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liamparkinson's picture
43 pencils

Why Chose Mac For Productivity?

Ok, so computers productivity is not often talked about, but we are going to start now. Most users tend to buy a Windows machine highly due to the fact that they are ‘cheaper’. That used to be the case for me, but I now buy a machine for its productivity.

Now me, personally, I find a Macintosh computer makes me more productive and happier. Fair enough, there is a lot more applications out there for the Windows OS, but you will always find a similar application on a Mac. You will most likely discover it is easier to use.

Lets look at some points that make the Macintosh a more productive computer then a PC:

• A Mac takes a matter of minutes to set up, compared to the lengthy times it takes to set up a PC.
• Macs mostly maintain themselves in the background and very rarely need upgrading. The user gets to spend more time working, and less time upgrading.
• I find Macs easier to learn then Windows, so I learn more which means I can be more productive with my computer.
• Plug and play is a reality on a Mac. Buy a new camera or printer and simply just plug it in. As on a windows machine there is the issue with installing drivers, worrying about driver conflicts. The Mac just works, allowing you to work.

Now, the user interface in my eyes and the eyes of many others is the key to productivity. And the Mac has a far superior user interface. As far as I am aware the easier it becomes to learn a computer, the more it will be used, so the more productive it and the user becomes. If a computer is hard to learn or use the less it will be used, so people will not be as willing to try new things, this meaning they will not be as productive.

Now this may sound very weird but a Mac is actually more predictable. It explains things to you better, so you know what is going to happen. As in windows you find yourself unsure about things so you will often research into it before hand. On a Mac you have the trashcan, what are trash cans used for? Throwing things away, so obviously enough you delete files in there. Things like this keep the Mac neat and easy to use. On windows there is no feedback, if you put something in the ‘recycle bin’ then the file is flattened, so the folders hierarchy is destroyed. Windows is not as predictable as Mac.

I don’t find myself needing to save my work as often on Mac, infact, as I am writing this article is has not been saved once, as I can be rest assured that the app will not crash, and if it did, the Macintosh makes a handy backup which automatically loads up once I re-launch the app. As for windows I find myself concentrating on saving my work more often so sometimes forgetting where I am and this makes me less productive.

How often on a pc do you find yourself defragging, scanning from spyware, malware and removing viruses? I bet you often find yourself formatting your entire system because viruses and spyware have slowed it down to the point where it is not even usable. How many times has your computer been hit by hackers? I bet it is hit everyday unless you go out and purchase software to protect you. But this software needs maintaining which takes time. All this slows the user down, stopping them being productive. Since I have become a Mac user I have not worried about any of that at all. I opened the box, plugged in the system and off we go. Nothing stopped me doing what I wanted to do.

The OS itself makes a user more productive. At this current moment in time I am using Apples latest OS release, OS X Tiger. This has many advantages over XP that makes work easier. In Tiger (10.4) I do not have to worry about organising and managing my files and folders. There is a feature called spotlight, which is built into the core of the OS. All I have to do to find anything. Anywhere on my system is click on the spotlight icon and start typing the name of what I want. Spotlight searches AS I type. It searches my emails, layers in Photoshop, iTunes, all my files and folders, my contacts in address book and even scheduled events in my calendar in the blink of an eye. Windows search cannot even compete with spotlight. This make my work faster making me much more productive.

Even features such as expose makes life easier. If I press F9 on my keyboard every window resizes and is visible, then I just click the one I want, Press F10, every windows in the current app resizes and I simply click again. If I have a file on the desktop I want to get to, instead of minimizing everything like on windows I just press F11 and all the windows hide, press it again and their back. Apple makes the smallest of things easy. Taking a screenshot should be a sizzle, yet in windows it requires pressing print screen, then pasting it to a app such as paint, and then windows assumes every user has the ability to crop an image to just the section they want and know how to save it with a usable file format. With Apple just press apple+ctrl+4 and select the area, it does the rest for you, making me more productive again.

So is a Windows system really worth the lower price, would you rather be more productive and have more fun with your computer or just pay the lowest price possible for a pc?. I know I would chose a Mac any day as I get my work done in a fraction of the time it takes on windows. Leaving me more free time to do as I please.

- Liam

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

mijlee's picture
500 pencils

Ok first of all you are preaching to the converted here for the most part. Most users don't need to be told just how much better the Mac platform is. Also not sure your facts are straight?

the Macintosh makes a handy backup which automatically loads up once I re-launch the app

What is the above statement about? The only apps I know of that do this are (bizarrely) M$ office and Adobe InDesign. Have I missed something?

I do not have to worry about organising and managing my files and folders

Always keep your files organised, otherwise backing up and providing CDs of your work becomes a nightmare ;)

Keep up the Apple love though :D


liamparkinson's picture
43 pencils

fair point on the backup thing. As for organising files, i do organise themm, but i dont have to worry is their unorganised. plus, smart folders can do the organising :)

- Liam

mijlee's picture
500 pencils

Personally I think it is a bad idea to rely on technology too much. I have no idea what anyones phone number is these days due entirely to the fact I have been using nothing but a mobile phone for 5 years.

I think you should be impressed by some of Tigers great productivity features, but ask yourself if you are still in control? If you are and you can still find a file without using Apples hand holding then your OK. If you can't, one day Spotlight may pick up a bug or virus and you end up having to trawl through a stick mess of files and folders.


Enigma's picture
29 pencils

The single biggest reason I like OS X is because it's reasonably consistent. If something doesn't work, the reason it doesn't work one time is most likely going to be the reason it doesn't work again.

I spend all day dealing with windows machines and coaxing them to work adequately. It is virtually NEVER the same fix twice. And it recurs very frequently, much more than any computer should ever need.

Paul D's picture
12 pencils

Just so you know. It kind of sticks out.

Charlie D's picture
384 pencils

Running tiger on it too. Sure its slow alot of times, but it still works like a charm and will get me by till I get an intel mac. (knocks on wood)

The os x user interface is far superior to windows, especially for designers. I've worked on a pc for about a year in my career and found it terribly frustrating that windows seems to make every program run full screen! Very clunky. I wish adobe would make their apps exclusively for macs to fully utilize the os x interface...I feel that adobe's apps compromise their interfaces simply because they have to build their apps for the pc and have to have the two alike. Just a thought on that.

"The higher you jump on the flagpole, the higher the bonus you receive."

kaiyohtee's picture
57 pencils

"[A]pple+ctrl+4" that does sound pretty cool....

You present some interesting points in your bullets, but you need some help with editing. Nothing personal matey, "just the facts."

I am one of the black sheep here. I am using a 5-year old PC. I went the cheaper route and I ain't shy about it. It is all about maximizing what ya got.

Here are some of my problems
"If I have a file on the desktop I want to get to, instead of minimizing everything like on windows I just press F11 and all the windows hide, press it again and their back."
Window Key + M ; Shift + Window Key + M

"would you rather be more productive and have more fun with your computer or just pay the lowest price possible for a pc?. " Logical fallacy?

My big point here is, that if I were to spend the same amount, say what, $5500, for a tricked-out Mac, I could get so much more in a tricked-out PC (I don't entirely buy the "Mhz Myth" either). I am not here to bash Macs, they are great for people used to them, I just never like it when people seem to need to convert people to their views in order for them to reinforce their own beliefs. Follow?

The real thing is use what you are comfortable using. I daily use PC's, but whenever I get a chance, I'll use a Mac so I don't get lost. It also seems to me that the price one pays for a Mac also adds in the additional price of some pretty choice software. If one were to spend the time (time=money?) and see what they wanted, the economics would be similar.

And furthermore before I shut my big mouth up, I am on the internet copying and pasting, using office programs and the end and home keys move the entire page rather than the cursor on a line. It is these little things that I am used to that work for me....

Apfhex's picture
324 pencils

There are many many many little things I could rant about for way too long why I prefer Macs (and OS X). There were a lot of good ones already touched upon. For me it's not about hardware specs or learning curves, it's all *usability* and *stability*.

Here's a big one for me: I like to spend less time FIGHTING with my computer and more time USING it. My Windows-using friends spend half their time just trying to get things to work right in Windows (and they honestly really do know what they're doing, they're not dumb). Even simple things! Sometimes it won't let you delete or rename a file claiming it's "in use" even though you just turned the machine on and didn't open a damn thing (i've seen this happen on EVERY SINGLE WinXP machine I've used). Sure, spyware and viruses are a terrible problem for Windows but even without any it's already broken enough.

I'll take my 3 year old PowerBook over a brand new Windows machine any day. I guarantee I'll be more productive.

Ivan's picture

For month I've been trying to convince myself that I could use a PC if I had to and it's just a matter of getting used to XP. Recently I had to do a presentation on a Sony VAIO and it was a frustrating experience.

First of all it took 20 minutes for an IT person to configure the PC to show up on the projector and it required an installtation of a driver. It only took 1 second for my Powerbook to show up.

Second, the colors were way too light and bright. You couldn't see any details in the light areas at all. Couldn't fix it within XP. Had to manually darken the projector, but details were lost. On a Mac everything looked perfect from the first time it was on.

Third, the PC couldn't connect to the internal network properly, so secure sites, which was required for the presentation, didn't work. It worked just fine on the same WiFi on the Mac. The IT guy were not sure why is this happening.

Fourth, which is personal thing really, I got very confused with the tabs on the bottom. At one point some application windows were side by side and at other points they were like menupoints. I get the concept, but I feel it's very inconsistent and unnecessary.

The last things that bothered me the least was that there were literally 6 stickers on a 12" PC. All shiny little things and some of them wouldn't come off, because they were stuck permanently. It just looked disgusting. And, it was supposedly one of the most sexy PC laptops out there.

In spite of all this, it felt like I could work on a PC if I had to, but I would have to take my time to get used to it and to make sure everything is set up properly.

pechos's picture
120 pencils

Has anyone here other than kaiyohtee ever actually used a PC themselves and taken more than 5 minutes to learn and use it? A lot of the alleged shortcomings in the intial thread are BS (recyle bin flattening), and believe it or not, shortcut keys are not proprietary to MAC *gasp*.

I am not anti mac, but I agree with kaiyohtee that it is a little annoying at times to keep hearing how MAC's are the digital messiah.

liamparkinson's picture
43 pencils

i used windows for about 8 years until i got my imac nearly a year ago now, this article is purely based on opinion, and that opinion is mine :-) i have found myself much more productive since converting the the mac and my grades at college have risen that much in graphics that i have actually been recomended to a degree course in mulitmedia. The pc used to slow my work rate down so much i could never get as much done as i wanted. So yup, i have used a PC :) oh and if i recall correctly, send a folder with contents to the bin, now try navigate that folder while its in the bin to see if you can look at the contents before you empty the bin. If my memory serves that cannot be done, so vital info can be lost, as a mac i can navigate the folder in the trashcan. This is just a little perk that i like as it lowers the risk of deleting important files.

- Liam

Gody's picture
58 pencils

I am not sure how many members on this site are like me. I use a Win machine at home and work on a Mac at work. I never used a computer till I was about 15. The first I used was a 486 DX running MS-DOS then I moved to a Pentium running Win95 two years later. The first time I ever touched a Mac was when I was 19 and that was for college. I switched from an Architecture major to a Digital Multimedia major - that was when I first used a Mac in 1999. I actually hated OS9. I enjoyed working on my PC in my dorm.

The reason I am writing this is to say that all through college I did all my homework at home on my Win machine and took it to class and presented it on the Mac or continued to work with it on the Mac at school.

I don' think I would say that my productivity has changed in any way. I strongly believe that I can be as productive and efficiently do design on my Win machine as I can on a G4 or a G5. Yes I agree Mac OSX is elegant and I love working with it but I want to say I can do well in XP as well. Yes I don't have Spotlight but I am well organized anyway. Like someone above mentioned - you can't rely on technology to hold your hand all the time.

I have never owned a Mac in my life. I have wanted to but the cost has held me back. And yes the OS is the main reason why I want to get a Mac. Given my current financial situation I would still buy PC hardware if I can run the OS on it. Why would I spend extra money if I can be as productive with a cheaper system and make the same amount of money doing freelance - more money in my pocket right? I would buy a Mac as a luxury item but if I had the money laying around then yes, I definitely want a Mac. I am sure no one would complain about driving a BMW right? (I compare a Mac to a BMW and a PC to your average-Joe car)

So to conclude my statement... I am for both Macs and PCs. I work well in both environments. Yes there are some difficulties with the PC but when it comes to doing design, I can perform well on both machines. Ofcourse I do not have Keynote to do cool presentations and I do not have real Plug & Play capability but the bottom line is...

You give me a PC and I will make something equally cool as I would on a Mac.

Ivan's picture

Good summary. Thanks for sharing. I fully agree with your last line!

Ivan's picture

I don't think being a Mac digital messiah is all about postrationalizing and proving that you made the right purchase decision. I think most Mac users with very few exceptions started by using a PC. Including me. I had a 386 and a 486 back in the days.

I think Mac evangelism is rooted in the fact that once you discover the beuty of a well designed system, such as a Mac running OS X, you want to share your joy. Also, you want to defend yourself from Windows users who dismiss your preference as Macs must be something marginal, since the market share is so low. You feel like, you have to explain them what Windows users are missing.

I think there are much more ppl who actually never used a Mac for more than 5 minutes, still defend Windows as a good enough OS. Surely it's good enough, but I have only met one guy so far who couldn't take OS X and returned to Windows after trying out Macs, but I have met dozens who never looked back.

I do agree that Macs help your productivity and it does worth to spend several hudreds of dollars more on a Mac if it means you gonna have an easier work environment for years 7 days a week 8 hours a day. It's the best investment you can make in a way.

That is not to say that if you already have a good Windows setup you need to throw it. Far from it. Changing to a Mac environment from a perfectly functioning PC environment is NOT worth the cost. Only if you are planning a new purchase.

r0sss's picture
35 pencils

Investing in Apple stock now would be a wise decision. Like Ivan said above:

... but I have only met one guy so far who couldn't take OS X and returned to Windows after trying out Macs, but I have met dozens who never looked back.

Windows users are finally beginning to see the light and are switching to mac. Just within the last year I have personally known 6 people who have made the switch. Apple's market share may be low but it is rising quickly.

It's a good investment.

Alexander's picture
74 pencils

I got nothing against MAC's, i just can't stand all the MAC-fanatics (not saying all of you are).

Ivan's picture

I will try to behave I promise.

Ben's picture
121 pencils

I now use a PC at work all day. I mostly use ultra-edit, so not a whole lot can go wrong. I did however, find a funny answer to ease the pain. I ended up hooking a mac keyboard to the PC and remapped 'ctrl' and 'windows' in the registry. My shortcuts now work as they should, and there's just something about the soft feel of the mac keyboards that makes me happy.

Don't worry, I still design at home on my g4. And everyone at work thinks i'm crazy. Thank god for creativebits..

jaylarson's picture
7 pencils

Really?! Do the USB outlets work?! The mouse is much more manageable when not strung around the back... Fuirthermore, the placement of the open-apple (CMD) keys are much more ergonomic (where the thumb naturally lies) than the stretch one's pinky must do to use the CTRL key...

Ben's picture
121 pencils

Wow, yeah they do work! My flash drive shows right up. Hahah, I had the same pinky issue as you. I found my thumb always hitting the window key followed by me yelling "agh!".

matthew's picture
60 pencils

I started on a Commador 64 so long ago I don't even remember how old I was, all ˆ know is that a text-based spiderman game was completely awesome. Then my mother started showing interest in PCs...Before we knew it we were sitting at the kitchen table building our PCs together...I grew up on PCs and probably have over 10 years exp with them at LEAST, thats building, upgrading and troubleshooting...Needless to say my XP computer works pretty flawlessly 99% of the time. But thats because I KNOW what I'm doing, I am VERY picky about the hardware I put in it and only put what I need(ie take out the nic when I'm using a wireless ethernet adapter). But when I got into the graphics field via the print shop we own we decided after debating that the PC just would not cut it as a colour matching system for our printing. So we bought a Dual G4 Powermac and 22" Cinema Display and I've been in love ever since. BUT I still use my PC at home because its what I have and I know. I am planning to get a powerbook but until then I'm perfectly happy on my PC. Their are parts of both OS's I like but I have to honestly say, its mostly just personal preference. I can switch between Macs and PCs without a hiccup and be just as productive on both. So yeah, its all preference.

By the way, Windows+D will hide everything so you can access the desktop quickly and just as easy as expose, although not nearly as powerful, the drag and drop ability of expose is hard to beat.

SyFi's picture
14 pencils

I'm in the same boat as matthew here. I started out on the 64, using cartridges, even the program cassettes. I remember and can still use DOS from all of the time spent on pre-windows-3.1 machines. Hardball, the original, for the 64 hold a dear dear place in my heart. If you know what you are doing, there should be minimal difference between PC and Mac use. Each have their benefits, each have their losses. It's a matter of taste.

i design custom ambigrams. check out my site, tell me what you think.

matthew's picture
60 pencils

One more thing about macs though, I would buy my grandmother a mac before a pc because of usability. Hoorah for the senior citizens.

kaiyohtee's picture
57 pencils

"Run "*" 8, 1..." What was the code to start the games... I forgot... Mmmm... Archon...

SyFi's picture
14 pencils

I'm pretty sure the command was just "runme".

i design custom ambigrams. check out my site, tell me what you think.

kaiyohtee's picture
57 pencils

Did you know that the word cliche is a French term in used in the days of the print press? When a common saying like say, "It was a dark and stormy night" they would lump it together to streamline the process... This "lump" was then called a cliche (with acento on the 'e').

Just a note-worthy point...

קידום-אתרים's picture
1 pencil

I intend to buy a new computer soon, and thought about a mac, but after reading this topic I gonna tihnk twice before buying it. I work mostly with web design tools and Search engine optimization freelance work.

קידום אתרים

olliesan1's picture
288 pencils

Having worked on both I can't really say I prefer one over the other. There are pros and cons to consider. Personally I've had apps quit on me as much on my Mac as on a PC. And I prefer Windows task bar to Mac's dock. But PCs are more prone to viruses (just because of the fact there are more PCs). Macs are prettier. Consider what will suit your needs and your budget best.

tjhorton's picture
3 pencils

In theory I love the new Mac. It's Unix down below, my specialty. Bootcamp clinched the sale, and I run it hosted under VMware so I'm back in Windows at the push of a button. And as a old GUI developer, I hoped finally to be at peace with my O/S.

But in practise? Is this a superior more productive machine?

In some ways it certainly is. Far few and faster reboots. Much better performance when it gets loaded up. Very clean updates, and most of the time everything self-configures.

But the user interface designs? No, lads, this is not tightly designed, consistent, predictable or easy to learn. Far from it. This doesn't come from an obsession with elegance that the old Mac did. I've been at this so long I used the original Mac and original IBM PC, and I know why the Mac got the reputation it did. The old Mac taught you as you went along. Times have changed lads.

At first I thought, well, this little thing is anomolous or that is a problem, and I recorded pages of issues to send off somewhere, though I've never figured out where.

After about a week I realized "these are not isolated issues, it's the @#*$& whole Mac!". I gave up documenting, and reworked my expectations.

The user interfaces do not come from the old Mac lineage. In a nutshell, the modern Mac is full of "neato" quirky features in an underwhelmingly consistent organization. Translation: it is really only highly usable for people that live and breath it.

What do I mean? I'll take a random sampling:

There are more baroque global key sequences that you can accidentally hit than I ever imagined possible. Five modifier keys, in combinations, times how many keys? Zow. You either need a perfect memory or perfect execution (and allowing that some very common shortcuts require transposing modifiers when you switch from windows, like copy and paste). Hit one by accident and you'll generally know that something just happened, but you're not sure what ... you just have to know.

After a few months, "hot corners" suddenly turned on for me (the Mac corrupted it's preferences files). I would move the mouse in a corner and all hell would break lose. Solution? You just have to know about hot corners, which of course I didn't.

I can't even count how many times I came to a new window and wondered "huh?". What's that unlabelled grey button in the middle of nowhere on the finder window? Or what on earth is that strange icon supposed to mean? You often just have to know, and there is LOTS to know BEFORE you can work competently.

Take a simple thing like finding the serial number, which you need to report problems (I had 3 in my first 5 months). How do you find it? You just have to know. When you find the right dialog you actually have to click on a static string and loop through three values, none of them labelled. Yes I know I'm nitpicking, but back in the day, Steve Jobs would have upchucked. And it demonstrates the UI principles of the new Mac: you just have to know.

I had a problem with unpredictable automatic screen dimming. It actually shows up in three fairly unrelated places under system preferences. How do you find it? You just have to know.

I find really important things like the system dock to have many unintuitive features. For those of you that love it, I apologize, but it is not self-explanatory how you add and remove applications, how you know what's running, what the dashed line means, etc.

I can't possibly catalog all the issues here, but from a GUI designer's standpoint, I don't think the Mac is at all superior for the more casual user.

tjhorton's picture
3 pencils

Notwithstanding the merit to some of his points, the author premises his article with a ton of guesses.

Are autosave features unique to the Mac? He can't be serious.

The author cannot be very cognisant if he thinks antivirus programs require a lot of "maintaining which takes time. All this slows the user down, stopping them being productive." They generally maintain themselves with automated updates, according to a configured schedule. Granted, major releases often require human attention, but most of the time it's commonplace to run and ignore.

He cannot be well informed if he thinks it's a good bet
that "you often find yourself formatting your entire system because viruses and spyware have slowed it down to the point where it is not even usable." This is a false starter, in general: if you even know what formatting is, you're going to have antivirus on your windows box. Formatting is a very low level operation. Antivirus is a software intall.

tjhorton's picture
3 pencils

The comments to the following article (about Mac productivity) bust the myth much better than I did:

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

The story I usually tell people is this:

"At least on a mac you don't have to go to a start menu and four menus deep to get to the calculator!"

No system is perfect, Apple's getting software bloat, but I think Apple comps are still far superior as far as usability to PCs. Across its own software, and in every utility, the key combos are basically the same.

As for hot corners, those aren't on by default so don't blame apple for that, blame yourself (or whomever set that up for you).

I think Apple's still doing quite well considering how many chefs have their hand in that pie.

"Powerpoint is not a design application"

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