For several years now I’ve used nothing but Mint Linux on my computers. The journey to that point was long and winding, but included a Timex Sinclair, a Commodore 64 that did yeoman service, and a series of white box DOS, then Windows PCs, from 3.1 onwards. With WordPerfect 5.1.
I finally felt that the hassles of dealing with Windows was more than I wanted, so on coming into some money I bought a shiny new Apple G4 Powerbook. It was, as they say, one sleek and lovely bit of equipment.
Ultimately though, after about three years, I had to admit that the Apple was not really intuitive, nor did it “just work.” Unless you defined “intuitive” as “I’ve only ever used Apple computers, and have never tried to do things in any way other than the officially approved way that I’m told.”
Apple rewards obedience.
Near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic my wife bought a shiny new Apple iMac. It is, as they say, one sleek and lovely bit of equipment.
Except when the WIFI inexplicably stops working, a problem which according to forum postings is longstanding with no sign of a fix. More frustrating was trying to do some quick video editing with iMovie. The only problem was that despite having a brand new system with no documents on the 250 gig hard drive the Mac claimed that there wasn’t enough space to load two small video clips into the program.
Again, forum posts tell me that this problem was identified as far back as 2018, with no resolution.
Then we discovered that the iMac refused to allow us to run OpenShot, and open source video editing package that works fine on PCs and Linux. Because we hadn’t installed via Apple’s official store they refused to trust it.
Yes there is a workaround, but still…
At the same time that the iMac arrived we also replaced an ageing HP Envy laptop with a shiny new ASUS. I’ll say right now that it’s pretty flimsy bit of gear, but it was a pandemic, and it was an emergency purchase. The touchscreen died within a month. (We’re still baffled why Apple computers still don’t have touchscreens. It’s 2020!)
What really makes me love Linux though is using the ASUS. Every time that I use Windows 10 I think that it can’t get worse, and every time it says “You wanna bet? Watch this!”
When I set up the Linux laptop it took about fifteen minutes. It also found, and installed, every printer on our local network. All by itself. Windows still seems to think that it is an affront to connect to a printer, but after downloading and installing a massive Brother software package it does work. (Doing that took, no joke, three times as long as installing an entire operating system and all of the software that I need on the Linux machine.)
And notifications. Dear God the notifications. In Windows you can’t go five minutes without something popping on the screen to tell you about some pointless thing that you didn’t want to know. We did manage to kill off most of them, and finally battered McAfee anti-virus out of existence after weeks of incredibly obnoxious and terrifying prompts. “Pay us NOW or you will die!”
Still, as bad as Windows is, it was also fairly cheap. The Apple products are anything but inexpensive — even when we refused to buy the overpriced extended warranty — sorry “AppleCare.” I still wonder why, if Apple products are so, so superior, almost every Apple owner also shells out cash for extra warranty protection.
Ah well. I will admit that (As long as the WIFI is working) the iMac is a truly fantastic television!