael J. Fox should be skating on them in Back to the Future 2 only have about 3 buttons on them apiece. There’s no Page Up or Page Down. There isn’t even a Delete key. To press Delete, you have to hold down the function button (“Fn”) while pressing Backspace. Archetypal new technology: One step forward (it looks cool, if you’re impressed by things getting smaller and more difficult to hold); two steps back (you literally have to press two keys in order to commit the same function of just one key on the previous model). These things remind me of iPhone keypads: you try and text, and no matter how carefully you press the buttons you still end up writing “siiiiihmsd” then relying on autocorrect to change it to “I want to rape you”.
I am now two months in to using a Mac on this job and, if things were going to have improved, they would have by now. Instead, progress has been minimal. For your average humanoid, this would not be surprising. They’d be loving their “cool, new Mac! Look how sleek it is!” However, this is coming from someone who can play the Sonata Pathétique (1st movement) from memory. Learning, efficiency, efficacy and flair are my calling cards. My conclusion is that Macs are shit — and that anyone who claims otherwise is simply not very good at using computers anyway. After all, this is humanity, and the bar is low.
To round it off, here is a video expressing some of my views on Macs:
And I will reiterate the key message of this post:
If someone thinks Macs are better than PCs, it’s because they aren’t very good at computers anyway.
Like politics, I believe you need to have reached a certain level of skill, maturity, understanding, and cognitive capacity before you are even allowed an opinion on whether X is better than Y. Until then, you can talk, but it’s best for everyone if you understand on some level that you’re talking crap.