Well it's been half a week since the votes were tallied up in the dollar based democracy, and the final polls show Apple down by 56 million votes. Pitty since while many users are sucking down the hype that this is a good thing, let's take a look at the harder story. 3rd quarter a year ago. Apple was on the ropes with about 2 billion in cash and an equal amount in valuation. Things were grim and loosing 70 plus million in the 3rd quarter did little to help. This time around, it's 56 which is a lot less than they've lost recently. Except for one problem that everyone is negating to admit. Apple is worth now HALF of what it was a year ago. To say they matched the previous bloodflow loss they would have to loose a scant 30 million. Instead, they lost more. This is not a GOOD thing. But if you look around everyone is crowing that it is. To plagerize Al Frankin: Social scientists call this behavior Pseudo-Certainty. I call it, being a fucking moron.
The press is now hashing up the details involving Apple's woes again. From the local paper (The Rocky Mountain News) to the big media like MSNBC (would I give CNN the time of day? Don't even think about it.) My faves have to come from the flame wars on the BBS's. MSNBC's have the best. Even slightly asserting the obvious bring the Jihad to it's full force. "This is just another prime example of Apple bashing"- they say. I call it watching people wake up to reality. The best echo is seeing someone undergo a complete mental breakdown. Quite often they'll speak something along the lines of "everyone's crazy but me". Spoken like a true Mac user.
Now it's getting good. Apple is getting some actual positive press with their advance teasers of OS8's release. The press is paying way too much attention though. MSNBC had some glowing words for it. But these were not enough because again it sparked no less than 3 flame wars across 2 topic groups. Most of the tirades go on about how Apple is still able to multitask - even though this hasn't been slightly the case for over a decade now. Somehow being able to throw away the trash while copying a disk qualifies as multitasking. Sad really. Of course they may get a chance to remedy this with some expensive misinvestment from last December but that rant is for another day.
The best of all headlines that summ up Apple's disarray has to be from a co-founder. Of course you wouldn't expect a bit of idiocy from Steve Jobs - Lord God no. Even though he's been confirmed as verbaging to developers that the blessing in disguise Mac-cloners are "leeches", even he wouldn't screw with Apple's current stock value which has gone up a few cents on the heels of Intel's and Microsoft's current ramapage that has put Bill Gates on the 40 billion dollar plus range on paper. No, this time it was Woz who mentioned that with the departure of Gil, he has no clue what the hell he's doing there. Being a major champion for education he has all the marks for evangelism - but even he isn't able to fathom what's about to come up next in this otherwise rudderless firm. The best idea comes from the pages of one of the jihad's own rags, Macweek. If it's no longer available - it refers to Apple taking a piece of the profitable Wintel market. Of course evertime I mention such things in IRC, or even your average BBS page I get flamed into oblivion. And the band plays on.
More hype on OS 8. The insubstantial and otherwise not worth the dynamite to blow it up upgrade to the flagging Mac lineage. The big joke here of course is that all the cloners that keeps Apple's margin of interrest afloat isn't entitled to this upgrade as part of their licensing agreement. And with both sides screaming bloody ripoff, it doesn't look like this is going to be hammered out soon. This is ironic because for an OS that less than 5% of the planet gives a fig about - Apple has narrowed the ability of this upgrade to actaully make a dent in the marketplace. Now you have to play Apple's tired 1980's strategy once again if you want to have something that is at least current in the Mac world. Of course this is the same stratagy that put them on the rocks in the first place - so it looks like they aren't doing anything to prevent them from sinking further. Oh well.
Still the mountain of bull-fodder grows with more glowing praise and Apple's assertion that OS 8 is somehow as siginificant an update as system 7.0. Before you begin to believe any of this here's a way to judge whether an update is incrimental or instrumental. Has a single solitary application update begun to place "OS8 savvy" stickers on their software? Nope, not a one. In fact most massive updates require that some kind of retooling be done to an application to make it work more effectively with new features - particularly when those features translate into an improved application. OS 7 allowed more ram usage and a massively altered file structure as well as file sharing. Great for workgroups and it was paramount that major software titles get it together to reflect these improvements. With the latest "leap" in the Mac technology it barely adds up to a fart. Not one single developer has made the all important endorsement of the new OS as they have in the past. In fact - it's pretty much the same reaction when 7.6 came out. So the question whether OS8 is a leap like 7.0 or more of a tweak like 7.6 is not even a hard one.
The best comment to come out of the incesant flame wars surrounding Apple and the Mac are best summed up by a person who posted on MSNBC's commerce BBS. "Computers are no longer a tool, but a dociese." It's probably the first nerd/user who has fessed up to the idiotic pastime that is the OS user wars. Instead of critically judging how a given computer OS can do the job, and how many applications are available to do it effectively, it's still some kind of image war that requires an Orwellian mindset to appreciate. From Big Brother to Goldstein there's the status-quo to the one you're supposed to hate. Heaven forbid you actaully get any work done. The best part about the MSNBC post was that the user professed to being an Apple Jihad memeber for in excess of 7 years. He dumped it when seeing the company make too many doomed mistakes, and went with something more powerful - in this case Windows NT. I don't need to mention how many impassioned responses this caused. Truly sad. Almost as sad as all the last mintue tirades that followed the Amiga crowd - but that's another diary entry in of itself.