Saturday, April 10, 2010

El Classico: Mac vs. PC

For those of you who are new to this blog, or are prone to miss the exceedingly obvious, I am a soccer fan. A soccer fan who makes his living writing tech blogs. This leads to occasional overlap because while Computer As Humans is technically a tech blog, it may at times read like a soccer blog. It's because like many other rapid fans out there I tend to see everything through the spectacular, colorful prism of the beautiful game.

As I write this I'm waiting for my friends to come over to watch "El Classico." For the uninitiated, "El Classico," is quite simply the biggest rivalry in European football: FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid.

Two of the biggest teams in all of Europe, Barcelona and Real Madrid can be almost regarded as the Mac and PC of Spanish football. Which is which and why exactly you may ask? Well, as I see it, Barcelona is the Mac and Real Madrid is the PC.

Now I'm aware that as I sit here in my Barcelona replica jersey typing this on my Mac laptop that I could regarded as being somewhat biased. However this assessment is based on more than just personal preference, or as some would see it, my extreme bias.

So let me be the first to say that Real Madrid is a great team. Historically one of the greatest and most successful in all of Europe. They won the first five European Club Cup Championships (predecessor to the Champions League) consecutively. Their current lineup reads like a whose who of current international football superstars: Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Rafael Van Der Vaart, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain, to name a few.

By the same token, PCs are great computers (mostly). My wife uses one, I've owned several myself. They're practical, more affordable than Macs, more compatible with different software and hardware components, very suitable for business uses and for the most part, get the job done.

Macs on the other hand are more expensive. They are esoteric, slightly eccentric and often regarded as being pretentious and somewhat overrated. Yet, like FC Barcelona, they have a certain undefinable, artistic, creative quality about them that sets them apart.

Apple, like the modern Barcelona, has it's roots in the 1970s. Apple, which was founded by Steve Jobs in 1977, was named after the Beatles record company. FC Barcelona, as we know it today, was born in 1975 when the great Dutch football maestro Johan Cruyff transferred to Barcelona from Ajax Amsterdam. Cruyff transformed Barcelona as a player and later as a coach by redefining their style of play along the lines of late '60s/early '70s Dutch "total football."

In total football creativity, flair, and flow were placed in high regard. Players changed positions on the pitch with such fluidity and speed that the original Dutch total football sides of the '70s were called the "clockwork orange" by fans and opponents alike.

Barcelona as we know them today, are the descendants of this style. Much as Apple has evolved from a 1970s post-hippie company that also places a high premium on creativity, flair and versatility.

While they are undoutbedly as successful or even more so historically than Barcelona, at Real Madrid, flair, creativity and spectacle take a back seat to results. Just as in the PC world what works is what gets the job done. Real Madrid have no real defined "style." While they may spend exhorbitant sums of money to bring in great players and great coaches, Madrid seem to be lacking in something. One would be tempted to call it "soul." Which perhaps explains most of all why, in the opinion of this writer, they can be seen as the PCs of Spanish football.

Now, I wonder who will win today's "El Classico," the Mac or the PC?

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