A couple of days ago, I decided to conduct an experiment. For one week, I’d use my PC as my main machine, rather than my Mac. So I found applications that paralleled the ones I use on the Mac. I even swapped over the monitors, so I could use the luscious 21in Sony with the PC and the drab 17in Mitubishi with the Mac.
The result is conclusive: After two days, I want my Mac back!
Now don’t get me wrong. Windows XP is nice enough. The applications are nice enough. The only area where I had a real problem was with Bluetooth, as I simply couldn’t connect a brand new Sony Ericsson T610 to the PC. No, it’s the little things, the almost-indefinable things that really annoy. It’s the way it all looks so much less polished than the Mac. Even Microsoft’s own applications feel somehow… corporate.
So I’m spending a few minutes now swapping things back again. I couldn’t last seven days with a PC – I could barely last two. Experiment over.
From The Register
“It’s also clear that the RIAA has no leniency for the less well off in society. Brianna happened to live in a New York Housing Authority apartment, which provides safe, affordable housing to low- and moderate-income families. The music label executives are struggling to pay the rent on their penthouse apartments because of file-trading, so why cut the lower class some slack? We all have needs.”
Yeah, of course a 12 year old would have bought $2000′s worth of music. Anyone else think that Cary Sherman ought to be fired for this?
Douglas Rushkoff points at a Washington Poststory on how a hospital study that showed conclusively last year that MDMA caused brain damage in fact used methamphetamine – speed – which anyone with half a brain knows really DOES cause cabbaging.
Russell Beattie writes about how Microsoft killed Be. But it didn’t. Be failed ultimately because of bad business decisions by its executive team.
First up, there was not realising that a next-generation operating system with Jean Louis Gassee was worth only $125 million to Apple, not $200 million. The fact that Gil Amelio went on to decide that a NeXT-generation operating system with Steve Jobs attached was worth $425 million must have punctured Gassee’s ego somewhat.
Second, there was the decision to effectively abandon development of Be OS for PowerPC. Although at the time Be blamed Apple, claiming it wouldn’t give it technical information on the Power Mac G3, this never looked like a viable excuse. At the same time, the PowerPC linux developers were making the jump to G3, with no more assistance than standard developer registration. What’s more, the decision to kill off PowerPC development meant that Be was now going head to head with Microsoft in the operating systems market. If you had a choice of competitors, who would you go for? Apple, which has a reputation for fumbling the ball, or Microsoft, which has a reputation of relentlessly grinding foes into the dust?
The third bad call was the switch to being an Internet appliance company, in an attempt to dodge the hail of bullets from Redmond. Bad move. There is no Internet appliance market, never has been, and never will be.
I very much doubt that Microsoft actually leaned on any hardware vendors not to include Be, because I very much doubt that any hardware vendors seriously considered included Be OS. What’s more, even if they had included it, it’s very likely Be would have gone out of business anyway, as it would have run out of cash long before reaching the kind of critical mass it would have needed to survive. the only business models that support making money from an OS are bundling with hardware (the Apple model), dominating the market (the Microsoft model) or paying nothing for development (the Linux model). Be, which tried all of these in its time, switched strategy too often to ever be a success.
David Coursey writes about pen input and machine translation, and the implications of the two combined. The Chinese, understandably, are very happy to use pen rather than keyboard – and when you add machine translation and IM into the mix, you get some interesting communications changes.
I really hope there’s an Arabic version too. Nothing could be better for the world at the moment than for the west to start chatting via IM to the Middle East.
As you might guess, I’m primarily a Mac user. I love Mac OS X, which makes Windows XP (not a bad operating system) look like something put together by someone using only Sinclair Basic. My PC gets used for two things – work, when I need to do cross platform stuff, and games, where the Mac has always sucked.
Yet at the moment, i simply couldn’t recommend a desktop consumer Mac to anyone, because Apple has again got into the habit of pricing its consumer products at levels that border on insane. Take a look at the new high-end iMac, introduced today. It’s a lovely machine, with a 1.25GHz G4, 512Mb of RAM, DVD writer, and Bluetooth and Airport built-in. It’s also, including VAT, £1712. Now take a trip to Dell’s web site, and spec out a similar machine. In five minutes, I built a Dimension 2400 with 2.2GHz Pentium 4, 17in LCD, DVD writer, and just about everything else (no Bluetooth, which could be added for about £30) for almost exactly £600 less. Yes, the iMac is nicer – but £600 nicer?
The next gizmo finding its way into my pocket is likely to be the Treo 600, and there’s a nice piece about it at BargainPDA.com. The comments, incidentally, show up some of the interesting distinctions between the US and worldwide phone markets. CDMA providers, because they use phones dedicated to a particular provider rather than the GSM SIM card system, tend to lock users in to a particular service and phone – discouraging you from switching. It also discourages you from upgrading your phone as often, which means you don’t get the same kind of feverish upgrade culture where everyone has to have the latest phone – the phone as appliance and lifestyle accessory, rather than technology.
There’s an interesting two-piece over at Tabula PC about why Apple products are regarded as cool, while PC products – and in particular, the Tablet PC – aren’t. The main thrust of it is that while tablets and PCs focus on technology, Apple has successfully turned its products into appliances – products that are easy to use and look good – while PCs remain simply ugly. The key is that the first wave of Tablet PCs focussed on the traditional PC user, corporates, and looked like they were designed for boring men in beige suits.
The most interesting Tablet PC remains Microsoft’s original prototype, for the reason that Microsoft wasn’t bound by the terrible ideas on marketing that the likes of Compaq and Toshiba are. It’s no surprise that after all this time, the only company that can make PCs that look like appliances rather than water coolers is Sony – and its absence from the Tablet market is probably one of the reasons why that market is currently so dull.
Inspired by ravings from Yoz, Phil, Quinn and probably Danny, I took at look at Bloglines this morning. Bloglines is an RSS aggregator which, because it’s web-based, gives you the freedom to have access to your daily reading from any machine. On the surface, this is a solution to a problem that I have, which is keeping my news reading in sync over two machines, but in practice, I hated it.
My initial impression after registering was simply “urgh”. I would be being kind if I said that the interface had all the benefits of simplicity. In reality, it’s so simple that it borders on the primitive. It’s like something from the stone ages of the web. Yes, it obeys all the usability maxims – you can certainly get to what you want to do fast – but the key thing about any application is that it should engage you, make you want to use it, not look like something your accountant would code.
Then there’s the features – or rather, lack of them. It reads RSS. That’s it. There’s no fancy community stuff, no posting to blogs, no search, nothing – in short, none of the features that could easily be done that would make it worth using.
So I won’t be giving up NetNewsWire any time soon. As a solution to the techno-nomad who never uses the same machine twice Bloglines is bare-able. But for anyone else? Forget it.