This past weekend, I helped my father set up his new MacBook Pro. It’s a gorgeous piece of hardware, and Apple works hard to make the initial experience straightforward and elegant. Even though this is the seventh Mac I have unboxed with him (512Ke, IIcx, IIsi, Quadra 840AV, PowerMacintosh G3/266, and a PowerBook G4), I am still surprised at the care with which Apple manages their customers’ first impressions. From initial power up through two restarts as we applied a firmware and various system updates, the whole setup experience took about twenty minutes.
Compare that to the following advice taken from this recent Houston Chronicle article “Start that Vista machine right.” It’s written by Dwight Silverman, and I have no doubt that the advice Mr. Silverman offers is spot on. Still, after reviewing his thirteen steps to prepping a Vista PC, I am struck with the question I ask so often – why do people do this to themselves? Let’s see… according the Dwight, the necessary steps one needs to take (beyond what one must do on a Mac) includes stifling Microsoft marketing pitches, downloading and installing anti-virus software, customizing basic navigation icons, Windows Explorer, the Sidebar, and the Start Menu, enabling a RAM disk, tweaking the browser, uninstalling the “junkware”, installing drivers, and then installing your favorite software.
Granted, some of these actions have analogs on a Mac. Yet even then, the idea that one would tolerate a thirteen step checklist to prepare a machine for safe use is ludicrous.
For the Vista users of the world, I am glad there is a Dwight Silverman out there, ready to hold your hand long enough to render your machines palatable, but for those who value their time, may I suggest you do yourself a favor and get a Mac. It is, after all, the computer for the rest of us.