Friday, August 26, 2011

Steve Jobs steps down: a good excuse to rant about the smug, smug, smug ‘Mac community’ (Lord, I loathe them). Meanwhile, we stick two fingers up at the UN, more or less. And a short film from nowhere

I have preferred Apple Macs ever since I knew about computers, and although my first PC was a Mac clone, I bought it only because I couldn’t afford an authentic Mac. What I do not like, however, is the ‘Mac community’ as they style themselves with typical self-regard and importance. I mention this because Steve Jobs - I’m inclined to be particularly bitchy and write St Eve Jobs - is now so ill that he has stepped down as CEO of Apple. Predictably, the share price fell and Apple lost $15bn of its stock market value when the news was released. That’s how important Jobs was to the company. As far as the man himself is concerned, I simply wish him well and as much good health as a
man who has survived a liver transplant and pancreatic cancer can expect. There is no doubt that he was Apple, that it was his personality which drove the company and sustained its success, and that it was his vision of what might be which made Appe products innovative and unique. But there is also no doubting that the whole smug, self-satisfied ‘Mac community’ thing also derived from Jobs. The essence of the ‘Mac community’ - such is my loathing for it and its attitudes that I can’t bring myself to drop the inverted commas - is that ‘we are the best, we know we are the best, we are special because we are the best, if you are not one of us, you are not worth bothering with, but the chances are that if you are not one of us, you won’t even understand why we look down on you and don’t bother with you’. Admittedly, the Windows operating system is to the Mac OS what a haycart is to a Porsche and also admittedly Apple’s insistence on quality pays off in spades. So its products might be more expensive at the outset, almost double the price of equivalent non-Apple products, but they do tend to last longer, although that is not to say the Apple hasn’t also produced some clunkers. But none of that, in my eyes, can in the slightest justify the smug self-regard of the ‘Mac community’ and its unshakeable conviction that it is the Chosen Few. Dear soul,
members of the ‘Mac community’ are insufferable and their existence comes dangerously close to justifying murder. In that respect they are rather like Observer and Guardian readers who appear to regard themselves intellectually and morally as several cuts above the rest of us mere mortals, and one’s failure to acknowledge as much is all the evidence needed that they are right and we are wrong. And I’ll repeat that I can’t shake off my suspicion that the whole ‘Mac community’ ethos stems from St Eve himself.
As for the company, I have no doubt that it will survive for many years. Ford survived superbly after Henry Ford’s death. But I doubt whether it will reach the heights it did under Jobs, however much it pains me to say so.

. . .

As for Apple products, I have always bought second-hand (and, incidentally, a mark of the rather nauseating streak which dislike in Apple is that it is responsible for coming up with that horribly twee euphemism for second-hand: ‘pre-loved’. Yuk). There is only one reason for that: they are just so much cheaper, and if you use your nous when buying, you can get a computer (or iPod or whatever you’re buying) in pretty good nick. And as nothing seems to date faster than new technology, you are still getting something very useful. For example, I recently got rid of my two G4 laptops and have bought Intel machines. And one of the laptops was a top-of-the-range Powerbook when it appeared (I bought a refurbished model from Cancom i.e. more or less news but quite a bit cheaper). But when it comes to doing what the vast majority of us do on a desktop or laptop - write letters and surf the web - a G4 or even a G3 will do the job just as well. Yes, I know there are people out there who record music and edit video on their computer, but I think the vast majority don’t - they just surf the net and word process for which any eight-year-old computer will do just as well. One of the more remarkable marketing coups of recent years has been to persuade us saps to part with oodles of moolah and buy a tip-top computing machine hardly any of us needs. And as a chap who has recently bought a neat little eMachines 10in netbook I don’t need and will rarely, if ever use, to add to my line-up of two Intel Macs - a Macbook and a Macbook Pro - a Samsung Windows 7 laptop and a works Lenovo which can log into the the network in London, I must step forward and identify myself as one of those suckers with a great deal more money than sense (which does not acutally mean I am weatlhy. Just stupid). Now how’s that for humiliating honesty?

. . .

The hunt for Col Gaddafi goes on and the latest I have heard is that British jets are bombing the lad’s bunker compound in Sirte, his hometown. Well, I would like to see that back of him as much as everyone else and there’s no doubt that his supporters will carry on fighting until there is firm news that he is dead or has been captured. But wasn’t the UN mandate specific on what Britain and France should be doing and, more to the point, should not be doing in Libya. I seem to remember it was something about doing what it could to protect the ordinary Libyan population. Well, bombing the lad’s bunker compound in Sirte seems to me well beyond that remit and then some. Or have I got it all wrong. Are we, perhaps, defending Gaddafi's human rights?

. . . 

A throwaway something:

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