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20 Years Ago

The Apple versus PC debate still flares up occasionally though alas no longer in the General Student Discussions conference on SWIS. Two decades ago the issue was settled on the institutional level in favor of the PC. But what goes around comes around, and 20 years later, we have Apple TV and MacBook Air-toting faculty members. To say nothing of the countless students who favor Macs.

For many years, school newspapers published all articles without by-lines and for consistency’s sake, when by-lines appear in more recent years, they are silently omitted in this column. Because it may be of interest to many on the faculty your editor lifts the veil of anonymity to reveal this week’s author: Michael Peller, ’98.   

from The Bridge, vol. XXVI (sic); p. 1 (January 24, 1997).

School Makes Decision to Switch from Apple to PCs

The Head’s Staff has decided to switch from Apple computers to PCs for the upcoming year to avoid any possible risks on computer delivery. There is a “risk that Apple will fail in some way” on the delivery of the computers, said Tom Boulet, Director of Academic Technology.
            “It was a pure business decision. We cannot take the risk” with all of the students and parents involved, said Boulet. Apple had a $700,000,000 loss three quarters ago, and they “haven’t shown any attempt to help us out,” he said.

            The Windows 95 (PC) operating system has many advantages. The PC system crashes less often than the Macintosh system, and is much better at running many programs at the same time. One drawback to the system is that it is harder to use than a Macintosh.

            NMH will suffer financially from the loss, but the major loss is time wasted in training teachers and students on the Macintosh systems. The first to receive the news PCs will be the “Tech Team,” a group of teachers leading NMH’s technological development. The computers will arrive this term, and all freshmen teachers will be trained on them this spring. In the spring of 1998, sophomore teachers will be taught. Eventually, everyone in the school community should be comfortable with the PC.

            Windows 95 and the Macintosh have very similar operating systems. It should take half an hour for a competent Macintosh user to become familiar with the PC, said Boulet. Of course, “the school will have to make time for the switch to be effective.”

            The Macs used for multimedia purposes will remain, as they are more effective than PCs in the respect. The school has not decided what to do with the laptops possessed by the teachers and in the classrooms. Freshmen will not be required to buy PC laptops. In fact, the school recommends leasing them because another switch may be made in the future.

            Although Boulet is “disappointed that Apple is in a position that we can’t count on” he believes that this is the right decision for the school.