Letters to the Editor
Mac Mavens Speak Up
Posted May 1, 2008 3:59 PM CST
I read with interest “Mac v. PC,” March, and I would like to weigh in. My only interest here is to make life easier for my colleagues, which should in turn help make the benefits of Macs more available for all of us.
I work for a large law firm. I have a PC at the office and a Mac at home. I routinely use the Mac for work. The former is—for now anyway—an unavoidable evil. The latter is a breath of fresh air. I am lobbying to be allowed a Mac in the office.
Rick Georges’ defense of the PC is familiar stuff: Macs cost more; PCs have more programs; switching to a Mac would mean learning a new operating system; one might potentially have to buy two operating systems for some programs, etc., etc. Georges ends his article with the statement that it “sounds like the cost of an Apple is nearing its weight in gold.” With all respect, Rick, you have it backward. In the end, the modern Mac is far cheaper, both in terms of productivity and stress.
Why? Because the Mac works better and easier, and that makes it more efficient. It also requires less technical support. The few hundred dollars’ difference in price, or having to install dual operating systems for isolated applications, pale in comparison to the wasted time, frustration and failures of PCs. I cannot take the time or space to spell out the hundreds of ways in which that is true, but here is one story that shows what I mean.
I recently rode on an airplane with a senior engineer and manager for one of the document management systems used by many large and medium-size law firms in the country. He had been a lifelong PC user. We were talking about the functionality of the Mac OS versus the PC OS. He was openly admiring of the Mac OS. His company has something like 15 people who do most of its work, each of whom can choose his or her own computer. One day, not many months ago, one of them showed up with a Mac. After watching that worker, another worker brought in a Mac. Within a relatively short time the office had become about 75 percent Macs. That is in a company whose product had been initially developed to run on PCs.
This fellow then bought a Mac for his house. He called a computer-savvy friend and asked for help setting it up. After his friend agreed to help, he asked, “What do I do?” “Take it out of the box and plug it in.” “Then what?” “That’s it.” “You are joking.” “No.” He is now thinking of getting his own Mac at work.
So, where is the true efficiency?
After reading “Mac v. PC,” I must say I am quite a bit annoyed. Lawyers tend not to be the most tech-savvy professionals, but you could have made more of an effort to find a PC advocate whose information about Macs wasn’t sorely out of date.
A Mac owner who wants to replace his or her hard drive need not go to Apple directly to purchase one. Macs have used standard hard drives for nearly 10 years—as long as you get the right kind of hard drive for your computer, you’re good to go. The same thing goes for memory.
In fact, there are very few limitations on what hardware you can get to work with your Mac. The necessity to run PC programs on a Mac “virtually” disappeared when Apple introduced its line of Intel-based systems in late 2005 and early 2006. Now, with Boot Camp, a Mac running Windows can indeed do so without needing to use emulation. Traditional problems with emulators also disappear when you run Parallels or VMware Fusion, as these are faster and far more efficient than the average emulator. It seems that Georges has never taken the time to try either out, so his view on this issue is far from expert.
As for me, I have sold both Macs and PCs to a campus market for seven years. I am a 3L, an Apple product professional, and adept with the ins and outs of PCs (not only have I sold Dells for a very long time, but I have built several of my own PCs). While I currently own both a Mac and a PC, it should be no surprise that I greatly prefer the Mac.
I appreciate the fact that the ABA Journal wrote an article about Macs, PCs and the practice of law. I only wish you had checked your expert’s facts.
I have been in practice for more than 41 years, and your March issue had the three best, most interesting articles I have ever seen the ABA Journal print: “Mac v. PC,” “The Lawyer Who Took on Jesse James ... and Won,” and “Canning Your Client.”
George F. Hanigan
Your March article on Jesse James prompted me to write. The research and writing in the story are first-class. It seems to me the editors are making the ABA Journal a more interesting publication in general, and I have been reading the Journal for 45 years. Many thanks.
I am writing in response to a statement made in the article by Jason Krause, “Making Space Matter,” which appeared in the March issue of the ABA Journal. When commenting on space tourism and the developments in space law, Heidi Keefe of White & Case stated: “[Richard] Branson’s approach has been that he’d rather beg for forgiveness later than ask for permission now.”
As legal counsel for Virgin Galactic, I am concerned by the implications of Keefe’s statement. Virgin Galactic is focused, above all else, on customer safety and on compliance with all applicable laws. We are therefore drawing on the experience of other Virgin Group companies worldwide that operate several airlines and a train company, and that have never done anything other than obtain all necessary permissions first.
Since Virgin Galactic intends to operate no differently, there is no basis for Keefe’s comment, and her opinion does not accurately reflect Virgin Galactic’s approach to space law and space tourism.
Marc F. Holzapfel
New York City