01 February 2010

And while we're on the subject of tech...

...let me move from praising Linux - an under-publicised rough diamond that may occasionally look a bit clunky but gets most jobs done better than anything - to burying Apple: an over-hyped piece of bling that looks nice but doesn't actually do anything better than the much cheaper alternative you could have bought instead if you weren't a total slave to advertising. You fool out there, you.

As so often, Charlie Brooker nails it four-square with a rant about the iPad. Basically an iPhone the size of a laptop. And you thought Trigger Happy TV was just for fun...

Nokia had this technology out about 5 years ago. It was called the 770 webpad or some such thing. It was a failure because the basic concept is rather pointless... all you can use it for is surfing the web - badly - while pretending to watch TV - badly. Which you can do better - and cheaper - with a netbook.

But of course because this is Apple, you get the Roger Waters "sheep effect": 'wave after wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream'. For me, Pink Floyd's Animals LP is basically about Apple owners. (and Mary Whitehouse). It's no coincidence that the Apple II was released the same year.

Actually, early Apple was f***ing good. Up to the late 80s or so they were way ahead of the game. I once read that when Douglas Adams was asked why he used a Mac, he gave a puzzled look and replied "why would anyone use anything else?" That made sense back in the 80s - maybe even the early 90s. But now, they offer the same thing as a well-adjusted Linux box, only for around 3 times the price. It's the yuppy thing all over again, and with less justification. My wife has an iPod - but only because we got it free when I bought a G1 Google phone (which, for my money, is a better effort than the iPhone). Great motion sensor for playing bagatelle with - shame about the usability of the iTunes software.

But I am more and more of the opinion that Apple owners are either people who are in on the (expensive) joke, or clueless dupes who are happy to be stiffed by The Man (i.e. Steve Jobs) in the cause of fashion. Stuff 'em all. I reserve the right to make my own PC out of cannibalised PCBs and washing up liquid bottles, A Team style. Let's see what your iPad looks like when my custom mini-ITX PC in a pneumatic drill casing has finished with it.


Tiddlemouse said...

From your previous post, I agree that Linux is a great, versatile, secure operating system although I'm sticking with Ubuntu for now, occasionally dipping into Kubuntu.

The attraction of Mac is you have the combination of a solid operating system with high specification, well designed hardware. It was only when I bought a Mac that I appreciated the added value of the combination of software and hardware design.

The gear isn't cheap, as you say, but I would argue it's comparable in price to other high spec computer gear, but better designed.

Comparing my 2006 iMac to your 2006 XP Latitude, which you admit takes ~5 minutes to boot up to a usable state, it still takes me the same speed as when I bought it (35 seconds) - not that I ever reboot as the sleep function works fine. It's also the case that my Linux machines boot up in a similar time to my Mac but I'm running them on boxes with cables like a rats nest (monitor, power, sound, webcam, mouse, USB hub & network) whereas my Mac has 1 power cable in and a keyboard cable going out (a new Mac wouldn't even have that)

But I think what we can all agree, while we argue the toss between the supremacy of OSX and Linux, that Windows is, by far, the worst operating system.

John Broome Saunders said...

I'm now looking forward to the release of the iPud - a special high-tech dessert item, ideal served with custard.

John Broome Saunders said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
giroscoper said...

Tiddlemouse - I'd certainly agree that Windows is far worse than either Mac or Linux.

The only barrier to high spec high performance hardware working well on Linux is that many (although fortunately not all) companies refuse to write Linux drivers for their hardware.

Hymnal said...