Food Blogging 101: Computer Equipment for Food Writers
Mac or PC?
It’s a never-ending war: Mac vs. PC. When it comes to computers, there is an age-old argument about which to buy. Computer hardware can make your life easier, or it can cause you to pull your hair out, and writers and bloggers don’t have the same requirements as someone who plays games or works mainly with images.
I’ve owned both Macs and PCs, both pre-Windows and with Windows*. In the old days, before it was possible to convert files from PC to Mac and vice-versa, I owned one of each at all times so that I could provide clients, printers and publishers with files compatible with their own systems. I’ve come to my conclusions through sweat and tears and white nights and almost missed deadlines.
If you’re not computer literate and don’t want to invest time in becoming so, buy a Mac. If you don’t want to spend hours dealing with software incompatibilities and glitches, buy a Mac.
The Mac operating system comes with the computer when it is purchased. It is seamless and less prone to viruses and attack. Macs come with an integrated operating system and integrated software that you are obliged to buy separately on a PC, including mail, photo and music handling and a word processor.
The Microsoft operating system, Windows, is sold separately, as is your chosen word processing software, which almost inevitably includes Microsoft Word. The price of PC hardware may be cheaper, but by the time you add on the extras, it often works out to more or less the same. In addition, PCs are better than in the old days when nothing was WYSIWIG, i.e. before they “imitated” the Mac operating system they call Windows, but the fact that many applications conflict with Windows can be the source of endless headaches.
In my experience, Macs last longer if you do regular maintenance, so they’re worth the extra investment and, above all, writers usually don’t want to spend hours learning how to keep their computer working. Macs make your life easier and allow you to dedicate yourself to your creativity or research; that is worth gold. If you live near an Apple store, maintenance is as simple as scheduling a revision and dropping it off at the Genius Bar from time to time. If not, you may well have to learn how to do it yourself, which is what I do and it’s dead easy. You can find all the information online. Both my Macs are over eight years old. If that idea scares you, think twice.
PCs have the advantage of being more universal than Macs, so there are IT people to solve your maintenance problems most any place on earth. They also offer the advantage of being capable of using generic parts not made by the manufacturer, which sometimes prove to be cheaper than Mac parts. PCs are often easier to upgrade thanks to this.
Another “advantage” of PCs is that you can copy software from other people, thereby requiring less investment. This is, of course, totally illegal, but people do it. We call it pirating and I not recommend it.
If you play games, there are certainly more available for PCs, but here we are talking about the hardware that is best for writing quickly and efficiently and allowing you to live a peaceful life.
Chromebooks can also be a good option for writers. They update automatically (no new operating system upgrades to deal with), and when they die you just reconfigure your Google account on the new machine, and you are up and running. You can work from any computer if need be by logging into your Google account (i.e. logging into Gmail). You’ve already made the leap from pen and paper to computers, learned to navigate Gmail and Word. That’s the hard part. The rest is just knowing what’s out there. BTW, Chrome is the Android operating system, so if you have an Android phone, you are already familiar with it.
If you use a lot of images in your posts and articles, Macs have better screens than your run-of-the-mill PCs. Mac retina screens may well be the best available. This makes it easier to work with images, allowing you to edit photos with more precision. It also makes it easier on the eyes, which is always a concern for writers.
Newer Macs have 3×3 MIMO Wi-Fi radios, which means they get better WiFi reception, as compared to the standard 2×2 MIMOs found in high-end PCs. If you do a lot of research online or publish on an online platform such as WordPress, it’s important to have a reliable WiFi connection.
Computer problems are the best way in the world to dull your mind and undermine your creativity. Hours of stress can make you feel you’ve had a lobotomy, with a clear-cut incision between your right brain and your left brain. They can leave you brain dead at the end of the day with your article or chapter still not finished.
Whichever you choose, get an IT person who makes house calls, as well as a reliable Webmaster if you’re blogging, BEFORE you have a problem. It’s worth the money. If a problem occurs the day before your deadline, it may be too late.
Writers are usually not photographers and painters, but with the Internet being such a visual medium, images are almost obligatory in blog posts. Nonetheless, as writers, our focus is on words, so a simple computer usually suffices. What’s important is choosing a computer that suits your needs and that is adapted to your level of computer skills and your budget. What’s important is reducing the stress of deadlines by choosing the right computer for you. For me, after having used both extensively, I chose Mac because I have no desire to spend time solving computer problems and I don’t have the budget to be calling my IT man every other week.
Food Blogging 101: Laptop or Desktop?
Food Blogging 101: Computer Software
Food Blogging 101: Backup
Food Blogging 101: Memory and Capacity
*PCs can be used with other operating systems such as Linux, but Windows is more common in the field of writing and publishing.