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My wife hates my Mac

© May 2019 Anthony Lawrence
June 2003

First: I LOVE my Mac. It's my wife that hates it. I say that in the hopes of heading off a flood of defensive email. Don't bother to write me telling me how wrong this article is: you would be preaching to the converted. I already know that she's wrong, that's she is just hopelessly corrupted by the Microsoft way. I also know that I'm guilty of not training her in the basics of using this iBook, so yes, it's partly my fault. Or all my fault if you like.

You might wonder why I inflict my poor wife with something she hates. The answer is that I don't. Well, not exactly. The problem is this: at home, we each have our own computers. Well, technically she has one computer and I have a varying number, but the important point is that she has a Windows machine and I prefer my Mac. So while we are at home, she can use Windows and remain happy.

Unfortunately (in this regard only of course), we go away for long weekends most of the summer. We have a "park model" trailer out in the Berkshires and from May to early October we spend three to four days a week there. Naturally, I can't neglect my business that much, so I have a DSL connection there and I bring my iBook from home. While our trailer is spacious as trailers go (37 feet, two slideouts), there really isn't room to have a desktop computer and her 17 inch monitor. Besides, as everyone who goes away on weekends knows, the car is always jam packed full, so we wouldn't have room for it anyway.

Yes, I have offered to get her a Windows laptop. We even have a Windows laptop because now and then I need one in the field. But she doesn't like the one I already own because it is Windows 2000 (she still uses Windows 98 and doesn't want me to change anything) and because she doesn't like laptop keyboards or laptop screens. I could, of course, hook up a regular keyboard, but that still leaves the monitor problem unresolved.

At this point it's important to understand that my wife doesn't really need a computer very much while we are here. Once in a while she wants to look something up on the web or send an email to our daughters or one of her doctors. But many a weekend she never touches the keyboard at all. Even most of the web browsing she delegates to me: "What's the weather forecast?" or "How much vitamin C in a Kiwi?" are requests I can mix in with my normal work.

But sometimes she does want to check email or do some web surfing herself. So I set up her own account on the iBook and now and then she'll be expecting something or want to do some on-line shopping or research and she'll use it. Though "use it" is a poor choice of words: "endures it" or "suffers it" are more accurate.

Let me say again, yes, I KNOW I SHOULD TRAIN HER. There are two reasons why I haven't. First, one of the secrets of a 36 year marriage is that I am fully aware that I have no patience for teaching anything to my spouse. I learned years ago that any such efforts only lead to frustration and unhappiness. Secondly, IT'S TOO LATE. She already hates the Mac. She already thinks it's badly designed, horribly complicated, and if she ever got an Apple software engineer cornered, well, it wouldn't be pretty. I think at this point it is better to just leave things as they are: her softly cursing as she types, and me at the other end of the trailer rolling my eyes and biting my tongue.

Here are her major gripes, presented with editorial comment:

I think at some level she doesn't really understand that this is not just another computer, but is completely different. I think maybe she has the idea that Apple has failed miserably at making a Windows computer - which of course they have, but because they didn't WANT to make a Windows computer.

We've had similar results every time she's used it; her fuming and me begging that she not pound so hard on my keyboard. I don't blame her: Macs are no more intuitive than any other OS, and if you are only accustomed to Microsoft, you expect most things to work the same way. There's also the laptop keyboard issue, and the fact that she is used to a larger screen. Maybe I should get that 17 inch Powerbook.. no, probably not.

I just now realized that all of this was completely unnecessary: I have Virtual PC on this machine: I could have just popped her into that and she would have been relatively at home in Windows XP. Duh! That is definitely what I will do the next time she wants to use the computer!

(Later). She's gotten a bit less caustic. There are times now when she browses for an hour or more and the only time I hear from her is if she wants to show me something. But she'd still rather have her Windows.

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Just came across the article, and wanted to see if maybe you'd give this a shot: Happy Wife. It Sits quietly in the Dock, and once in a while, will pop up with a declaration of your love for someone. You can enter an unlimited number of declarations, and they will be presented one at a time. HappyWife is customizable the question, the answer, the button text, and even the application name can all be changed.

Worth a shot?


Get her hooked on some Mac only applications or ones which run better on a Mac...

1. Let her use iTunes to buy a few tracks... to burn a CD etc...

2. Burning Monkey Solitaire 3... after that there's no way she's going back to that silly Windows solitaire...

3. Show her tabbed browsing in Safari.. and opening multiple tabs at once...

Once she gets used to Mac only features she;ll have a hard time going back to PC...

We have Americans dying on foriegn lands protecting our right to complain about a computer key board. There is something basicly wrong here.


...Well, where do I start?

(Editor: because Giovanni's comments were so long, I moved them to:
GiovanniCommentMacUse )


Somebody rudely wiped out a bunch of other people's comments..

My wife isn't bashing Macs - she's just frustrated because.. well, because it isn't Windows!

That's one of the problems with Macs gaining more ground - people's preconceived notions of how things should work. Even if it's better (and often it isn't really "better", it's just different), people are lazy.

Some of us work with everything under the sun, so interface differences don't particularly frustrate us. But we are NOT the majority!



Yeah, Giovanni. Have a little decorum. Deleting other peoples' comments is a little rude, even by my standards.

With the exception of interface differences (again, the kind of crap that every Windows-to-Mac convert [or temporary Windows-to-Mac visitor] must deal with), it sounds like most of your wife's problems are with the laptop keyboard.


Hi, I am sorry, but when I came to this page on my computer there was only one reply, the one at the top, right before mine. I wrote a reply on it and left it alone. If there were other comments, I would have not touched them; to be honest, I thought that this page had not received any attention because there was only one reply, before I put mine in. If something was not right, and it's my fault, I apologize, but I did not wipe anything out, I swear! I came in this morning, read the message, then went to the posting page, posted a message after the only existing one (that I had just read) and left. Why would I do that?
I hope you believe me, I am sincerely reporting what I did.
PS Has it occurred to you that someone could have deleted the messages and then left without adding anything?

Second Message.
I am not suggesting that if you don't like the Mac, you should burn in hell. I am simply saying that if there are questionable choices in the layout of an OS, they are mostly in Windows, rather than in the Mac. As far as your wife complaining because it's not Windows, I really cannot say anything: if it was Windows... I guess it would say "Windows", right? I agree, with you, people are lazy, sometimes, but it's also true that -if I were your wife- knowing that I cannot do anything but using the iBook, I would try to make the best out of my experience. Instead of using sarcasm, I would use you to teach me what to do. And this brings me to a question: what is exactly that we should comment about? If all your frustration comes from the fact that your wife isn't happy simply because a is different from b, then I don't think there is anything anyone can do about it... If you need something to jab back at her, I am sure you already have enough experience with both platforms to do so...
I don't know, maybe you can re-elaborate on it. BTW, I feel bad about the messages that were wiped out, but I repeat, there was one only message when I came in, I swear.


I believe you :-) It's OK - Wiki's deliberately let people delete stuff. I did start logging after that though in case it was accidental.

I'm not looking for anything special: every page on my site now has the ability for readers to add comments. On the techy pages, that can be very useful. I didn't want to do a traditional bulletin board style thing, so I went Wiki.

I'm not looking for help with my wife :-)

This was just intended to be mildly amusing, but apparently quite a few people take it very seriously. I do think that Mac's "ease of use" is a bit over-hyped: I don't find it any easier (or any harder) than Windows. But I do *like* it a lot more..


...I am 50/50 there. I think that wiping OS 9 Apple has also wiped out a lot of good and bad things. Good things: Get any application folder, move it wherever you want, everyting still works; System folder very simple and directories very simple. Bad things: looked 10 years old, was a bit of an outdated system, with memory allocation to be set by hand, many many capabilities not available, stability not always there. OS X is not as easy to use as 9, but it works and looks a heck of a lot better and it has many more capabilities... To be honest with you, I think the biggest problem (at least in my opinion) with X is that strange (if not confusing) hierarchy generated upon installation on the startup disk. You have three libraries, with many folders that are the same; you have users setup with fixed folders, nice in a way, but what if I want to have my user directory in another drive? What if I do video (I do video) and I am trashing my OS drive since my user files (altogether with Final Cut Pro as default) are in the same drive? What if I have (I do have) thousands of songs and I start cluttering my OS drive? What if I have (I do have) thousands of pictures, and I add to the clutter? Please HELP! However, I always think about the many problems we run into at school, with all the PCs, I always think about the incredible task that upgrading a PC is, I always think about the infinite restarting, freezing, erratic behaviour... I believe that the Mac experience is a better one, because I have always had a better experience with the Mac... I see that most my colleagues complain about their home computer with the average of once a week. I never do! The few Mac nuts at my school hardly ever complain about some new issue that just surfaced out of nowhere... And we're talking about OS 9/10 users, G3, G4, iBooks, Dualies, you name it. I don't want it to sound too good, but I also noticed that -the more hardware demanding and intricate the task- the better the Mac is compared to a Wintel box. My experience, that's all. I miss some qualities of 9, I do see the complications that came up with 10, I have tackled some, I think putting such a GUI on UNIX is quite a task, so I think Apple needs a few more years, maybe 2 or 3, before the simplicity is regained as much as possible. What can I say? I never ever thought to switch back to windows, I cannot think how and why. Chip speeds? They only matter when both platforms take as long to setup, as long to maintain, as long to upgrade and as long to troubleshoot. Gaining 10 seconds on a task (given that you really can) to lose 10 minutes because of malfunctions, hardly seems to be a good trade.

Well, you can have your user directories on another drive.
See https://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20030813142415898

Moving a bunch of songs or whatever to another drive is very easy, so I'm not sure what you are saying there..


I know how to do several of those things. In fact, I did go through setup tweaking more than once, to find what way would suit me best. I was just talking in general, for an average user, my wife, for example... I do also want to add that there is a very good reason for having three libraries, which makes reinstallation of OS easier and so forth; generally speaking although, it is a bit confusing, that's all. Also, I have found it a bit of a stress to use some of the iApps after moving libraries (songs in particular) to another drive; sometimes iTunes would act funny; sometimes iMovie wouldn't find the music directory... I haven't spent a lot of time tweaking this, since I am in the midst of a total rearrangement (waiting for Panther and adding a PowerBook...), but I did have those little problems

After using DOS and Windows for seven years, I finally got a Mac. I haven't looked back. I still use Windows at work, and I have a Dell laptop that I received as a gift. My main computer is an iMac 266 (grape) and I'm saving for an iBook or Powerbook (hopefully 15.4" AlBook!).

Using a PC is a chore. It's not fun, it's work. While you can play games on a PC, there's just something unintuitive and uninspiring about the Windows interface.

Using a Mac is more to my liking. Several of my friends and relatives don't understand Macs, and some say things along the lines of "why do you use a Macintrash? Windows has so much more software." I ask them when the last time they've used a Mac, and the ones who have used them, haven't touched one since the switch to PowerPC. Basically, they're completely unaware and blissfully ignorant of G3-G5 processors and OS X. Some haven't seen a Mac up close since System 7. I feel sorry for them. I realize Macs are a choice, not life and death. But if computers and technology is an interest of yours, and you plan on spending a lot of time using them, you might as well get what you like.

- Yakir

Nice words, Yakir. I have a very old machine (and a DP G4 and a iMac 600) and when I look at my first Mac, sometimes use it, in the crammed monitor, with a somewhat shaky colour on the monitor, I cannot stop thinking: "This machine is still good. It still works, runs decently fast (unless you want to do video...) and I'd prefer this OS 9.1 over any Version of Windows..." You are right, there is something about Macs that exists in the experience/pleasure of having one and working with it. And you're right, the hardest criticism is from those that have no or hardly any knowledge of the machine/software. Isn't that funny?
For what it's worth, you can use my line for Microsoft minions: do you ever hear me complaining about something that happened to my computer?
How many times do you complain about yours?
Rest my case.

As you have stated that her complaints are because the Mac OS is not Windows. But even between Window version Microsoft has to move things all around. I use multiple versions of Windows at work and a common thing I need to do is stop and start Services. With Windows NT it was in the Control Panel. With Windows 2000, it is in Control Panel->Admninistrator Tools. In XP, the only way I could find it was by turning on the Classic look. God only knows where Gates is going to put it in Windows 2003. That's frustrating when a company who has full control over their product can't even keep things consistent.



"Oh, THAT'S helpful! What am I supposed to do, move the
cursor everywhere until I find what I want? Do these
people EVER think about making things easy?"

"Tempted as I was to refer her to Apple's human interface
design pages, I didn't bother."

Actually, it's probably just as well you didn't--this is an example of "mystery meat" navigation which is something Apple got *very* wrong in their UI transition from OS9 to OSX. So, yes, on this one your wife is correct, and the Human Computer Interaction community agree with her comments.


My problem with Macs is this: they're unbearably slow. This has improved somewhat with Panther, but then Windows boxen have been completely rock-solid since XP, and Linux (at least the 2.6 flavor) is currently the least stable OS of the three. What an upside-down world. When I say Macs are unbearably slow, I mean that in terms of $$$/Speed (not writing Mhz there, don't want the hoarde megahertz-myth preachers down on me). A $500 Wintel box can do precisely what a $1000 Mac can do, minus the stylish case and the funky "Genie" effect.

I think the problem lies in Apple's strategy: they started out with something really cool (Lisa), and evolved it over the years into something mediocre (current Macs). Microsoft went the other way: they started with something completely awful (MS-DOS), continued to be completely awful for a very long and gained marketshare through some very smart business, and now that they are in place as the unshakeable market leader, with a monopoly over operating systems, are improving their product as they should have done years ago.

Apple might be more moral, but business isn't about morality, it's about money. And MS now has both the money, and pretty soon will have the great product to back it up.
All this really irks me as a long-time Linux user and M$-hater (not Gates hater .. he's actually kind of my hero). All this to say that your wife is right: if the user doesn't like the interface, then it's a bad user interface. That's how you define user interfaces. But her experience is also a compelling argument as to why Microsoft will continue to dominate. If Apple wants to compete, they need to think about humans, not titanium. Perhaps a "midway skin' where you get a dock that extends across the full bottom of the screen, doesn't hide, and has a start-menu type of thing.

Or something. -- Dan


Dan -

Did you miss the test of apple dual 2ghz cpu vs pentium4 dual 3ghz cpu using one adobe photoshop with same scripts. apple finished in half the time.

--bsd follower

---December 30, 2004

My experience with a Mac has been less than stellar. I design web pages, apps, etc for a local company. They company purchased A G4 notebook for my use. I Connected to the network, installed MX Studio, readied myself to use this "wonderful" machine. Well, Crashed on me at least 8 times a day. Well worse than crashed, I recieved the Swirly of death 8 times a day. No exaggeration. Which on a laptop is much worse than a desktop. I also frequently lost nework connection. Cussed it into hell and back for a month.

I decided this is enough. I Installed MX Studio on a Pentium 4, worked flawlessly ever since.

Ok so work purchased a Dual G5. I thought hot Damn. This should blow the PIV out of the water. Nope. Login to the network? Yes login to active directory? Nope! Despite what apple says their computers cannot always login to an active directory. So 105 dollars for a program that would allow this to happen, for a week it worked.

Then it wouldn't turn off. I finally got it to turn off. Then it wouldn't turn back on. I then called apple. Finally after 4 hours on the phone, I was told take it to a authorized apple reapair center. Wait ME take it to a center? Dell comes to your house to fix it. Wait I have apple care, which I was informed meant squat, I'd still have to take it in to a center. Only 2 are near me. I call center 1 it's some guy runnning it out of his house who never returns my calls. The second center will charge me 40 dollars. I have apple care I squeaked. That doesn't matter that's a serperate fee we charge. I called apple back. I was told they can't do anything about the 40 dollar fee. I hung up, cussed the 40 pound aluminum cheese grater, and got ready to punch the thing.

After that fiasco, I got it running again. Worked for a 2 weeks. I acquired a wide screen display. Wouldn't do wide screen. Again Called apple, again 4 hour call. I was told by the man he would refer it to an apple engineer and to call back in two weeks. Again I call back, this time 3 hours, Only to be told he couldn't trouble shoot it anymore because I had a blue tooth mouse and keyboard. Sorry for trouble shooting you must use a wired mouse and keyboard. WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS WHEN I BOUGHT IT! Just a little astrisk reading wired keyboard needed for troubleshooting is all I asked for. Allright fine transfer me to sales. I ordered a keyboard.

Disgusted I figured I'd try the video card's manufacturer. After 5 minutes I was told, The card is not currently capable of displaying wide screen becuase of apple's drivers. AARGH! They unfortunately no longer write drivers so I'd have to wait on apple to enable WS resoulutions. I was told by apple before we purchased the computer this video card would DEFINATELY do widescreen.

Apple More moral than MS? They are just as bad. See the g3/powerbook incident, and how long it to to do the small amount of fixing they did, and how they vehemently denied anything was wrong to begin with.

This is why I reaally dislike macs. I think you'll agree though with my experience I HAVE a GOOD reason.

Sat Aug 20 04:43:13 2005: 993   anonymous

why not buy her a second hand laptop with windows.

Sat Aug 20 14:10:05 2005: 995   TonyLawrence

Actually, that's what I had to do. Not second hand, but new.


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