Did everyone at PCWorld take their stupid pills today?

Now PCWorld’s Robert Strohmeyer says Safari download stat is pure hype.

I know I’m cruisin’ for some abusin’ at the hands of the Mac fanatics today…

Ha-ha! They are wacky when you’re an incredible jerk, aren’t they?! But it’s not only them, Bob. The 1950s called and they said it’s high time you stop talkin’ like ‘dat. And also they said you should sit on it, Potsie.

This time, all the major tech outlets are credulously reporting on this morning’s press release from Apple, which heralds the runaway success of Safari 4 on the basis of 11 million downloads in three days.

Now, I’m not doubting Apple’s numbers.

Ah, so you just don’t know the meaning of the word “credulously” then. Got it.

But as someone with three Macs at home, I couldn’t help but notice that Apple pushed Safari 4 out as an automatic update to all of its users this week.

Bzzt. It’s not an “automatic update”. If it were an “automatic update”, people would be rightly up in arms because Apple overwrote their browser without asking. It’s a update notification. The user gets to decide whether or not to install it.

Which is pretty much exactly like what Microsoft and even Firefox do. So what’s your point again?

An informal poll of my friends and colleagues reveals a whole lot of the same. Got the update dialog, downloaded and installed it, don’t intend to use it.

So so far we’ve determined you don’t know what “credulously” means and you don’t know what “automatic” means. Looks like someone needs to get a word-a-day calendar for Christmas.

What is at issue is the ridiculously thin claim that the latest Safari is a wild success on the basis that Apple basically pushed it out to everyone it possibly could, whether they wanted it or not.




What is it about this relatively simple process that’s so confusing, Bob? Software manufacturer notifies user an update is available, user decides whether or not to download and install it.

Unless you’re just saying that people who have Safari installed — including, apparently, you — are incapable of making binary decisions on their own. That’s an interesting theory, but one that doesn’t paint you in a very good light.

The one person the Macalope knows who might fall into this category is Mrs. Macalope. But her default setting is “no”. Every time the software update window appears she ignores it. It sits there bouncing away in the Dock and somehow she manages to ignore it. Meanwhile, the Macalope, sitting next to her on the couch CAN SEE NOTHING BUT THE BOUNCING ICON IN MRS. MACALOPE’S DOCK. OH, MY GOD! WHEN IS SHE GOING TO CLICK ON THAT AND AT LEAST MAKE IT STOP BOUNCING?! CAN’T SHE SEE IT?! HAS SHE LOST HER PERIPHERAL VISION?! DID SHE HAVE A STROKE?! SHOULD THE MACALOPE RUSH HER TO THE HOSPITAL?! AFTER DOWNLOADING AND INSTALLING THE UPDATE?!

But even she’s making a decision — she’s choosing to ignore it. How she does that for an entire episode of Weeds, the Macalope has no idea, but she does.

This very clearly echoes the last big Safari update, which Apple also pushed to unsuspecting users through its update tool.

Wrong again! Good Lord, it’s like the only thing you got right in this pointless rant was your name (if you even are Robert Strohmeyer).

That was an instance of Apple including new software (i.e. Safari) for users that only had iTunes or QuickTime installed. That was wrong and the company shouldn’t have done it. But the Safari download statistic is just as valid as the download statistics for any other browser. Every single one lets the user know there’s an update and asks them if they want to download it. If not, then the vendor is doing it wrong.

Like you in this piece.

Gah. Look, Strohmeyer may be a very nice guy and he may legitimately think he’s got a point here, but two trolltastic pieces in one day, PCWorld? You’re on notice.

Trackbacks Comments
  • Tim:

    Some interesting points here. But doesn’t Software Update (at least in Leopard) automatically download files, and then present the user with only the choice of whether to install or discard them? I wonder if Apple might still be counting downloads that never make it to installation.

  • Matt:

    Wow, a simple concept that seems difficult for him to grasp.

    But what I really wanted to say is that Mrs. Matt ALSO IGNORES THE BOUNCING ICON. “But I thought it would go away” AAAAGGGG JUST CLICK IT AND IT WILL STOP BOUNCING! BUT RUN THE UPDATE ANYWAY.

    So I feel your pain.

  • Splashman:

    In this case, I’m undecided: does Occam’s Razor dictate an explanation of stupidity, or trolling?

  • Splashman:

    (I’m referring both to PC World in general, and Strohmeyer in particular.)

    (And I’m leaning toward ‘trolling.’)

  • MRW:

    There is an option in the Software Update Preference Pane in System Preferences to “Download important updates automatically – You will be notified when the updates are ready to be installed”. I believe the default setting is to have this option unchecked, it’s certainly that way on my machine and I’m on 10.5.7.

  • Dan:


    Best line of the article, made me laugh heartily.

    Tim has a good point about automatic downloads, which queue up for future installation approval. Software Update’s toggle for this reads: “Download important updates automatically.” The question becomes, does Apple consider Safari 4 and “important” update, thus granting automatic download when detected by SWU? It’s hard to guess how many machines are finding and downloading “important” updates over a three day period, so it’s unlikely that we could draw any useful conclusions after determining the answer to the above question.

    As an aside to Splashman: I think Occam’s Razor indicates a case of stupidity. Willful trolling requires slightly more intelligence.

  • “After”. Classic.

  • sunflower:

    That rag still exists? If it does, people actually read it?

  • Derek:

    MRW is correct. I choose not to check this option. I make the decisions what I will install and when, thanks to Software Update. Sometimes I take my own sweet time before I install an update. It’s designed like this on purpose. Most of us Mac users are smart and Apple knows it. If Apple claims that 11 million downloads have been counted, that’s the truth. Now compare all this to the millions of unknowing Windoze users who got stuck with IE7 automatically a couple of years ago and now are getting stuck with IE8 with no warning at all …

  • Jay:

    Sorry Horny One, but the default setting in 10.5 is to auto-download. 🙁

  • slappy:

    Yes. I think their boss “Microsoft” reminded them that they are PC World. So stop playing nice to Apple stuff. PC is usually associated as a Window PC. It shouldn’t, but hey these are Windows users…. thats the excuse.

  • First of all, Strohmeyer shouldn’t get off because you guys came up with a Marvel No-Prize background story for his rant. If that was his point, he should have said so. He didn’t. Read his piece. He’s assuming it’s the installation Apple’s counting.

    Second, while it works this way on the Mac, it doesn’t appear to work this way on Windows (from what the Macalope can see), which is the bulk of number he has a problem with.

    Third, Firefox downloads updates in the background by default, too (at least as far as the Macalope can tell – he’s looked at two separate machines, one Windows and one Mac and both have it turned on). The Macalope doesn’t have access to a typical IE installation so he can’t tell you about that, but he wouldn’t be surprised if it were the same.

    There is definitely a case to make that none of the statistics should be taken literally, but bashing Apple’s stats without looking at anyone else’s is either carelessness or trolling.

  • Bill:

    As stated above the default setting is “Download IMPORTANT updates automatically”. I have the default checked checked but never has there been a download without me OKing it, Safari 4 wasn’t auto for sure. I wonder what an “important update” is?

  • Ah, that clears up some confusion the Macalope had. He knew that some updates weren’t auto-downloading but didn’t make the distinction.

    Here’s something else he doesn’t get about Strohmeyer’s anecdotes: who downloads an update that forces a reboot when they don’t use the software? Safari 4.0 did force a reboot, didn’t it?

  • DDA:

    First off, I assume the Macalope meant, “That’s *an* interesting theory…”

    IE (at least as far as Windows XP) is in integral part of the OS and so updates are delivered as part of the normal Tuesday (in the US) Microsoft patch update; the default is to download and install updates but I’ve turned that off on my work machine. IE8 *is* currently being pushed by Microsoft but I don’t know if they’ve announced “download” numbers.

    Safari 4.0 is only being offered by one of my three Macs and yes, it is flagged as needing a reboot.

  • Spelling fixed. Thanks.

  • Apparently the number is big enough to attract attention.

  • The Church of Apple:

    “Now compare all this to the millions of unknowing Windoze users who got stuck with IE7 automatically a couple of years ago and now are getting stuck with IE8 with no warning at all …”

    Sadly, they’re probably doing everyone a favor. If you’ve ever had to design a website, you’d understand.

    I don’t know about all this auto-update baloney. I’ve had to go to Apple’s website EVERY time to download it. Except ONCE when I was using the beta.


  • BradI:

    Sir Macalope: everyone missed the point entirely – I however understood! My Mrs. also manages to ignore the bouncing software update icon. I’ve never seen Weeds though. (I laughed hysterically reading the Mrs. Macalope bit.)

    I just have to click that darn thing or I’ll go insane (not that I have to run it of course); my ocd requires that I notice icons that are hopping up and down. It’s like they’re holding their little hands up; but clicking “not now” still satisfies the need to impose “order”… ; – )

  • Grover:

    Oh wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve laughed as hard as I did over the Mrs. Macalope’s ignoring the dock. Whooo boy, that’s good stuff…

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