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The Apple Paradox, Closed Culture & Free-Thinking Fans 945

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the don't-question-jesus dept.
waderoush writes "The secrecy surrounding the expected Apple tablet computer is only the latest example of the company's famously closed and controlling culture. Yet millions of designers, musicians, and other creative professionals love their Apple products, and the Apple brand is almost synonymous with free-thinking creativity. How can a company whose philosophy of information sharing is so at odds with that of most of its customers be so successful? This Xconomy essay explores three possible explanations. 1) Closed innovation, overseen by a guiding genius like Steve Jobs, may be the only way to build such coherent, compelling products. 2) Apple's hardware turns out to be more 'open' than the company intended — Jobs originally wanted to keep third-party apps off the iPhone, for example. 3) Related to #1: customers are pragmatic about quality, and the open source and free software movements haven't produced anything remotely as useful as Mac OS X and the iPhone."
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The Apple Paradox, Closed Culture & Free-Thinking Fans

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  • Incorrect premise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:08AM (#30889266)
    I would argue that most Apple fanboys (the real hardcore ones anyway) only THINK they're "free-thinking." They're original and free-thinking in the same way that hippies thought they were original and free-thinking in the 60's--by acting, dressing, and thinking like every other hippie. Real free-thinkers don't start out with an set ideology, and they certainly don't have a cult leader or product line that they worship.
  • Free-thinking? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:08AM (#30889272)

    Most of the "free-thinkers" who buy Apple products are just hipsters who think it's cool to be different, not people with genuinely "free-thinking" or radical minds.

  • "customers are pragmatic about quality, and the open source and free software movements haven't produced anything remotely as useful as Mac OS X and the iPhone."

    No.. they just created what runs on the them, that's all..
    Meh.

  • Why surprised. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CountBrass (590228) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:11AM (#30889292)
    FOSS is built on top of a closed ecosystem: I'm not aware of many Intel or AMD cpus being FOSS.
  • FOSS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by littlefoo (704485) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:12AM (#30889316)

    "the open source and free software movements haven't produced anything remotely as useful as ... the iPhone"

    I'm not sure whether this is due to the difficulty getting make and gcc to construct things out of plastic, metal and semi-conductors - or a lack of configure options...

    If *only* there were a freely available OS to us on phones that wasn't from Apple - hmmm

  • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:12AM (#30889318)

    And that's why Linux fanboys (the real hardcore ones anyway) are all incredibly unique. You have to meet them all; just meeting one or two doesn't do justice to the rest of the worshippers.

  • Nice Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:13AM (#30889326)

    the open source and free software movements haven't produced anything remotely as useful as Mac OS X and the iPhone

    Many users of Android, Linux, and many other open source products might have some serious disagreements with that statement.

  • Fourth option... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theascended (1228810) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:14AM (#30889328)
    Apple products are trendy and artisans aren't the social outcasts and special snow flakes they think they are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:14AM (#30889332)
    Seriously though, my college aged daughter says the PC we sent off to school with is not good enough. She _needs_ an Mac. When asked why she can't say specifically why a Mac would be a better choice other than "everyone" has one. It's the way the product has been marketed - as a tool for the elite or more discriminating user. Translation, status symbol.
  • Re:Free-thinking? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DinZy (513280) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:15AM (#30889336)

    I agree. This is absurd. I take it the blurb was written by a cult member.

  • AAPL reality check (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:15AM (#30889352) Homepage Journal
    The difference between Apple and say Microsoft, has been that Apple is more like a smooth Vegas hooker taking your money and Microsoft has been more like a crackhead in Atlantic City using a lead pipe.

    Apple, as a publicly traded company, only has one obligation: to make a profit for shareholders. That means doing things like closing off Darwin for developers and totally locking down the App Store to only provide apps friendly to Apple, then they will do it and from a business perspective rightfully so. Of course I'm still gonna break my iPhone because I don't care about five apps on the App Store that make my iphone a flashlight. I need tethering and even more useful apps like blacklisting SMS messages and phone numbers that call me who I don't care for.

    Apple does and gets away with a lot of things that /.'ers get their panties in a wad about when other companies do it. Proprietary formats anyone? Remember how when Microsoft does it it's bad? Apple = good, Microsoft = bad. It's not that simple and it's naive to think it is.

    That being said, I only use Apple products. Apple makes products that work. That's all I ever wanted from my computer and cell phone. They do it, I'm fine with their business and Steve Jobs deserves all the zillions he's worth. Actually making products that work and listening to your customers forgives a LOT.
  • by pydev (1683904) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:16AM (#30889362)

    and the Apple brand is almost synonymous with free-thinking creativity

    Yes, just like cigarettes make you healthy and slim, alcohol makes you attractive to the opposite sex, junk food makes you popular, and Nikes turn you into a long distance runner, weight lifter, and all-around bad-boy. Branding is great, isn't it? Of course, it has nothing to do with reality.

    Repeat after me, Mac users: "we're all different".

    Related to #1: customers are pragmatic about quality, and the open source and free software movements haven't produced anything remotely as useful as Mac OS X and the iPhone.

    Funny, I think Apple has never produced anything remotely as useful as the open source software movement, in particular given that probably the majority of the code Apple ships with OS X is derived from other people's open source projects to begin with.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:17AM (#30889380) Homepage Journal

    Actually, there is some correlation between creativity and homosexuality; you'll find a larger percentage of gays in art school than studying any other discipline.

    But the disparity TFS speaks of isn't real. You don't buy a computer because of its culture, you buy it because it serves you purposes better than other brands. For a long time, Apple made the only computers that you could do art on; the Mac was graphic when DOS was text-only.

  • "Creatives Types" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eravau (12435) <tony.colter@nOspAm.tonycolter.com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:17AM (#30889390) Homepage Journal
    Just because someone is "free-thinking" and creative in making art, graphics design, music and so on... doesn't mean they are programmers or anyone who would want to hack their computer. Their computer, and Macs specifically, make it easy for them to be creative in their area of focus without having to worry about which dll conflicts with which other one... whether the right glibc is compiled for their favorite software tool... etc. It's nice because it doesn't require one to "be creative" with the computer just to "be creative" in the area one actually _wants_ to be creative with. At the same time, OS X has made it possible to be "more creative" with the computer if you want too.
  • Err, what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by garg0yle (208225) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:17AM (#30889396) Journal

    "the open source and free software movements haven't produced anything remotely as useful as Mac OS X"

    This would be the Mac OS X which is based on FreeBSD?

  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:18AM (#30889402) Homepage Journal

    I would argue that most Apple fanboys (the real hardcore ones anyway) only THINK they're "free-thinking." They're original and free-thinking in the same way that hippies thought they were original and free-thinking in the 60's--by acting, dressing, and thinking like every other hippie. Real free-thinkers don't start out with an set ideology, and they certainly don't have a cult leader or product line that they worship.

    They are more "West Side Story" than West Side. They are like the Dolce and Gabbana "Punk" t-shirt that costs 120.00 and says "Wash on gentle".

  • by mikael_j (106439) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:18AM (#30889406)

    My personal opinion is that the main reason a lot of creative (both "artsy" types and developers) like Apple's products is because the user interface and the physical products are designed to, as they say, Just work. This includes staying out of your way and letting you get to work but also to not pull the "Microsoft approach" to user friendliness by renaming things to make them "easier". There's a reason the market for customization of the look and feel of OS X is a lot smaller than the market for similar products for Windows.

    Of course, there are several reasons why this works for Apple, a couple of these are partially because they have full control over the hardware and operating system which allows for tight integration and coupled with this are the development tools and the user interface guidelines. Another influence which I think is major is that third party developers know that Apple's customers generally expect software to behave in a certain way, something which isn't true to the same extent with Windows and other *nix systems. An example of this would be drag and drop, if a Windows application fails to handle drag and drop properly most people just dismiss the error message, restart the app and think nothing of it, after all, drag and drop is generally hit or miss with Windows apps, if an app for OS X failed to handle drag and drop properly most likely users would complain and consider it a screwup on the developer's part.

    So part of the reason is the centralized control from Apple and part of the reason is that users have come to expect little to no user interface issues which forces Apple to make good development tools and developers to put in extra effort to make sure things work.

    /Mikael

  • Option 4 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aitala (111068) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:18AM (#30889408) Homepage

    4) Slashdot readers and contributors are on the geeky, bleeding edge and do not represent 90% of the population, most of whom could not care less about 'openness'.

    Eric

  • wrong assumptions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:20AM (#30889444) Homepage Journal

    How can a company whose philosophy of information sharing is so at odds with that of most of its customers be so successful?

    Really? The first thing you should always question is your assumptions. Does Apple have a "philosophy of information sharing" and if so, what is it?

    The company is secretive about upcoming, not-yet-available products. Which is not information that customers require in their day-to-day work anyways. As a user or as a developer, it is information about the current, existing products that you need most. And as both I've always found that to be readily available whenever I needed it.

    So how does a philosophy of "not talking (much) about unreleased ideas" merge with the mindset of a designer, artist, programmer or any other kind of creative person? Quite well. A lot of creative people don't talk (much) about their work-in-progress, either, until it's finished. Programmers are about the only kind who feel that putting a half-finished thing out for the public is the thing to do.

  • by slim (1652) <john AT hartnup DOT net> on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:21AM (#30889454) Homepage

    From TFA:

    The programs people are inspired to write for the Mac OS X operating system are routinely more elegant and useful and less annoying than their Windows counterparts.

    Quite the claim! Yet there are no examples.

    I own a Mac. I've not installed much extra software on it. But what I have installed appears very similar to its Windows equivalent.

    So can anyone give an example of what he's talking about?

    I guess iLife should be showcase software for Mac.
      - iPhoto is a confusing mess compared to Picasa
      - GarageBand has some pretty neat amp simulation software in it. But the UI is the opposite of intuitive.
      - iTunes is clumsy and inconsistent. I've been using it for over 5 years on Windows and Mac, and it still throws me curveballs.
      - I once put together a slideshow in iMovie. I still don't know what was going on.
      - iDVD is pretty easy to use. But that's because it's basically a wizard.

  • by Mark19960 (539856) <Mark@freequ[ ].net ['est' in gap]> on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:21AM (#30889456) Homepage Journal

    I haven't seen a whole lot of listening from Apple in many years.
    All they do over there is make white things that start with 'I' that are nothing more than glorified Dell computers.
    Apple is the new Microsoft.... and Steve Jobs is jealous of Bill, that's what he is after.

  • Re:Nice Troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:24AM (#30889496) Homepage Journal

    Tell them to try it. I'm talking from personal experience. Linux fanatic for ~10 years, then I bought a Mac, with the "if this OS X doesn't work out for me, I can always install Linux on it" thought in the back of my mind.

    Guess what, I now have 3 Macs in my home and 0 Linux computers. My servers still run Linux, but for a desktop, Gnome, KDE and everything else has about 20 years in user interface design before it comes close. Gimmicks and visuals isn't what it's about, that's just the icing on the cake and icing without cake just doesn't cut it.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alarindris (1253418) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:24AM (#30889498)
    Just because you are in art school doesn't mean you're creative or a good artist. I'd bet money that there is the same percentage of shitty gay artists as straight ones in a given school.
  • by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:26AM (#30889532)

    For those who still don't get it after that slightly cryptic jab, the linked article is bullshit because most of what isn't GUI polish in OS X, including WebKit and BSD, is open source.

    So the open source and free software movements created Mac OS X, which also runs the iPhone.

    That said, the Apple ecosystem is marketed as if it was embraced by freedom lovers, this doesn't actually reflect the user base.

  • Re:Free-thinking? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:27AM (#30889546)

    Full Ack.

    Most people I know have Macs are extreme fanboys. You can't even argue with them - they also defent DRM when it's made by Apple.

    It's a bad development when even some tech people are more affected by marketing (the term 'propaganda' may be more accurate in Apples case) than by technical details.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:29AM (#30889586)

    I'd argue that the "free-thinking" aspect comes from Apple's somewhat paradoxical "white box" branding.

    Let's start with design. Their products are as faceless and devoid of nonfunctional design features as possible with the exception of the Apple logo (so you have a disk drive, but not one shaped like an alien's face) and consequently the product design is rather decoupled from the user. An Alienware laptop projects a certain image, and consequently Alienware laptop users are going to disproportionately be adolescent male gamers, regardless of the hardware's usefulness as a workstation for making scientific visualisations. An Apple laptop, by virtue of being a big featureless slab of whatever it's made out of, could be used by anyone.

    Similarly the OS, hardware and so on are heavily abstracted to make it easier for the user to get on with what they're doing. It's basically a box which does some computer stuff, and if all goes well you don't need an awareness that you're using eighty yottabytes of hyper-RAM and a BMX derivative OS. All that stuff is thrown to the background in much the same way that the case design is made as bare as possible. As a result, things like hacking the OS etc. don't really enter your mind. There are apps, you run them, you get things done... ideally the software ecosystem is such that you never have to tinker around and realise that you're using a platform that's locked down.

    Now, this also goes into their corporate image, and this is where it gets really tricky. Their corporate image is the products. You are to think about the processes which went into them as little as possible. This is part of why they crack down on leaks so much. Ideally, they want you to think of the product alone. So naturally, the fact that it's probably made in some poorly-paid factory in China doesn't enter your mind. That's maybe not as true with a Microsoft-carrying machine, where you think of the Microsoft corporate entity and so on.

    Essentially, the stink of corporate is less obvious in Apple's products because they put a big fat cloaking device on the corporation. That means that self-described free thinkers, who are likely to be anti-establishment, and thus anti-corporate, and thus repelled by something with an MS logo, go with them by default.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:31AM (#30889606)

    Thats because Apple gets you to use a Mac to develop iPhone apps and nearly all developers have a sideline of making iPhone apps.

    Nearly all developers have a sideline of making iPhone apps? WTF?

    Did you just pull that factoid out of your ass?

    I've been a developer for over 20 years, and yes, I use a MacBook (and an iMac) but I have no intention or interest in writing iPhone apps - thank you!

  • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:31AM (#30889610)

    Somebody has conflated the kind of "free-thinking creativity" of artists, designers, etc. with the kind of free-thinking of the open software movement. "free thinking" to an artist means the freedom to create her own vision without interference by anyone else, not freedom to collaborate on or elaborate someone else's vision. This artist's "free-thinking" often looks more like the Jobs method of top-down control than like the open-source movement's wide-distribution collaboration philosophy. Which isn't to say that artists never collaborate, of course.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:31AM (#30889614)

    I spend most of my days in various professional recording studios video production houses and you see a lot fewer Macs than you used to.

    Funny, all the IT professionals and programmers I meet seem to be using MacBooks these days.

    Which is entirely irrelevant. I'm an "IT Professional and programmer" and I carry a Thinkpad. Why? Because it's the best option for me, in order to best accomplish the tasks I set myself. Look, nobody is arguing that Apple's products have a lot going for them, so there's no need for you to defend them. What is being discussed is whether or not individuals who are part of a cult-like self-reinforcing hivemind can be considered "freethinking". Personally, I don't think so. If you're someone who rationally evaluated his or her computing requirements, looking at all the options, and then settled on a Mac as the best answer, well, bully for you. Like I said, Apple makes nice stuff. If, on the other hand, you simply bought a Mac because, in your view, there can be no other option, well ... as a child your parents must have given you mental blocks for Christmas. There is a world of computing beyond Apple Computer's current product line.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:33AM (#30889638)

    Or perhaps there are simply more openly gay people in the arts?

  • by Drethon (1445051) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:34AM (#30889656)
    So as soon as she makes enough money working to afford the difference between an affordable PC and that Mac she can buy one.
  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:36AM (#30889684)
    One must also somewhat define what "free-thinking" means in this context. Consider:

    1. Apple keeps their development process very secretive, so that they can release a product to much fanfare. (As compared to FOSS, where the entire process is usually open to scrutiny.) If you think about creative people like artists and musicians, many of them follow this exact same pattern: they toil in secrecy, not divulging any details of what they're working on, so that they can release a piece and shock/awe/inspire people. For some kinds of art, being aware of the creation process would disrupt enjoyment of the art itself. In this sense, the development style of Apple is very much inline with what many artists are accustomed to. Of course, some artists do not develop in secret... but within the "creative community" as a whole, this is at least a normal development mode.

    2. One can then think about how tightly controlled the thing is after it is released to the public. Again it's worth noting that a great many of the creative professionals who use and evangelize Apple products are just as controlling about their products as Apple is. Many artists believe strongly in copyright, for instance, and want it to be expanded. They want control over their ideas and their products. They decry those who pervert their work by, e.g., sampling it. Again, not all artists are like this... but enough are like this that one cannot really claim that "creative people" are universally supportive of freely exchanging data/information/art...

    3. "Free-thinking" as it relates to "different from the norm" or "thinking outside the box" is something that Apple does fairly well. They are willing and able to start their own trends. Of course, as others have pointing out, this isn't nearly as "non-conformist" as some seem to believe. Apple is not really breaking all conventional rules. Rather they are creating a new style/sub-culture. Similarly many "free-thinking" types are creative and come up with great ideas... but that doesn't mean that they truly buck all trends and social norms. Like everyone else, they try to find like-minded people and form a social group with them.

    4. At the end of the day, most "free-thinkers" and "creative types" are just as pragmatic (and non-idealistic) as anyone else. They use Apple products because they like the functionality and image that go along with those products. Many of the best tools (hardware and software) work with Apple computers and on Mac OS X, so it's a natural choice to work with that platform, which of course perpetuates the justification for the next generation. I highly doubt that many of the users of Apple products spend much time wondering whether the company's ethos truly reflects their personal views on intellectual freedom.
  • Re:Option 4 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:38AM (#30889718)

    Until it bites them in the ass and ask a geek to fix that pesky problem for them, and by the way do then have the latest and greatest version of such and such..... Hey! why can't I set that as my ringtone?

  • Some of which. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrYak (748999) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:40AM (#30889748) Homepage

    Linux, and many other open source products

    Among which the *BSD family of unices, which forms the basis of Mac OS X.
    It even looks like the open source movement has produced a viable set of unix implementations for a long time before an (almost-on-the-brink-of-extinction) Apple decide to borrow it, slap a nice interface on it and call it "Mac OS X" to replace the ageing (not-even-true-multitasking) shit it had before.

    In fact, I still wait to see OS X on anything but Macs and iPhone. Whereas open source, although often unnoticed, tends to show up discretely in lots of crazy places. Actually it's now getting difficult to find a modem/router which doesn't run some embed Linux - for example.
    Opensource movement have achieved quite much. They just don't make a huge marketing fuss about it with an artsy logo slapped on it.

  • by hitmark (640295) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:41AM (#30889764) Journal

    so apple is the computing equivalent of hottopic?

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:41AM (#30889768) Homepage Journal

    "haven't produced anything remotely as useful as Mac OS X and the iPhone."
    I have to disagree with this one as well.
    Linux is on more systems than OS/X everything from Supercomputers to Wifi routers to cell phones. More of the Internet is powered by Linux Apache, MySQL, PHP, Python, and Perl.
    Firefox is on how many system? OpenSSH? and let's not forget that OS/X is built on BSD.
    FOSS has not built any desktop systems as useful as OS/X. Android vs iPhone is still an on going battle but I would put them as equally as useful of not as polished.
    OS/X is a great desktop and Linux really could learn from same as the iPhone. Since both OS/X and the iPhone have been built using FOSS as their foundation I would say that it goes both ways.

  • Re:Nice Troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by agentultra (1090039) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:42AM (#30889788)

    What GUI you prefer is a personal choice.

    At least most Linux-based OSs give you the choice.

    I personally cannot stand Cocoa/Aqua... or any other GUI environment. I'm far more productive in a mouse-less grid layout personally... OS X doesn't give me the choice.

    You either drink the kool-aid or get out of the party.

    I think Linux gives you more freedom of choice. That's my choice.

  • by NtroP (649992) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:42AM (#30889790)

    I'm as much a fan of open-source as the next guy and I've contributed to some projects and asked for features, etc. However, I find that the whole "designed by committee" that *many* open source apps have reduces the overall quality. Those OSS apps that truly shine generally have either a strong leader or a single author. You know the old saying, which is true, as well as witty; that a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee.

    As far as openness goes, Apple doesn't announce vaporware like most other companies do. This means when they announce something, they are going to sell it. Usually their products have taken old ideas and looked at them from a different angle opting for being very good at a few things rather than poor and many things. Let's face it, Cmdr Tacos' famous assessment of the original iPod is a classic example of how "the masses" would design a similar product. If Apple would release an "alpha" product to "test the waters" like so many other companies do, the iPod (and iPhone, for that matter) would have died at birth or would be so hideously deformed that it would be unrecognizable.

  • by sonnejw0 (1114901) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:42AM (#30889802)
    Mac OSX GETS OUT OF MY WAY, WINDOWS KEEPS PROMPTING ME USELESSLY. OSX thus gives me more time for creative effort instead of technical troubleshooting.

    Apple's history of "just works" allows people more time for creative effort. BECAUSE it is closed, there is not as much complication to have to figure out. There's no registry, no need for scripting, and if something crashes it tends to recover on its own. THAT'S why "creative" types use it, because it allows me to REMOVE one more OBSTACLE to my workflow.
    I'm not a "creative" in the typical sense, I'm a neuroscientist. Every time my Windows XP system crashes on me, or my network didn't initiate correctly, that's wasted time, effort, and it means I need to learn a new skill set to correct the problem.

    The few times my OSX machine crash on me, it self recovers. OSX GETS OUT OF MY WAY, where as Windows and Linux KEEP PROMPTING ME WITH USELESS STUFF! The fact that fewer exploits target OSX is also a great benefit, and I don't have a billion choices for which hardware to buy so it's easier for me to choose the "best" one available to me. I don't want to spend a month figuring out if the Acer, Panasonic, or Dell is going to be the most ergonomic for my uses. With Apple, it's not even a question, because it's irrelevant insofar as I do not have a choice.

    Also, by being an "outsider", there is less push to conformity. I don't know anyone else that uses a Mac, so I'm not being told which software is the "best" or how I should organize my workflow, thus allowing me to make my own decisions about what's important. This is critical in Science, and has been shown to be important in Sociology studies of how Science gets work done. "The Neuroscience of Screwing Up [wired.com]"
  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:44AM (#30889818)

    How can a company whose philosophy of information sharing is so at odds with that of most of its customers be so successful?

    Just seems like a non sequitur to me. Or it illustrates the fact that people who gravitate to the Mac are interested in a tool they can use and, say, Linux users are interested in a toy (and I mean that in a good way- I love me my toys) they can fiddle with. Windows users (those who choose it when they don't have to for some reason), well, who can understand them? ;-)

    Does a an artist care about the inner workings of the companies that makes paints and brushes?

  • by kklein (900361) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:46AM (#30889856)

    One of the reasons I abandoned Windows was that I was sick of icons and names and places changing with every new release. I hadn't used a Mac in 10 years when I first started looking at them again (2 years ago), but in about 5 minutes I was back to feeling comfortable with it. So little has changed that you don't need to think about the OS at all. Things are where they are supposed to be, and they basically don't move.

    The other approach I appreciate is that OSX doesn't ask for a pat on the head every time it does something right. It doesn't bother you unless something goes wrong, and even then, it is usually discreet. When I boot up Windows and one of those damn yellow bubbles comes up with that sickening little popping sound, I want to smash the screen. I can't take it anymore. I just want to turn on the computer, do my work, turn it off, and go play on my Xbox (the division of Microsoft that I do have to tip my hat to!). OSX enables that.

  • by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:46AM (#30889858)

    At least by the convention in question. "Apple is the choice of creative types" is juxtaposed against the "PCs are for techies and nerds" stereotype.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:50AM (#30889926)

    by acting, dressing, and thinking like every other hippie.

    You clearly were not paying attention; they dressed in a similar STYLE, but there was wide variation. They WERE free-thinking and individualistic compared to the people who went into work wearing the same color shirts (usually white), ties, hats, shoes, slacks, jackets. Streets of major cities at rush hour at the time were a sea of men dressed the same.

    Also: anyone who claims Apple has an inside culture of creativity and free thinking is full of shit. A few idea people bring ideas to the top, and everyone else is told exactly how to implement things, with strict parameters. It's one reason a friend of mine left- he spent several years working on Apple's flagship software components and hardware, but had no say in anything. Now he makes less money but at a smaller company, where he also felt his input would matter.

    Another culture shift at Apple: remember when there were credits? No more. Apple now refuses to recognize to the public the contributions its employees make, except for 2-3 top-level people. Jobs, Ive, etc.

    Both the top-down ideas and refusal to recognize employee work are cashing in short-term profits for long-term stability. I wouldn't invest in Apple long-term if you paid me to; the day Steve Jobs or Ive retire, get hit by a bus, or just drop dead- Apple stock will crumble because everyone is under the perception (correctly) that they are the driving force.

    When your brand is as much your top level executives as your products, you have a big problem down the road.

  • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:52AM (#30889952)

    Thats because Apple gets you to use a Mac to develop iPhone apps and nearly all developers have a sideline of making iPhone apps.

    No, in the sea of crap that is most laptops, MBP/MB are some of the least crappy.

  • by beelsebob (529313) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:53AM (#30889974)

    Alternative explanation (and more plausible seeing as I saw this trend before the iPhone existed).

    Apple offers a high quality unix environment with a good user interface that "just works", but is still extremely capable of running all those geek-necessary unix utilities. All while offering it on an extremely high quality hardware platform.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Monday January 25, 2010 @09:55AM (#30889998)

    cult-like self-reinforcing hivemind can be considered "freethinking".

    So because someone appreciates a product produced by that hive mind ... they also must be of the hive mind? What a retarded statement.

    It is possible to appreciate the work of someone/some company that doesn't think exactly like you, at least for us normal people.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:00AM (#30890082)

    Yes, some portions of OS X are derived from OSS. The GNU userland that almost no mac users use, and portions of the extremely heavily modified userland and base libraries and a few services such as printing.

    The majority of OSX is not derived from OSS, contrary to what you'd like to think, the parts that are have had massive changes to bring them to what they are.

    Its rather silly to make such retardedly out of context comments considering that the OSS you speak of is almost all a rip off of someone elses idea. They aren't really using unique OSS software with one exception I can think of, so pretending that Apple is standing on the shoulders of OSS is retarded unless you want to claim that OSS Unix like OSes are standing on the shoulders of Bell labs.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:04AM (#30890142) Journal

    I don't "cheer" for any of 'em, especially if it involves twisting facts to do it, as you have done. OSX is still based on NeXTStep, and it in turn was designed around the Mach kernel [wikipedia.org], which in turn was designed as a replacement for BSD's kernel. Long story short, BSD was incidental to the story at best.

    Certainly OSX' core, Darwin, is open-source licensed. OTOH, NeXT/Apple built the vast majority of it, not the "movement". If you can prove otherwise, please do so.

  • by samkass (174571) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:06AM (#30890170) Homepage Journal

    well, most of the ones I know about seem to be running Linux or some other Unix variant.

    Just to nitpick, MacOS X is a certified UNIX. Linux isn't. Thus, I don't think that statement is saying what you wanted it to say.

  • by hey! (33014) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:06AM (#30890172) Homepage Journal

    As engineers, we ought to know that sometimes we want things that are contradictory. We'd like this airplane to be strong, but it also must be light. You can't have unlimited quantities of both.

    The same goes with creativity. We say we want originality, but that's not really what we are looking for most of the time. What we want is something derivative enough to be certain to work but original enough to be an improvement. Any idiot can be "original". Just take whatever is being done and do it a different way. The problem is that most different ways aren't better.

    That's why "creativity" can't be treated as a "core organizational value". It's not something you can pursue in any meaningful way. What really distinguishes "creative" organizations is that they have greater insight into their problem domains.

    Apple's most admired products each embody an insight about what the users they are after want to do. The iPod was not the first portable digital music player, nor has it ever been the best going by specs. The user interfaces on the iPods have been well designed and have featured innovations like multi-touch, but the killer feature isn't a feature at all. It's how the iPod, iTunes and iTunes store work together to make managing your media convenient.

    That said, nobody can be all things to all people. I hate the iTunes search interface to the iTunes store, because I don't use it the way Apple's target users do. I don't watch TV and don't care about being part of popular culture. I'm more interested in finding oddball, eccentric stuff. If Google ever opened a music store, that'd be for me; YouTube is more what I'm looking for. The iTunes store wants to steer me to the latest episode of whatever TV show is the rage, and discourages me from finding what I want.

    But it doesn't matter because catering to the oddball whims of very eccentric people isn't the business model for iTunes.

  • by slim (1652) <john AT hartnup DOT net> on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:11AM (#30890238) Homepage

    Yes, some portions of OS X are derived from OSS. The GNU userland that almost no mac users use, and portions of the extremely heavily modified userland and base libraries and a few services such as printing.

    Those add up though. More significantly, every time a Mac user runs two processes at once, they're using the preemptive multitasking that was missing from MacOS 9, and was fixed by moving wholesale to a FOSS kernel. Every IP packet goes via a FOSS TCP stack. The pretty GUI would be useless without these foundations.

    pretending that Apple is standing on the shoulders of OSS is retarded unless you want to claim that OSS Unix like OSes are standing on the shoulders of Bell labs

    It would be ridiculous not to acknowledge that Linux, FreeBSD etc. stand on the shoulders of Bell Labs.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:12AM (#30890248) Homepage Journal

    But the disparity TFS speaks of isn't real. You don't buy a computer because of its culture, you buy it because it serves you purposes better than other brands.

    But for some people, their purposes include social, as well as technical, requirements. e.g., everyone else has a mac and they don't want to stand out, or they buy in to the whole "image" thing.

  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk.gmail@com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:22AM (#30890418)

    Well hell, with those sorts of risks I may as well just run linux...

  • by Antimatter3009 (886953) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:23AM (#30890432)

    Mac users are bought by those that want to distinguish themselves from the rest in terms of money or social class, more in the lines of "I can afford an Mac and you are a poor blue collar bastard"

    I really can't stand this. This line of thinking comes up at least once per Apple article anywhere on the internet, and it's always taken as truth for some reason. I own a mac that has been used in public all of once, in an airport. I own it because I prefer it to any other laptop and was ok with spending the extra cash. It has nothing to do with showing off or demonstrating my superiority. I know plenty of other people who own macs and would agree. I'm sure some people do buy them with that intention, and I wouldn't mind people saying so except that every time they do it's always referring to "mac users" instead of "some mac users". I really hate being lumped in with a group of smug assholes just because of my laptop choice.

  • by pydev (1683904) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:24AM (#30890454)

    I love how you say that they've done this with an undertone of contempt

    Well, geez, why might I point this out? Oh, right: we're discussing an article which attempts to portray Apple as the great innovator and FOSS as people who achieve nothing of value, when in reality, Apple's major products are built on top of large amounts of open source software. Apple probably wouldn't exist today without FOSS. All the major FOSS platforms don't depend on Apple software in any significant way.

    (Just as annoying is the habit of Apple sales people I have observed to badmouth FOSS and Linux.)

    Not to mention that Apple has given back an enormous amount to the open source community.

    Like what? Apple has released some of their software packages in open source form, but often in such a useless state that FOSS programmers had to rewrite something equivalent from scratch. I use Ubuntu and I don't think there is any significant amount of open source software from Apple that I use day-to-day.

    Apple's biggest contribution to FOSS is probably their KHTML improvements (aka Webkit), which is nice, but not exactly "enormous".

    It's fine for Apple to use FOSS they are doing. However, when Apple or other people claim that they are doing all this wonderful stuff while FOSS supposedly can't get its act together, it's worth reminding everybody that Apple is mostly based on FOSS.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:27AM (#30890506)

    >Further the notion that "the Apple brand is almost synonymous with free-thinking creativity" is about a decade out of date.

    Whatever upper-class/creative shine Apple had was worn away when it was revealed that the most popular iphone app was a fart simulator. Welcome to the lowest common denominator, Mr Jobs.

  • Re:Nice Troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:41AM (#30890734)

    And still there's a difference between a GUI that was well-designed by people who know something about HCI and... well, to be polite, one that wasn't.

    I agree. A well designed GUI allows the home and end keys to serve their typewriter-established functions of beginning and end of line traversal. A badly designed GUI makes those keys work as history (instead of page up/down). I hate using the terminal on Mac OS X so much that I'll physically move and ssh in from a Linux machine before I click the terminal icon on OS X.

  • Re:Free-thinking? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by e2d2 (115622) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:43AM (#30890786)

    That's what they sell - the ideal self image. I am smart hence I use a mac. Stupid people use Windows. The irony is they've dumbed everything down so it becomes "I'm so smart I need my hand held doing the most rudimentary tasks".

    But I'd like to point out to the topic poster - there would be no OSX without Open Source. So saying it hasn't delivered is a bit off.

  • Closed toolmakers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:56AM (#30890996) Homepage

    Agreed. Just because the maker of a tool operates in a closed manner doesn't mean that the tool itself is closed or that users of the tool are closed-minded.

    Yamaha is closed when it comes to production of their pianos. Cross is closed when it comes to production of their pens. And Ford is closed when it comes to production of their cars. But it's no paradox that anybody is creative, productive, independent, or expressive with those pianos, pens, and cars.

    The Unix foundations of Mac OS X appeal to technology geeks. The Just Works interface appeals to artistic types who want to create without hacking or fighting the tool itself. And the high quality hardware appeals to anyone who favors reliability and sturdiness.

  • by siride (974284) on Monday January 25, 2010 @10:59AM (#30891054)
    Who cares about some silly certification? Linux is for all intents and purposes a Unix and always has been. To call it anything else just because of a certification that nobody but certain government organizations cares about is, at the very least, annoyingly pedantic. It's in the same category as the rantings of those who say "but Linux is just the kernel!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:02AM (#30891106)

    This is right in a way—if you're trying to explain IT professionals using Mac—but a bit off in terms of the article. Most "creative" professionals don't care that it's a UNIX environment or even know what geek-necessary UNIX utilities are, and most don't know high-quality hardware from belly button lint, but they do know certain applications like Photoshop and Final Cut, things that don't Just Work but Work Really Fucking Well on a Mac. They know that the Apple UI is really smooth, and, the most important lesson that Linux and Windows still need to learn:

    The UI works for the User. The User does not work for the UI.

    Take, as an example, connecting to wifi. On Mac, you click on the menu bar icon and choose a network from a dropdown list. That's all. In Windows, you find the icon in the system icon tray, open up a new window that scans for networks, pick a network, watch Windows jump through hoops and give you progress updates on how connected it is, etc. In Linux, your method of connecting depends on your distribution; when I used Slackware with ndiswrapper, this involved far more work than was realistic for the general public. I don't know what the state of facility in Kubuntu or Ubuntu is now (they have brought Linux a long way from what it was), but I suspect it still involves some sort of configuration with which the general public won't feel like bothering.

    The average user does not want to learn the ins and outs of shell scripting, /etc/ config files or registry keys, etc. The average user has a computer because it's a tool to get OTHER work done, like writing papers or calculating on spreadsheets or editing photos or movies... not because he wants to work on the computer itself. To make the necessary Slashdot car analogy:

    The average Driver does not buy a car to work on the engine. The average Driver buys a car to drive somewhere.

    This is what Mac understood long ago. Windows gets some of this right, but doesn't focus on it nearly enough. Linux has a long way to go still, in no small part because the Linux community is made up of people who really enjoy computers and thus don't have the same perspective on them that average users do. Apple's got that perspective and makes computers and an OS that get done well and fast whatever job the user actually wants to do.

  • Re:Nice Troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Draek (916851) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:03AM (#30891122)

    Yes, it is. And still there's a difference between a GUI that was well-designed by people who know something about HCI and... well, to be polite, one that wasn't.

    Yeah. Which makes one think that, if the best HCI experts could come up with was the OSX GUI, perhaps they should be ranked below telephone sanitizers in terms of usefulness to the world.

    Don't try to pass off your personal preference as some sort of objectively superior choice, it only serves to promote the impression that Apple users are nothing but a bunch of elitist morons.

  • by ucblockhead (63650) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:13AM (#30891316) Homepage Journal

    Exactly. OSX is to me a machine with a Unix command-line that takes less of my time to maintain and has a more robust set of applications.

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:20AM (#30891492) Homepage

    >
    >> well, most of the ones I know about seem to be running Linux or some other Unix variant.
    >
    > Just to nitpick, MacOS X is a certified UNIX. Linux isn't. Thus, I don't think that statement is saying what you wanted it to say.
    >

    Ask Oracle, IBM or Veritas what that means.

    I bet you won't like their answer.

  • by Algan (20532) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:23AM (#30891528)

    That's it. That's pretty much why you'll see a large number of geeks sporting Apple hardware. When you're a professional, spending most of your time working with a tool, you want that tool to be the best there is. Yes, that's going to be expensive. You can buy a cheap regular drill for $50 at Walmart (with a set of bits) like I did, but for some reason, my carpenter friend got himself a $400 top of the line impact drill. Have you seen a professional photographer plying her trade with a pocket camera? Or even a low end DSLR? Nope, they all use heavy duty, full frame cameras that cost in the thousands, not including lenses. You can do pretty much what you want with a cheap camera or a cheap drill, but your life will be much easier with a professional tool. Because a professional tool will get out of your way and let you do your thing faster with a lot less headache and a lot more joy.

    Same with computers. If I'm to spend most of my waking hours in front of a computer, I want it to be fast, reliable, look good, allow me to do whatever I want and get the hell out of my way and let me focus on the task at hand. Neither Windows nor Linux running PCs fit this bill as well as a Mac running OSX. My time and mental energy are precious which is why the cost of the hardware is no object.

  • by NtroP (649992) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:31AM (#30891688)
    Don't take the bait. You bought what was right for you and were willing to pay for it. What you are hearing from them is jealousy, sour grapes or some other mental disorder. Let them scrabble around together at the bottom, congratulating themselves on how little they spent for their cheap plastic boxes. It obviously works for them. They think everything should be free or cheap, that they're somehow owed it. Great! There's a market there and Dell, Gateway & MS, et al are there to fill it. That's what they want, that's what they deserve, that's what they're happy with. Why they feel so strongly about our preferences and why they feel the need to attack us so vehemently is a question they probably don't want an answer to. Be true to yourself. Don't be ashamed that you can distinguish, prefer and afford quality. They're just trying to drag you down to their level, thinking it will somehow validate them and make them better. They are wrong.
  • by FangVT (144970) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:35AM (#30891768) Homepage

    FOSS has not built any desktop systems as useful as OS/X. Android vs iPhone is still an on going battle but I would put them as equally as useful of not as polished.

    And therein lies one of the big failures of FOSS, failure to recognize that if something is more "polished" then it is more useful.

  • Re:Free-thinking? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mitchell_pgh (536538) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:43AM (#30891902)

    Without Apple's "We've Got a Secret" marketing machine, Apple would have died off long ago. It's free advertising that permeates the industry. How many free ads have I seen on /., Engadget, AppleInsider? Dozens... and the hype is out of control.

    If Apple would have come out, six months ago, with a clear road map of how they were going to build a tablet and an example of the OS that would fuel the device, knock off companies would have beat them to market, or killed the device before it saw the light of day.

    On the flip side, can you name a Microsoft item that has approached the Apple level of events? Microsoft has a number of interesting devices, but I'm happy to wait. With the Apple events... I basically feel out of touch if I don't watch it live.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:54AM (#30892078) Homepage Journal

    Vincent Van Gogh didn't have enough talent to make decent money at it. In fact, he only sold one painting in his short life, and that was to his brother, for a pittance. But I've seen his work (photos don't do them justice) and they're indeed breathtaking.

    There's more to life than money, and how much you can earn at it bears no relation to how good an artist you are. Art is one of the disciplines that you don't expect to make money at it, just like music. One studies art and music because they love art and music, not to get rich at it.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:56AM (#30892118) Homepage Journal

    Just because you are in art school doesn't mean you're creative or a good artist.

    That's true, just as just because you're in engineering school doesn't mean you'll be a good engineer. Offtopic here, but I wonder if I'd have been modded "troll" had the moderator known that I'm in fact straight and did in fact study art? It turns out I'd have been better off studying engineering, but I didn't study for the money, I studied it because I love art.

    A large proportion of artists who are studied in history were gay; a far larger proportion than in the general population. That doesn't mean all artists are gay, and pointing out a fact isn't trolling.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:04PM (#30892262) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't compute; they don't see my work until I've already got them in the house.

    Thinking about it as I type, though, sitting somewhere in the spring with a sketch pad and some pencils does get girls to walk up and start talking to you. So actually there is something to what you say.

  • Re:Free-thinking? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueStraggler (765543) * on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:09PM (#30892346)

    Simplified != dumbed down. It is the essence of good design.

    Dumbed down is when you design the system at cross-purposes to itself to cater to the naive user who does not understand the conventions of desktop computing. For example, putting a big-ass "Start" button and five hundred application launcher shortcuts on the desktop, because your users don't have a clue what to do after the computer boots. Or designing your apps as monolithic monstrosities because your users don't understand multitasking. Or having your windows maximize because the multiple-application desktop is too confusing, or you were too cheap to buy an actual workstation monitor. And then needing to add a taskbar because with maximized windows it's really hard to see what you are running.

    Obviously, I'm pointing my finger at Windows, here, but Linux has been adopting the Windows conventions of desktop computing steadily over the last 10 years, to the point where it is now pretty much assumed even by most OSS enthusiasts that the many of the idiotic conventions of Windows are the correct ones to emulate. It takes several hours of tweaking a *nix box to undo these stupidities and get it back to a proper Unix-style desktop as were common in the 1990s, but then of course you are taking a step backwards. Or you can get a Mac, and get a Unix desktop that has kept up with the times.

    You can always spot the people who don't understand real desktop computing. They are the ones who complain that the Mac's maximize button doesn't work, and that you need a two-button mouse to do real work. I mean, do they seriously not know that real men use 3-button mice? On their macs?

  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:21PM (#30892592)

    Every time my Windows XP system crashes on me, or my network didn't initiate correctly, that's wasted time, effort, and it means I need to learn a new skill set to correct the problem.

    As long as you're not using some cheapo hardware, if you have XP crashing more than once a year, you're obviously doing something you shouldn't. That is not Window's fault that you can't figure out how to properly use a computer. It's like a guy at work the other day trying to blame Outlook / Exchange because he couldn't figure out how to make an archive properly.

    The few times my OSX machine crash on me, it self recovers.

    Really? When I've had OS X crash on me, it's always been a "the system is so screwed up that you have to hold the power button to turn it off" situation.

    OSX GETS OUT OF MY WAY, where as Windows and Linux KEEP PROMPTING ME WITH USELESS STUFF!

    With Windows at least, you can turn that off. You claim to be a neuroscientist but you can't take 5 seconds to find out how to turn off UAC?

    The fact that fewer exploits target OSX is also a great benefit, and I don't have a billion choices for which hardware to buy so it's easier for me to choose the "best" one available to me.

    So in other words, you walk in and say "I want a computer" and you let the salesman tell you what you should buy, instead of you making an informed decision and actually finding out what would work best for you and at the best price.

    I don't want to spend a month figuring out if the Acer, Panasonic, or Dell is going to be the most ergonomic for my uses. With Apple, it's not even a question, because it's irrelevant insofar as I do not have a choice.

    If it takes you more than an afternoon to find out what the best system is, you're doing something horribly wrong, and I think you're beyond help if you spend a whole month looking for the best system.

    Also, by being an "outsider", there is less push to conformity. I don't know anyone else that uses a Mac, so I'm not being told which software is the "best" or how I should organize my workflow, thus allowing me to make my own decisions about what's important.

    First off, every Macolyte I know all uses pretty much the same software - partly because there's not nearly as much available (fact of life). Secondly, why do you consider it a BAD thing that people are making suggestions as to how you can perform task X faster or get the software for free?

    Just a note for everyone else, I use all OS's and they all have ups and downs. I have nothing against OS X, but I find this particular persons reasons for using Mac's to be pretty bogus.

  • by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:47PM (#30892938)
    I bought a mac initially because I didn't want to support MS any longer, and buying more iterations of their OS and products is supporting them, by definition. They're a force for stagnation - stagnation just allows them to continue printing money basically, they have no incentive to take risks or rethink an OS and a set of office applications that has long ago made most of them rich. They have no real motivation to make anything better. Noone over there even cares that I'm not having any luck finding printer drivers or unlocking software from some "virtual locker" I bought from them six months back. Apple has really gone out of their way to make things work in their OS, to make things work better, to experiment with new form factors for devices, with new UIs etc. Take a look at the blase, apathetic way Steve Ballmer presented his me-too tablet device at CES, and compare that with what Steve Jobs will be doing wednesday afternoon. One of them really believes, and is excited that, technology can be transformative and can make society better, the other can barely enunciate what he is up there doing. So why does this qualify me a being some kind of shallow hipster, exactly?
  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster...man@@@gmail...com> on Monday January 25, 2010 @12:50PM (#30892964)

    That's fine so long as your specs are fairly limited.

    If all you want to do is run a single kilobuck app, then all is fine and dandy.

    Most graphic designers and artists do just that, run Photoshop CS, or Elements, or Final Cut, or Logic, whatever. They don't care to recompile the kernel, or fix driver compatibility issues; all they want is to be able to run their program.

    If you want to be "creative" about how you use your Mac then it won't be "non-technical".

    Computer creative and art creative are different. Computer geeks write scripts and software to automate annoying tasks. Art geeks create, you know, art. Only one of those tasks is technical and may require an 'open' platform. The other has no need for technical modifications or an 'open' platform, closed works just fine as long as it's closed in a workable configuration. Which is which is left as an exercise for the reader.

    Heaven forbid an artist actually customize something... [snicker]

    They do, they just want a nice clean aluminum canvas for their customization.

  • by hazydave (96747) on Monday January 25, 2010 @01:30PM (#30893560)

    Apple users embrace the "free-thinking" mantra because that's the image Apple's served up. In short, they were told that using a Mac makes them free-thinking. And no, I'm certain the irony is not lost of those of us who abhor Apple's general policies, which are nothing of the kind.

    Apple found themselves, entering the early 1990s, as the lone major computer platform other than Windows, and they had arguably better graphics and a few pretty good music applications, which were struggling to actually function on the PC/Windows until well into the Windows 95 era (UNIX-like OSs didn't do audio well at all... you needed a DSP subsystem, as on the SGIs and the NeXT machines, to do audio at all in the very non-realtimey, who-cares-about-interrupt-latency versions of UNIX/Linux at the time).

    So they used this as a sales pitch. The PC equals Windows, it's from IBM, and it's used in business... thus, its only uses are business-related. They weren't selling Macs to computer experts who knew this to be false, and certainly not those of us who actually did the PC work as well, then better than the Mac on media content creation of all sorts. They're selling to users who are fairly clueless about PCs.

    Apple always had very good marketing, and both that, and their message, continue today. They were selling a slightly more capable 8-bit machine, back in the early 80s, versus Commodore and Atari machines at 1/5th the price (they had slots... that's the "more capable" part). The Mac came in, with hardware so oversimplified it was actually kind of creepy (the "Ready" pin on the SCSI controller drover /DTACK on the 68000, for any bitheads in the crowd) and cheap, but got huge margins. Today, a Mac is exactly a PC in a fancy case without a battery door... there's nothing different about an Apple PC, and yet they still get 2x-3x the cash. That pays for a ton of brainwashing.

    And it's also something like human nature. As some may know, I was a senior hardware designer at Commodore on several high-end models of the Amiga computer. There was a time when the Amiga was the best (only) personal computer for color graphics or video work. Like, the mid-to-late 1980s. Today I do my video stuff on a PC running Windows 7 and Sony Vegas, with 8GB of RAM, a Quad-core CPU, and Terabytes of storage. But I still hear from people talking about how the Amiga IS better (not was, but IS).

    When you join an exclusive club, you immediately embrace all the positive memes associated with club membership, and you employ these to justify your decision. This isn't restricted to computers, it's found in Video software (Vegas vs. Avid vs. Premiere vs. FCP, etc), cars (Ford vs. Chevy vs. Dodge), still cameras (Canon vs. Nikon), videocameras (Sony vs. Canon vs. Panasonic vs. JVC), soft drinks (Coke vs. Pepsi... sorry, Rock Star rules here, folks), etc. And sure, the cultier that club's culture becomes, the more the users grab hold of it.

    Apple is one of the few remaining exclusive clubs in computing, and they're perhaps the cultiest and most exclusive there is in just about any discipline. Ok, Amiga fans could have given them a run for their money back in the early 1990s, but not since... the Mac hardcores have expended to embrace the iPhone. The iPhone has delivered new converts to the alter of Mac. There's a persistent meme that "Windows is hard", bug ridden, full of viruses, and of course, MacOS is impervious to any and all problems, the only way to do media content in computing, and so simple your cat can use it without reading a manual. Apple works very hard to keep these memes alive, in the general population to an extent, too, not just among the Apple Faithful.

    Another factor, among those in a successful cult, is that they reinforce one another and don't pay much attention to the outside world. You can stay blissfully within your world of Apple -- magazines, web sites, etc. and never hear more than frightening stories about the world outside. This is also something that Apple cultivates...they were among t

  • by slim (1652) <john AT hartnup DOT net> on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:19PM (#30894138) Homepage

    As long as you're not using some cheapo hardware, if you have XP crashing more than once a year, you're obviously doing something you shouldn't.

    Where "doing something you shouldn't" includes having an errant driver, even if that driver is the one supplied to you by the machine's manufacturer.

    Background: I was getting a BSOD approximately every day or so. Any Windows zealot I mentioned it to would tell me how it wasn't Windows' fault, I must have installed some dodgy driver, or I had bad hardware. Hardware diagnostics all passed. The drivers were preinstalled.

    I installed WhoCrashed in order to analyse my BSOD dumps. Day after day, it would tell me that the crash happened in a core Windows .SYS or .DLL, and that this had probably been caused by another driver which the dump analyser couldn't identify. Once it identified by Ethernet driver. I updated it to no avail. After several months, it identified my Intel graphics driver. I updated that, and now things seem to be stable - touch wood.

    I see the argument that says it's the fault of Intel's driver. But surely by now, even drivers should be protected from each other. Admittedly even Linux doesn't do this - but Linux drivers seldom seem to cause kernel panics, in my experience.

    Summary: You can't always blame the user for an unstable Windows system. The only reason things are easier on Macs, though, is that the OS and the hardware come from the same place.

  • by Tom (822) on Monday January 25, 2010 @02:22PM (#30894174) Homepage Journal

    As long as you're not using some cheapo hardware,

    Oh yes, standard windos apology #25.

    Look, half of the people in here know from personal experience that windos crashes more on identical hardware than the other system on their dual-booting machine, whether it's OS X on a Mac or Linux on a PC.

    And no, it's not the drivers, please spare us standard windos apology #26.

    With Windows at least, you can turn that off. You claim to be a neuroscientist but you can't take 5 seconds to find out how to turn off UAC?

    I don't think he was talking about just UAC. Windos keeps bugging you with all kinds of bullshit. "Look ma, new device found", "Look ma, new updates available", "Look ma, I've peed in my pants". It will even reboot on you without warning when you're in a fullscreen app where you can't see the "I'll reboot in 5 minutes unless you click here" popup.

    So in other words, you walk in and say "I want a computer" and you let the salesman tell you what you should buy, instead of you making an informed decision and actually finding out what would work best for you and at the best price.

    If you knew anything about the psychology of choice, you'd know that confronted with more options, humans tend to make worse choices, not better ones. Google or read a couple of books, the "Simplify your Life" thing brought that knowledge mainstream a couple years ago.

  • Bahahahaaaa!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garote (682822) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:00PM (#30894738) Homepage

    That is not Window's fault that you can't figure out how to properly use a computer. It's like a guy at work the other day trying to blame Outlook / Exchange because he couldn't figure out how to make an archive properly.

    Yes. That's exactly what it's like. Blaming the computer because the computer is hard to use. If you think computers need to be hard to use, then it is YOU with the elitism problem, not Mac users.

    The few times my OSX machine crash on me, it self recovers.

    Really? When I've had OS X crash on me, it's always been a "the system is so screwed up that you have to hold the power button to turn it off" situation.

    Anecdotal evidence cannot invalidate other anecdotal evidence. Quit wasting time.

    OSX GETS OUT OF MY WAY, where as Windows and Linux KEEP PROMPTING ME WITH USELESS STUFF!

    With Windows at least, you can turn that off. You claim to be a neuroscientist but you can't take 5 seconds to find out how to turn off UAC?

    Again, the answer is Yes. And I claim to be an audio engineer, and I can't be bothered to take thirty damned minutes to figure out how to use the proprietary network driver's stilted crap UI to turn on 802.11, enter a WPA key, set my service order, and turn on DHCP. AFTER I've used the built in Windows Network UI to connect to a wireless network and had it mysteriously fail, twice, because the network driver stubbed out Windows' own API for the hardware when it was installed at the OEM.

    You know what it takes to join a new wireless network in OS X? ONE SINGLE DAMNED CLICK, on a menu whose icon LOOKS LIKE AN ANTENNA, then a password if necessary. THAT'S IT.

    Stuff like this makes a REAL difference. Take your haughty incredulity and shove it up your ass.

    If it takes you more than an afternoon to find out what the best system is, you're doing something horribly wrong, and I think you're beyond help if you spend a whole month looking for the best system.

    O RLY? As an avid bicyclist, I can tell you, that if it takes you LESS than an afternoon to purchase a new bicycle, then YOU are doing something horribly wrong; because if the decision is that easy for you, you obviously don't know enough about how to properly fit a bicycle.

    Be careful with your analogies.

    Just a note for everyone else, I use all OS's and they all have ups and downs. I have nothing against OS X, but I find this particular persons reasons for using Mac's to be pretty bogus.

    What constitutes "use" to you? Did you install 10.5 on a hackintosh for an afternoon and diddle around in TextEdit, before declaring yourself an expert on all things OS X?

    Did you know that in bash, the default shell for OS X, you can hit "ctrl-A" to move to the beginning of a long command line?
    Did you know that EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE OS X UI, even including text boxes in Safari, you can hit "ctrl-A" for the exact same behavior?

    No, you didn't.

    As I said before, stuff like this makes a real difference.

  • by shmlco (594907) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:26PM (#30895146) Homepage

    "They put commodity parts..."

    Yeah. Because Apple doesn't tend to use higher quality caps and fans and other components than HP or Dell. Apple doesn't use Intel's high-end processors. Apple doesn't use custom formed LiPo batteries and customized power controllers. Apple doesn't design their own ASICs. Apple doesn't use custom glass trackpads or create innovative connectors (Magsafe) for use in their designs.

    And Apple doesn't create, maintain, and run it's own OS.

    Oh. Wait. They do.

    "... into slick aluminum casings."

    They are, aren't they. (grin)

    And combined with the above, that's better than 90% of the other manufacturers who shove actual commodity parts into cheap plastic cases and stuff Windows Home Edition on the hard drive....

  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:41PM (#30895356)

    A really good quality keyboard - with backlighting

    I'll second the sibling who learned to touch-type, and add this - the keyboard is AWFUL.

    Chiclet keys feel cheap and nasty, the keyswitches have no positive response, and worse of all, they changed the key layout.

    Laptop keyboards should stick as closely as possible to to the standard 101-key layout. I understand that there are space constraints, but this is NOT an excuse to move the fricking symbols to the OTHER SIDE of the keyboard. Things like the backslash, things a programmer types about a thousand times a day.

    I mean, hell, they even do it to their desktop keyboards. [mrtotes.co.uk]

    On this UK layout, eleven symbols in the wrong place, and the addition of two extra symbols that I'd never use in real life. Most notably, the quote, at, backslash, and pipe are all at the opposite end of the keyboard. I understand some of these are in the US layout, but really, I'm not a yank, and I don't feel like typing like one. I've typed on the UK layout since I was 8. Nearly every other PC I use gets this right (certain netbooks being the exception), so why, why, why, when you're paying right through the nose for a certain attention to detail, can I not have a layout that doesn't induce RSI in anyone with any experience using standard layouts?

    I suspect they just do it to enhance their tribal effect. Perhaps touch typing matters less to the crowd they target... and by the time they learn, a normal keyboard will feel wrong to them, as the apple feels wrong to me.

  • by ElSupreme (1217088) on Monday January 25, 2010 @03:56PM (#30895590)
    Does Apple ENGINEER their high quality caps and fans?
    Does Apple ENGINEER their high-end INTEL processors?
    Does Apple ENGINEER their custom formed Li-Poly batteries?
    Does Apple ENGINEER their own ASICs? You only said they DESIGNED them.
    Does Apple ENGINEER their own glass trackpads?
    I will give you that they most likely ENGINEERED their 'innovaive connectors' as it is something that a 2nd year Electrical Engineering student could have done. The DESIGN is quite awesome however and is really the only thing that makes it so unique.
    I am sorry but PROGRAMMING is not ENGINEERING, it is however very close.

    You pointed out lots of DESIGNS that make Apples nice. The ENGINEERING is not done by them.

    Oh and the slike aluminum cases are really slick. I honestly like them, and think they are the best laptop case going. But they do burn a bit. Because they were DESIGNED, not ENGINEERED. An ENGINEER would get rid of that heat, and would give two shits how cool it is.

    And I didn't say Dell was any better. But ENGINEERING is VERY different than design.
  • by beej (82035) on Monday January 25, 2010 @04:05PM (#30895722) Homepage Journal

    Same with computers. If I'm to spend most of my waking hours in front of a computer, I want it to be fast, reliable, look good, allow me to do whatever I want and get the hell out of my way and let me focus on the task at hand.

    The irony is that I prefer using a Linux box with fvwm for the exact same reasons. (Except I don't much care about it looking good, unless I'm trying to impress someone who is impressed by that sort of thing.)

    The more expensive "professional" tool is only better if it does a better job with the task at hand. Or, to put it another way, a $400 drill is not the best mitre saw ever made.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Monday January 25, 2010 @04:07PM (#30895764)

    It's because they can see in more than 16 colours.

    I'm a straight male and the females I know all have TERRIBLE color coordination. Not only that, they seem to not have any heightened acuity for it.

    The myth that women see colors better than men is just that - a myth. Women are simply socialized to act as if they give a shit about goldenrod vs canary vs saffron vs paella. There are cases where women DO see more colors (due to a sex-linked trait causing them to have more distinct sets of cones), but this essentially results in a tradeoff between scope and resolution as the raw number of cones is not increased by the trait.

    I am thoroughly convinced that women simply are conditioned to think they know about color and the resulting overconfidence results in men thinking "What? That's terrible." or "They're almost exactly the same and it's gonna fucking fade anyway." while only saying "Uh, ok dear".

    Also -

    http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=fashion [thebestpag...iverse.net]
    Scroll to red lipstick section.

  • Re:I'm off-duty (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thrawn_aj (1073100) on Monday January 25, 2010 @04:30PM (#30896114)

    Sounds like an awful lot of bullshit and hassle for the same stuff I get with Linux for free and out of the box. How's that working out for you?

    I'm not a Mac user but I believe GP won the point on this one. A linux user complaining about hassle is worth a Daily show skit by John Hodgman :).

  • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Monday January 25, 2010 @08:34PM (#30899102) Journal
    As I read your post I'm really not sure whether some Apple version of Poe's Law [rationalwiki.com] best describes any attempt to assess the nature of your post(parody vs true believer). You could have just as easily been modded funny, like this earlier post [slashdot.org].
  • What paradox (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mjwx (966435) on Monday January 25, 2010 @11:01PM (#30900062)
    I cant make the association between free thinking and Apple.

    Everyone I know who bought Apple did so because of the marketing, the artist "says" it is better but is completely unable to quantify it beyond "but everyone says Mac is better". Most Mac do not understand computers particularly well, thus they turn to an OS that limits what they can do. We call Apple a cult for a reason. I really cant see Mac users being "free thinking" about tech, especially as one of Mac's biggest selling points is that it Just Works(TM) meaning that you arent meant to think about using your computer..

    I know a few designers having done tech support for a Marketing company before (so glad I'm out of that gig now) and the most talented designers can do everything they can do on a Mac in Windows, unfortunately the reverse isn't true due to the limitations of the Mac OS, it's not hacker friendly and was never meant to be.

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