Mac vs. PC - which keyboard are you tapping?
The Mac vs. PC debate has raged for quite some time. As our dependency on the internet and computer-based operations has increased, inevitably so has the focus on the range of products in the market.
Ultimately, this boils down to operating systems – what is now the Mac OS X compared to Windows 7.
To be politically correct, this is a generalisation to an extent. Firstly, the term ‘PC’ stands for a personal computer, so technically includes any brand of computer or laptop. Also, because Macs use Intel chips, they can now run Windows if purchased separately, whereas the Mac OS remains exclusive to Mac computers.
But referring to a PC will, for most people, conjure up images of a typical desktop computer run on Windows. Like any argument worth its salt, there are pros and cons for each – and stalwart fans of both. Indeed, there seems to be two sets of people; those in the Windows camp and those in the Apple one.
Speaking for my generation, one that was taught Information Technology (IT) lessons at school using Windows 95, using a PC is second nature. I know how to use most of the functions that I need and am used to dragging the cursor the bottom left hand corner of the screen, to the Start menu, to organise and find programs. As an operating system, it may not be lightning fast but I think it is simple and easy to use.
In my job, I only really need to have access to email, the internet, Microsoft Word and a simple image editor. For this I can even use MS Paint, a basic accessory that comes pre-installed on Windows, nine times out of ten.
That last sentence, I know, is enough to make Mac users, and perhaps many PC owners, cringe – but it is the truth.
While at University, I lived with three graphic design students, one who studied illustration and another doing a degree in media studies – all of whom swore by their MacBooks. Each time I would start working on my bulky laptop, which could last about two hours maximum once fully charged, I did feel a little inferior when I saw their Apple equivalents.
In terms of pricing, there is no doubt that Windows laptops can be purchased for much less than the most basic MacBook, but is this justified?
Their more expensive devices had higher-end processors, were much lighter and thinner and could run much longer on a battery charge than mine. On a pure aesthetic level, these white or aluminium devices looked much cooler than my standard laptop.
The printing capability of a Mac is much more suited to creative professions such as graphic design and desktop publishing because it has WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) capability, meaning documents will come out of the printer exactly as seen on screen. Some programs integral to the creative industries, such as Adobe Photoshop, run much smoother under the Mac OS, too.
Justin Wood, a 29-year-old IT Systems Analyst, is an ardent Apple fan. First purchasing a Mac Mini in 2005 run on the Mac OS X Tiger 10.4, he says he could never go back to using a Windows-operated PC.
“Macs are better than PCs because they have a much more refined, easy to use and elegant operating system,” he says.
“You spend a lot less time doing things with Mac OS X to get it working and more time doing things with your Mac. The Macs are more stable and secure to use than Windows PCs and the user experience is just much more pleasant.”
The issue of whether Macs have better security than PCs is another hot topic. The general consensus seems to depend on the simplest factor – a careful user, whether that be of a Mac or a PC, will be far less likely to catch a virus than one who downloads files from questionable sources.
“Apple is always innovating with Mac OS X, while Microsoft is always trying to play catch up,” Wood continues.
“This is very evident with the release of the latest version of Mac OS X, Snow Leopard. Apple was able to take time to do 'under the bonnet' changes to create a better foundation for the future, just after Microsoft had a huge release with Windows 7.
“Now they are ready to move further into the lead with the imminent release of Mac OS X Lion.”
For many of us, purchasing a laptop is more like an investment. That device will be integral to your everyday life, but whether you fall in the Mac camp or the PC one will depend on a whole host of factors. The decision is yours...
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”