Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Apple Computer hype

I love computers. I won't presume to love them more than anyone else in the world, but I'm fairly certain I love them more than the average person. Why do I say that?

Because:

1) I build my own rather than buy a brand name. This has the attractive side effect of spending less to own a computer with superior parts, but the real reason why I do it is because it's fun.

2) I taught myself to program in C using a very thick textbook. I didn't do this because I was too cheap to pay for the formal education; I did it because I thought it was fun.

3) I read obscure books filled with technical information about the hardware and inner workings of computers because, you guessed it, it's fun.

4) I love to read anything about the history of computing.

5) This list could go on and on, trust me.

So, is there a point to be made along with all this babbling about one of my passions in life?

Yes:

Computers are not the end, they're the means.


When most people think of computers, they think of them as these mysterious boxes that must be purchased for a high price from an official vendor. Dell, Sony, HP, Falcon Northwest, Apple... take your pick; these pre-assembled machines are what the average person thinks are required to do their computing tasks.

Those of us out here who seek out and enjoy knowledge that the average computer user considers arcane, are able to make decisions based on that knowledge that are beyond the scope of the average user.

One of those decisions is mapping out the constituent parts of a new computer, making smart purchases of those high-quality parts, and assembling them into the computers we enjoy.

Absolutely none of the knowledgeable persons performing the actions in the preceding paragraph elect to make Apple computers. A Hackintosh is an experiment motivated by curiosity; no one builds an exclusively Apple computer from scratch, except Steve Wozniak.

This used to be because Apple unwisely made the initial decision in 1977 to keep their architecture proprietary, and made it literally impossible for the computer hobbyist to build his or her own, or explore the inner workings of the machine to any practical degree. This reduced the Apple user to a powerless button-pusher.

Apple's misguided decision continued until 2006, when Apple moved to the open x86 (Intel) architecture. But by then it was too late; all the serious computer users were decades deep in IBM compatibles.

I've heard it said that Apple users disdain PC users as "tinkerers." This glib observation surely comes from the fact that the open architecture of IBM-compatible computers (x86 PCs) has allowed PC users to explore and manipulate their computers to the limits of their interest.

In the Apple world, the computer itself is considered a work of art.

In the PC world, barring gaming rigs such as the sexy-looking machines from Alienware, the computer is a practical tool that allows the user to perform particular tasks.

For all Apple users, the computer is the end; owning an Apple computer or device is the core reason for owning one. In other words, it doesn't matter that it's less capable than a PC overall, as long as there's an Apple logo on it.

For many PC users, the computer is a means to an end; that end being the enjoyment and exploration of computing itself. In other words, PC users aren't as concerned with status symbols.

When you, the computer user, decide to buy the hype that Apple computers are easier to use, that they "just work," and that you'll get laid more by owning one, you are pretty much making a fool out of yourself.

The genuine computer experts, the true hackers, the people who clearly love computers and computing, the ones who actually understand what's under the hood, so to speak... well, they're laughing at you.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Godzilla!

"History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men."


Truth is what elevates a song from popular entertainment to profundity.