As a writer I’m fairly easy going when it comes to my working environment. I don’t need much: a computer with an up-to-date version of MSOffice, access to the internet, and a few very minor stationery requirements, and I am well equipped to sit and write all day.
Not too much to ask, you may think – there’s not much there that can particularly go wrong, or make my life more difficult than it needs to be. Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. You see my employer has kitted out our office with Apple Macs, the most un-helpful, un-user-friendly devices imaginable. Whereas on a simple low-spec PC I would be able to do most things a writer needs to do, such as rename files and multi-task between a few Word documents, on a Mac even these simple tasks become a chore.
Now, before I get accused of being a PC fan-boy, this blog is in no way a rant without substance. I work on Macs 5 days a week, and require little more from my workplace Mac than it let me do my job. But even such relatively trivial tasks as taking a screenshot require the average user to dedicate far too much time to browsing internet forums to find solutions to tasks that should be easy.
As much as I have an intrinsic loathing for Apple, and the style-over-substance that its “brand” represents, I would actually shout for joy if I came into work one day and found that my office Mac did the simple things I need it to. Alas, I doubt I will ever see the day Apple sees sense, as far too many people are prepared to spend far too much money on over-hyped products that look nice, but have little in the way of practical application.
So without further ado, here are 25 reasons I hate Macs, and the 3 things I like…
25 reasons to hate Macs
- Cuteness. Personal computers should not be “cute”. Apple Macs don’t have balloons, or popups or message boxes, no, instead they have icons that feel the need to bounce up and down to get your attention in a way that is beyond irritating. Computers are machines, they are not people. I do not want computer icons to have personalities of their own. Apple, you have gone too far.
- File naming. Windows-PCs allow you to batch name files, so if for instance you have 20 photos you want to name ‘Reasons I hate Macs’, they will be renamed quite simply, with numbers appended to the end of the filename for each subsequent file in the group. With Macs, you simply can’t do this. So, if you’re say, dealing with a couple of hundred files, such as in the case where you might be organising photos from a digital camera or other such device, you soon find yourself in difficulty. Heaven help you if you have file name clashes and have to manually rename each individual file…
- No maximise / full screen function. This is a major design flaw in Mac OS. Tell me Apple, why can we not maximise our windows? Also please tell me why – for the love of all that is good – is it so damn hard to arrange two documents side by side?
- No MSPaint or equivalent programme. Want to make a very minor edit to an image? Want to combine two images together quickly and easily without using an expensive photo editing suite? Not possible with a Mac I’m afraid.
- Image resizing issues. Following on from point 4, Apple, in all its infinite wisdom has decided that we are not allowed to be able to resize image by hand. If you are lucky enough to find a half-decent Mac-compatible MSPaint replacement, you will find that you have to know precisely the dimensions you want the image, and are restricted from the long established convention of having a tiny set of diagonal arrows in the bottom right hand corner with which to resize. Seriously Apple… I mean seriously, come on!
- Insidiousness of iTunes. If you’re not a fully signed-up member of the Apple fan club, then the insidiousness of iTunes, and the way Apple forces iTunes down your throat can really start to get on your nerves. I don’t want to have to convert my generic sound file into iTunes format – I just want you to play the damn thing!
- Image preview issues. One of the big selling points of Apple Macs is the fact that they’re (apparently) really good for multimedia-type tasks. However, even in this realm Macs are completely unintuitive and add unnecessary extra steps to tasks that should be simple. Say I have some images on my desktop and want to view them. On a PC, all I do is double-click on one, and then use arrow keys to scroll through all images in that location. On a Mac it’s not so simple. No, with Macs you have to have all the images you want to preview selected beforehand. I don’t think I need to elaborate any more on just how frustrating this can be in a busy working environment, or say, when someone calls and you’re trying to hold a phone to your ear while trying to select the images you need to scroll through…
- Deleting files from portable devices. Typically if you’re a Mac user, you will only make this mistake once, because if you make this mistake more than once it can be quite costly. Basically, if you were say, to delete images from a removable memory card for a camera, you then have to carry out the ‘empty trash’ function, otherwise, though the memory card will appear empty, they will in actual fact, still be considered ‘full’. Turning up at an event with a full memory card in your camera that tells you it’s empty, but has no more space is not fun, and you need to return said memory card to the same Mac you deleted the files from in order to resolve the issue. If this Mac is a long way away, such as say, in another city, you are, what we in the trade call, fucked.
- No right-click to create files. When you have a filing system on your machine that is many, many layers deep, it’s sometimes an awful lot easier to be able to right click in the location you want to create a new file if you happen to have that folder already open. With Macs, you can’t do this. Not only is this grossly inefficient, but it is but one of many ‘right-click’ issues that crop up in this list…
- No right-click to print option. Want to quickly print a document, or a series of documents? I’m sorry dear Mac users, but you will have to manually open each file in turn and click print. But don’t worry; at least your Mac looks nice!
- No right-click to preview. Again, another issue. What is it with Macs and ease-of-use eh? You’d almost think you weren’t paying overinflated prices for this stuff…
- MSWord on Mac just isn’t as good as it is on PCs. I guess you’d understand, given how MSWord is made by Microsoft and all, but this issue goes far deeper than just MSWord, and the needs of a humble writer such as myself. The issue here is that most programmes, in their Mac form, are inferior to their PC cousins. Many lack options on Macs that are readily available in PC form. Another implied issue here is the fact that you’re using MSWord on a Mac at all. Shouldn’t Apple have its own decent office package?
- Compatibility. Following on from point 12 is the issue of compatibility. If you want to use your beloved Mac for anything beyond Photoshop, good luck. If you’re a gamer, then well quite frankly you might as well throw your joystick away. And don’t even get me started on the upgradeability issue!
- Cost. Ok so thankfully I didn’t have to splash out on buying our office Macs, but consider this: the extra money spent on Macs could be spent on buying useful software licenses, or other equipment around the office. And it’s not just the cost of the hardware and fancy peripherals you have to bear in mind here. Also consider the cost of batteries for all these wireless devices, and the cost of finding a half-decent computer support provider that can help you should (heaven forbid) your beloved Macs go wrong.
- Stability is a myth. I can’t believe just how serious some Mac fanboys and fangirls get about the stability argument and that well-worn phrase ‘Macs don’t get viruses’. I’m sorry people, but you’re wrong. I am only a writer, and so I’m not really using ‘resource-heavy’ applications. I use Word, Excel, Outlook, Chrome (the default browser Safari is rubbish, but that’s another story), and of course finder. The thing is, my brand-new Mac doesn’t like it when I have lots of Word documents open. In fact, it detests it. And whatever you do, don’t ever think about opening documents with large tables in, or with… images. On average, my Mac will freeze or crash at least once a week, sometimes more. And it’s not just me either. Search the internet and you will find literally hundreds, if not thousands of similar cases. Let me say it again: Mac stability is a myth!
- No ‘Print Screen’ button. Apparently the reason there’s no Print Screen button on Mac keyboards is to ‘streamline’ the keyboard experience, and reduce needless clutter. Well Apple if this is the case, what the blazes are the extra function keys along the top of the keyboard for? Oh wait, they’re redundant…
- Simple processes made needlessly complicated. So you need to take a quick screenshot, but find there is not Print Screen button to hand. What do you do? You spend hours trawling forums that’s what you do. Why are things made so needlessly complicated? By supposedly ‘improving’ the screenshot function, Apple has actually made it x10 more complicated. So much so every time I want to take a few screenshots I have to look up how to do it! And the thing is I’m quite a tech-savvy person. Goodness knows what the average man or woman on the street does!
- No hash tag (#) key. Where is it, I hear ye ask? Well, according to my very helpful Facebook friend, it’s Alt-3. How on earth is the average user supposed to know this? Why not just have the key marked and assigned on the keyboard? Good luck if you’re a Twitter user.
- Windows getting stuck behind toolbars. I’m sorry Apple, but keeping toolbars pinned to the top of the screen away from the window they are assigned to is not helpful. Actually, I’m not sorry – it’s a fundamental design flaw, and your designers and developers were paid a hell of a lot of money to come up with this rubbish. Try rearranging a few word documents on the screen in front of you, as I have to do on a daily basis, and soon enough your windows will get stuck behind toolbars. The solution? Close some of the toolbars so you can move the window down a bit, and then re-open the toolbar. #whataloadofshit.
- Lack of OK and Cancel buttons in settings dialogue boxes. I admit I didn’t really spot this poor piece of design at first – I thought the lack of ‘Cancel’ and ‘OK’ buttons made things streamlined, and reduced clutter… until I mistakenly clicked a wrong setting and wanted to cancel. Thanks Apple. Thanks a lot.
- Always plays the start-up sound, regardless. Ever wanted to sneak into the office without alerting the attention of colleagues? Well you can’t with Macs! On a serious note though, what is the deal with this? The sound itself is rubbish, and it’s really loud and irksome. Maybe it’s a clever metaphor?
- No option to ‘Cut’ files in Finder, only Copy. Again, what’s the deal with this?
- Ghost programmes. Linking in with the toolbar issues I hinted at in point #19, there’s a strange thing with Macs where programmes can be running, even when there’s no window open. Combine this with the way toolbars aren’t directly connected to windows and you get a situation where often you will find a menu bar for a ‘ghost’ programme on top of other windows. Needless to say this can cause some issues.
- Being helpfully unhelpful. Did you know, unless you tell it otherwise, your Mac will adjust its brightness relative to the light in the room? Nice gimmick Apple, just a shame it’s absolutely useless. Thankfully, after some (guess what), searching on the internet, I found the solution, and disabled this infuriating function. I think what gets me more than anything about this particular gripe of mine is just how symptomatic it is of Apple’s approach to computer design. It’s all style over substance, and at the end of the day, unless a gimmick like this really helps, all it’s doing is making things worse, and when you can’t rename 100 photos without allocating half your working day to the task, then quite frankly Apple I don’t want to know about your stupid ‘helpful’ features. Give me a machine that works dammit!
- At 25 bullet points in I could keep on going, but I’m not going to. Just writing this blog makes me angry, as things could be so simple, but thanks to the Mac I have to use at work, they’re not. To fill point #25 then, I’m going to make a brief comment on perhaps the single most annoying thing about Macs, and it is this: the not-so-humble Mac user. Now I understand how, when you spend a stupid amount of money on a useless lump of well-designed metal, you want to justify your purchase. However, please do not try to justify it around me. I see through you – you’re not going to win me over. So please stop trying, and please stop bragging. I just can’t stand it. I don’t care about how you can seamlessly link your iPhone to your Mac, or use your phone to control your Mac. This doesn’t at the end of the day, make my life any better. If I had an app to control my Mac at work, you know what I’d do with it? I’d turn my Mac off, and walk away.
And 3 (small) reasons to like Macs…
At 2,500 words in, I’ve given you some sort of sense of the frustration I feel at using a Mac on a daily basis. Of course I have been a bit strong in my comments on some occasions, but then, a blog such as this needs a bit of humour. So as not to be accused of having a completely one-sided perspective, there are at least 3 things I do like about Macs and they are:
- Applying colour labels to filenames. So simple, yet so useful. This is actually incredibly helpful for workflow if you have a busy desktop, as you can label files red, yellow and green, and makes the task of organising that little bit easier. If I could have one thing from a Mac on my PC, it would be this.
- The F3 key. Also known as Exposé, some would argue that the F3 key is a waste of time, considering how Macs struggle to multi-task, and I do myself, suffer bugs associated with the F3 key on a regular basis. However, all things said and done, when compared to older versions of Windows, the F3 key is incredibly useful. It’s just a shame it’s not been implanted as well as it could be really, but then, that’s Apple all over…
- Undo function in Finder. I like the ability to ‘undo’ actions in Finder, and I find it quite useful. However, it’s only useful, for the most part, because I’ve made a mistake due to the poor UI. If you’ve successfully navigated your way through the preceding 2,000+ words to this blog, I hope by now you might have some idea as to what some of these UI flaws might be.
So, there you have it, 25 reasons to hate Macs (and 3 reasons to like them). Are you a Mac user? Do you have Macs forced upon you at work? How useful do you find your Mac? Let me know your thoughts below, and please, please don’t flame. Thanks 🙂