Just for the record, I'd like to admit that for a long time, when I had been sucked into the Apple hype and Steve Jobs' RDF, I was one of the people who came on Slashdot and basically pimped Apple to everybody (up until about May of this year). I not only defended Apple every chance I got (whether they were right or wrong), but I also attacked everybody else who competed against them in any way -- that includes Dell. Dells have a very high rating in all of the independent studies and surveys, but I made up "poor quality" stories *all the time* to help people switch over to Apple. Sadly, it was all made up. I never had a Dell, and from what I hear from people who do have them, they're great. Now their reputation here is crap, and it's probably 90% undeserved. Conversely, Apple is seen as "God's Gift to Earth Geeks". But they're not. Buy a good Dell, you get a good Dell; you get what you pay for. Buy something cheap, you get something cheap. A good example is the iBooks, which are some of the cheapest-ass welfare laptops in the known universe.
I voted for Apples anytime I saw a poll (multiple times if I could), even if I knew someone else *should* win. I spent hours every day downloading Mac wallpapers and screenshots from Spymac. I read the Apple news daily (macsurfer, macnn, spymac, As The Apple Turns, etc.) If my boss knew how much I'd stolen from him in lost productivity, I'd be fired for sure. And I'd deserve it.
When an argument broke out, I always supported the Mac guys with "yeah, me too!" type comments that added weight to the pro-Mac side, even if my experience was completely different (G5's faster, Apple's cheaper than PCs, iLife WAY better than PC software, etc.). When someone was promoting any competing product, my strategy was simple: I'd attack them on whatever differentiated them from the Mac offering. This has the unconscious assumption that the Mac is the standard, and the other side is trying to "live up to the Mac". Whereas in many cases, Apple is just plain worse than the PC offerings. But I phrased the arguments to help the Mac come out on top every time. For example, if a guy is bragging about the new Dell Latitude, I would only argue him on the characteristics and traits that the PB won in:
The Dell is just ugly and is a plastic ripoff of the PB.
The Dell is half an inch bigger, and that's a lot when it's a portable.
I don't play games anyway, so the Dell's extra horsepower is just wasted.
Amazing how I can see the Dell as both UGLY and a copy of the PowerBook, at the same time! Next day, when I'm arguing against the Sony Vaio, which is smaller, sleeker, and better looking:
Looks don't matter, it's a TOOL.
The Sony is nice, but it's too small, I'd be afraid to break it.
The horsepower of the PowerBook is a MUST, with all the big creativity/digital photo/music/video apps out there.
And against Alienwares Area51m (which totally blows the PB out of the water in every way) I'd argue:
OS X is the most important feature, so the Alienware is a clear loser.
I don't like the Pentium 4 or AMD chips, I'll stick with the G4 instead.
I want to support creative people, not people like Alienware.
I'm sure you noticed my flip-flopping from argument to argument; I'd make any politician from either of the two big American parties proud.
My basic plan was to avoid all the areas Apple loses in, and give extra weight to whatever was superior on the Mac. Every argument can be won if you claim that Apples only winning feature is the only one that matters; one time, it would be POWER (when the Apple would win); another time, it would be SIZE (when the Apple would win); the same went for PRICE, BATTERY LIFE, WIRELESS, BLUETOOTH, FIREWIRE, ALUMINUM CASING, WIDESCREEN, VIDEO CARD, etc. and of course, the trump card was my refusal to "stoop" to using anything but OS X, which was an automatic win for Apple, since they're the only ones who make it (duh!).
I couldn't lose! And I didn't. And now, even though I've "lost the faith" and realized that Apples are good, but not great, and my next laptop will NOT be a Mac, the mantle of "unreasoning sophist mac zealot" has been taken up en masse. I've created a monster. I've posted at least 2500 posts under at least 10 different nyms, and double that as AC. I honestly spent the great majority of my time as an unpaid employee for Apple Computers, Inc. You can recognize my zombie monster children because they post just like me.
But until this year, I didn't realize that I was lying to promote something that didn't DESERVE to win based only on their brand name, but rather on the QUALITIES of the product.
But I lied anyway.
And so are you.