The Macalope Weekly: Equilibrium

As one pundit threatens to leave the Mac, another one arrives. But this one has the Macalope wondering if it isn’t time for a border fence. Then, picking on the Mac mini? Why don’t you pick on someone your own size!

Saturday Special: Break-ups can be painful

Last week, the Macalope wondered if Dan Gillmor was being clear on exactly why he was leaving the Mac. Apparently there won’t be any love lost, however.

Such boundless loathing the Apple fanboys have for anyone who doesn’t worship in their church…

Oh, dear. Insulting and, worse, lazy tropes on Twitter? What is the world coming to?

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Presumably responding to the Macalope’s pal, Glenn Fleishman, Gillmor then said:

It’s a lot more than that. And you still ignore fact that Apple won’t let customers run OS it still supports on basically equivalent Macs

OK, then, here’s the thing about that. It might be a valid argument if you had offered a reason why you don’t want to upgrade to Lion, but you didn’t. Lion is more secure than Snow Leopard, and has a ton of new features. If you don’t like them, almost all of them can be turned off or ignored, with the exception of Versions. But you didn’t complain about Versions. You didn’t complain about any specifics at all. You just bemoaned Apple’s “control-freakery” which makes little to no sense since, as the Macalope pointed out, Lion is not locked down like iOS is.

We’re not asking you to stay. We’re not asking that you like what Apple does. We’re just asking that you make sense.

There goes the neighborhood

If you’re an old-school Apple fan, the last ten years have probably been exhilarating, but also maybe somewhat bewildering. As the ranks of Mac users have swelled, no longer can you find an easy camaraderie with a MacBook user you might see in an airport, or an iMac user in a coffee shop.

These new people don’t even know the handshake! And some of them are really uncomfortable with the hugging. What’s that all about? What happened to our country?

Still, all these years we’ve welcomed them because, well, Apple needed the money. But now the Macalope’s wondering if there shouldn’t be some sort of minimal entrance exam to keep the riffraff out.

How the Editor of Windows Magazine Became an Apple Fanboy (tip o’ the antlers to TUAW’s Chris Rawson)

Wait. Wait. Wait. “The Editor of Windows Magazine”? Mike Elgan? Mike Elgan now calls himself “an Apple fanboy” and writes for Cult of Mac?

Mike Elgan?

Mike Elgan?

Mike fricking Elgan?!

Are you sure we’re talking about the same person?

Because, guys, we need to have a meeting about this. Being a tri-species beast himself, the Macalope is very inclusive but…

Mike Elgan?

Really?

The same Mike Elgan who said that the Zune “scares Apple to its core”, which is both a terrible play on words and so bass ackwards it has gills? The same Mike Elgan who said that Apple was the new Microsoft because the iPod requires you to use iTunes? The same Mike Elgan who called Apple “arrogant” because it put a “blue screen of death” on the PC in OS X’s networking window? The same Mike Elgan who said this week that Google+ makes Twitter obsolete?

That doesn’t have anything to do with Apple, but it’s still stupid. And still full of the same trite metaphors.

The exact same trite metaphors.

Here’s Elgan today:

Google launched its Google+ social site about three weeks ago. The site’s perfect storm of social features will sink Twitter.

And here’s Elgan in 2006:

Microsoft is hatching a consumer media ‘perfect storm’.

Apple fans assume iPod will face Zune in the market, mano a mano, like other media players. But that’s not the case. Zune will be supported and promoted and will leverage the collective power of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Soapbox (Microsoft’s new “YouTube killer”) and the Xbox 360.

Vista. And Soapbox. He really wrote that.

Look, the Macalope’s as open-minded as the next man-computer-beast. But is it too much to ask that we have some standards?

Inflammariffic

In these tough economic times the Macalope is sure that it’s hard to resist the siren’s song of trolling for hits. Particularly when hits pay the bills, like they do over at DealMac.

Dear Steve Jobs: The Mac mini Is Crap (tip o’ the antlers to SS)

The only crap is in this flaming bag you left on our doorstep, Jeff Somogyi. Let’s get right to its “thesis” about the updated Mac mini Apple unveiled last week.

The one, probably-necessary update they didn’t give this ‘lil computer? A reason to exist.

Sheer awesomeness isn’t enough anymore?

With such a fast CPU, one might assume that the mini is mighty enough to tackle all but the most intensive tasks. And you’re probably right—for now. The problem is, software will begin to bloat it.

First of all, your use of the transitive here doesn’t make any sense. The software bloats, not the hardware. Second, when do you expect this bloat overload to happen? Three years is kind of a standard lifecycle for a computer. Do you really think the Mac mini isn’t going to be useful for that long? The Macalope has an early 2006 mini that’s only just now been outpaced by Lion. Still runs Snow Leopard like a champ.

Anyway, whatever, dude. More Mac minis for the rest of us.

When you have a desktop, how do you handle this situation? You crack open the case and replace all or some of the following: CPU, RAM, video card, or hard drive.

CPU? It’s too bad it’s now a cliché to say “1998 called and they want their computer hardware lifecycle back” because, seriously, 1998 actually did call and they really do want it back, and now it just sounds like a joke. But, really, the Macalope just got off the phone with them and they’re pretty ticked off.

When you want to upgrade your Mac mini, you can conveniently crack open the case and … replace just the RAM. If that wasn’t your problem, well, then you’re out of luck.

Actually, no! Not only can you upgrade the stock hard drive, you can install a second hard drive.

We are talking about the same Mac mini, right? The one from Apple? The company whose logo is an apple with a bite out of it? Because, reading this, one might get the impression that you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

As an added bonus, this “desktop replacement” has dropped the optical drive completely.

You know what else it dropped? A hundred bucks. You know how much an external SuperDrive is? $79.

It uses a work-around that enables you to wirelessly sync your Mac mini to the DVD drive of another computer. So … wait. What? In order to fully use this computer, you have to have another computer? Hilarious!

Please define “fully use” in the context of the current computing era. Because the last time the Macalope used the optical drive in his MacBook Pro was probably two years ago, when he upgraded to Snow Leopard.

With the promo material proudly boasting its 2.7-lb. weight, you might think that Apple is positioning the mini as something portable.

Sure, if you have no idea that it needs a monitor, keyboard and mouse. But if you’re illiterate you can’t read the weight specs. That’s a bit of a catch-22, isn’t it?

On the other hand, the Mac mini’s diminutive weight might be of interest to people in IT departments or those who want to stick a mess of them in a rack and do some cool things.

This piece might seem a little weird to you. Wouldn’t a shopping site want people to respect the opinion of its editors in recommending hardware? Why would they publish such an ill-informed piece? Well, it turns out the Mac mini is actually a DealMac “Editor’s Choice.” So they’re just trying to have their link-bait cake and eat it, too.

Oh, and since the cheapest mini is almost $600, we’re pretty sure you can easily find a laptop for that price. Or, you know, 80 of them.

Right. Instead of a Mac mini we’ll just buy a Windows laptop. It’s almost exactly the same thing.

Apple’s claim that it can “connect … to your HDTV with a single HDMI cable” might lead you to believe that it’s the best option for a home theater PC.

Or it might lead you to think it can connect to your HDTV with a single HDMI cable. Which is not just a “claim,” seeing as how it actually can connect to your HDTV with a single HDMI cable.

But when you think about it, it looks more like a jack of all trades, trying too hard to appeal to too many groups, without doing any one thing particularly well.

Which, when you think about that, is actually a pretty good way to make an entry-level computer. Cast a wide net, because you can never be sure what people are planning on using it for.

Of course, praising the Mac mini probably isn’t going to get as many hits, so forget the Macalope even mentioned it.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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