Biological factors in Mac vs PC
SCIENTISTS may have finally explained the almost religious rift between Mac and PC users.
A recent study suggests that parts of our brain are so tightly intertwined with computer mouses and monitors that they are effectively part of the same ‘tool’, possibly explaining why we become so irrationally attached to one platform or the other.
The study, published this month in The Public Library of Science by cognitive scientist Anthony Chemero, tracked the hand movements of people using a mouse, demonstrating how people ‘fuse with their tools’.
“The thing that does the thinking is bigger than your biological body,” Chemero said.
“You’re so tightly coupled to the tools you use that they’re literally part of you as a thinking, behaving thing.”
Dr Adele Wessell, a historian at Southern Cross University, confesses such an attachment to Macs.
“I just don’t understand PCs at all,” she said.
“I just don’t get them, but then everyone thinks they have got it right.”
Usually a stickler for evidence-based conclusions, Dr Wessell was more than happy to go on the record declaring Macs as simply ‘gorgeous’.
“You can have a seamless cross-over between your computer, your ipad and your iphone and the Mac makes you feel like you are playing all the time,” she said.
Dr Wessell said a recent misguided rumour that the university’s IT department was considering switching to one platform generated a huge outcry onforums from impassioned advocates on both sides.
“It would be impossible for me to cross over. I’d have to revert to paper I think,” she said.
Computer technician Camron Grant sees things from the ‘other side’.
He believes PCs are far more democratic – being more accessible to more people.
“I’ve thought about this a lot and Macs tend to do exactly what they say they will, whereas I like to be able to mould my computer to do what I want it to do,” he said.
“Everybody’s life changes, and this way you can change your computer to accommodate what you need at that time.
“You can venture out and have a lot of third party hardware and software whereas with Mac you have to have Mac parts.
“You can also get a lot more programs and games.”
Dr Grayson Cooke is the Bachelor of Media co-ordinator at Southern Cross University. His role requires him to work with both.
He has a bemused acceptance of the IT apartheid pervading the school and the wider world.
“We have our PC labs and our Mac labs and never the twain shall meet,” he laughed.
Dr Grayson explained that different applications or programs were specific to PC or Mac so he just used what he needed.
“I started on Mac but I do a lot of experimental work so I float freely between the two,” he said.
“It does impact on what courses are taught, but I find students in media are embracing the idea of being ‘cross-platform’.
“I have always thought that students should have access to both.”