Apple or Microsoft – The big dilemma

All these years of blogging I have been working on a 10 year old + PC, sometimes a first generation iPod and in the last year just occasionally an iPad Air.

Writing out a long blog on an iPod is quite a labour of love.  The tiny keyboard makes writing out a blog of several hundred or thousand words quite a task, let alone inserting photos and positioning everything just right.  However, in many way the old iPod is much better to use than my old PC.

My PC crashes perhaps 5 or 6 times a day but freezes at least a dozen times and many of the freezes stay frozen for a good minute or two until I give the computer a big fat reset.  It’s not much fun to use, much fun being my understated English way of saying what a total pain it is.

I’ve never been a fan of Microsoft PCs, primarily because I’ve never used one which has been so user-friendly, stable or just competent as my old Commodore Amiga computers of the 1980’s and 90’s which had me doing video effects, multitasking and modern every day computer tasks when most of the world were using typewriters or worse DOS PC’s.  All without sound card conflicts, video cards and complicated internet connections.

Amiga 1200 Workbench

Amiga 1200 Workbench

Sadly Amiga computers aren’t around any-more in a meaningful way and the closest to them have always been those from Apple.  Having now had an iPod and then an iPad for about 3 years now, I must say I love them.  They never crash, they work first time, all the time and they do just whatever I want them to do and I never have to worry about any of them.  Yes they are expensive but they also work and I’m the type of person that doesn’t have a lot of things but those I do are well made, last a lot longer and cost a bit more.  I’d rather pay extra for a real butchers sausage of beef or pork than a supermarket one that may contain horse.

Having said that, I’m really not into gadgets in a big way.  I always think it is funny when people obsess about not having their mobile phones with them or pay through the nose for a modern solution to an old-fashioned problem that doesn’t really exist.

My mobile phone is almost a relic of the 20th century.  It makes and receives calls, does the same with text messages if they are short and don’t contain and pictures and that’s about it.  It also holds its battery charge for about 2 months which means I know not the problems of having a phone connected to the plug every evening in fact if anything my problem is locating the phone charger which over a few months can get misplaced.

A non-smartphone

My non-smartphone

Unlike my PC, my mobile phone works perfectly and does more than anything I could want of it.  I’ve never understood why anyone would want to go on the internet when travelling or watch a TV or movie on a screen about the size of a post-it note.  I’ll just wait and do it properly on that big 50″ screen when I get home.  I’ll only get rid of my phone when it stops working or push button keyboards are outlawed in a way they are moving away from analogue tv and radio.  I admit it does get funny when people from Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan don’t quite get why someone in London doesn’t have a smart phone. My only answer and one I’d never give is why would you spend 2 months salary on a phone?  Though I know of course many places don’t have the luxury of big screen tv’s and unlimited broadband at home, the argument at least does hold for the poorest in the U.K., the oldest or indeed anyone who isn’t likely to use get real value from the monthly tariffs from phoning their friend and checking the weather forecast online whilst sat in their car looking out of the window.

So I’m thinking of getting a new computer.  It seems like the right thing to do seeing as I spend so much time writing on it.  It seems that most creative people go with Apple and I can see myself doing the same.  I know Windows based PCs are more popular and you get a lot more software for them both good and of the virus variety.  Apples are much harder to upgrade and aren’t very good for games but they are also more stable and generally less annoying once you get past the price-tag.

I don’t play computer games or watch videos of cute dogs skateboarding on You-tube.  In fact though my PC does have a very good sound-card, well at least for 2004, I don’t have any sound at all as I never bothered plugging in the speakers.  Does it bother me?  Not really.  My browser also doesn’t have any JavaScript or adobe flashes or any other major processor killing, joy sucking add-on so yes my web pages are kind of boring but I never have adverts or annoying advertising jingles.  I get on using my PC for what I do, write and read.



It shouldn’t be much of a problem copying my data over as really I don’t have much except a few holiday photos and writing assignments and stories in various stages of completion.  I’ve read that a big screen iMac can make the average user 20% more productive than average so any time lost will be quickly made up.  Anyway, the decision has already been made for me as Windows XP is no longer supported and one of the few pop banners I can’t avoid are the various software ones telling me to upgrade.  Upgrading Windows on my era of PC which is largely powered by a running hamster in a wheel means buying a new PC anyway and nothing in the last 20 years of using Windows has convinced me that any of it is any good or fun to use.

That takes me to the last question; a Macbook or a iMac.  Ideally I’d like both but that isn’t going to happen.  I have never really liked laptops. Possibly it is because I like to differentiate my work and life and always have done.  I don’t like sitting with a laptop on my knees on the sofa, half watching TV and half not doing what I’m meant to be doing instead.  I like a dedicated desk, preferably in a quiet room where I can get on and do things properly and quickly and then come back and rejoin the real world quicker than I might have done if was half-heartedly on the laptop.

Besides, 10 months on and I still love my iPad.  I wouldn’t have got one myself but in the preceding year having lost my mother and my job and seeing as no-one else in the family seemingly noticed it would be my 40th birthday and indeed 40th Christmas, my lovely wife decided my near 4 year wait meant I should be treated in a big way that I’m sure my mother would have approved.

iPad Air

Hello you

Where I go, so does the iPad.  In the kitchen, on the sofa, in the garden even the bathroom.  To me it more than fulfils the purpose of a laptop or a flashy smart phone except I don’t wait for it to boot up and have little pretence of doing any work on it… I still don’t watch videos on it though!

So it seems the choice has been made for me then, an iMac it is but the 21″ or 27″ screen.  Which ever, I’m sure it will be a lot better than what I have now or indeed have had ever since my trusty Amiga was shown the back-door.  However, when I will get it, I don’t know.  My PC is on its last legs but then it was last year and 2 or 3 years before that.


About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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14 Responses to Apple or Microsoft – The big dilemma

  1. Geoff Coupe says:

    Well, if you’re still using Windows XP, then I’m hardly surprised that you don’t like Microsoft! Things have moved on considerably since 2001…

    It sounds as though you have already made your mind up to go Mac. I’m sure you’ll like it, just as much as I am loving using Windows 8.1 on my desktop PC and my ThinkPad 10 tablet. They work seamlessly together. You should get something similar with your iMac and iPad…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Geoff. I did go through Microsoft upgrades at work to newer systems but none of us in our office seemed to like them. I know that Windows 8 is a lot better and been very well received though in comparison to the earlier systems.

      Yes, I think my mind is made up too and as I have more invested in the iPad and iTunes side of things it makes sense to consolidate it all.

      Thanks for commenting and happy computing!


      • Geoff Coupe says:

        “Windows 8 is a lot better and been very well received though in comparison to the earlier systems” – Hah, you obviously haven’t been reading the Techie Press. They despise it, mainly because it’s very different to what they are used to. It’s like Marmite – you either love it or hate it. I love it.


        • I’ve only been reading the articles comparing iMacs to highend PCs and they nearly all say how good Windows 8 is. This maybe as they are starting from a neutral standpoint and not bringing in heritage systems into it. I’d much rather have a system that I love. Life is too short to use mediocre systems. People just get stuck in their ways though I don’t like it when they change things just for the sake of it. Having said that, I fully expect to be a little stuck if I go for an iMac.


  2. This is uncanny! I have a 10 year old PC that likes to freeze, I use an iPod for blogging when that happens and we have exactly the same phone! I totally recommend an iMac if you don’t like blogging in bed or laptop/knee stylee. It has a great zoom function (my bloke has one) so you can still use it from across the room.


    • That is strange. I guess great minds think alike. Oh excellent, I am really thinking of an iMac as I just can’t stand laptop on a knee or in bed or even a dining table. There is quite an art deciding which websites or processes will freeze the PC. I can never read the Independent online as it always freezes permanently. I hope your mobile is still going strong though 🙂


  3. Malla Duncan says:

    How coincidental! I am in exactly the same position. However, love my old computer and hanging on through the freezing and warping and goodness knows what. Also sniffing around a new Apple and debating whether I would be happy with a portable or the big screen. Keep us posted when you’ve made your choice!


    • That is funny. I guess we are both the same sort of person who aren’t that bothered about technology and stick with our almost unusable machines but when we eventually upgrade we want to do it properly. The old computers do have a grumpy personality like an old car but maybe we deserve to worry more about what we write rather than getting bored with the freezes and reboots!


  4. Pablo Ribas says:

    Once I’ve tried Mac with OSX, I don’t return to a PC with Windows in my life. I have a Mac Pro, four iPods, an iMac and an iPad Air… and so happy at home.


  5. Pingback: Once you go Mac, you never go back! | Stephen Liddell

  6. Pingback: Once you go Mac, you never go back! | Thomas Becket

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