The Smug Factor

I’ve been accused of being a Mac Hater.  Usually, I just smile, pop on my earphones, and turn the volume waaaaay up on my iPod.  You know, the iPod some moron didn’t know enough not to play loud, then sued Apple over it?  (Some people deserve everything bad that happens to them.  I think Moses and Darwin both said that, and for the same reasons.)

It is not the Macintosh that I hate.  In fact, if I didn’t have so much money out right now, like the money I’m about to spend on an iPhone, I’d probably get a KVM switch and a Mini Mac.

“But Jim, why the loyalty to Windows?”

Since advent of Windows XP and Apple’s embrace of Intel, I’ve not been convinced the bump in price for switching to Mac would be worth it.  For starters, Mac, despite having a two-button option, still clings to the single-button mouse as it’s default.  I have always hated it, and hated it more when you had to hold your finger down on it to use the menu bar.  Sorry, but that’s not quirky and different; it’s antiquated and useless.  At least now they have “sticky” menus.

Yes, the interface is easier to use than Windows.  And a Sad Mac face is better than a Blue Screen o’ Death.  No argument there.  But are all those features worth the higher price?


And I say that in the waning days of the Vista era.  (Different rant.  Vista is a classic example of why Microsoft needs to stop being a slave to deadlines.)

Oh, given the money, I’d love a Mac.  In fact, I plan to buy a Mac book with my first sizable advance – a little present for me for making an editor see how awesome I am.

But when the Dell laptop dies and the Compaq tower is relegated to non-Internet facing word processor status, I’ll probably shell out $500 for a netbook and another $600 for a new Dell tower.  Less, since I get discounts from BigHugeCo.  The Mac is a someday piece of tech.  The Windows box is for now.

But what drives me up a tree is the Apple user’s smugness, an elitist attitude that says, “I can afford to do without the Start button and you can’t.”  They also own iPods (as do I) and iPhones (as will I) and have the earbuds to prove it.

Which always leaves me scratching my head.  Earbuds dig into your ears, so why are they popular?  Are they a fashion statement?  I prefer clip-on headphones.  “Ooooh, but that’s sooooo 1990’s, Jim.  Whenever are you going to come out of the Eisenhower Administration.”

My response, before kicking that person off my lawn, is usually, “Grow up.”

I suppose Steve Jobs is to blame for some of this, but who can fault him?  The man got screwed out of his own company in the mid-1980’s, went off to develop the framework for OS X, and came back to save it just before the Y2K.  And none too soon.  Apple’s previous CEO was Doctor Gil Amelio, who famously said anything Microsoft sells you will be obsolete.  You mean like System 7 and the Newton and the Apple IIe?  Hey, Gil, anything anyone sells you will eventually be obsolete.  Think about that while you’re driving your Packard around.

Yes, Apple makes cool and very well-designed products.  Yes, they’re great to own.

No, they’re not a license to be smug.  Unless you’re Steve Jobs.  Who has every reason to be smug.

You are not Steve Jobs.  Think different.  Don’t be smug.

Drinking The Tech Kool-Aid

When they came out, I refused to get one despite having AT&T for my wireless.  It’s simple.  I’m allergic to fads.  I refused to watch Friends when it was on because everyone insisted I had to watch Friends (and every damned magazine in the country had a cover story about Jennifer Aniston’s hair, including The National Review and The Economist.)

And don’t get me started on hit songs.  Unless I catch a new hit before it’s a hit (Nelly’s “Hot in Here” for instance), it will forever be ruined in my mind.  Hence, you risk me going postal if you so much as mention “Achy Breaky Heart,” let alone sing it or play it.

But this device, this little thing that caused an orgy of consumerism, pushed me away by its very hipness.  But then…

Google teamed with T-Mobile for the Android, the world’s first Google phone.  Crackberry Blackberry offered the Storm through Verizon.  Palm is mounting an impressive comeback on the shoulders of Sprint.  Suddenly, the possibilities of what my least favorite device of the last twenty years – the accursed cell phone – could do seemed endless.  I did pricing.  I looked at plans.  And I realized it’d be no cheaper (and probably more expensive up front) to switch to Nita’s Verizon account just to get a Storm.

So, with the refund on my interest-free loan to the government, I am getting…

An iPhone.

Yeah, I know you’re all shocked.  Mr. I-don’t-need-no-steenkeeng-smartphone-so-I-can-look-all-hip-and-stuff is getting an iPhone.

What kind?

I’ll let you know.  Who knows?  I may even breakdown and start a Twitter account, though I still think Twitter’s about the most useless thing since Friendster.