Ten FACTUAL Reasons Why Macs are better than PCs

So this is a battle that has raged on for years and years. Which computer is really better? A Mac or a Windows based PC? Well here are some very realistic and factual reasons why Windows PCs fall miserably short compared to an Apple Mac.

1. THEY MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY
Computers are meant to make our lives easier. This is harder to achieve when the device in question keeps popping up messages from its anti-virus software and hiding essential features behind a baffling new operating system. Macs are simple to use and incredibly reliable, which is why they have scored the highest in customer satisfaction surveys for ten years straight.

2. THEY COME LOADED WITH USEFUL SOFTWARE
When you get your shiny new machine home, the first thing you want to do is use it. With a PC this will take a little time as out-of-the-box Windows 8 has hardly any useful, quality apps. In fact, manufacturers are paid to include trial versions and various useless software that can be hard to uninstall. A Mac arrives loaded with the awesome iLife package (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband), a powerful email client, and the full iWork (word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software) online package – all for free. Free is good.

3. THEY OFFER GOOD VALUE FOR THE MONEY
One criticism often aimed at Macs is that they are too expensive. Certainly they’re not cheap, but that’s because they only use quality components, which often compare favorably against PCs at a similar price. Add to that the aforementioned software, plus the fact that Apple optimizes both hardware and software to get the most out of a machine, and you end up with a bargain. Additionally, the lifetime of a Mac is significantly greater due to the use of those quality parts.

4. THEY DON’T RUN WINDOWS 8
When Microsoft released its brand new version of Windows it was greeted with a collective ‘why would you do that to us?’ cry from the majority of its users. The touch-centric, unintuitive interface made PCs much harder to use, especially older machines. In contrast OS X Mavericks is a polished, refined and elegant experience. Additionally far more Mac users have upgraded to Mavericks than Windows users have to Windows 8. Oh, did I mention Mavericks is a free upgrade? You’d never see Microsoft giving away a major upgrade for free (ie. from Windows 7 to Windows 8).

5. THEY DO RUN WINDOWS 8
If you are hesitant in switching to a Mac because of certain Windows software that you absolutely need, then fret not. Windows runs on a Mac, and it does so rather well. In fact pretty much any modern operating system can. Even Linux inventor Linus Torvalds famously uses a Macbook Air as his daily machine. Not only that, most relatively current to absolutely current Macs have excellent graphics cards in them and can run nearly every PC game available while running Windows. I mean come on, the Mac is an Intel box – so Windows runs natively…no emulators here!

6. THE APPLE STORE
Every computer, at some point in its life, will have a problem or two. On a PC you’ll most likely need to find a repair shop and hope for the best. With a Mac you pop online, book a slot with an Apple Genius, then take it to the store where Mac specialists will find the solution, often for free. If you have Apple’s extended service plan, AppleCare, you can have an Apple Certified Technician come to your home and fix it there, including replacing major components of the computer. Again, another part of that bargain I talked about above.

7. ACCESSIBILITY
Macs have always come with plenty of ways to enable accessibility for users with special needs. By selecting from the menu in System Preferences you can enable voice control, screen zooms, high contrast displays, have your Mac read out text to you, or flash the screen when a message arrives. There are also a number of assistive devices which work really well with the Mac.

8. THEY DON’T GET VIRUSES
Viruses on Macs are as rare as pictures of Miley Cyrus without her tongue sticking out. Windows on the other hand is akin to the battle of Helm’s Deep, with virus laden orcs bombarding the stronghold in relentless fashion. Only Norton the bold or McAfee the white can save them now. And let’s not even discuss spyware, adware and other malicious things that PCs get. I don’t run a virus scanner on my Mac – haven’t in over 12 years.

9. THE TRACKPAD
While Windows 8 is designed around a touchscreen interface, Macs have an incredible range of simple to use trackpad gestures that make navigating the system fast and friendly. They also have the best trackpad on any laptop by an absolute mile, which is very important if you consider how often you use one on a daily basis.

10. APPLE PRODUCTS ARE DESIGNED IN ‘MURICA! (and soon to be made here too)
Apple’s packaging says it all “Designed in California, USA”. While there are still a few Macs manufactured overseas, a few of them are now being made right here in the USA. Apple has announced they are building an assembly plant in Arizona where they will be making many of their systems, providing thousands of jobs to Americans.

 

If those aren’t reasons enough to ditch a PC in favor of a Mac, well…I have done all I can do. In closing I will say this: I have been a Mac user since June 1984 and in those nearly 30 years I have never had any major issues or complaints with regards to my Mac. I also had a Windows PC from 1995 to 2002 (which was rebuilt once) and I had no end of issues with it, several viral infections despite having a virus scanner installed and eventually the whole thing ended up in the dump with the rest of the useless trash. So you may call me biased but at least I have used both platforms.

I currently run a 27″ iMac with both OS X and Windows installed.

 

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How I defeated Type 2 Diabetes

On the morning of March 22, 2011 I got a call from my doctor’s office after having routine lab work done as part of my yearly physical. The nurse on the other end read off my blood values and then said something that would rock me to my core, “Your blood sugar is very high and you essentially have full blown diabetes.” Several days later I consulted with my doctor and he confirmed the bad news, I had Type 2 Diabetes. But he told me that there was some hope. My fasting number that day was 157 and he said that was not a terrible number, it wasn’t good – but I had a chance to reverse it. He started me on a medication called Metformin. He also gave me a glucose meter so I could track my blood sugar levels. Well, I was determined to battle and conquer this ailment, but the war was slow in starting. I had a lot of bad eating habits, I had a lot of bad exercise habits – as in, I didn’t. So from March through November I worked to start weaning myself off a lot of my dietary bad habits and educating myself on good habits. I slowly began to realize that I wanted to pursue a pescetarian diet (a vegetarian diet which includes seafood). My numbers didn’t change much over those first eight months, my fasting numbers ranged from 145-165. In December 2011 I began slowly integrating elements of a pescetarian diet into my regular diet. On December 28, 2011 I officially became a pescetarian. I began eating smaller portions, controlling my carb intake by limiting myself to 60g of carbohydrates per major meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and integrating three snack times which would not exceed 15g of carbs. So all total for the day my allowance was 225 grams of carbohydrates. It was rough at the start, but I kept telling myself “I gotta do this! I gotta kick this things ass!”

In January 2012 I began to see a very good drop in my morning fasting numbers, they went from the 145-165 range down to around 125-135. As the month progressed, the numbers got better and better. On February 2, 2012 I recorded my first sub-100 number (it was 99). But that was just one day. The numbers went back up to the 120s after that, with some being between 115-120. It wouldn’t be until March that my numbers would start consistently being under 115. In May I met again with my doctor and we went over the lab work. He was so happy with the results that he took me off the Metformin. My numbers would continue to improve as I continued to stick tough to my diet.

But what about exercise? Well I hate to say it but I never did any consistent exercise during this time. Only now am I beginning to integrate exercise into my life. In fact my New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to workout three times a week.

As time progressed and I continued to hold fast to my diet and not allow myself to lose control, my numbers continued to drop. In November 2013, this year, my doctor essentially declared me at or below pre-diabetic levels. My A1C had gone from 7.1 in 2011 to 5.8 this year. From February 2011 to present I have tracked my fasting glucose levels in a spreadsheet. Below is a graph showing my entire history from the start of tracking on a consistent basis to now.

My parents always told me something I have lived by, “You can do whatever you set your mind to do.” This was a perfect example. While the war will never be fully won, and diabetes will always be a part of me, the key is to control it and never let it control you. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t days I broke my diet and grabbed a big ol’ Whopper from Burger King. But the important thing is knowing what the consequences will be and taking steps to deal with them. I have found I can get my diabetes under control by doing what I call a “reset day”. On that day I batton down the hatches, tighten the belt and simply do everything, all day, BY THE BOOK! No extra carbs, no treats, just what is dictated by my diabetes diet.

So what do I usually eat? Here’s a sample of a typical day, conforming to my diet:

BREAKFAST: 1 Fruit on the Bottom Greek Yogurt, 1 glass of Fat Free Milk

MORNING SNACK (about 2 hours after breakfast): 1 serving of Fat Free Pringles Potato Crisps

LUNCH (about 2 hours after snack):

Vegetarian Flatbread Sandwich
1/2 8 Grain Flatbread
1 tsp Mediterranean Style Hummus
lettuce, tomato, onion, green pepper, dill pickle slices, banana peppers
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Vinegar
1 dill pickle on the side
1 glass Fat Free Milk -or- 1 bottle Spring Water

AFTERNOON SNACK (about 1-2 hours after lunch): 1 serving of Fresh Strawberries

DINNER (about 1-2 hours after snack):

Teriyaki Marinated Salmon
1 bottle Teriyaki Marinade
1 Salmon filet (medium sized)

Marinade the Salmon for about 4-6 hours. Remove from marinade and discard marinade. Bake salmon at 375 deg for about 5 minutes, then broil for 3-5 minutes or until Salmon flakes easily. Times vary depending on thickness of the filet. Serve with steamed broccoli or vegetable of choice. Top Salmon with a dash of sesame seeds.

1 glass of Fat Free Milk

PM SNACK (about 2-3 hours after dinner): 1 serving of yogurt covered pretzels.

So as you can see, the diet is really good. Of course you can use whatever ocean faring fish you wish. I stay away from most freshwater fish.

In closing I would like to thank Dr. Reza Golesorkhi of Potomac Internal Medicine for all the years he has worked to keep me healthy and for giving me the support I needed to kick diabetes in the ass.

Blood Glucose History (Feb 2012 - Dec 2013)
Blood Glucose History (Feb 2012 – Dec 2013)

Memories of Better Holidays

Back in the 1970s when I was in the single digits, like 6 or 7, there was an old style, wood, stereo in our family room. Every Christmas my father would load up a bunch of holiday LPs and just let them play while he and my mom setup the Christmas tree. There was one song in particular that I was drawn to. I can’t say why, I just found the song to be interesting to me. The song would play and I would just sit by the one end of the stereo, where one of the speakers was, and listen intently to that song. It was a song that was performed as part of the Lawrence Welk show, by the Lennon sisters. Now, so many years later, I came across this song and I have to be honest and say that tears welled up in my eyes. It made me think of those days watching my parents set up the Christmas tree and hearing that song with such intense attention. Today I have no-one left in my family, my father died in 2010, my sister died in 2012 and my mom is in a senior living home after suffering a massive stroke in 2012. So those were the good days, better times, when I had a loving family. Today I live alone, never having married, and the days seem darker and lonelier. Hearing this song flooded my mind with the memories of holidays past and in a way it was a welcomed sound, in other ways it opened old wounds.

Here is the song on YouTube, performed live on the Lawrence Welk show…