But Does It Boot Windows? . . .


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Since Apple Macintoshes are PCs these days, I guess we need to talk about them a bit more often.

Apple introduced the Intel-based Mac mini yesterday. I have just one question:

Does it boot Windows? If it doesn’t, it is useless to me.

I would like to have a decently-powered small computer I can carry around with me, whether around the house or outside it.

To kill two birds with one stone, I would like to try MacOS X, provided it doesn’t cost me too much extra.

This Mac mini doesn’t look too bad. Yes, it has integrated graphics, yes, the hard drive is slow, but this box will never play a game, and I can compensate for the hard drive with extra RAM.

Yes, I’m sure I could buy or put together a smallish A64, or even Intel-based box that could kick the Mac mini around the block a few times, but I don’t need a powerhouse, and those boxes won’t run MacOS X without serious and dubious hacking.

So I could live with the Mac mini’s hardware shortcomings, I’m definitely a potential customer, but . . .

Does it boot Windows? If it doesn’t, it is useless to me.

You see, I never was, am, or ever would be a candidate for a Mac-only machine. Not going to spend a grand or two or three to buy a machine endorsed by too many cultists.

But I’ll spend a couple hundred dollars extra for an extended tryout, and if it ends up that I see fireworks, the ground moves, and I end up in post-Macual bliss, so be it.

But if it ends up not being so good for me, I’ll still have a perfectly usable Windows machine good enough for what I want to do with it.

So it has to boot Windows. If it doesn’t, it is useless to me.

(To literally answer my question, though I haven’t found chapter and verse yet, the Mac Mini probably won’t boot Windows XP for the same EFI reason the iMac won’t. OK, no money from
me until Vista and/or Apple takes care of that little problem, but that’s not the point of this article).

I’m sure some of those cultists mentioned above would and will call me a pig for that requirement, or for being a Doubting Thomas.

Fine, I’m a pig, I’ve got lots of Windows s–t, and I’ve been happy enough wallowing in it. If you can show me better at little risk to me, fine, but I’m hanging on to my feces just in case.

Fine, my new middle name is Thomas, and until I put my hand into X’s side, I will not believe.

Macdom, you need doubting pigs like me.

One rather large problem with the Mac world today is that they often come across as a bunch of female clowns in clown regalia walking around saying, “Hey, we’re hot supermodels,” and when the PC world says, “No, you look like a bunch of clowns,” they reply (and say to see other), “They’re just jealous of us.”

It still is an inbred group that needs new blood, and not just the occasional cluster of Windows advocates (who often have, shall we say, their own issues) who show up at Mac sites.

To be fair, Macdom has been changing on its own. Even before the Intel move, the general culture has been evolving towards a more PC-like attitude to the machines, more hard-nosedness, less hero-worship.

Imagine what would happen if an onslaught of pigs like me show up.

You see, I might be a pig in your eyes, but there’s a lot more pigs like me than there are of you, and if we give your side a shot, we’re going to bring a much difference experience and attitude to Macdom.

For one thing, on the whole, we’re much more nuts and bolts guys than the typical Macster, and much less likely to swallow whatever Uncle Stevie says. Not that such people don’t exist in Macdom today (and it’s much better today than it was five years ago), but if a drove, an armada of Winpigs shows up, the proportion of such skeptical and critical users will go up dramatically.

For another, in one sense, we really are pigs in that we’re, well, less sensitive, than many Macsters, and less likely to have our hearts set aflutter by superficial and/or trivial aesthetic features. We’ll likely value such things much less, and say, “Where’s the beef?” much more.

Pigs like us will on the whole probably be more biOSual than the typical Macster (those who are currently Mac biOSuals tend to be much less ridiculous about the matter than those who don’t and equate Windows with waterboarding). We’ll do it by choice, too, we’ll use whatever fits the task best.

Pigs like us will change the Mac culture, it will be the finishing blow to cultish, ghettoish Macdom as we’ve known it. What will happen is that Macdom will stop being a cult, and while the elitism will probably still stay, there will be more reason for it. Apple will stop looking like Apple, and gradually morph into something looking more like Alienware.

And that will be a very good thing, a tougher audience will mean better Macs in the long run.

But it has to boot Windows. If it doesn’t, it is useless to us.

Ed


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