It's hot. Super hot. Like an old movie where some unfortunate soul has
escaped from the French Foreign Legion and is crawling through the desert.
He is literally dying of thirst. The last few drops of precious water in
his canteen turn out to be a handful of sand. Then, on the horizon, he
sees a snow cone stand. Hey. it could happen.
So, when the hapless ex-soldier reaches the mirage-like snow cone vendor, he is presented with a choice: a regular snow cone, or a shaved ice. He whispers dryly through cracked lips, "Don't you have any plain old water?"
All kidding aside, there really is a big difference between standard snow-cones and shaved ice. If you've ever had a snow cone, you're already familiar with the sweet, snowball-like consistency of the ice granules. They are pretty standard fare, and enjoyed by young and old alike. Shaved ice, on the other hand, has a lighter, fluffier, texture due to the way it is processed. This is the result of the blade-shaving process and is most commonly achieved through the use of large single-blocks as an ice source.
By shaving the ice block in very thin layers, the end result is different in texture than standard snow cones, and also holds the flavor syrup a bit more efficiently. This means, you don't drink the syrup at the bottom of the cone. Which, with standard snow cones, may be one's favorite part of the enjoyment process. So, they are different, but both are satisfying in different ways. I guess it all depends on what one desires in their flavored ice confectionary.
Oh, and the ex-soldier dying of thirst was saved by a passing bus filled with the French Bottled Water Bikini Team who just happened to be in the neighborhood. He's fine now.