Switcher poser

Reader Toby provides a link to a report by Joe Hutsko on MSNBC entitled “A Mac user switches to Vista”.

Hutsko lays it on thick, leading off with a stern warning to Mac zealots: DO NOT BRING YOUR EVIL HERE!

Joe, the Macalope knows the Swamp Thing, he’s worked with the Swamp Thing.

You’re no Swamp Thing.

With a lead-in like this with its over-the-top protestations about having “mad Mac street cred, yo” while damning Mac fanatics and begging them to “just give Vista a chance”, one would understandably suspect this was the return of Microsoft’s previously outed faux switcher campaign, but wait for the pathetic punch line.

Hutsko’s piece is really just a fairly even-handed account of one person’s view of both operating systems and as such it suffers from the fact that he makes no attempt to look beyond his personal experience in the time he used Vista. So it’s already not very useful before Hutsko pulls the rug out from under the whole thing.

But I really miss that peaceful, Zen-like quiet I felt with my Mac when I’d wake it up or put it instantly to sleep. For me, it just works right, without really having to think about it.

So I decided to switch again. From Vista, back to the Mac — to the brand new, white MacBook on which I told this story.

What?! Joe, you didn’t switch. You got paid to write an article about using Vista and then went right back to using the Mac!

And what is up with your verb tense in those two paragraphs? You “miss” the Mac that you’re writing on? Wha-huh?

If we can’t write to you to lambast Windows, can we write to you to lambast your use of lame writing tricks and confusing conjugation?


The Macalope didn’t see it, but his friend the Kraken was watching CNN’s Vista-palooza this morning and noted with some glee that after an interview with Bill Gates, Ali Velshi was talking about how many Windows users will face a confusing upgrade that may require them to buy new machines. Miles O’Brien replied “Or, they could just go Mac.”

The Kraken dryly noted that that pretty much took the air out of the whole piece which had been sounding a lot like an ad for Microsoft up until then.

But O’Brien’s comment is exactly what the Macalope’s been thinking about this all along. The Vista upgrade forces a purchasing decision for many Windows users. Most will simply suck it up and buy a new PC with Vista already installed because they either fear change, don’t know any better or just really prefer Windows.

But if you know any wavering Windows users, now would be a good time to try to talk them down off the ledge.

UPDATE: O’Brien also apparently asked Gates if he was deliberately trying to copy OS X.

Everything you can buy is a rip-off

The Macalope has had a good chuckle at the meat-heads who like to say that Microsoft’s inability to ship a real operating system update for five years is a feature, but the Test Bed’s Emil Larsen — if his whimsically entitled piece “OS X is a rip-off” is to be taken seriously — must be the gristle of head meats.

This is the extent to which Emil covers the features Apple released in every update of OS X:

Apple, on the other hand, charged for OS X updates; sure they had new features – DVD playback, better CD/DVD writing capabilities and interface goodies like gui dpi control, but with v10.1 Apple had the cheek to charge for CD burning and only a minority of people took advantage of v10.3′s “fast user switching”…

Uh, Quartz? FileVault? Safari? iChat? Dashboard? Exposé? Spotlight? Smart Folders? Automator?

Any of those ringing a bell?

Many of those are features you can only now get on Windows by upgrading to Vista and you could have had them a year and half ago when Tiger came out. Earth to Larsen: that’s worth something.

Helloooooo? Anybody home?

Nope. Looks like Larsen must have stepped off the planet.

Larsen’s basis of comparison is looking at each release of OS X, adding up what each cost and then comparing it the price of Vista Home Premium. This is really not comparing apples to apples (no pun intended). Vista Home Premium, for example, can’t be used in a domain/AD-based LAN and OS X can. But, the Macalope is willing to spot him that particular point.

He’s not willing to spot him some other assumptions, however. For instance, how many people really bought Cheetah? The Macalope did, but ran it purely experimentally. It frankly was not ready for prime time and shipped so Apple could say that it shipped OS X. Puma was the first usable version (although most people probably didn’t convert until Jaguar shipped). So, a more realistic comparison is to add the price for Puma, Jaguar, Panther and Tiger for a total of $516 U.S.

Vista Home Premium’s suggested retail price is $159 (note: the Macalope is using suggested retail prices for both operating systems instead of Larsen’s trick of using suggested retail prices for OS X and discounted prices for Vista). If you’re still stupid enough to believe Larsen’s thesis that it’s not worth something to get a feature sooner rather than later then OS X is about 3 times more expensive than Windows. On planet Stupid.

So, advantage Windows!

Well, no.

If not having features to actually use is somehow itself a feature, then two can play at that game.

Because it’s not like Apple held a gun to your head and forced you to upgrade. You could have simply bought Puma (or Jaguar) and not upgraded again until Tiger. Then OS X is only 1.6 times as expensive as Windows. Or, you could have not bought anything and simply continued to use OS 9.2! Or 8.5! Or 7.1! Or a slide rule with the Mac OS smiley face drawn on it!

Advantage Mac!

Conversely, by Larsen’s logic Microsoft could never release another version of Windows again and be infinitely more cost-effective than the Mac!

Advantage Windows!


Do the people at the Test Bed know that if they don’t have any good material they can just not post that day?

A few moments with the Macalope

The Macalope was interviewed by Apple Matters – you can read it here.

No link for you!

The Macalope has been both chastised for linking to silly pundits looking to enjoy ill-gotten hits by senselessly bashing the Mac and for not linking to them and allowing readers to decide for themselves.

But if there’s one silly pundit who does not under any circumstances deserve a link, it’s John Dvorak. He’s already admitted on camera that he does it deliberately, so no link for John. Mr. Gruber has already covered Dvorak’s weird personal phobias (and he provides a link if you want to read the piece yourself), so let’s look at some other incendiary quotes from his piece ostensibly arguing Linux stands to make some gains on Vista.

You can tell he’s just out to rile Mac users from the get-go.

From what I can tell, the Mac community likes Vista more than the PC community.

Wha-huh? You may be mistaking lack of concern for praise, John, because, frankly, we’re kind of over Windows.

From there Dvorak slides into a bunch of silly “PC users are from Mars, Mac users are from Venus” crap that makes it apparent he hasn’t laid hands on a Mac since the early 1990s and is simply recycling the same material he used to put on the back page of MacUser magazine.

Really, just how right-brained is the Unix system structure, John?

When it comes to the Apple-versus-PC battle, one oft-neglected discussion is that the majority of people do not like Macs. Get over it, it’s true.

Well, actually, the Macalope would note that the majority of people have not even used a Mac, but for the sake of argument, he’ll concede the point. They’ve at least chosen the PC over the Mac and maybe you can define that as “liking” it more.

But why don’t they “like” Macs?

They don’t like them because they don’t have the breadth of applications that are available on the PC (particularly games), they have traditionally been harder to find (the Apple Store is changing that), you can’t buy really cheap(ly made) Macs and because they’re just used to using Windows at work. Dvorak seems to be implying that people prefer the Windows interface and for most people (but not all people) it’s not that at all. They may be used to the Windows interface, but that doesn’t mean that if they were able to look at the two objectively they wouldn’t prefer the Mac.

And there is the much-discussed odd nature of the fringe Mac users who are cultlike and often psycho in their behavior: They see the machine as an extension of themselves and defend it from criticism with an unpleasant vehemence.

As opposed to those who criticize it with an unpleasant vehemence and profit in doing so. Look, any time someone likes something quite a lot, they tend to defend it. How is that more bizarre than conducting a 15-year editorial campaign against a minority platform?

If Dvorak were at least trying to form a legitimate argument against the Mac — and you can form a legitimate argument against the Mac, the Macalope has already made a better one than Dvorak did — it would be one thing, but we already know he’s just whacking at the hornets’ nest hoping to stir up some hits because he’s told us right to the camera that that’s his shtick.

This article is a twofer of linky goodness for Dvorak. He get hits from the Linux community by being a big-name columnist praising the operating system and he gets hits from the Apple community by — inexplicably — blaming the shortcomings of Vista on the Macintosh.


If you listen closely, you can still hear the echo of the girlish squeal of delight he emitted upon dreaming up this twisted feat of logic.

If Vista has a tough row to hoe in convincing Windows users to upgrade it’s because:

  1. Microsoft left its users on XP for five years instead of providing incremental upgrades to ease the transition.
  2. To “enjoy” the Aero glass interface elements, many users will have to upgrade their hardware.
  3. Microsoft is offering so many versions of Vista you need a wizard to determine which one you should buy.
  4. The thing is DRM-ed out the yin-yang.
  5. It’s simply getting reviewed poorly.

The Linux Foundation is an attempt to solve some of the problems with Linux and make it a better desktop alternative. Hopefully will pay off, but it’s not going to happen during the Vista introduction.

No, the biggest threat to Vista currently is the Mac and Dvorak knows that. His absurd attempt to blame a potentially lackluster Vista rollout on Apple is just another in a long string of his annoying attempts to use Mac users.

It’s way past time we stopped playing along.

The Peter Principle

Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader provides today’s object lesson in why an MBA may be a tremendous waste of your time.

Fader is asked his opinion of the iPhone, the AppleTV and Steve Jobs and manages to get just about everything wrong.

He even breaks out our old friend, Artie MacStrawman.

Pete Mortensen and innerdaemon do a good job of deconstructing much of Fader’s absurd analysis, but the Macalope loves a good piling on, so he’ll try to hit some points they declined to.

I think that when this phone actually hits the market, some of the grand visions of Steve Jobs has as well as some of the Apple zealots are going to be rather disappointed.

Use of the term “Apple zealots” should automatically disqualify you as an impartial judge of the company, let alone passing yourself off as someone competent enough to be teaching marketing to anyone other than members of the Microsoft management training program.

In fairness, it’s quite possible that Fader got his ass kicked by some Mac users back in grade school and has never gotten over it. If that is the case, the Macalope would like to apologize to Fader on behalf of Mac users everywhere.

Asked if $500 is too high for the iPhone, Fader says:

Well it’s not going to be too high for the first few hundred thousand people who just have to have it. You can charge them anything and they’ll pay anything.

Ah, those must be those craaaaazy Apple zealots! Of course we’ll pay anything! We’re Steve Jobs’ butt monkeys!


Please. This kind of childish crap can be refuted with two words: G4 Cube.

Also, while it’s not at the same level, the Macalope would like to point out the time when we came together as a community and stood up and said “No!” to iPod socks.

But for the mass market, if they really want to create something that is anywhere close to what the iPod did, it is very expensive.

Right you are, Petey. Because it’s not like the original iPod was considered too expensive.

Wait, what?

Not to mention that Fader’s concern seems rather foolish with today’s revelation that the $500 will include 18 months of service as AT&T attempts to go for the market share gold. [Scratch that. AT&T sez no. (link via Daring Fireball and Jared Rice in comments).]

And, I think on the feature side, it doesn’t really have that many features.

Are we talking about the same phone? The one that’s an iPod, a phone and a breakthrough internet communications device? The phone with a full web browser? That phone?

Did you see that interface? That’s a feature. A feature you will use every single time you touch the phone. And it’s a feature none of the other phones have.

The problem with Fader’s analysis of “features” is he’s looking at some checklist he’s thrown together of “features” such as “upgradeable memory” and “removable battery” and “FM tuner” and, well, golly, the iPhone don’t got none o’ those.

Well, yes, dumbass, that’s going to happen when you just count “features” of other phones (many of which no one will give a crap about when they see the iPhone’s interface) and don’t count features of the iPhone that are less tangible.

As an example, which of these two features are more important to you?

  1. An FM tuner.
  2. The ability to just guess how something works and be right about 99% of the time.

The Macalope’s thinking #2 is just a tad more important, is not on Fader’s list of “features” and will be one of the big differentiating factors bewteen the iPhone and pretty much every other phone on the market.

On Steve Jobs, Fader says:

He’s a brilliant man but he’s of course very mercurial…

Of course! He must be! Someone wrote it on the bathroom wall at CES!

…he’s unpredictable and he’s very private.

“Unpredictable”? Really? Then why is Fake Steve so dead-on all the time? Jobs is, actually, fairly predictable. If you have enough imagination.

As far as I know there were no announcements about the Mac. That really is the bread and butter of the company.

Actually, no, it’s not really, love chunks. The iPod generated about 48% of the company’s revenue in the last quarter compared to 43% from Mac products.

And it’s a signal that they’re not going to be developing or supporting it as much as they used to.

That is simply a load of crap. While the iPod is overtaking the Mac as Apple’s most prominent product, the fact is that Steve Jobs chose to roll out the iPhone in dramatic fashion and that says nothing about the company’s support for the Mac.

How is it that Microsoft can go five years without a major update to Windows and Jobs fails to devote time to the Mac — after devoting almost all of his WWDC keynote to it just five months ago — and Apple’s suddenly dropping the Mac?

The interview is really an indictment of Wharton’s marketing department and if the Macalope were dean he’d call up Knowledge@Wharton and have them pull the thing immediately.

Jackassery, thy name is Enderle

Rob Enderle, folks (tip o’ the antlers to Les Posen).

Let’s do this thing.

Rob predicts a bad year for Apple (when has he not?) and thinks the iPhone’s not going to help.

It comes in at a nosebleed price…

It is on the high end, but did you see the interface on that thing? Holy crap.

…it has really lousy estimated battery life…

Well, it’s all relative, isn’t it? What other combination video iPod, cell phone and computer with a robust web browser, email client and media management system has a better battery life?

Oh, that’s right…

…it uses the aging 2.5G wireless network…

Aging and ubiquitous.

…and both the hardware and the OS on it are relatively new — read probably buggy.

Well, sure. There are going to be bugs at first.

Is that all you got, Rob?

Sadly, no.

Because the iPhone is still months off, many who might have otherwise purchased an iPod in the first half of the year will likely hold and wait to see this thing before they purchase.

When they will purchase either an iPod or an iPhone. So some sales may get deferred, but not lost.

But what are they waiting for, exactly? The iPod part is the known quantity. It’s the phone part people might be unsure of. If anything the Macalope thinks people are going to hold off on their phone purchases.

Now, readers, you may want to wrap an Ace bandage or some cellophane around your head before you read the next paragraph, just to keep it from exploding.

That should put a drag on iPod sales on top of what typically comes after a really good quarter — and its fourth quarter 2006 was a really good quarter. A lot of folks have new iPods as a result, and these people won’t be buying new ones anytime soon.


Yes, this is Rob Enderle’s special alchemy: spinning good news for Apple as bad news for Apple. How does he do it?!

But, congratulations, Rob. You’ve discovered cyclicality.

Even if you have completely misunderstood it.

In addition, this is Vista launch. Regardless of whether folks flock to Vista, the massive marketing campaign will probably drown out anything Apple does and make it difficult to maintain sales.

Just like CES drowned out Macworld.

And, remember, when you’re trying to make a point it’s only necessary to discuss how one company’s initial release of something will have bugs.

Oh, and that company’s name should always be “Apple.”

If the company had rolled out Leopard or some new hardware to fight back with at MacWorld [sic], it might have held on. Such was not the case, though, and that means Apple will have an aging operating system on aging hardware that probably won’t get the needed refresh until mid-year if Apple hits it dates — and given the lack of Leopard content at MacWorld [sic], the company probably won’t hit its dates.

“It might have held on”? Right. Someone cue Ed Harris yelling at Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in The Abyss.

And “aging operating system”? Tiger will be all of 2 when Leopard is released. How old is XP again?

It’s very clear that the lack of Leopard content at Macworld (still a small “w”, thank you very much!) was an effort to drum up the iPhone, not to disrespect the Mac.

But, shh. Rob’s just gettin’ rollin’ now. Right over a cliff.

Speculation that Steve Jobs will take a leave of absence is continuing to spread.

Rob, the unsubstantiated rumor you link to was from before the keynote and was widely speculated to have been spread by jackasses looking to influence Apple’s stock price so they could buy low and sell high. Your decision to include it in your supposedly serious analysis is why you are the laughing stock of the Apple community.

Even if he doesn’t leave to fight the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), the distraction the broadening investigation is going to have on the executive staff and board will be a huge problem.

Not according to several Wall Street analysts who may yet prove wrong but whose opinions the Macalope would take over yours on topics ranging from “Apple, Inc.” to “how to spell ‘Enderle’”.

There is nothing like going to court against the strongest networking and the strongest telecom hardware company at the same time to keep folks distracted from what they otherwise should be doing.

Since when does Apple’s legal team design or market its products? And, you know, it’s not exactly like Apple’s never been sued before. The “iPhone” spat may end up being expensive and the company may take it on anyway for branding continuity, but no matter what the Apple phone is called when it’s released, it will still smell as awesome.

Apple is clearly not going away — but this year, compared to last, will be really nasty for the company.

Well, actually, the Macalope expects that this year may be harder than last year. But “really nasty”? You wish.

Dear Fortune's David Kirkpatrick…

The Macalope has read your piece entitled Windows on the Mac changes everything and he wonders what you were drinking last night that you woke up this morning and decided that history begins right now.

At MacWorld [sic], a little company called Parallels won awards for the latest version of its hit product, which enables you to run both operating systems at the same time on a Macintosh. It’s a major breakthrough.

First of all, it’s “Macworld.” Small “w”.

Second, it was a major breakthrough… about thirteen years ago. Sure, it’s a hell of a lot faster now that Apple’s on Intel, but let’s give Insignia, Connectix and OrangePC some props, shall we?

Both companies’ products specifically aimed at the Mac will remain self-consciously crippled in order to satisfy Apple’s demands that users not be encouraged to put Mac OS on a non-Apple machine. But pressures seem to be building in a way that Apple and Jobs will increasingly have a hard time controlling.

Hard != impossible.

Even if Apple didn’t somehow use Intel’s Trusted Computing technology to make running OS X on non-Apple hardware harder [UPDATE: In response to several commenters, yes, the Macalope knows Apple does not currently use Trusted Computing, his point was simply that that could be one way to control the hardware that OS X runs on. There is no evidence that they would even do this, however.] and even if it didn’t take legal action against those who enable it, it can simply not support it. Then it would be run by a smattering of hackers and geeks who probably aren’t Apple customers anyway. Any business, school or home user would find the proposition a non-starter because here’s how a support call would go:

Apple: Hello, Apple support.

Dimwit using OS X on a Dell: Hi, I’m having a problem printing.

Apple: OK. Can you tell me what version of the operating system and what Mac you’re using?

Dimwit using OS X on a Dell: I’m running 10.4 on a Dell Dimension.

Apple: (click)

Dimwit using OS X on a Dell: Hello? Hello?

Maybe what’s confused you, Dave, is that Michael Dell is not the lathe of heaven. His dreams do not become reality.

The pressures are building on Steve Jobs. Eventually, as virtualization improves, it will prove harder and harder not to accede to Dell and others who want to sell his software in different ways.

Right. Please explain how that statement is different than this one the Macalope just made up:

As David Kirkpatrick’s stalking of Beyoncé Knowles becomes more belligerent, it will prove harder and harder for her not to accede to his desire to have sex with her.

Yes, VMWare and Parallels would love to sell OS X virtualization for non-Apple hardware and, yes, Dell would love to sell hardware that ran OS X and drive Apple out of the hardware business.

But why, Dave, would it be in Apple’s interest to simply hand its hardware business over to these companies? It makes sense for them, but it doesn’t make sense for Apple.

Apple makes the iPod, the Mac and soon the iPhone. All of these platforms are closed to varying degrees because that’s Apple’s business model. If you took a few minutes to pull your head out of your ass, you might have heard that somewhere.

Silly pundits everywhere would like to see Apple open these platforms up for no other reason than it would satisfy their desire to report a big story in the industry. As Apple is not insane it’s currently just a useful tool to try to bash the company over the head with and create a controversy out of something that’s more important to the pundit class than it is to the user base.

So, Dave, if we’re going to be forced to endure your stilted technology industry fan fiction, at least give your main character some motivation.

The Macalope

Trouble squirting?

Well, Zune users, it might be because Universal and Sony won’t allow what amounts to 40-50% of songs available for the Zune to be squirted (antler tip to Daring Fireball for the link).

Let’s say this out loud.

They won’t let you send a song to someone to be played all of three times before they’re prompted to buy it.

You might want to cancel your Zune bukkake party.

I've tried nothing and I'm all out of ideas!

With the increasing popularity of the Mac, whether it’s from Apple’s “Get a Mac” ads or Microsoft’s own failings, there’s been a whole new cottage industry developing.

The Macalope is talking, of course, about the faux switcher.

What’s a faux switcher, you ask? (You’re always so helpful when the Macalope wants to engage in exposition! Thanks!)

A faux switcher is someone who has absolutely no intention of switching but writes a piece pretending to have considered it and lists their extremely lame and/or lazy excuses for not.

You may remember that lawyer fellow a few weeks back, but this week’s entrant into the Faux Switcher Olympics is one Matt Hartley at OSWeekly.

Why Apple Lost Me As A Potential User.

I’d like to go on record and say that I really don’t have anything against Apple whatsoever.

Sure you don’t, Matt. Why would we think that?

My better half is a Mac fan times twenty and uses it with great joy each day. She uses a Mini and PowerBook of the PowerPC variety.

Well, the Macalope hopes it’s of the PowerPC variety, otherwise she’s using a laptop that’s over ten years old.

Now, it seems Matt was all set to buy a Mac (sure, Matt) until a friend asked for some help installing the trial version of Office on his new MacBook.

Wait, what?

My task was to get the trial version of MS Office installed so that my friend could get caught up on a few things before finally buying a copy of Office a few days later.

Wait, Matt…

What a nightmare that was!

Stop. Stop.

First off, Matt, a nightmare is being chased by dead relatives reanimated as killer zombies, not failure to complete a simple drag-and-drop operation, exclamation marks not withstanding.

Second, the Macalope feels compelled to point out that the MacBook comes with a trial version of Office already installed.

This is not starting well, Matt.

Firefox and software installations, talk about a walk on the wild side!

Again with the exclamation marks! What! Is! Up! With! That?!

This dragging of an application to the dock and then to the applications folder is not something that I found to be all that intuitive.



Really? Because…


Actually, the instructions you link to show that it’s the other way around — drag it to the Applications folder and then to the dock — so maybe it’s a reading comprehension problem.

Have you tried Hooked on Phonics?

To be honest, I’m surprised that more converts over the Mac don’t find this a little bit strange. Perhaps it’s just me?

Yes. It’s just you.

So, Matt, you say you had a couple of problems even you admit are probably not Apple’s fault and then can’t get over the idea of dragging and dropping an application to install it.

Is the Macalope clear on that?

Is your wife there? Can you put her on the phone? Because… damn, woman.

Macs: Great for Those Who Prefer the UI.

Not so great for those who prefer to have their temperature taken rectally.

Or something. Frankly, the Macalope’s still not sure what his real complaint is other than that he’s just never used a Mac before.

And there’s not much Apple can do about that, now, is there?

As for me, you couldn’t get me to use one again if you paid me.

Hey, fine with us, Matt. If you prefer to stay ignorant of the simplest of tasks and would rather click through an extensive installation process than doing a drag and drop, that’s your choice.

We do ask, however, that you stop writing about the Mac.


…”demand” is probably a better word.


Just knock it off.

Fans of the Simpsons will recognize the title.