AAM: Curious About the Mac Attitude

by Aaron Wright Oct 18, 2006

Happy Wednesday AM readers,

Okay so perhaps the level of optimism in my greeting isn’t up to everyone’s level considering it’s the middle of a working week. To celebrate that fact though we’ve got a slightly different question from what we’re used to on AAM. We normally bring up a list of technical questions or perhaps hardware/software suggestions, but it seems this week a certain user has taken their own initiative to start off a little discussion regarding the Mac attitude.

For a long time us Mac owners have had the privilege of not having to deal with viruses, spyware and all that other rubbish that slows down our productivity. One user, Slovenian6474, brought up a little question regarding the whole Mac user attitude and wondered whether a lot of us users mind being grouped in the stereotype of basically, arrogance and snobby-ness.

I don’t particularly care what someone thinks of me based purely on my choice of computer and operating system. I don’t hide the fact that I prefer Apple software and hardware to Windows boxes, but surely that doesn’t make me any less or more of a person than if I preferred Windows to OS X? I think there are a lot of computer users out there who take this whole subject of a Mac user and a Windows user to different levels - dangerously stupid levels infact.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little debate about it in the mean time. This week I’ve chosen two answers, one Pro Apple, one seemingly less Pro Apple. Feel free to join in the discussion on the topic ‘Curious About the Mac Attitude’ (the rest of the topic currently delving into the topic of virii) or perhaps leave a comment after this to post your views.

Until next week…

Question Of The Week

Curious About the Mac Attitude

Question by: Slovenian6474

I don’t own a Mac.  I have my reason but don’t need to get into it.  What I was curious about was stereotypical Mac user.  Now I know this is a generalization and not every Mac user is like this, but when I hear Mac user this is what comes to mind.

1) Snobby
2) The “I’m better than you are” attitude
3) Everyone should buy a Mac/I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t have one
4) Mac is better than other operating systems in every way

Now I know that’s going to offend a great deal of you, but stick with me here.  I’m not trying to start an arguement or slander you, your choice in OS, or your operating system itself.  From what i’ve noticed personally, Mac user don’t care that they’re put into this kind of light.  Responses i have receive from people around here is usually something to the effect “...because it is better” or something to that likeness.

Now the questions i have are this, and these are quite serious.  Do Mac users mind that they’re grouped into this stereotype?

P.S.  I know there’s the exact opposite (Windows using, Apple-haters) and personally i hate those people.  Since I am not in the Mac camp, i really wanted to hear the other side of the story without starting and arguement.

I know this is a hot topic but PLEASE LEAVE THE BASHING AT THE DOOR!

Answer by: Buzz Bumble

That isn’t really the stereotypical Mac user. Just watch many of the TV adverts for the Mac? The Mac / Mac user is always portrayed as the smart one and the Windows computer / user as the dumb one. Plus in shows and movies, the good guys almost always use Macs and the bad guys always use Windows. This even extends further where Apple users are seen as the Rebels from Star Wars while Microsoft is the evil Empire that must be defeated.

You simply can’t argue with the truth.

Besides, number 4 and “..Because it is better” ARE actually true. There are lots of Windows users even in just my personal experience who after trying the Mac say things like “it’s so easy”, “it just works”, etc. I don’t remember anyone going the other way that has ever said anything even remotely like that. You than explain that there’s no viruses, etc. and that convinces even more people.

Usually there’s two reasons people don’t use Macs:
1. “Too expensive” - altough technically true in the short-term, in the long-term they can work out cheaper since you don’t need tech support to keep coming around to fix / de-virus your computer.

2. “Not compatible” - this one is simply nonsense spread by people who know nothing about the Mac. There are some applications like Access that are Windows only, but it’s usually fairly easy to be compatible with Windows users.

BUT really it’s best if Mac users remain the minority. If Apple did somehow topple Microsoft’s dominance, then it’s obvious that the moron’s writing malware would then shift their target to the Mac, and that’s something we can definitely do without. Despite what some people like to claim, the Mac OS is not invulnerable to malware, it’s simply that the number of users thankfully make it a waste of the scumbag’s time.

Answer by: SterlingNorth

I really believe Apple itself is largely responsible for cultivating that attitude, starting all the way back from when they had an ad in the 80s which literally called customers of its competing products—customers whom they were trying to sway—lemmings.

It’s a tough fence to straddle, promote the benefits of your product versus the competitions without taking it to the point where you insult the user for using the competitor’s product, but Apple frequently, frequently goes for gratuitous bashing. (WWDC comes to mind). This marketing game seems to flow on down from there to the partisans, whom take it up as old badge…

View thread.

Have a technical question? Drop by our dedicated forums and leave a message. You’re sure to get a reply from one of regular readers or even a member of staff.


  • Computers do not
    Completely define people
    It is just a choice

    Orange. had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 3
  • Of course, the mac side does have more ultra fanatics - I’m fine with that but I think I speak for many mac users in that we really don’t think about it that much. We choose a mac because we look around and decided based on all the evidence that a mac is the best tool when it when it comes to a personal computer - it’s why many people buy certain japanese cars - while they might like a particular style - the main reason is they just wanted a car that was reliable, would start up with no worries for 5 years (or more) and other than regular maintenance not have to worry about things not working - that’s why many people choose macs - if you ask us specifically we will cite many things but really, the bottom line is it’s a computer that will give you the satisfying startup sound 1000 out of 1001 days and among those reasons are no viruses, etc ... but you also have to note that PC users were not exactly acting gentlemanly or lady-like in their attitude towards mac users like - why are you still “different” when you should be like us and dismissing our reasonings ... so of course, mac users have developed an attitude or “defense’ if you will against random (verbal) attacks but PC users are not exactly just random bypassers in this sitiation either. Basically the bottom line is this - Mac users understand why corporations buy Windows - just like corporations buy 99% of white cargo vans but when it comes to your own hard earned money, mac users are honestly puzzled as to why anyone would buy a PC - yea, there’s the games thing but to us, that’s like saying you’re buying a cargo van because you’re in band - but beyond that tony % of use, we honestly don’t get why anyone would buy a PC (not to mention there are other console choices for playing games). You can call that arrogance but think of it this way - to us, Pc users are like polygamists (we’re not talking about ones who marry girls but who are married to legally consenting women) - we just don’t get it. You can try to explain why you’re a PC polygamist but we just won’t get it and frankly, we’re not that interested. If you’re content with your PC or your 5 spouses - okay, fine ... but if you ask why you should get a mac or choose 1 spouse, we’ll be happy to give you dozens of reasons.

    jbelkin had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 41
  • [M]ac users are honestly puzzled as to why anyone would buy a PC. . .

    You blow your cover with that comment. There are plenty of just as valid reasons to get a PC as there are to get a Mac (and different people have different reasons). For a lot of people, cost of entry is the major barrier (I’d love to see a complete Mini package, which includes mouse, keyboard and monitor) for $800 or $900, which is roughly where HP asks for an equivalent system.

    It is just that many Mac users refuse to accept reasonable reasons (in much the same vain that your PC users refuse to accept your reasonable reasons for using a Mac), such as your dismissal of gaming as just “that [tiny percentage] of use”. If you are going to game a lot, or even a little bit, why is it any less reasonable to have one PC instead of duplicating the number of equipment by getting a Macintosh, too—especially if money is an limited resource to you?

    SterlingNorth had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 121
  • >1) Snobby
    >2) The “I’m better than you are” attitude
    >3) Everyone should buy a Mac/I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t have one
    >4) Mac is better than other operating systems in >every way

    I find it difficult to accept that you are being completely serious here. Any of these attitudes by mac users would imho make them pretty dumb.

    Maybe there is a problem of perception on the part of PC users – the thing is most mac users know from experience that the mac is better, there are no lingering doubts, we’ve tried windows and we’ve opted for the mac platform.

    Where as PC users generally haven’t used a mac and accept a computer platform that just doesn’t work well. When these people talk to mac users, who not only don’t experience the day to day annoyances of windoze (sorry, just slipped out) but also seem to actually enjoy using their computers – we get reactions 1 to 4 that you listed.

    Also, there are many PC users that seem to spend all their time on mac sites either trolling or flaming. Even a basic understanding of human psychology will tell you that these people are compensating for something. This just doesn’t happen with mac users – why on earth would we hang out on a PC site just to give people a hard time.

    My .02 euros

    hurtle24 had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 1
  • I don’t want to be a pain in the ass, but the plural of ‘virus’ is ‘viruses’. Virus is a neuter noun, and as such, does not take the -i plural ending. ‘Viri’ is the plural of ‘vir’ (‘man’), and ‘virii’ isn’t a word, because there’s no singular word called ‘virius’. Here endeth the lesson.

    eiscir had this to say on Oct 19, 2006 Posts: 23
  • >1) Snobby
    >2) The “I’m better than you are” attitude
    >3) Everyone should buy a Mac/I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t have one
    >4) Mac is better than other operating systems in >every way

    I for one don’t like to be thought of and treated like someone who matches any of those descriptions.

    I’m a Windows Network Consultant who uses a Macbook everday.  I know how to make Windows run well as compaired to other installs of Windows.  But to make a network run well, don’t run Windows on it at all, especially XPE (embedded XP is updated very rarely and thus extremely virus prone).

    There are some Windows compatible solutions that inprove productivity enought to warrent the extra support required in a Windows network.  But if that same software were available for Linux or Mac, it’d be a no brainer.  It’s not the Windows platform that makes those solutions work, it’s that those solutions make it worth dealing with Windows.

    I’ve used Macs since OS 6.8 back around 1990.  I switched to PCs when I was hard up for cash and macs were crash prone.  Yep, if you’re not an old timer, you should learn about OS 9.

    That said, PCs are thought to be crash prone because of Viruses but I can tell you from experience that simply installing software and using it for a year can cause a PC to become unstable to the point of crashing (even a PC that has no connection to other PCs or the internet [other PCs far away] ).  It’s like mixing chemicals I’d say.  Install these 15 programs and the system becomes unstable, or those 10 programs.  Leave out any 2 or 3 and the system works fine.  This is especially true for device drivers like Modems, Video cards, Sound cards, etc (scanners are the worst).

    There are even features of windows I really like.  Notepad is extremely useful (notepad2.exe is better still) and Window Explorer is nicer than Finder for navigating your hardrive when you have to go more than a couple folders deep.

    OS X is not bulletproof, it just seem like that because there’s nothing better to compair it to in the end user market (office or home).  As far as the virus issue: OS X is far more resistent to those types of attacks.  Even if everyone used a Mac, we wouldn’t have a virus problem like there is in Windows.  Nothing like it.

    You’ll hear the uninformed make comments all the time about how virus writers aren’t trying to write for the Mac platform.  Most of them jump to bad conclusions because they don’t have the vocabulary to study the issue.  Viruses spead themselves to vulnerable machines automatically.  The worst of them take advantage of holes in Outlook so even previewing an email will launch the included program and have access to your entire Windows accessible Computer and Network.  The POINT is the system they spread to has to be open and vulnerable to the attack. 

    Here in lies the biggest difference between Windows and OS X computers.  In OS X you have to ENABLE services before any vulnerabilities can be exploited.  In Windows you have to DISABLE services or they are open to exploitation by default. 

    Windows has things turned on and ready to use, and the controls for enabling and disabling are hard to find and use for most non certified users/administrators (even some that are, but that’s another story).  In OS X the controls for turning on and off are usually easy to find and use for the people who understand enough to want to have it turned on.

    The biggest threat to the Mac community is what I’ll call dummyware.  If you’re dumb enough to run a program, YOU hurt your computer.  Commonly called a Trojan.  The Apple software included on the Mac does an excellent job of always showing you what you need to know to make a good decision.  Basically, don’t run software unless you download it from an official site or buy it in a retail box.  Everything else should be an image, movie, audio file, or website, which are all safe to view/hear on a mac and display automatically.  If it’s not an image, movie, audio file, or website, OS X tells you with a pop up.

    The main problem on a Windows computer is that there’s probably over 100 types of files that can run just like a program and they can be disguised as safe file types or just automatically run, either from a web page or an email or by any of a number of services (background programs) that Windows has running and responding to input from a network (which includes internet).

    To further complicate the issue, OS X, Linux, Windows, and any other OS can be compromised by flaws their software.  All software is designed to expect input in a certain format.  If you feed it input that doesn’t match that format, then it should reject the input, but in very clever attacks, that input can cause the software to run commands that it was never intended to run.  XP and Vista are far better about preventing non OS software from taking over the system, but they are both no where near the quality of Unix & Linux and OS X is UNIX behind the pretty desktop.  Unix has been the backbone of the internet since it’s creation and when it’s been exploited it’s been fixed fast and thoroughly.  The past exploits have been learned from and security has by necessity been a requirement to releasing new versions of software.

    Classically Windows has enjoyed protection from the internet by unix routers.  There have been lots of hardware routers for a long time now and if you run windows, make sure you put a router between your PC and your high speed modem (cable, DSL, Satalight, etc).  It’s overkill for Mac users, but for Windows users, the built in firewall is a good start and a router helps limit certain types of damage that come from attachments in email.  Unless your corporation requires you to use Outlook, you really should use Thunderbird or Eudora in Windows.  They are not as feature rich and the biggest downfall is the lack of a calendar, but loosing all your data once to a virus that crashes your system will teach you the real cost of poorly secured software.

    Not all mac users are the same.  I don’t like being called a snob because I don’t think it fits me.  But the most you’re likely to get from me in return is that I’ll tell those who know me that you think I’m a snob and they’ll have an instant opinion of your judgement.


    P. S. I was on a roll so I kept going and I hope each of you find something useful in this comment.

    IamWm had this to say on Oct 22, 2006 Posts: 24
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