Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Managing User Expectations...

Working with computers during my retail experience, I noticed that there are a lot of customers who have the strangest requirements when it comes to shopping for computers. When helping customers, I’ve noticed that the things I cared about interested them very little. For example (well, examples as it happened multiple times):Me: This computer has x processor so it’s going to be fast, has y GBs of Memory so you shouldn’t have a problem with that, and because the Hard Drive has z GBs of storage, you can count on this to last for several years. It’s a computer I like to recommend.

Customer: Oh, and it has a webcam too!
Me: Huh? Oh yes it does. It has a webcam.
Customer: Great! I’ll take it!

Sometimes, I wonder, why would they care about a feature like that. Webcams are, for the most part, standard on every computer. (On another note, they typically aren’t that good. If they gave out webcams for free in cereal boxes, I would love to see which one is better, because it would be a close race)

But at that point, I had a better understanding of people’s priorities. Late last year, my wife got a Macbook Air 13 inch. To give you a little backstory, I have always been a Windows person. I grew up with Windows and have learned almost everything about computers with Windows as the operating system.

For my entire life, the only thing that needed to be looked into was the system specs. I built computers that had a great price to performance ratio, and looked at benchmarks to see what my ideal computer system is.

Going by benchmarks and price to performance ratio, I often looked down at Apple’s computers. They have not been good in either of those categories for quite a while. “Why buy a Mac when you could get the same computer for half the cost?” Ever since the new Macbook Air’s were released in 2010, it has opened up the eyes of many consumers. It was a lightweight computer that didn’t have any compromises (except Storage Capacity, even though SSD’s are much faster). It was incredibly lightweight, Core 2 Duo which is a great processor to this day, and really good battery life. Because of it’s low weight and great battery life, they were a popular choice for a lot of consumers.

There are some people who want just want a Mac because it was, in many people’s eyes, a great computer. I’m not going to go into Mac vs PC right now, but I will say a lot of people will base what they want on how it makes them look. If you have a Mac, then you have a good computer. If you have a plastic dell computer that has 15 minutes of battery life and is several years old, then you have a bad computer according to most people. I’m married, so I see how much makeup my wife puts on. She wants to look nice when she goes out.

That is not that much different than wanting a computer to look nice and in many cases, it makes you look more professional. Apple has that appeal with their computer. Prior to Ultrabooks there weren’t that many computers that people could see and say, that is a good computer.

My wife goes to TCU. Their entire school, for the most part, is using Apple computers to do a majority of their work. When there were group projects, she could not help because it was done in iMovie (an Apple exclusive program). If she wanted to help or do it herself, it was in the computer lab which closes at 7 P.M. every night

Before we purchased the Macbook Air, I was often the PC advocate in the family. My family was stunned that I got an Apple computer. To me, I was surprised that they thought I was that closed minded. It made me realize that I have a much better understanding of most people’s needs.

To everyone who is making the decision on Mac vs Windows, I would have to say in most cases, you should probably stick to what you know. I’m not saying this because I don’t do support on Macs. I’m saying that I’ve seen plenty of people who had PC’s all of their life, switched because their nephew said Macs are better, and could not navigate through the operating system and they typically start at $1,000.

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