The Mac is a Harsh Mistress

May 25, 2004 10:27 PM

I was asked for advice today from someone who was apprehensive about buying a new Mac, and wanted to know my opinion. This, of course, is sort of like going up to Dick Cheney and saying "You know, I'm not sure about that Iraq thing. What do you think?"

Microsoft, ladies and gentlemen, is a cheap whore. She lives on the fringes of the law, but there's no getting rid of her because she fulfils a certain need in our society. People want what she is selling.

There's a certain painted-on mystique to her, of course. We've all been indoctrinated with the propaganda, the hooker with the heart of gold, the disturbingly wide-mouthed Pretty Woman. When you find her, though, beneath the paint she's really quite plain. You take what you need from her, but reluctantly and because you have no alternative. You get what you want, but she is almost peripheral to the act.

Apple is a lover.

From the moment you meet her, you know that she wants you to be happy. She wants to be a part of your life, and you can't help but be drawn into wanting to be a part of hers. She is beautiful and elegant in ways that the layers of paint on the Microsoft street-walker can only desperately try to imitate.

I have bought more software for my Mac than I ever did for my Windows PCs, most of it shareware. Is it really that much higher quality? Or am I buying her presents?

There is one danger, though. So long as you are careful to protect yourself from infection, Microsoft can not hurt you. Microsoft is a transaction, and if the transaction goes sour, you're only out of pocket. When your lover hurts you, she can break our heart.

And Apple, for all her charm and grace, is notoriously thoughtless at times: scratch the surface of the Internet and you'll find a string of bitter, abandoned ex-'s who still curse her name.

And yes, this is possibly the most disturbing post I've ever written.

(See also: And Linux is your psychotic ex...)

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The Question from the almost daily grind on May 25, 2004 11:50 PM

To Mac, or not to Mac? 12" or 15"? Combo drive or Super drive? A Powerbook and an iPod has never been closer within my reach than now, and I never expected why I would even stop to think. If... Read More

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Is Microsoft the whore with the heart of gold while Apple the girl you want to be with that could be your soul mate? Is Linux the plain girl down the hall or your mom? All interesting and distributing questions that are answered at The Fishbowl. Grea... Read More

Charles Miller over took an amusing look at Microsoft and Apple when asked by someone about buying apple. The Mac... Read More

The Mac is a Harsh Mistress: so true, so true. Read More

Charles Miller has updated the classic "if operating systems were like..." metaphor in a couple of brilliant posts. His thesis, to use a much too loaded word, is that Windows is a whore, while the Mac is a lover. Read the post, and it will make sense. ... Read More

Couldn't habe said it better: "Apple is a lover. From the moment you meet her, you know that she wants you to be happy. She wants to be a part of your life, and you can’t help but be drawn into wanting to be a part of hers. She is... Read More

Le lien est partout, et notamment dans le peloton de tête du blogdex, mais je le reprends tout de même ici, tant le texte est drôle : The Fishbowl développe une longue métaphore entre les systèmes d'exploitation du Mac, de... Read More

Scent of an OS from the creative tech writer on May 27, 2004 1:49 AM

The Fishbowl: The Mac is a Harsh Mistress [via mike's web log] Wonderfully said.... Read More

A total geek link but I caught these great (as in spot on) metaphors for operating systems and our relationship... Read More

Charles Miller's note The Mac is a Harsh Mistress highlights the strange relationship Mac users have with their computers. Macs are not simply tools or machines. They have personality. They have quirks. They are lovable and charming, infuriating and ma... Read More

The Mac is a Harsh Mistress via the Fishbowl

"I was asked for advice today from someone who was apprehens...
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Charles Miller has been seduced:I was asked for advice today from someone who was apprehensive about buying a new Mac, and wanted to know my opinion. This, of course, is sort of like going up to Dick Cheney and saying "You know, I’m not sure abou... Read More

The Mac is a harsh mistress. Best description of the whole MS vs. Apple debacle I've read so far. Read More

Mac vs. Windows from Faraway, So Close on May 28, 2004 12:54 AM

Quite possibly very creepy, very funny but at the same time an apt description of the whole Windows vs Apple debate (debacle?) that goes on. I've included the original article in it's entirety just in case it disappears but it... Read More

From the moment you meet her, you know that she wants you to be happy. She wants to be a part of your life, and you can’t help but be drawn into wanting to be a part of hers. She is beautiful and elegant in ways that the layers of paint on the Micr... Read More

Everyone and his mother has already mentioned this but I'm a "me too" kind of guy sometimes and this is just too funny (and strikes too close to home) to ignore. So what am I talking about? Charles Miller has a couple of articles in his weblog where he... Read More

Many have tried to argue the merits of Macs over Windows PCs and vice versa, but I think Charles Miller does it best by describing them in terms of women. Not exactly politically correct, but a great post nonetheless. And... Read More

http://fishbowl.pastiche.org/2004/05/25/the_mac_is_a_harsh_mistress... Read More

Saturday Link Purge from Hideous Pursuit on May 29, 2004 10:56 PM

BIT product database: "An information agency servicing the Information Age" The Mac is a Harsh Mistress: "And Linux is your psychotic ex..." Digital Photography Hacks FBI Abducts Artist, Seizes Art Social Capital is interesting - but this google "defin... Read More

Saturday Link Purge from Hideous Pursuit on May 29, 2004 11:41 PM

BIT product database: "An information agency servicing the Information Age" The Mac is a Harsh Mistress: "And Linux is your psychotic ex..." Digital Photography Hacks FBI Abducts Artist, Seizes Art Social Capital is interesting - but this google "defin... Read More

Charles Miller has some lovely Mac vs. Windows metaphors to share.

I have bought more software for my Mac than I ever did for my Windows PCs, most of it sharewa... Read More

TITLE: Cheap Whore Lover Psychotic Ex URL: http://weblogs.asp.net/cyrusn/archive/2004/05/29/144427.aspx IP: 66.129.67.203 BLOG NAME: Cyrus' Blather DATE: 05/30/2004 04:17:34 AM Read More

The Mac is a Harsh Mistress from Confessions of a G33k on May 30, 2004 8:51 AM

I was clickity, clicking along in my daily blog reading and found this gem...The Mac is a harsh mistress Microsoft,... Read More

harles Miller wrote what so far I see as the simplest, most interesting and accurate description I have seen about the differences in your interaction with a Windows PC and a Mac. Read More

TITLE: Mac, Windows og Linux, eller Lover, Whore and Psychotic Ex URL: http://weblogs.dotnetforum.dk/kk/archive/2004/05/30/1455.aspx IP: 213.173.245.150 BLOG NAME: Kristian Kristensen's Blog DATE: 05/30/2004 08:00:51 PM Read More

Microsoft, ladies and gentlemen, is a cheap whore. She lives on the fringes of the law, but there’s no getting rid of her because she fulfils a certain need in our society. People want what she is selling. [The Fishbowl]... Read More

cheap whore from Adam Curry's Weblog on May 31, 2004 9:28 PM

The Fishbowl : "The Mac is a Harsh Mistress" Read More

TiVo Home Media Trial from ambivalent imbroglio on June 1, 2004 12:57 AM

The Memorial Day weekend has given us a chance to catch up on a little televisual entertainment, and while playing with the TiVo we discovered that TiVo is currently offering a free trial of its "home media option"—the feature that allows you to ... Read More

TITLE: Great metaphor for OSes URL: http://jasonkemp.ca/archive/2004/05/31/166.aspx IP: 65.182.100.136 BLOG NAME: JASONKEMP .ca DATE: 06/01/2004 04:01:37 AM Read More

I find it so ludicrous when people espouse the virtues of Macs over PCs with an almost religious zeal, often under the guise of being "fair and balanced". At least The Fishbowl makes it obvious that he is biased, still his analogy of operating system... Read More

Check out these two funny posts: The Mac i a harsh mistress ... and Linux is your psychotic ex. For the record, my computing environment is as follows: Windows XP on a laptop with SSH and PPTP (depending...) over 802.11... Read More

So after my (somewhat over-the-top) response to "The Mac is a Harsh Mistress" I received a (somewhat) well-deserved reply by the author. My big mistake was using such a harsh title - I sometimes forget how trackbacks work ;) . Anywho, the only reason... Read More

Charles Miller has written a funny post on why the Mac is so desirable. That post, and this, makes the implicit assumption that you are male. The Mac as mistress metaphor is very good, but I find it mildly offensive... Read More

i'm linking to this comparison of Wind-hose as the whore to your Mac as the lover because it's freaking funny... Read More

So famous Aussie jazz musician James Morrison blows his trumpet for Apple, my former colleague Charles Miller is in love with his PowerBook and there are many others who are effuisve in their praise for Apple hardware. Now just suppose... Read More

BIT product database: "An information agency servicing the Information Age" The Mac is a Harsh Mistress: "And Linux is your psychotic ex..." Digital Photography Hacks FBI Abducts Artist, Seizes Art Social Capital is interesting - but this google "defin... Read More

BIT product database: "An information agency servicing the Information Age" The Mac is a Harsh Mistress: "And Linux is your psychotic ex..." Digital Photography Hacks FBI Abducts Artist, Seizes Art Social Capital is interesting - but this google "defin... Read More

31 Comments

Charles - one of the best posts I have read. All I can say is that I wholeheartedly agree. A mistress indeed.

It is too late - I am smitten!

Don't tell me; Linix is that plain girl from down the hall who might be your soul mate, who would be good to you and make you happy, if only you could get over your shallowness and ignore how she looks.

Actually, Linux is your Mom. She provides a great deal of love, affection, and support, but in a totally different way. In the end, if it's all you have, you wind up doing a lot of things by hand.

And as for PowerPC Linux, that's just SICK!

And Commodore 64 is Susy the Floozie who you met whilst on School Holidays at the beach, and took you for your first cheap thrill behind the sanddunes at age 14?

Linux (on the desktop, at least) is the psychotic girlfriend.

She seems exciting at first and you pour an enormous amount of energy into the relationship, but she keeps demanding more and more, and she never gets any more predictable. You'll find yourself awake at 4am arguing with her about where you left the toilet seat. And while the fact that her idea of a good night out is a trip to McDonalds means your wallet is thanking you, you end up wishing for someone a bit more refined.

If you're lucky, you'll come to your senses and do your best to keep her at arms length. If you're unlucky, Stockholm syndrome will start to kick in...

Personally I want the "lover" to be part of my life. Sure the expensively dressed preppy chick with her leather executive planner and shifty looks (ie. Windows) is ok, but after a while she gets on my nerves.

God, you are so not wrong.

Less than 3 months after buying my first iMac, I've got serious intentions towards a 17" powerbook and a 20" apple cinema display to fit along side. Not that I'd dare part with the iMac, that will become the #1 machine of the #1 blonde.

And windows lets you play all sorts of kinky games. The mac sure is a nice girl, but it's just too much effort to get her playing nasty

so, what's the difference...at the end, you fuck them both..

No, *OS/400* is your Mum. If you are doing something she approves of, she couldn't be more helpful. Anything else; forget it.

Of course, having a mum in no way precludes your having a girlfriend too, and the well adjusted do. But you do find a few saddos for whom Mum is all they need.

OS/400? What about OS/390? Maybe OS/390, or MVS, depending on how far back you can remember, is your grandmother. Sometimes forgetful, does things in her own time and frowns upon new-fangled things...

What when cost is the source of your love?

So that's why I get infected every week.

But, on your death bed, confessing to the priest-- whom do you want to say you spent most of your time with?

I agree with the part about Windows being kinky. She might be an executive type in grey twill and a personal organiser, but get that business stuff off man, and she will play wild and dirty. Show you things you never even thought of.

As for OS/400 ... don't you end up marrying a replica of our mothers? What does that say for the Mac then? Better keep a Windows XP mistress.

As for 'lovers' I reckon that's a term for 'expensive upkeep'. Buying diamond necklaces and all sort of bling just to keep the chick sweet. The windows biatch you just chuck out when you've finished with her.

I want a computer I can vibe with at an intellectual level -- that's why I choose JAVA.

But we all know we really really yearn for our first love, down by the sanddunes in the summer of our youth, so everyone run out and buy a Commodore 64 !!!

Yes, it is so true...
Over the course of 15 years my business has grown from one lover to 30 lovers and a whore.
I keep the whore up to date for those kinky or nasty files that need to be blown.
(The whore likes to play her games.)

Is anybody willing to say that the title of this thing is totally bogus? None of you have read Heinlein? I can't remember the last time I said the wrong thing to a Mac and got stuck without a spacesuit on the surface of colonized Luna, but it must've been at least System 6.0.1 back in the 80s.

Just one question: was this your verbatim reply? You probably frightened off that potential Mac user.

Karl: I provided a more helpful reply in private. This was just my way of dispelling this illusion she had that I was at all able to offer balanced, impartial advice.

If you're having sexual thoughts about computers and Macs in particular, you should seriously consider taking a vacation away from anything digital. They're just stupid machines for chrissake.

What about Open Source?

Software is like sex... it's ok to pay for it once and a while but it's best when it's free!

What an awesome and truthful post. I use both platforms, side by side, but only because I can't get away from Windows entirely. OS X is a far superior operating system that I do find myself emotionally attached to. Windows is there when I need it, and only for what I need it for, then it's back to my Mac.

Christian

I have used this metephore for a long time....


The Mac is like a beautiful, talented, charming and awesomely intellegent daughter.

She was amazing at birth... able to do amazing things with ease but was doing advanced math by the time she was 4. She was the toast of the town, stunningly beutiful and amazed everyone with her shining performace and graduated from college at 13.

Then she started doing drugs... she got knocked up by a sleezball.. and she got lots of tatoo's and pearcings. She was totally out of control and it did not look like she was going to survive. You still loved her because she was your daughter, but you had to get away from her because she was in a suicidal death spiral.

Then about 17 or so, she kind of gets her stuff together.... she stops taking drugs and begins to put her life back together. She works hard at making amends... She makes a lot of changes and you decide to forgive her and let her back into your life.

Now she is 20 and headed down the right path... she is still the most amazingly lovely thing you have ever seen and smart as the day is long. She has recovered from her trip through hell and is still one amazing woman... And the best thing is that you can now stand to be around her.

So, its not that I stopped loving the Mac... its that the mac stopped loving itself and became almost impossible to be around. I am just glad that she is back... and that she seems to be thriving.

Hmm, could this be why Macs have a small but loyal fanbase, and Microsoft is dominating the world? MS doesn't um, think about having sex with their software, and Mac thinks differently?

However, for the record, some of the new things (Longhorn, Whidbey) from MS are exciting in more ways than one.

God help us all.....

Interesting;)

Apple is not a mistress, it is an expensive whore which doesn't deliver. It looks beautiful, but when it comes to action it doesn't do as good as Microsoft, and thus people abandon it. Also it charges a lot, and uses the money for make up stuff. Microsoft, on the other hand, doesn't charge you a lot, but it knows how to deliver. It doesn't look as beautiful as Apple, but it is definitely beautiful.

i want 2 be slave

It's the "you and the girl-of-your-choice on the deserted island" question. Who, if given the choice, would choose Windows if it was just you and your computer on the island? We choose Windows when we have to deal with others. We choose the Mac when we can survive alone. I don't think there is an argument here. Windows is all about what we *have to do* and the Mac is about what we would *prefer to do* (or at least the way we would prefer to do it).

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