I love reading Mac vs. PC pissing contests. The fact is, a computer, for most consumers (not workplace ROI), is a commodity device (though I admit the pissing usually takes place between niche users). That all being said, I enjoyed this thread on a recent Slashdot posting entitled “ Doing the Math On the New MacBook”:

Macs are design items. Some people don’t mind paying a higher price for something which appeals to them.

Price is what you pay, value is what you get. If you subjectively feel that the value of the product matches the price paid then an objective comparison is not significant.

Exactly ! That’s why there isn’t much point in trying to squeeze Macs in an objective comparison : you buy a Mac to get pleasure from purchasing a nice item, whereas you buy the winner of an objective comparison to get pleasure from being a smart customer.

We’re not talking about subjective value-feelings here; we’re talking about intentional manipulation by a sleak advertising campaign that turns people into drones who really do believe that there is something magical in a Mac that other computers don’t have.

Tell me, what is the marginal utility of that special Mac aura?

You’ve been had my friend.

For the record, in my current personal buying habits, I happen to subscribe to the middle quote: do what is within your budget and makes you feel good—even it that’s not buying anything at all. I’ve also come to realize, watching my coworker go through crazy rationalistic machinations about purchasing a new MacBook, it’s the process of making the decision to buy something that’s way more fulfilling than the possession itself. Cue Ze Frank on Choice.