Lukas Mathis arguing that casual users need high-end computers:

So the sentiment that «entry-level» computers are good enough for casual users is exactly backwards: casual users are the ones that need high-end computers, while proficient users are the ones who can work around the limitations of low-end computers.

Anecdotally I’d have to agree with this. I manage to find ways to keep a G4 Mac mini operational as a home media server by hacking at OS X, but my wife struggles to not be frustrated with her aging MacBook Pro — even though it has more than enough power for what she needs it for.

This immediately made me think of “pros”, or skilled operators, which is what we are talking about. The best hammer a consumer can buy is probably one of those anti-vide hammers with large heads and a comfortable grip — this is not the hammer a pro buys, because a pro doesn’t need such features and only finds those features to be getting in the way. Likewise, if a race car driver wants to go very fast, they turn off traction control1 while the casual driver will need traction control to stay alive.

A skilled driver can drive a slow car faster than a casual driver can drive a much faster car.

This translates to computers of course, but not just in speed of the computer. A large part of the disconnect that I see is seeking out odd solutions. Whether it is through tools like Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, LaunchBar, or through simply finding apps that do remote desktop and other odds and ends that users wish they could do, but cannot find the apps to do them. A lot of casual users assume that if it is not already on their computer, it cannot be done.

We may not be able to solve casual user’s problems, but things like the Mac App Store should help alleviate some of those problems. (Provided we can get users to look in the Mac App Store and pay for Apps, which is another issue all together.)


  1. Except in F1, right, they still have it there? 


Posted by Ben Brooks