Why I spend a lot on computers

Charlie Stross on why he uses Macs. Never mind what he says about appreciating good industrial design, what rings true for me is his argument that if he’s going to spend 60 hours a week looking at a computer, he’d rather be working with a well-designed system.

I have better things to do with my time than nurse a balky, badly designed system that shits itself all over my hard disk on a regular basis, or spends half its time running urgent maintenance tasks that stop me getting stuff done.
I could write while sitting on a cheap IKEA stool in front of a kitchen table, banging away on a netbook loaded with Windows XP. But after a week, my back and my wrists would hurt and I’d be bleeding from the eyeballs every time I looked at the screen. It’d be like spending sixty hours a week driving a cheap Chevrolet Shitweasel instead of a Mercedes: sure, think of the savings — but the pain will get to you in the end. … If you drive to and from your day job for an hour a day, you’d seriously consider buying a more comfortable car. A better, more comfortable computing environment costs peanuts in comparison.

I spend all day in front of my computer, and I use the heck out of it; it’s worth it to me to spend a lot of money on a good computer (and a decent desk and chair, for that matter). As it happens, I consider Macs to be good computers, and I feel happy and productive using them, so I have no qualms spending extra to buy them.

Concomitantly, I spend less than other people do in other areas: I work from home and don’t get out much, so I don’t buy a lot of clothes and don’t have a monthly cellphone plan. If I had a job that required me to be on the road a lot, my clothes-and-mobile-phone budget would be a lot higher, and we’d probably have more than one car. Similarly, if I used my home computer only occasionally, I might care less whether I had a Mac, and I’d probably have a less powerful machine.