Should You Believe the Mac Ads?

Going through high school and university with a PC was a frustrating experience, even as a tech-savvy user. I built PCs for friends, knew Windows inside out, and fixed problems myself… I wasn’t the average user. Still, I had to battle my fair share of issues ranging from viruses to hard disk crashes to constant operating system reinstallation for one reason or another. Some of the time, it was because Windows would slow down over time. Many of my friends also echoed this concern.

Mac Ads

I had never considered Macs during that period, mostly because of their price but also because of their obscurity. I didn’t know anyone who had or used a Mac outside of art professionals. In my Canadian elementary school, we had some Macs, but no one used them. Like others, I also used my PC for games, an application the Mac never used, even today. So I just dealt with the problems.

When I had finished my degree and returned home, the idea of a Mac appealed to me, and I bought a white Macbook. I followed this purchase up with two iMacs, a unibody Macbook Pro, and a Macbook Air. I even got the Apple router, the Airport Extreme. Why did I do this? I didn’t want to deal with the problems anymore. Even though I liked gaming and the openness of the PC platform, I just wanted to have a reliable computer that I could treat as an appliance. I looked past the 9 24″ iMacs I returned because of screen issues, and the promise of reliability was too great.


Surely enough, they behaved like appliances for the most part—no problems for a good period. No viruses, no crashes. Sure, I had to look far and wide to find software to do what I wanted, such as downloading newsgroups or converting video to specific formats, but I figured that was part of the price for reliable computing. I would even look past the annoying things, like how slow the 2.8 GHz dual-core iMac converted video compared to a PC of the same price.

But then I started to notice something. Macs weren’t immune to viruses, as the commercials would have you believe. My Macs did catch a small, harmless Yahoo virus that would send out messages even when we were offline. I disregarded this. What happened next really opened my eyes. I was renting out my basement then and had put my iLife CD and other Mac boxes and materials in storage, so I downloaded it from a torrent site quickly. It had a virus in it. This virus slowed the computer to a crawl, and I didn’t notice until I tried to restart Boot Camp (the Windows partition). To my surprise, it was corrupted and gone, along with any work I had on that partition. I then tried to restart Mac OS X, which was also corrupted. I had even more stuff on the Mac partition and lost it all (along with precious pictures).

You say, boo-hoo, you downloaded something from a torrent site; you should know better. Should I? Is that what Apple marketing is leading you to believe? Based on how Apple portrays themselves and many Mac users, I wasn’t aware of the Mac virus and didn’t think I should have been. That may be from a torrent site, but tomorrow, a free program, something you download from another site, may also have a virus. They will only spread more now that Apple computers are picking up popularity. Millions of people buy Macs, thinking they are better computers and inherently immune to viruses.

And it gets worse. The antivirus software for the Mac is just terrible. It’s at a very early stage of development and rarely gets updated. It doesn’t catch viruses well at all. So you have no protection. I also think that if the overpriced Mac, marketed as being virus-proof, needs antivirus, what is the selling point? PCs need antivirus, but at least the antivirus programs work and catch viruses, and you don’t have to give up value, expandability, performance, or software compatibility for no reason! It’s useless and wouldn’t have worked in my situation.

Now check this out. I needed to get my data back from the corrupted Mac OS X partition, so when I was reinstalling the Mac, I created an image of the partition, and the installer verified the idea and said it was fine. Later on, I was not able to use it. It returned certain technical errors, which I looked into and found that other poor users had the same experience! Nothing could be done about it, and as it turns out, even Apple’s technical staff had trouble deciphering the problems with the DMG (there are huge threads about this at Apple’s forums).

So, in the end, I gave up the expandability, gaming, performance, and, most of all, software compatibility for something that messed with me worse than a PC would. The PC would have caught and gotten rid of the virus, and I would still have everything intact. I ended up selling the iMacs, and for the price that I sold my 24″ iMac, I bought an Intel Core i7-powered system with 12 GB of RAM, running Windows 7 beta for a while now, with no hiccups at all. I once heard somebody describe the virus issue for PCs and Macs as follows: Using a PC is like being in the US Army’s best tank, fully armored and heavily armed in the middle of a crazy battlefield, and using a Mac is like being in a t-shirt and shorts in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa. I think that analogy is adept; with a Mac, the chances are lower of being attacked (for now), but if you’re ever faced with a virus (and you will be at some point), you can be sure you’re going down big time.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.