Demystification of the Mac in Science

Myths continue to persist about the Mac, even in scientific circles where critical, logical thinking should dominate. Even so, when it suits some PC apologists, the Mac is characterized by its state, circa Mac OS 9.2.2. At Mactropolis last week, the persistent myths about Mac OS X in science were debunked.

Steve Jobs is well known for his "reality distortion field." Yet, when it comes to science, Microsoft manages to achieve the same distortion field about PCs and science. The reality is that the perception that one must use a PC in science is a myth.

In the opinion piece posted by madmacmat, three myths were explored. The first was that the Mac is a specialized tool. The author, in his work found he didnit need Windows for anything in his lab. Also itis because Macs have such longevity that myths abound. "What I hear most from people is the opinion perfectly describing [Mac] OS 9 while being ignorant about the development at Apple," the author lamented.

Myth #2 says that Macs are too expensive. The author suggested one take a cool, scientific look at the quality of the aluminum MacBook Pros.

"Wandering through the notebook sections of the big malls I see myself confronted with one material, predominantly: plastic - sorry IBM and Sony, ENFORCED plastic," the author wrote. "Now lay your hand on a Macbook Pro - feel the reassuring coolness of the aluminum? This is not a mere design artifact, this is built to last! And I can speak for my sturdy PowerBook at least that where my previous notebooks lost the occasional edge of plastic frame, the aluminum just does not care. Nothing moves if it?s not supposed to. Form is not only for the sake of form like it is, but for a reason you might not have experienced yet."

Myth #3 says that specialized scientific software is not available for the Mac. Of course, with the Macis strengths in document publishing, thatis not the issue. Also, the ability to print anything to PDF [or save a Postscript] is a real time saver. In those cases when something just has to run in Windows, Parallels and virtualization are there.

The author suggests that thereis no way to avoid the advantages of a Mac. Ease of use, freedom from viruses, no reboot after most installs, the quality of the hardware, and the power of Unix are plain to see. "It is easy for you, being a scientist - depending on what you?re best at - compare and aim for quality - there will be no way of avoiding the Mac," the author concluded.