Thursday, April 24, 2008

Run and Hide, It's the Dreaded Mac Creep!

When I got home last night, the latest issue of eWeek had arrived and my wife had left it on the kitchen table for me. Call me old fashioned if you will, but I've been a subscriber to the dead-trees edition of several magazines ever since I got my first professional subscription - to WebWeek back when I was a full-time webmaster. The online versions just don't cut it for me. I stare at a computer monitor for far too long each day and my eyes like looking at paper.

One of the stories on the cover is Dealing with Mac Creep. I did not get a chance to read it yet, and I will not be reading the online version that I just linked to so it'll have to wait until this evening. But that article title was enough to get me to thinking.

And before I go any further, I have to make a confession: I like Macs. Sure, I work at a Windows software company, my first computer experience was on a TRS-80, and most of my time spent working is on Windows. But I've always had a bit of an interest in Macs from a networking standpoint, I married a Mac woman (she has a marketing and design background, what do you expect?) and when OS X first came out, I was very excited by the BSD underpinnings because I had done so much with Linux and FreeBSD. At home, we have a PC and an iMac. The kids and my wife use the iMac while I have always used the PC. But these days, the PC is basically just a VM host for a file server virtual machine. When I work from the iMac and I need to compile some code under Windows, I just use remote desktop, either to my home PC or to my office PC.

I think Macs are a natural for general business use. Linux will continue to struggle on the desktop because it is hard to get working and the applications available are limited. Macs though are just plain easy to use and work well. (Of course, it's easier for Apple to deliver that experience since they control both the OS and the hardware.) And while Macs may not have the same depth in its software library as Windows, there is still quite a bit in it and I see more and more applications moving to the web anyway. OK, the users themselves are well covered.

Now tack on what appealed to my inner geek originally, the BSD core, and IT should be happy. They may not be familiar with it, but they should at least have enough of an interest in technology to understand the implications. And if they are afraid to learn, they should be looking for a new career anyway.

That leaves only our friends with the black and red pens. When the finance folks first see an iMac starts at $1099 compared to around $400-500 for a commodity PC, they aren't going to be too happy. But assuming you roll out a new machine every 3 years, an extra $200/year towards employee morale is a good investment in my mind.

I wonder if I'll have a Mac on my desktop at work any time soon.

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