How this ignoramus managed to get a job writing about education and ICT for ZDNET is beyond me, but his reason for not buying Macs is stunningly brilliant: the software is too good. Snip:
However, even iLife has its drawbacks in an educational setting. It simply hands so much to the students that they struggle with software (whether Windows, Linux, or even pro-level software on the Mac) that isn’t so brilliantly plug and play. Yes, iLife rocks in many ways, but the level of spoonfeeding it encourages actually makes me think twice about using it widely, especially at the high school level.
I’ve heard them all over the years, from the PC guys, the Microsofties, who have excuses as long as your arm as to why they prefer one platform over the other. I want to say, it’s okay, you’re allowed to have a preference, but please, keep the spurious rationalisations to yourself. I respect blind prejudice and irrational hatred more, quite honestly. I’ve sat in meetings with ICT support guys who flat refuse to have anything to do with Macs beyond the network point on the wall (which is still going further, you’ll note, than some education authorities). He was like Pontius Pilate, washing his hands of the Macs, telling the (University) teachers who wanted them that they were on their own.
Guess what? The teachers didn’t care, because they knew they could support themselves. In fact, the PC guy was such a buffoon they were probably glad he wasn’t going to be touching their lovely Macs.
We’ve had Macs in our school now for three years, and I’ve needed zero tech support and we’ve had zero downtime. Students have been empowered to produce some excellent work. Yes, iLife is so brilliantly integrated that you can actually do creative stuff really quickly without faffing around with a stupid interface. But this, ZDNET guy, is why Macs have been used in creative industries for decades: because some industries are about producing stuff and hitting deadlines. Other industries are about pushing numbers around and watching YouTube videos because you’re bored.
Apple don’t have the exclusive on brilliant software that does what it’s supposed to do. Pro Tools is the bees knees for music production; Photoshop is unbeatable; Quark XPress and InDesign are both superb DTP packages. Back in the day, Fontographer allowed any idiot with a scanner to design a typeface based on someone’s handwriting. But the thing about iLife is that it’s included with the Mac. And no matter how much it looks like that Mac costs compared to the unlimited-downtime-included Dell PC, it’s the software (stupid) that’s going to save time in the classroom.
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone knew what good software was supposed to be like? By keeping people in darkness, they will never demand change. Even Windows users deserve good software, so why shouldn’t they get a taste of the good stuff – at least while they’re at school?