Dialogue concerning two computing systems

The scene is a bench outside a sandwich shop. Salviati and Sagredo are eating their lunch.

Sagredo: So I’m thinking of getting a new computer. The question is, should I get a PC or a Mac?

Salviati: This is an interesting question. The Mac has some superb features and lots of people love them. However, they can also be frustrating at times, particularly if you’re used to a PC.

Sagredo: Can they both do all of the same things?

Salviati: Compatibility used to be an issue but things have improved a lot. There are some good bits of software that you can get on the Mac that you can’t get on a PC but you also need to bear in mind that many things are web-based now.

Sagredo: So what do you think I should get, on balance?

Salviati: Given that there’s not much in it, I’d go for a PC just because of the cost.

Simplicio walks out of the sandwich shop with a egg-mayonnaise focaccia and sits down on the bench next to Sagredo.

Simplicio: What are we discussing?

Sagredo: I was asking Salviati’s advice on whether to buy a PC or a Mac

Simplicio: [Snorts] That’s such a false dichotomy!

Sagredo: Sorry, how?

Simplicio: I have used both throughout my working life! Sometimes I’ve owned a PC; other times I’ve owned a Mac! At one point, I used a Mac at work and had a PC at home!

Sagredo: But I have to buy one and I want to know which is the best value for money.

Simplicio: [Snorts again] False choice! They both have their strengths and weaknesses! They each do certain things better! You see the world in such black-and-white terms Sagredo! You need to appreciate nuance!

Salviati: PCs are generally cheaper.

Simplicio: Oh, here we go! That one again! You’re such a logical positivist, Salviati, with your reductionist thinking! How can you knowingly make such sweeping generalisations? The large-scale studies that you rely on remove all context and nuance! They are ecologically invalid! I can point to examples of PCs that are much more expensive that Macs! What does your data say about that?

Sagredo: Are you saying that I should buy both a PC and a Mac?

Simplicio: [Snorts] Straw man!

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3 Comments on “Dialogue concerning two computing systems”

  1. barryg99 says:

    Why does this seem so familiar?

  2. David says:

    Related to this, Larry Cuban has a new blog post up highlighting a study done in Canada about educational ministers who rely on beliefs, political views and opinions over academic research in policymaking. Larry extends this to the US. I’d be willing to bet the same is true in Australia and the UK…https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/how-small-a-part-research-plays-in-making-and-implementing-educational-policy/

  3. Have you had any comments from the Pigeon League?

    I’m with Salviati, though I can see Simplicio’s point of view. I began on Macs when they were a box with a floppy disc drive, stuck with them until they became colourful TV-looking things, then switched to infuriatingly primitive DOS and early Windows-based PCs. Over the years I learnt to master, tinker with and even rebuild PCs (not something I’d ever try to do with the sleek, solid state Macs).

    And now I’m poor but my daughter has a wealthy grandfather, she has a MacBook and I have a PC. We’re both happy (and I find all the swipey stuff very annoying).

    Oh, but was this about education? I enjoyed it for its surface…


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