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Aliza Ben-Arie

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Mac vs Windows OS: One Size Fits All?

With regard to the Mac and Windows Operating Systems, it is clear that designers make assumptions about your values, choices, and the ways in which we relate to our interfaces.
What assumptions about you are embedded within the program? As a user, how are you affected by these designs?
How do the designs (aesthetics as well as usability) of the Apple and Microsoft Operating Systems affect the way you relate to the OS?
How do the designs of these Operating Systems affect the way you interact and communicate with others in the physical world?


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  • May 9 2013: Personally, Aliza, I was brought up in a Mac environment and know it as if it were my mother tongue.

    I have worked in PC environments, and was able to 'get by', but my lack of knowledge and familiarity with the operating system actually did have an effect on my performance. Using a PC to me, if I may use the same analogy as above, is like speaking a foreign language and not being able to detect the nuances that would otherwise allow me to fully express myself in that language (read: OS).

    I notice a lot of prejudice as a Mac-user in a predominantly PC-user area. If I am sent a PC file by e-mail, I can always manage to open it, but the other way around (a PC trying to open a Mac file) is often impossible. Whether that can be attributed to the user, or the operating system - I don't know!
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      May 9 2013: Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Lizanne!
      I am coming from the exact opposite end of the spectrum, so I appreciate being able to hear your perspective. I was brought up in Windows environments, and find the Mac environment to be foreign, strange, and almost hostile. I have a lot of trouble with a few specific aspects, such as right-clicking, and the fact that I can see the desktop behind my PhotoShop files instead of a gray screen (which I find distracting). But moreso, when on a Mac I just feel out of place and awkward, and I am used to feeling comfortable and competent with computers.
      I have definitely noticed the prejudice you mention as well, but it is interesting because as a Windows user, I have always thought of the prejudice as coming from the Mac end. "Why can't Mac allow their files to be easily opened and read by Windows users?" I always thought. I think this is because I 'came of age' (so to speak) in the computer environment as Mac was getting its edge and all of my friends had Mac computers except for myself.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! This was definitely insightful for me, and I hope for you as well.
      • May 9 2013: It really is a question of what you're used to, isn't it!

        A tip about Photoshop - on the Mac, you simply press "F" to switch between the transparent background, the grey screen, or the black screen.
        Haha, Now I feel like I'm helping you with a grammar nuance!
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          May 12 2013: HAHA THANK YOU FOR THIS! Wow, actually so helpful. I still feel to be in a strange land on the Mac, but this certainly helps.
      • May 12 2013: That's wonderful to hear, Aliza!
        I know the feeling. When I worked in a PC environment, I felt like I was embarking on an adventure through uncharted country... but I got there in the end! Glad I could help out with this little trick!

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