Mac gouging

Oh. Hi. I used to blog. Now I just post crappy photos all the time. I should be blogging – there have been big changes in my life lately. Or at least, big changes in my being – my body. But writing takes effort. Today? I’m grumpy, over caffeinated and need to rant about something and, thus, feel forward to making a bit of effort.

I recently became the reluctant owner of a Mac. I had one before and loathed it and Apple, IMHO, has just gotten more evil, proprietary and expensive since then. The fact that so many people who love and adore open source do so while typing away on a Mac/iPhone/iPad has always confused me. But when looking for a laptop with a decent display, I had to admit: the Mac’s were better. Thanks to the husband of a friend who works at Apple and was able to extend the employee discount to me, I was able to buy it without feeling too much like I was overpaying for what I was getting. (Note: barely.)

Mac people have a rep for not paying as much attention for the bottom line as they do a “cool” or…whatever factor. After all, they own Macs. I’d heard about online stores showing people browsing via Macs higher prices than those doing the same via PCs. I didn’t realize, however, that the same thing was true of in-store purchases…until tonight.

I needed a new external hard drive. So, armed with an old gift card that I still hoped was valid, I perused the selection at Best Buy. They had the Western Digital that I currently have and like (but that’s full) and the price was decent, so I start reading to check on the formatting to make sure it would be compatible with both the Mac and the PC. Turns out, it’s formatted NTFS which is great for Windows, but Macs can only read it, not write to it. To use on both my new Mac laptop and PC desktop, I’d need to reformat it FAT32 or install some 3rd party software that will allow the Mac to write to the drive. A minor pain, but okay. Then, I go further down the aisle and see a section labeled “Mac hard drives”. Let’s take a look. Same drive, same manufacturer, same size, formatted to work on both a Mac and a PC, 1 penny more. Worth a penny not to have to reformat. I buy it and leave.

When I get home, I take it out of the bag and notice…it’s USB2. The “PC” drive I’d looked at was USB3 – which is a heck of a lot speedier than USB2. So, same drive, same manufacturer, same size, 1 penny price difference, but the one labeled “Mac” uses an inferior connection protocol and, therefore, should have been cheaper. Back to the store I go to exchange the drives.

Lessons learned: the “for Mac” version might cost more for something that’s worth less and pay attention details before purchasing.

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