The Macalope Weekly: Have you tried rebooting?

While the pundits have declared Lion worse than Vista, they’ve also declared Windows 8 better than iOS and Lion! Sure, it’s not shipping for at least another year, and it’s making a lot of wild promises but, ugh, God, why are you Apple fanboys always so hung up on the linear nature of time?!

Your Lion eyes

What’s the deal with Lion?

Before it even came out, the PC press was desperate to tar it as Apple’s Vista—not as in “a pleasing view” sense but as in the craptacular operating system from Microsoft. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes even called it “more painful than Vista.”

Well, the Macalope never personally installed Vista (because it takes a Winotaur to navigate the maze of Windows version options) so, while he imagines it was more painful than a proctologic exam from Hellboy, he can’t speak from personal experience. About either. Just to set the record straight.

Of course, most of the point of making the Vista comparisons was obviously to get Mac users all riled up, which is why the Macalope ignored them. The two operating systems are hardly comparable. Microsoft foisted Vista on its users after making them wait more than six years for an OS update. It wasn’t a viable alternative, though; most XP users waited another two and a half years for Windows 7 instead, meaning they had ended up waiting nine years for Microsoft to ship an OS update that they could actually use.

So, for starters, the pressure on Lion is so much lower. But moreover, it may just be not that bad (tip o’ the antlers to TUAW).

Our epic battle has come to a close, with Mac OS X Lion winning six rounds outright and Windows 7 winning four. Both platforms tied in the special features category. So the final score for Mac OS X Lion is seven versus five for Windows 7.

Laptop magazine declares Lion the winner! Case closed!

Read more…

Wait, who? Yeah, OK, the Macalope has probably seen Laptop magazine in an airport somewhere, but he’s not sure why he would really care which operating system their “winner” is—not that they don’t, for the most part, make some decent points.

It’s kind of a silly comparison, though. While you could run Windows 7 on your MacBook as its primary operating system using Boot Camp, only a relatively small number of people are going to go to the trouble. It’s like comparing AT&T’s data plan against Rogers. OK, Rogers is cheaper, but that’s not much help if you have to move to Canada to get it.

A more practical comparison would be between Lion and Snow Leopard. That’s really your other alternative.

The Macalope’s used OS X experimentally since Cheetah and as his primary OS since Puma. That’s almost 10 years. Overall, it seems obvious that the last two have been less impressive than Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, and Leopard. But the horny one wonders if we aren’t just more jaded. We’ve got other things to hang our collective hats on these days (other than the ill-fated Apple Coat Rack of the early 1990s). It’s not just that the success of the iPhone and the iPad have made each upgrade to OS X emotionally less critical, it’s also made those updates practically less critical, as we’ve replaced some of the hours we used to spend on OS X with hours spent on iOS.

There’s no denying that some people have had real problems with Lion. But there are always problems; the Macalope’s really not sure the issues are any worse this time out. While it’s been a little rough around the edges for him at times, the Macalope thinks the improved security model and the new version of Mail have made Lion worth it.

Your mileage may vary.

Particularly if you’re driving the ill-fated Apple Motor Scooter of the early 1990s.

Apple doomed. Again.

But enough comparing Lion to Windows 7! Let’s compare Lion and iOS to Windows 8! Because that’s totally fair.

Boy Genius Report’s Zach Epstein gives us the low-down from Microsoft’s BUILD conference: Sorry Apple, Windows 8 ushers in the post-post-PC era.

But… but… we just got our “Welcome to the post-PC era” t-shirts! We just had our houses painted post-PC-era blue! We just named our children “Post-PC era”!

Microsoft executives took to the stage at the annual BUILD developer conference on Tuesday to give the world its first real look at the future of the Windows operating system. The reception, as you’ve likely read by now, has been overwhelmingly positive.

Well, assuming you only talked to people who have a vested interest in it succeeding (like Wired did in this piece), or people with an axe to grind against Apple. (The circles in that Venn diagram, not surprisingly, intersect pretty heavily.) On the other hand, this is what This Is My Next had to say:

If we’re going to be totally honest though, we’d describe Windows 8 right now as incoherent and contradictory.

The whole user experience feels schizophrenic, with users having to jump back and forth between the [Metro and desktop] paradigms, each of which seem like they might be better off on their own.

Really?! You don’t say. If only someone made separate mobile and desktop operating systems, each optimized for the devices they run on heyyy, wait a minute…

Sorry, Zach. The Macalope got distracted with some facts there. You were about to disprove yourself. Please, go ahead.

In fact, Apple bloggers were apparently so flustered by the platform that they resorted to bombarding Twitter with jokes about cooling fans and Silverlight instead of stopping for a moment to realize that Microsoft is showing us the future of computing.

“The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” - Carl Sagan.

So, the reception was “overwhelmingly positive,” as long as you leave out certain large sections of the technology world. Got it. Apple bloggers don’t count, only people already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. Good to know!

By the way, were those valid criticisms about the cooling fans and Silverlight? Epstein doesn’t bother to say. BGR readers just need to know they came from the Twitter accounts of Apple bloggers, where you’ll find only bitterness and never truth. But you knew that.

Here’s one suggestion for Microsoft about how to make fan noise and smoke pouring out of your tablets a feature—three words: steampunk case mod.

One platform to rule them all. The technology exists to enable users to carry a single device that is as portable and usable as a tablet, but also as powerful and capable as a PC. It has a battery that can last all day, but it can also run Photoshop, Excel and Outlook. It can weigh next to nothing and slip into a slim case, but it can also power two monitors and run proprietary enterprise software.

And cost $500? And not be a complete mess?

The Macalope has no doubt that more integrated and more full-featured devices are coming some day. But Epstein seems to think that Microsoft is going to ship this magical tablet/PC/One Ring of Power next year and it’ll not only run Photoshop all day long, it’ll power two monitors all day long.

Good. Fricking. Luck.

Apple paved the way but Microsoft will get there first with Windows 8.

Wait, if the way was already paved then that would mean that Apple got there first, and you know what, never mind, because you have gone completely cuckoo bananas.

A tablet that can be as fluid and user friendly as the iPad but as capable as a Windows laptop. A tablet that can boot in under 10 seconds and fire up a full-scale version of Adobe Dreamweaver a few moments later. A tablet that can be slipped into a dock to instantly become a fully capable touch-enabled laptop computer. This is Microsoft’s vision with Windows 8, and this is what it will deliver.

And they have the nerve to say we’re the idiots who’ll believe and hype anything that Apple tells us?

If the iPad ushered in the post-PC era, then welcome to the post-post-PC era.

Shorter Epstein: “I know you are, but what am I—times infinity.”

But let’s just be clear. The bar is set, right? Whenever Windows 8 ships, it will blow Apple’s mobile offering out of the water. Let’s reconvene here in when-that-happens and see how it turns out.

The Macalope has been asking this for months, but: If all people wanted was full-fledged Windows on a tablet, why haven’t they been buying them during the last 10 years that Microsoft’s been trying to dump them on people? What Microsoft has done—in response to Apple’s success—is bolt an admittedly very nice touch interface onto Windows. It’s rethought about 25 percent of where its tablets have fallen short for years. There’s no doubt that a lot of PC users will end up using Windows 8 because it’s the successor to Windows 7. But it really remains to be seen how many will use it on tablets.

As Aayush Arya reminded the horny one, the other thing the Macalope’s been saying for even longer is that it’s uncanny how future Microsoft products beat current Apple products time and time again, isn’t it?

Saturday Special: Winotauring

Well, you knew this had to happen. The Macalope frequently runs into the Winotaur down at the corner coffee shop where the mythical creatures get their morning joe, and this week he was just waiting.

WINOTAUR: Well, well, well. Look what the chimera pulled in.

MACALOPE: He didn’t pull the Macalope in, he was holding the door open.

WINOTAUR: Grab a chair before you scuff those dainty hooves.

MACALOPE: Ugh, you’re going to be completely insufferable about this.

WINOTAUR: My friend, let’s just say… yes. I am going to be completely insufferable about this.

MACALOPE: Terrific. Misty, can the Macalope get a grande half-decaf… you know what? Make it a full-caff drip. And two ibuprofen, please?

WINOTAUR: Tsk-tsk-tsk. Me getting good press just kills you.

MACALOPE: No, you getting stupid press kills me.

WINOTAUR: Your jealousy feeds me. It’s like a giant glazed donut of… um… jealousy. And glaze. Hey, Misty, can I get a giant glazed donut?

MACALOPE: It’s not jealously, by the way.

WINOTAUR: Now who’s not being honest with themselves?

MACALOPE: Well, look, this is hard to unpack. If you can make a deal with Beelzebub and ship literally magical tablets a year from now that do everything with good battery life, etc., then, yes, it’s jealousy. If not, it’s just my usual irateness.

WINOTAUR: Ugh, is Beelzebub here again? I hate that guy. You know he drinks right out of the half-and-half pitcher, don’t you? But, look, I don’t need to sell my soul to Mr. Half-and-half Mustache. The future is here, my friend! Well, next year it’ll be here.

MACALOPE: See, even spotting you a year, we who are enjoying a nice tablet experience today just don’t think you can “have it all” and not have a large portion of it suck.

WINOTAUR: What are you talking about? You saw the demos. It’s all there.

MACALOPE: Three words: needs more Metro. Metro looks terrific. It’s when the Windows desktop comes up that we vomit.

WINOTAUR: You’re just mad that we found a way for users to have their cake and eat it, too. … Misty, can I get some coffee cake over here?

MACALOPE: No, we just think it’s going to offer the smooth ride of a 1976 Chevette with a broken clutch. Shift, jerk into Metro. Shift, jerk into Windows desktop. Shift, jerk back into…

WINOTAUR: Oh, you Apple dandies wouldn’t have liked anything we introduced.

MACALOPE: Not true. Look, we already know we don’t like Windows, that’s obvious. And that’s really the part we object to. You know the Macalope’s spoken favorably of Windows Mobile Smart Cell Phone Experience 7 To The Max or whatever it is this week…

WINOTAUR: It’s not that, it’s, um… Actually, I forget what it is.

MACALOPE: But it shouldn’t be surprising we want you to cut the cord and go Metro-only. We like Metro. In fact, we look forward to stealing some of it. But instead of giving users a cut of delicious prime Metro, you’re putting it in a sausage with a bunch of other crap we already know we don’t like. I don’t see how you can expect us to dig that.

WINOTAUR: You just think Apple’s way is the only way to do things.

MACALOPE: No, we just happen to notice it worked a hell of a lot better than your full-Windows-on-a-tablet approach.

WINOTAUR: Well, just you wait. Windows 8 is going to be huge!

MACALOPE: It probably will. You’ve got a giant installed base of enterprise zealots who blindly install whatever you tell them like they’re reading from a hymnal!

WINOTAUR: Hey! You can’t use religious metaphors about us! Only we can use them about you!

MACALOPE: Ha! Now you see how it feels!

MISTY: Here’s your coffee. By the way, can you guys keep it down? You’re scaring the open-source unicorns.

MACALOPE: Oh. Sorry.

WINOTAUR: Sorry.

MACALOPE: …

WINOTAUR: …

MACALOPE: Pff! Ha-ha!

WINOTAUR: Ha-ha-ha! Those guys.

[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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