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Comment on "How to Fix a Problem That Doesn't Exist"
by Adrian Cooke — Mar 16
This discussion points to something interesting about the way that people seek out and respond to feedback from the OS and the computer as whole. I began computing life as PC user and switched to Macs about four years ago, though I still use a PC from time to time.

From my point of view the maintenance tasks that Joshua Marshall refers to are, on a PC, both functional and reassuring ways of dealing regularly with your computer. We believe that when we defrag the hard drive, clean up the registry, etc. we are keeping things lean, clean and running smoothly. The idea about getting under the hood when I need to probably emerges from experiences like upgrading a video card, adding a wireless device or replacing a broken hard drive—things that can be done inside the box and give us the sense that, if something goes wrong we can probably fix it instead of digging out the receipt and lugging it back to the store…

On a Mac life is simpler, but I'd make two points: (1) you don't really know that unless you've either had one, or as happened to me, you hang out with people who pour so much scorn on PCs that it gets you thinking about what it would be like… and (2) Macs really don't give you as much feedback about what they are doing, at least not through the GUI. This can be a good or a bad thing. I think that in contrast to Windows XP, someone who wants to learn how to get things done using the command line in OS X is faced with a much more daunting task—if, that is, they learned how to fiddle around with computers through DOS, not UNIX. And let's face it, that's probably a lot of people.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Mac and think that OS X is awesomely superior to Windows 2000/XP. But the purpose of John Gruber's article was about understanding the barriers to switching and I'd say it has a lot to do with this feedback issue, and the psychological reassurance attached to it.
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