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Apple – Good or Evil?

July 13, 2010

I’m a fan of big business. A big fan of big business. I’m libertarian like that (which should be my new catchphrase). One company, however, is especially amazing. But at the same time I kind of want to see them drive their amazingly successful company into the ground, crashing and burning. I guess what I”m trying to say is that I want someone to take a bite out of their apple.

I’ve never been so conflicted about a company ever. Apple is awesome. Great products, great design, user-friendly software, and yet I hope they go bankrupt tomorrow. I think all of us sort of want them to fail, even if it’s only a small part in the back of your iFanBoyBrain that cries out “SAVE ME!!!!!!!!!” And nothing explains my feelings (albeit in a more detail-oriented way and less in the knee-jerk first impression get my spinning thoughts down on the screen before the mind centaurs trample them to the ground with their hoofs way that I’ve become quite fond of) better than this graphic by Peter Serafinowicz and the guys over at Gizmodo.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Aptronym permalink
    July 19, 2010 7:57 pm

    Barring some of the praise, I feel the same way. For the record, I actively hate the UI of OS X. The excessive reliance on a lousy mouse that doesn’t even right-click in the default settings, the use of Alt (or whatever key it is on the Mac) + Tab to cycle between applications rather than windows, the fact that “minimizing” using possibly the smallest button imaginable means banishing to the bottom corner of the screen, the Dockbar (or whatever it’s called) for never disappearing and keeping the wallpaper intruding on even maximized windows, the fact that applications don’t quit when you’re done with their windows: the list goes on. It gets some points for being based on Unix, but honestly, if I want that, I can use Linux and hack my way through any problems rather than banging my head against 3rd-party software with bugs that there are just no answers to, rather than a few roundabout but effective fixes. The iPod interface works pretty well, from what I’ve used of it (circa fifth gen), mostly for being clean and not overly buggy. I haven’t used an iPhone beyond the five seconds required to prove I’m lousy at touchscreens, so I can’t comment, but so far my experience with Apple products hasn’t been great. (Don’t get me started about iTunes.)

    That said, I have no problem with variety. If people like the products Apple makes and the interfaces it designs, all the more power to them. I’ll buy the products I like, they’ll buy the products they like, and we’ll all be happy. My problem comes when people try to force Apple products onto me. My problem comes when the company tries to insist that it knows what’s best for me. It doesn’t, and I’m not about to hand over the reins in as big a way as Apple seems to want. Because, quite frankly, Apple’s branding seems eerily similar to the man in the white van offering candy to a child. “Hand it all over to us. You can trust us!” And it’s not their products (even Mac OS X) that I despise so much as that message, that undercurrent of stringing you along, offering you the latest and greatest thing, slowly robbing you of the ability to think. That’s what frightens me.

    On an unrelated tangent, the best piece of software (if operating systems can be considered software) I’ve ever used has been Windows XP. It’s not pretty. It’s aggravating a lot of the time. It has more problems than you can readily count. And I like it that way. At the end of the day, the only requirement of an operating system is that it function. It doesn’t need to have a multicolored “loading” cursor, a reflection for every icon, a shiny screen saver, shading for every panel, or even clickable directory levels, for that matter. It needs to operate in the most efficient way possible. For all the excessive load times, the spontaneous crashes, and other flaws with it, Windows XP does not pretend to be something that it’s not. It has a very efficient and intuitive (partly through practice) UI, and when it misbehaves, it misbehaves in a familiar, reliable manner. It’s compatible with nearly everything, it’s hackable enough that you can get something done, just so long as you steer clear of batch scripting, and the security problems aren’t that bad if you browse carefully and (from what I hear) don’t live as the superuser. It works. And that’s something that (for me) Mac hasn’t been able to replicate, Windows Vista/7 hasn’t been able to replicate, and even Linux hasn’t been able to replicate. (Linux comes the closest, but it’s still somewhat unstable, even for an OS where hacks are a daily occurrence.)

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