Over the years, some dated computer jokes have been told in the computer science field, especially among students. A once popular one was “What can your PC do that my Mac can’t?” “Right-click.” It was true a decade ago – the Mac mice didn’t have a right-click button. Even the latest Magic Mouse by Apple skipped the implementation by just making the whole thing touch sensitive.
Nowadays, this is just a joke from the archives. For years, people have plugged in USB mice to get around the old stereotype. However, there are still many other antiquated statements cited as fact around college campuses, where, according to a 2010 report by Student Monitor, an astounding 27% of laptops are Macs (as opposed to its worldwide composition of 7.8% as of July 2011, according to the World Wide Web Consortium).
Two popular myths are “Macs can’t get viruses” and “Macs don’t crash.”
Years ago, the first statement was slightly more accurate, but today these concepts are complete nonsense. Apple.com has now updated its “Why Mac?” page to announce the inevitable development of viruses for alternate operating systems.
The statement “Macs don’t crash” is also a fallacy. In fact, the term ‘”pinwheel of doom” was coined for the loading cursor, a constantly spinning rainbow wheel that pops up when a Mac freezes. If the spinning doesn’t stop, the only way to get the computer to start working again is to cut the power and reboot – just like Windows. The popularity of the infamous cursor is well-established; it yields the number one result on Google search and was parodied by the popular cartoon Family Guy.
So while browsing for a new computer this school year, keep in mind that technologies advance past their reputations, good or bad. Windows operating systems may be infamous for viruses and blue screens, but many think Windows 7 is a big improvement from Vista and XP. The tech-savvy might want to try out a version of Linux, if they haven’t already. Stay up-to-date with technological evolution, and make sure to listen to all sides of the debate every couple of months to see if anything has changed. You may be pleasantly surprised.