Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Valid Comparison


As my co-workers have noticed, I like my Mac. In fact, it has come to the point where one Windows user has actually asked, "If you love OS X so much why don't you marry it?"

How immature. First of all, I'm already happily married. Secondly, OS X is in a committed relationship with Apple right now.

A comparison between OS X and Vista is not only pointless, it is covered pretty much in every other post on this blog.

Instead, I'll compare two things which I really like and we will see how OS X measures up. I'll also avoid any and all "comparing Apples and . . . " references.

Okay. A "Which is More Awesome" contest will be held between Mac OS X and the Star Wars trilogy. This will be tough, because most of you are aware how much I like the Star Wars movies. In order to be at all objective, I'm going to assign scores and have a third-party application compute the results, since all categories have different weights anyway and I hate math.

Let's get started, shall we?

"Out of the Box Usefulness"

While Mac OS X does indeed "just work", a lot needs to be said about the Star Wars trilogy here. The movies (still in the case!) can be stacked and shuffled, used as a door stop, wielded in bug-smashing fury, or (if one has a working DVD player) even watched -- In or out of order!

With OS X, there was a bit of a converting-from-Windows learning curve, though ultimately a person can surf the web, blog, add speech bubbles to pictures and play World of Warcraft while cranking out massive Frames-Per-Second in an awesome display of glossy-screened glory.

Final Score -

Star Wars - 87%

Mac OS X - 79%

"Social Relevance"

Apple is going to completely eliminate the use of polyvinyl chloride by the end of next year. Further, they would happily accept my old computer for recycling as would they for anyone buying a Mac. Apple’s manufacturing site is certified to the ISO 14001 standard, which helps companies manage environmental impacts in an integrated, systematic way. Between the first generation and current generation of the iMac, sleep-mode energy usage has decreased 92% thanks to improvements in CPU power management and increased hardware efficiency.

In Star Wars, a group of insurgents lead by a religion no one really understands anymore blows up a huge facility filled with government workers and (presumably) contracted maintenance civilians. This is all after an earlier scene in which one of the main characters visits an establishment which serves alcohol while sitting across the table from a known criminal (who, by the way, hasn't even bothered to learn to speak the language) and the main character has the decency to wait until the assassin takes a shot at him before killing the bad guy dead.

Final Score -

Star Wars - 40%

Mac OS X - 94%

"Laser Swords"

Any awesomeness scale must include a laser sword rating. You'd think this is a Star Wars slam dunk, but you'd be totally wrong on that.

The Star Wars trilogy has some pretty awesome lightsaber battles. There is Obi-Wan and Darth Vader, and Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker again. And several times people get their limbs lopped off, so the movies have that going for them. Any time some gross guy gets aggressive in a bar, he will soon be losing an arm.

On the Mac side, I found this little application which leverages the Sudden Motion Detector (which normally stops the hard drive heads when movement is detected to prevent data loss) and uses it to simulate lightsaber noises. The backlit keyboard even flashes when the impact sound is activated. In short, I can convincingly pretend to lop the limbs off anyone who annoys me. I'm not sure you can put a price on that.

Final Score -

Star Wars - 93%

Mac OS X - 72%


The plot of Star Wars is loosely based on Shichinin no Samurai, in which seven brave samurai rescue a princess from a giant spherical space station. Everything else is stolen from The Hero's Journey and pretty much every cheesy science fiction movie made since the dawn of cinema. Plus laser swords!

Mac OS X is based off Unix, which has also been around for some time. The interface is really not a holographic revolution in productivity or anything, but it gets points for being way prettier than Yoda and more stable than Darth Vader (who tends to go off on emo-goth whine-fests). Plus laser swords!

Final Score -

Star Wars - 4%

Mac OS X  - 44%

"Usefulness in customized drinking games"

Where to begin here?

Let's say we create a game where, while watching the Star Wars trilogy, every time C3PO says something that makes a person wonder if robots can be gay everyone takes a shot. Or, better yet, any time Yoda says something grammatically awkward everyone has to take two shots. Hey! Maybe every time someone passionately kisses their own sister everyone has to finish the bottle! Hide everyone's car keys in an empty Gigli DVD case before starting this game.

On the other hand, we could create a game where, while using a Mac, any time a person feels smug they take a shot. When they feel constantly superior to Windows users, they take two shots, and when they make a desktop background out of a semi-transparent self-portrait taken with the integrated camera and add a speech bubble that says "Rebooted that Vista machine lately?" they finish the bottle! Make sure you back up your data before playing that one. I lost a lot of really funny lolcat pictures.

Final Score -

Star Wars - 97%

Mac OS X - 98%

For the ultimate evaluation, I've plugged these data points into a neat interface which will, I hope, spit out decent graphical representations.


That's not as helpful as I'd like. Here:


Better . . .


There we go! That should very well clear everything up.

While I was making those, I picked up a new statistic which I will pass along to you:

75% of all pie charts look like Pac Man:


In other news . . . Can you guess who has a cellphone? Me!

Can you guess who's SIM card ate all his phone numbers? Also me!

What reaction would you suppose I'd have to that, given my level of comfort with technology and predisposition towards profanity?

Anyway, if you'd like me to have your number, call me or send me a text at too-ate-won fyve-fore-sicks too-fyve-three-three or ship me an email at Hopefully those last two lines made some spam bot catch fire.

Guess what else!

Allan Metcalf is a total n00b



Darrell Davis said...

Ok, but I really would like to know what kind of computer you got recently? I mean you'd think you would mention it somewhere?

Also I'd like to see the Buying of Mac woo+ness vs Cost of wife learning I've bought a Mac. When can we see that chart?

Btw I there be a God. otherwise all of your wife's good deeds are for nothing. Seriously is she going for extra credit at this point?

Darrell Davis said...

That was "btw I know there must be a god" it was a lost translation of Darrell

Garrick said...

Shana needs no extra credit. She stopped tracking her points years ago due to an unrecoverable "Stack Overflow" in Microsoft Excel.

I'll bet that application runs better on a superior OS.

Joe said...

Are you sure this is the laptop for you?

"From Epic to Legendary ... the new Dell XPS1730 World of Warcraft Edition"

Oh ... and didn't Han shoot first?

Garrick said...

That machine (while awesome) runs Windows Vista. I'd rather spend WoW time playing than rebooting and answering prompts from the OS. However, the FigurePrints add-in is awesome.
In the original theatrical release, Han shot first.
This glaring ethical error was corrected in later versions of the film to reflect the strict moral guidelines Han lives by. They also removed the scenes where Han affectionately grooms Chewbacca due to pending litigation from the Brokeback Mountain people.