The Mac Vs. Windows question....

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on October 23, 2000

Question

We have a (older) Power Mac, which has become out-dated for our needs. The dilemma is whether or not to upgrade to the latest Mac alone, in combination with Windows compatibility software or upgrade the Mac software and purchase a Windows based system. How do I evaluate and make sense of all the options with regard to value vs. cost?

-Nancy

Answer

This question was answered on October 23, 2000. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.


This (computer) age-old question has been posed throughout the existence of the personal computer and the answer continues to remain the same; it depends!

The details of your question included the need for your children to transport homework to and from school, software that seems to only be available for Windows and the addition of a scanner and a new printer.

The younger your children are, the more likely it is that their school is using the Mac platform for their computers As they get older, the Windows based systems will become more prevalent

Your best bet is to incorporate both worlds If you can get your Mac system upgraded to continue to handle the basic needs for your children’s interaction with school, then purchase a Windows based system for all of the other needs that you mentioned (e-mail, Internet access, scanning, etc.) This will put your children in the best situation, long-term Children are generally not afraid of computers, so giving them an opportunity to work within both systems would likely benefit them as they progress in age If your children are very young, you may want to stick with a Mac system for the time being and make the transition to Windows when they get a little older This method is also less stressful on the adults, because we tend to be a little more resistant to change.

Introducing a Windows based system into your life will likely be more difficult but it will also open up many options that you could not previously entertain Extended functionality on the Web, more available accessories, as well as the enormous wealth of software that is readily available for Windows based systems will all have to be weighed in your decision making process.

In general terms, due to the “closed” nature of the Mac operating systems and hardware, they tend to be less likely to be problematic when adding new programs or hardware The “openness” of the Windows platform gives you many more options, but the “openness” is also the root cause of many of the problems that can occur Because the potential combinations of hardware and software are virtually infinite with Windows, getting everything that you want to work together or getting a tech support person familiar with your unique combination of hardware and software is generally more involved

Running a Mac with Windows compatibility software can be a happy medium, but I would tend to recommend that combination for the more technical savvy Since you would be combining the two worlds, they are likely to blame each other when a problem arises, which would require some tech knowledge to weed through the “finger pointing”.

Exposing your children to both platforms is definitely in their best interest, but you must factor the needs of the adults as well in order to make the “best” decision.

What have you done?

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on October 23, 2000

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