Writer/Alienware pimp: ‘Apple’s days of idiosyncratic greatness are over, now a rather bland brand’

“The blood feud of the tech world is the Mac vs. the PC,” Jonathan Blum writes for TheStreet.com. “It’s been decades of fear, loathing and nighttime attacks, duking it out over which computer does what better; but with Microsoft’s fortunes fading and Apple on the rise, it may be time for this little nerd fight to take a cue from Belfast, Ireland: Getting along is now in everyone’s interest.”

“Last week, I had the temerity, impudence and crudeness to recommend a mere PC — in this case an Alienware m5550 laptop — over a comparable Apple product,” Blum writes. “From what I then heard from Apple fans, you’d have thought I was boiling children alive.”

“I’m sure there are other people out there who’ve owned and used more Macs, I have yet to meet them,” Blum writes and then goes through his Apple II – Mac Quadra history and writes, “although I don’t use a Mac at home now, the designers and some of the word shufflers in my shop do; we swear by them. The studio that produces my radio show uses Macs. And I will probably pull the trigger on a new MacPro sometime soon. Given this history, I believe I can safely say I know what Macs do — and what they don’t do.”

MacDailyNews Take: Why is “getting along now in everyone’s interest?” Getting a Mac is in everyone’s best interest, Mr. Blum, you appeaser. The Alienware m5550 laptop cannot compete with a comparable Apple product, as we pointed out after your first ludicrous article. Using Macs up through a Mac Quadra (last model discontinued in September 1994, Mac OS 7.1) is nice, but Blum shows little, if any, knowledge of current Macs running Mac OS X and what they can do, what they offer, and the advantages of today’s Macs over competing platforms that are losing share to Macintosh. If Blum has yet to meet other people who’ve owned and used more Macs, he needs to get out more often.

Blum continues, “Back in the day, Apples really were superior… But alas, those days of Apple’s idiosyncratic greatness are over. Apple is now a mainstream brand. And a rather bland one.”

“Apple products run on the same parts as other computers do: Intel chips, the same displays made somewhere in the Pacific Rim, and similar video cards; they run the same software, such as Microsoft Office, use the same Internet and have the same versions of games like Quake,” Blum writes. “And Apple’s desktop machines, matched with its iLife media tools and proprietary networking standard Firewire, offer the easiest way to build a home media server, other than having a pro installer step in and do it for you.”

MacDailyNews Take: Blum’s ignorance shines through. While FireWire, with the help of software, is nicely-suited for creating ad-hoc computer networks (we use it ourselves), it is much more commonly known and used as a personal computer (and digital audio/digital video) serial bus interface used for connection of data storage devices and digital video cameras. Additionally, Blum gives no evidence that he has ever done much more than read a blurb about iLife on a website.

Blum continues, “Macs are good, even lovely machines. But is Apple the leader of design and performance? Let’s see. In my mind, there is simply no comparison in terms of fit, finish and features for an off-the-shelf Mac to a top-of-the-line custom-made PC like a Voodoo or Alienware — Voodoos come plated in gold, if you want that.”

“For raw design, Macs are nice, but the style is getting weary,” Blum writes. “They’re all the same: rectangles in white or silver or gray. Macs aren’t ugly by any standard, but they’re like a Toyota Avalon or a Lexus. Nice design, gorgeous lines, but if you’re looking for breakout style, a Lexus won’t get you there — and neither does a Mac.”

“So let’s compare the offending Alienware m5550 to an Apple MacBook Pro 2.0 ghz with a 15.4-inch screen,” Blum writes. “For case, finish and screen, both the Alienware and the Apple are on par. The MacPro is a bit lighter, the Alienware has a bit nicer casing and finish.”

MacDailyNews Take: There’s simply no accounting for bad taste. Plated in gold? Come on. That said, if Blum is legally blind while totally lacking the ability to compare and contrast even the most basic features and specs, as we suspect, we apologize in advance.

Blum continues, “As to software, yes, Apples run Apple code and they run Windows, Linux and whatever else. But if you’re getting a Mac to run Windows XP, you’re not making the ideal choice. Apple does have software — Boot Camp and Parallels — that run both XP and Mac OS. But you’ll tie up a ton of hard-drive space to fit both operating systems on a single computer.”

MacDailyNews Take: Hard drive space is consumed by having both Mac OS X and Windows on your Mac, that is a fact. Hey, Blum made a valid point finally! Don’t worry, though, most users will reclaim that lost space once they realize they don’t want or need to boot Windows anymore. Embrace and extinguish works for hard drive space, too.

Blum continues, “The headaches worsen if you’re using Apple computers on a mixed network. In my shop we are, yes, ‘plagued’ by the incompatibilities of file formats, Web-coding standards, delivery specifications and transfer protocols. Apples work great, but trust me, you do not want to share my struggles with a Web page mastered on Safari, or an Apple running on a virtual private network, or getting Apple-specified audio files to work outside of Apple equipment.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Apples?” Spoken like a true Windows sufferer. Macs work great, as any real Mac user will tell you. “Web page mastered on Safari?” Again with the weird phrasing, as if Blum – gasp! – really has no idea about which he writes. We’ve used Macs with several VPNs without incident, although getting your Windows-only IT moron at work or school to help might be a problem. They are the problem, not you or your Mac. “Apple-specified audio files?” More weird phrasing that signals ignorance. Does he mean he’s had codec issues? Blum should do some reading about codecs and use the proper ones for what he’s trying to accomplish.

Blum continues, “For the occasional Windows program running on an Apple, dual-mode Apple solutions are great. But if you’re working with crucial information — like your money — you can be asking for it if you plan to run Windows for an extended period on a Mac.”

MacDailyNews Take: Why? Crickets chirp in Blum’s article as he gives no supporting evidence to back up his statement. A Mac booted into Windows via Boot Camp is just like any other crappy Windows box, albeit in a nicer case. You can contract Windows viruses that threaten crucial information like your money as easily as you can with a Dell. A bit of advice for former Windows-only users who are new to the Mac and wish to dual boot: Use Mac OS X for your crucial information and bank transactions and use Windows for Solitaire until you figure out that there are 50 Solitaire games for Mac OS X.

Blum continues, “Here’s the truth: Apples are just like any other computer. They do some things very well, and other things not so well. Pretending otherwise is just obstinacy.”

MacDailyNews Take: The “truth” from someone who clearly is very shaky on his knowledge of current Apple Macs and who believes a thick, ugly, bathroom-scale-looking laptop from Alienware has “has a bit nicer casing and finish” than an Apple MacBook and/or MacBook Pro (and/or PowerBook G3 circa Feb. 2000, for that matter) is worthless. Apple Macs do many things very well, and does other things just merely better than Windows. Pretending otherwise is just ignorance. Blum needs to get his Mac Pro and finally use Mac OS X for awhile before banging out his next mess for TheStreet. (And don’t blame Apple if the compatibility issues you encounter are roadblocks thrown into the mix by Microsoft; divorce yourself from websites that stipulate “IE-only,” ignore services that cater to “Windows-only,” and learn how to use your Mac to beat Microsoft’s proprietary “tech” that’s designed to keep Windows users shackled to Windows.)

Blum continues, “In the new world of a rising Apple, the company, and its enthusiastic fans — you know who you are — need to take a cue from your own marketing. Think different, not ‘better.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The Mac is better than a Windows PC in too many areas to list. The day we follow some ignorant, tasteless hack’s advice on how to think is the day we switch from Mac to Windows.

Related articles:
Writer: Alienware PC ‘not limited by lack of software and other issues that plague Apple computers’ – October 10, 2006

59 Comments

  1. “Apple products run on the same parts as other computers do: Intel chips, the same displays made somewhere in the Pacific Rim, and similar video cards; they run the same software, such as Microsoft Office, use the same Internet and have the same versions of games like Quake,”

    Yes but it’s the way they do it that makes all the difference.

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