Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why I Hate Apple

The search and seizure at the home of the Gizmodo reporter that broke the lost iPhone prototype story and the Jobsian control over all content are just the two most recent examples of why I hate Apple. For years, the necessity of paying a lot more money for underperforming hardware and a limited application suite to get the Mac OS was enough to keep me away from Apple, but it didn't make me hate them. The early iPod with their requirements for using Apple proprietary software and the iStore were annoying and kept me away as there were perfectly good, less expensive mp3 players out there without that baggage. It was really during the DRM debates that dislike of Apple turned into active hatred - the Jobsian flip-flopping and disengenuousness on the subject while continuing to create the most controlled computing/entertainment environment in the world. Sorry, but Macland just feels more and more like some combination of Oceania and the tightly controlled simulated reality of The Matrix and no, the irony of the first half of that equation is hardly lost on me.

Apple's real strong suit in the beginning was as a tool for creative people - it truly did have a superior environment for music development, video editing and graphic design. But it's success of the last decade had been entirely around consumption - iPod/iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iEtc - and with the control they exert on what can be consumed via their devices and the lock-in that they engender. I've got nothing against consumption, but I have no interest in being told what I can't consume.

Admittedly, the final and possibly largest factor is the Cult of Mac. I have a number of dear friends (some of you probably reading this) that have succumbed. If you don't have an Apple logo tat, you've at least thought seriously about it. In addition to having gone through a succession of iPods and MacBooks, you probably had your iPad within the first week it was available, despite already having an iPhone and a MacBook Air. If you've read this far, you're likely not going to try to argue with me - instead you'll sadly shake your head because I "just don't get it" (but if I'd just try a MacBook for a week, I'd never use anything else). I'm a big enough person to admit the siren call of "It just works" can be pretty seductive after an hour of trying to install a bit of software in the Windows world (much less a Linux box) but I will persevere.

Although I'm thinking about buying an iPad for Jeannette...


Sunday, April 25, 2010

True-believer Syndrome

My best bud Lex pointed me to an interesting discussion on the term "epistemic closure", co-opted (rather than coined) by Julian Sanchez with some good commentary from others here and here. Very worthwhile reading!

Personally, I've been thinking more in the last few days about the apparent lack of cognitive dissonance among the Tea Partiers and their fellow travelers, who all, like Lewis Carroll's White Queen, seem to be able to believe "six impossible things before breakfast". Or certainly at least six totally contradictory things, without breaking a sweat. Quite probably, it is the "believe" aspect of that which makes it possible - who cares about facts? Unfortunately because that faith seems to extend from religious faith to faith in Fox News, there's really no way to argue with them - no way to point out that what they said yesterday about that thing directly contradicts what they're saying now about this thing. I can find no coherent narrative to this at all.

What makes this even worse is the fact that the people they have faith in are openly mocking them, yet still they believe. Glenn Beck can tell them point blank that he's a "rodeo clown" and doesn't care about politics, yet they still hang on every word. Rush can tell people that he's just an entertainer, yet the dittoheads repeat every utterance as some new gospel. True-believer syndrome, indeed.