My computer – 2014 update

Welcome to another non-motorcycle related post for something different and on a topic which I have an equal interest in. This post is on my battle of choosing between computers: 2014 Microsoft Vs Apple software and hardware battle.  The story is as follows:

Background: I try to get the best IT and communication gear regardless of brand that meet my current and short term future requirements. It is NOT like choosing a motorcycle which is far more emotional decision. I do some research on the internet but tend to ignore recommendations by claimed reputable sites and or attached comments as their opinions are more often wrong than correct. (Eg. Surface tablet) A blogger who is in their twenties is not going have much experience in anything non-iphone for example. Furthermore they are always short term reviews rather than the 12 months of so use which is much more helpful. I Always seek for the less known websites as they are much more informative on what they do and don’t say. Since IT gear dates so quickly and software updates make the initial issues non-existent. I also don’t like to be ripped off.

My requirements are a little more development focused than the average user. I develop using Visual Studio and run a graphics suite, the key component is Paintshop Pro X6 with other free and paid programs and editors including the useful Windows Movie Maker for software and app development. Of course I also run the MS Office suite of programs. (Shock! NO Adobe as it’s bloatware and expensive and simple things are difficult to do.  Everything thing else can now be tinkered with via web browser on a remote server using the consumer friendly name of the ‘cloud’. That said the hardware requirements to do these things are not taxing by 2014 computer hardware standards. In fact most of programs run on my Surface Pro Tablet without any problems. I don’t tend to run them all at the same time as it is possible but slows the computer down not to mention the fans working all the time which is annoying. In terms of communications I use a primary mobile phone and a spare since I am a little paranoid of one failing as in the past and found the experience quite annoying. I also use a tablet for the larger screen to do emails and other social type activities.

Up to 12 months ago I used an iPhone, Nokia N8 phone (TRON phone), Acer Android tablet, Apple iMac desktop running Windows as a virtual machine. All this tech seemed perfectly adequate for about 2 years. As always tech moves fast and this was no longer acceptably fast for my wants (not need) which is annoying. I found the limitations of all the devices and the end of life for the Nokia and Acer devices and set about replacing them.

As you may already know my choice of tablet is the original MS Surface tablet (Agents of Shield tablet) running RT now called Windows 8. It is a great tablet for content consumption and occasionally some work thanks to the standard issue MS Office with Outlook!. The built in Internet Explorer (the touch screen optimized version) works great as a browser although does have some short falls but overall it works so much better than the iPad alternative in 2014. However I wanted more and hence replaced this with a Surface Pro running Windows 8 Pro for the full desktop experience. The trade off is more weight but honestly it is acceptable and much more flexible in capability.

In terms of phones I replaced the iPhone with an Android based phone but due to an accident was replaced with the much larger Sony Xperia Z Ultra! The iPhone became the spare and honestly forgotten phone. The reasons for the Android phone is obvious: The iPhone’s tiny screen couldn’t be looked at for any length of time without blurring or causing eye strain while the latest update just seemed a step back. Furthermore the iPhone was not as smooth had tiny memory which couldn’t be expanded and a boring and complicated interface. What happened to the elegance and simplicity that everyone loved in the older iPhones???

The iPhone lost its good looks and exclusivity, it now looks stuck together like any other cheaper mobile phone with too many parts and way too expensive for technology that that’s clearly dated. I used to think that the operating system of the iPhone was more efficient hence required less modern hardware but it is now clear that Apple is still taking us for a ride with higher prices for old tech. Finally the individuality has vanished as everyone seems to have an iPhone and largely the choice of Apps and protective case differentiates the phones. On the other hand the sheer number of design variants of Android phones and more advanced tech like cameras, heart monitors, smart watches etc.. is exciting and more useful.

So I only have the the Apple Mac desktop to replace now which is going to be an interesting. After shopping at the Apple store it was very clear that all the Apple Macs are slow compared to equally priced Windows 8 computers! Even with so called retina displays they are let down by the cheapest available graphics CPU’s that cannot even run games that are 2 or 3 years old! Even most smart phones have more powerful graphics CPUs. As computers the Macs do look nice but they are no where near the best. Even the kids cannot run Facebook games smoothly on them!

So I think I’ve reached the conclusion – that I should go with a Windows PC, until Apple does something similar I think the future is obvious.