Buy Macs for your Parents, Please

Buy Macs for your Parents, Please

As I type, I’m de-lousing a Windows PC for Diane. running it through the usual spyware / virus check isolated from the network. The complaint was that it no longer was able to connect to the Internet through NetZero. I can see why…on startup, it loaded a number of interesting resident spyware programs, all attempting to contact the network, eating CPU and memory. And since it was a minimum-spec PC with only 128MB of memory (Windows XP seems to like a minimum of 256MB), it was causing incredible slow down.

On top of the spyware situation, there was an equally crass collection of vendor-installed trialware, marketing presentations, and links to shopping websites. Everyone one of them demanding you click on them, and then trying to sell you a subscription or update before you could do anything. It is unforgivable.

I saw the same thing on my Dad’s new HP laptop…tons and tons of crapware and quick-expiring trials that constantly popped up dialog boxes to BUY BUY BUY, with no option to uninstall the offending package.

My aunt Hui-chin is going through similar trauma with her Windows XP laptop, which I’m trying to diagnose long distance with no less than three of her children. The logitech web cam software is conflicting with something else, which is causing the camera software to fail, and on top of that nothing in the computer quite works right. She has one of those annoying popups also, with some service failing on bootup and unhelpfully informing the user of this every few minutes. What crap!

These observations have lead me to the following conclusion:

Buying a PC and giving it to your parents is bound to result in heartbreak and misery for all involved.

With the advent of the $499 Macintosh, I don’t see any reason to NOT get a Mac unless you’re already tech-savvy, are a developer, are forced to use certain PC applications or VPN software for work, or are a rabid PC gamer. If you’re not one of the above, then you owe it to yourself to go to the nearest Apple Store and try out a Mac.

I may get a Mac Mini just to loan to people so they can try it out and realize that it’s a good thing.


  1. Gedeon 15 years ago

    Oh, man. I don’t often get to say “I told ya so”, but I was so looking forward to this one, so I’m gonna say it… I told ya so Dave! Any user who isn’t familiar enough with the OS to keep it free of viruses and spyware shouldn’t be using a PC. The result is a frustrating experience that just makes using Windows plain painful. Mac minis all around!

  2. Dave 15 years ago

    Heh, I guess I deserved that! I think the major problems with the PC are:

    * Windows was outrageously insecure until just a couple of months ago, plus its popularity makes it a big target. And even with the new security fixes, it’s easy for a trusting person to just “invite in an axe murderer”, so to speak.
    * The manufacturers of the boxes (HP is the experience I’m thinking of) are very marketing oriented in the bad way
    * Bundled software quality is very very very poor…I can’t believe how much junkware is included, and how bad it is.
    * Hardware driver quality is spotty, despite Windows Hardware Qualification.
    * Parents aren’t aware of the dangers of sharing software or getting it from dubious sources, or they try to install ancient software on their new XP systems.

    The grand experiment will be to see how Dad likes his new PC. He’s gone back to Taiwan. I’ve trained him a bit, given him a bunch of decent books, explained wireless network security to him, and bulletproofed his machine as much as possible without freaking him out.

    If it doesn’t work by the next time he comes back, it’s MiniMac for him :-)

  3. Emily 15 years ago

    Hmm….should Robert and I pick up a Mini Mac?

  4. Emily 15 years ago

    I mean Mac Mini. :)

  5. Dave 15 years ago

    You should think about it! It’s very cute. I get Mac Mini and Mini Mac mixed up too :-)

  6. emily. 15 years ago

    You can use VPN on the Mac, I have to for school. It’s not as easy as it could be, but it works.

  7. Dave 15 years ago

    That’s good to know…I remember having some problems with custom windows-only proprietory VPN clients a few years ago, but hopefully this has become more standardized!