Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Ok Apple.. enough…

November 21, 2007

I don’t know about you, but the last two Apple ads I’ve seen on TV (the Mac vs PC thing) are really starting to annoy me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really like Microsoft. But I’ve always been an ‘underdog’ kind of guy – with Linux being my perennial hero of course ;). Even though in reality Microsoft is Goliath to Apple’s David, these commercials leave me feeling the opposite lately.

And it’s not just the underdog sympathy thing either. It’s the smugness of the Mac guy. It almost leaves me wondering whether all Mac users are somewhat smug. Of course the Mac users I know are no different than most Windows and Linux users I know. But if I were a typical mainstream PC user, I’d start to feel a little defensive about my current Windows PC when confronted with this barrage of ads lately. They were funny to start with but I’m wondering whether anyone else thinks they’re losing their effectiveness and run the risk of backfiring.

Besides, they’ve got a UI to be proud of and a system that works. Why not highlight the benefits of actually using a Mac rather than a Windows PC? And do it without feeling bad for the other guy. They do it with their iPod advertising.

Or even better yet, show a Mac user that’s not some grungy college grad or turtleneck wearing artsy designer type. I think they’ve already tapped that market anyway. Shouldn’t they now be going after the minivan driving moms and dads that populate the mainstream? If you’re trying to capture more of the mainstream market, get a likeable, intelligent celebrity as a spokesperson.  Not Mariah Carey or K-Fed…  but someone like Matt Damon, or Julianne Moore.

There’s a million possibilities.. all of which are likely better and friendlier than a smartass grunge grad delighting in the misfortune of an overweight fat guy in a suit. Poor guy.

Blogged with Flock

Microsoft, Apple and the inevitability of openness

September 25, 2007

Tom Raftery thinks that Microsoft will Open Source Windows (or die!). While I agree with Tom that open source is a better model in a lot of ways, I’m not sure if any of them appeal to Redmond.

I don’t think Microsoft will ever open-source Windows. Not because it wouldn’t make for a faster moving, better product, but it forces Microsoft to lose something they hold quite dearly… control. Interestingly, Apple has banked on ‘control’ even more heavily and are reaping rewards from it (for now anyway).

Tom writes about the benefits of open source:

“With open source development, you are getting the “Wisdom of Crowds” –
the more people involved in the development, the better the end-result”

There are a *lot* of people who would disagree with that statement, although I’m not necessarily one of them. One of the problems with open source development is the scattering of resources and lack of focus. In my opinion it is a good thing to have a BDFL (benevolent dictator for life) type of arrangement within an open source project. Design by committee doesn’t always work too well when it comes to making a better product for the consumer. You need to have someone with focus (like Mr. Jobs at Apple), but without all the pomp and circumstance.

It is interesting to watch the Apple model. They try to lock you in at
every step. And while that keeps me away from Apple, I have to say, it
makes things work a lot smoother for them. They design software for
their device and nothing else. They have a focused design philosophy
which is envied by a lot of people. Is it always the best design? Not
in my opinion. But it does make for consistency.

One point Tom makes that I’ve always felt is more powerful than a lot of people realize is:

“In open source projects the code is written by people who self-select for jobs they have an interest/skillset in”

You have people who are doing things because they enjoy them. They’re specialists by default. Imagine having your workplace filled by people who all want to be there. Who all want to make the best stuff they can. This is what can make for a better product. It also makes for stubborn people who won’t just give up. That is why open-source is not going away any time soon.

I think the growth of the open-source philosophy is inevitable. Apple can try as it might to produce finely designed and overpriced products that lock you into their system. Microsoft can keep heading down the road to forced upgrades that nobody really wants or needs. There is simply nothing compelling to me about either company’s products. But still open-source marches on. And not just on the Linux front. Look at Google. Look at OpenOffice. Look at Firefox. Look at Flickr. It ain’t going away, and it ain’t slowing down. And neither Redmond, nor Cupertino can stop it.

While I don’t think Microsoft will open-source their OS, they had better wake up and do something soon before they become even more irrelevant.

Blogged with Flock

Job’s Thoughts on DRM

February 6, 2007

Interesting posting about DRM and music by Steve Jobs today. While I agree with much of what he says, I’m not so sure about:

“Perhaps those unhappy with the current situation should redirect their energies towards persuading the music companies to sell their music DRM-free.”

Coming from the principal of a company that controls 80 odd percent of the personal digital music player market, it seems like he himself is indeed situated in a good spot to exert pressure on the big four music companies.

About the DRM-free alternative, he writes:

“This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. “

He clearly forgot the ending to that statement: ‘… if we weren’t making millions with the status quo.’.

His posting is almost successful at putting Apple onside with DRM-free music (and against DRM) but then ends up putting the onus on everybody else to somehow exert pressure.

Why don’t we exert the pressure on ALL OF THEM by supporting things like Creative Commons and Magnatune instead.