Apple versus Microsoft–a Little History

In 1981, when Microsoft provided the operating system for the original IBM Personal Computer (PC), it retained the right to sell that operating system to other computer manufacturers. Thus was born the PC clone market. Many manufacturers entered the market and by the mid-1980s, inexpensive PC clones dominated the hardware side of the market. Microsoft dominated the software side. That basic fact—that Microsoft is a software company and Apple is a hardware company—accounts for the basic differences between PCs and Macs.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said, “Apple strives for the integrated model so that the user isn’t forced to be the systems integrator.” This meant Apple designed its computers from the ground up to adhere to certain standards and to operate the computer a certain way. As a result, Apple hardware is better built and more attractive than PC hardware, but is generally more expensive.

Because it provided its own software (both the MacOS operating system and basic applications), tailored to its hardware, Apple could provide a more stable system. PCs running Windows had to live in the world of device drivers to provide the interface between the Windows operating system and the myriad of different hardware configurations that the PC manufacturers produced. As a result, Macs do not crash as frequently as Windows PCs. Also as a result, however, PCs evolve more rapidly because of the competition among all those hardware manufacturers. A prime example is gaming. Windows PCs dominate the gaming market because of quick development and deployment of improved video adapters.

Because Steve Jobs believed he knew what users needed, Apple computers usually give you one way to perform a given action. Windows, on the other hand, gives you multiple ways. A Windows PC is highly customizable, a Mac not so much. Customization is a two-edged sword. As a result of all the options, Windows is more difficult to learn than macOS. However, if the Mac’s way does not seem intuitive to you—although Apple does a good job of making most basic actions intuitive—you have fewer options to change it.

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Who to Read?

It’s hard to get thoughtful, unbiased coverage of what’s going on in our federal government these days. The “mainstream media” is generally liberal and reports everything that Trump does with a negative spin. Most of the time, that spin is deserved. But I want to read a conservative, Republican viewpoint so that I can decide if Trump is doing a good job or a bad job overall. He’s certainly done some good things with regulatory reform and reducing the size of government. He’s also made a lot of mistakes and I don’t think he learns from his mistakes. We’ll see. If you’re like me, looking for someone to give a balanced opinion, try reading Peggy Noonan. She was Reagan’s top speech writer and continues to provide thoughtful opinions about government.

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Trump

This tells you all you need to know about Trump’s lack of respect for the law. Trump has not paid a $900 judgment against his company that was entered in 1994.

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Back to Blogging

As you see by the date of the post below this one, it’s been several years since I posted to this blog. It started life as a blog about learning to use plain text to keep information and data. The blog title back then was Using Text (which still shows in the URL). I’ve changed the title to In My Opinion and I’ll write about just that: my opinion about things in the world around me and on the Internet.

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Is There Really Such a Thing as Plain Text?

This article says no, plain text is a lie. I don’t see it that way. The article is really talking about making sure you have your encoding correct and it does a great job of explaining why. To me, however, plain text in English is ASCII. It’s been around for over 50 years. It will render correctly in all cases. I recognize that the Internet has made it necessary to provide for other languages and that is where Unicode comes in. For that, you definitely have to make sure you announce your encoding, as the article says. The article also recommends that you read Spolsky’s article about encoding. I second that recommendation.

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130 Pages??!!

I have a post about Markdown. It’s about 15 or 20 screens of information with a comfortable layout with lots of whitespace. I thought it was a relatively complete description of Markdown. Now I find a McSparky book on Markdown that has 130 pages and 27 screencasts to discuss Markdown and how to use it. How do you write that much about a tool as simple and straight forward as Markdown? I don’t know yet and haven’t decided if I’ll spend the $10 to find out. But it comes highly recommended. My curiosity may get the best of me.

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Tools Reviews at ProfHacker

Not entirely about plain text, but one of the writers at ProfHacker put together a summary of their reviews and comments about tools they use. Here is the lead:

Here’s a collection of posts from the archives that focus on the use of plain text editors and alternative word processors.

Good stuff.

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