Thursday, November 8, 2007

Top 5 Reasons to Go Mac

Here are my top 5 reasons why ministries at a technology crossroad or beginning a path of replacement should consider going Macs instead of PC's.

Reason #1 Ease of use.
Most ministries can only afford volunteer help and then, only at the whim of the volunteers. The ease of use of Macs and friendly messages encourages people to learn new ways to use their computers and maintain them on their own. I work in a technology environment and without the expertise of our full time IT staff and subscribing to multiple protection schemes, many of our users would be in a lot of trouble and would require a rebuild every six months. While it might not be true in your case in particular, it is true in general.

Reason #2 Great software - standard.
Macs come with a standard complement of tools that encourages staff and even lay people to generate great looking results. The iLife package, for instance, gives you video editing, DVD burning, photo management, website and blogging creation tools that are easy to learn, and are integrated across the applications for a seamless approach to working with media.

In addition, the email, calendar, and instant messenger programs are all great tools that can be used to collaborate and communicate easily. iWork gives the small church office a low cost, high quality way to create documents and spreadsheets while still maintaining compatibility with the rest of the Office-using world. And that Keynote presentation software that comes with iWork can easily spice up any message with high quality visuals and wake up a sleepy congregation. At a fraction of the cost. But if you really want Office with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, it's available too. I use it everyday at my all-PC work and most don't realize that I'm even using a Mac.

Reason #3 Viruses. Malware. Adware.
There are hundreds of thousands of viruses, malware, and adware stuff out there that installs easily onto PC's, even with protection. Macs on the other hand have no viruses in the wild (at the time of this writing) and there is only one trojan known trojan type. However, to install the trojan requires the prompt to download an application and the successful entry of an administrative password. And it can't self-propagate to other computers.

There are over 25 million Macs running OS X worldwide and the number is rapidly growing. OS X has been out since 2001 while some phones with far fewer numbers and shorter lifespans have already experienced viruses. What gives? The nod goes to the UNIX underpinnings of Mac OS X that was designed from the ground up to operate in a networked environment, something which the leading operating system was not originally designed to do.

Less viruses and adware means less problems, downtime, and potential security risks.

Reason #4 Long lifecycles. Low cost.
Because most churches can't afford to replace their computers every three years to keep up with technology, Macs are often the lowest cost option because they typically last longer while still running modern versions of software. My 2000 iMac is still running the widely used release of OS X (2005) and is very usable. It may not run the latest 3D games or push pixels in Photoshop, but as a tool for the Internet, email, listening to music, and creating Word documents, it hums along adequately for most end users.

Most people wouldn't even want to run a four year old PC on XP, let alone seven. And while a 7 year old PC is nothing much more than landfill for most, people still pay money for an old iMac or Mac laptop. And at today's prices, Macs compare favorably with

Reason #5 Macs can run windows. In a sandbox.
If you do have that one application or software that you must run and it's Windows only, you can run Windows in a virtual environment on your Intel-based Macintosh with excellent performance providing you have enough RAM memory. And if you keep it to that one program and stay off the Internet in the virtual environment, you can probably expect years of problem free running. If I need to download a file, I do it using my Mac and then drag and drop the file into the virtual environment and run it there.

Funny thing is, I run a heavy duty virtual environment on my Mac laptop better than my counterparts running a PC laptop with the same processor and memory.

There are other great solutions too for running or accessing Windows applications such that for most, it has become a small hurdle rather than an insurmountable obstacle to move to a Mac.

Reason #6 Compatibility
Okay, I said Top 5 but I thought of this one towards the end. Most media, document, and imaging file types from a PC can be opened, edited, and used on a Macintosh. Whether it is Word, Excel, a movie file, an MP3 song, or picture, most of these files can move seamlessly between both platforms. There are some limitations but I've seen PC's suffer just as much incompatibility with files from other PC's. On one occasion, two PC's, the same model, running the same version of PowerPoint, couldn't share the same presentation, but it opened just fine on my Mac. Go figure.

So there you have it. My reasons why a ministry should consider. There are more, which I will cover in other posts. But that is enough to digest so far.

No comments: