The Macalope Weekly: A bad joke

A curmudgeon, a professor and a troll walk into a bar …

… and the rest of us leave because wow. Be warned, the amount of crazy coming from these three is classified as weapons-grade by The Hague and is restricted from international trade. John Dvorak is just doing what John Dvorak has done since he was fashioned from clay at the dawn of the computer age, but these other guys—a college professor and the CEO of a stock-tracking site—the Macalope’s not sure what their excuse is.

Curmudgeon overload

The Macalope knows he shouldn’t, but he was drawn into another John C. Dvorak honeytrap of doom—only this time, he came out more concerned for the man than worried about the things he said about Apple.

Writing for PC Magazine (no link for him, as you know), John purports to take a look at the convergence of phones and tablets into what people are nauseatingly calling “phablets.”

It’s hard to call out a fad so early, but the trendy 7-inch tablet has all the earmarks of one.

Hmm. Actually, as surprising as it might seem, the Macalope bought a Nexus 7 (for science) and he agrees with Macworld’s Dan Frakes, who says the device makes the case for an “iPad mini.”

Much of the excitement is because of the $199 price point. Samsung has a similar item that I saw stacked up at Costco.

This is leaving Apple flat-footed rather than at the head of the pack.

Totally. Apple, which continues to sell about a gazillion times more iPads than the next most popular tablet, has surely been caught flat-footed because, after two years of flailing their arms like one of those fan-blown things outside a car dealer, Android tablet makers may have found a nut. The horny one has already covered why Android OEMs make ridiculously large phones. It’s because they can’t sell tablets. Only companies that can actually provide you something to do on a tablet—Apple, Amazon and Google—have shown they can sell tablets. And two of them have to sell them without making any money on them.

Read more…

But Dvorak gets the Apple bashing out of the way early in this piece. And gets right into the crazy.

Well, as many of you know, I do not find tablets that useful.

Translation: In my day, we put on our bear fur coats before using laptops the size of steamer trunks, which were fueled by burning whale fat! And that’s the way we liked it!

But the 7-inch tablet, to me, is a giant mobile phone.

Uh, without the phone part, of course.

Just look at the Nexus 7. It is exactly the same as the Galaxy Nexus, only bigger.

Uh, in that they’re both flat things that run Android. Sure.

Was he always this kooky or is he especially kooky now?

So the Nexus 7 is what it looks and feels like: a huge phone.

Uhhh … without the phone part.

Someone call an ambulance, because now the Macalope’s actually worried about him.

I’ve held this thing to my head as if it was a cell phone…

OK, that’s a little weird.

…and, to be honest, it could easily work.

No, it could not! OK, technically, yes, but by all that’s true and right in this universe, no, it could not.

Yes, it is too big and kind of looks silly. But how silly?

SERIOUSLY, CONCERNINGLY, HAVE-YOU-HAD-A-STROKE-STYLE SILLY.

The Macalope knows Dvorak likes to play up the curmudgeon stuff, but what’s the reader value in listening to him yelling at clouds for 600 words?

College boy

The Macalope thinks he may have pinpointed exactly what’s wrong with our education system. It’s this guy: Babson College senior lecturer in management, Marty Anderson.

Hang on to your hats, and keep your hands and feet inside the car, kids, because Anderson is going to give us a ride on the world’s longest roller coaster of wrong (tip o’ the antlers to Michael Gartenberg)!

Apple today proudly announces that if you buy their Mountain Lion OS, it will connect you to many unprotected sites, beyond your control, without your even knowing that you are so connected.

Buh? Unprotected sites? Beyond your control? Without your knowing? Did the Macalope miss a press release?

Watch this space.

Believe the Macalope, he wishes he could tear his eyes away from this train wreck of an article, but he cannot.

Apple is emulating Microsoft’s integration of Internet Explorer and the Windows operating system of the 1990’s.

Actually, no! That’s a terrible analogy. Microsoft integrated its own software in a manner that the feds decided was anticompetitive. Apple’s integrating the social services of other companies. They’re nothing alike at all.

Almost every sentence in this piece is mind-numbingly, antler-achingly wrong. For the Macalope it’s like standing, starving, at a buffet of misery, unable to decide where to force himself to start eating. He could pretty much pull a quote from anywhere and run with it.

If you track Apple’s migration from a clean, bombproof operating system…

“Bombproof”? Well, it’s true the Macalope doesn’t remember being bombed while using early versions of OS X. Presumably, Anderson means it was secure, but it was less the inherent security of the OS than it was the small market size. Mountain Lion is far more inherently secure than, say, Panther, but it’s more targeted.

It’s also possible he’s talking about OS 9, which would be even funnier, given that it showed a little bomb icon when things went badly.

…to the 3-platform (PC, Mobile, TV) serpent it is now pushing through mandatory upgrades…

“Mandatory upgrades”? Are Apple’s jack-booted thugs storming into houses and forcing people to upgrade? Have words lost all meaning? Is the Macalope having a seizure?

If anything, iOS is a remarkable simplification of OS X, and fantastically more secure.

…you will see a textbook case of increasing complexity, and of management moving toward dangerous attempts to control closed networks in an open network world.

The Macalope thinks we have here a textbook case of someone knowing just enough to be dangerous.

This is exactly what killed AOL in the late 1990’s.

AOL? What are you even talking about?! NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE.

Apple will survive, but at what cost?

Oh, thank God. Apple will survive … adding optional social media services to its operating system for those who choose to use them.

Apple managers appear to be designing their core DNA around a small market – the American mobile user. They are assuming all users want mandatory “social media” integration, but they are wrong.

It’s. Not. Mandatory.

What in-flight magazine article did you misread?

Mountain Lion’s mandatory, “integrated” real time connectivity to notoriously insecure social networking sites threatens Apple’s global growth among the new forms of enterprise bringing new growth to the world.

OK. OK. OK. OK.

Marty.

Good grief.

The Macalope just upgraded his MacBook Air to Mountain Lion yesterday. At no time was he required to provide his Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, or eWorld credentials. After the upgrade, because he chose to, the Macalope went into System Preferences and added his Twitter login. The End.

Why would anyone in their right mind build this kind of public access into the core operating system in a multicultural world?

What’s so amazing is that no other operating system vendor in the world is doing this OH, WAIT …

What would be wrong with creating a “mega communications App” – separate from the core operating system that could be turned on or off at will?

Are you willfully this obtuse or just genetically predisposed to obtusity? Again, all this can be turned off! And the point of baking it into the operating system is that it’s available everywhere. You can share from any application. If you don’t understand that, then you probably shouldn’t be writing about this subject.

Not that that wasn’t already painfully obvious.

Just because you call an Elephant a Mountain Lion does not mean it can jump smoothly from cliff to cliff.

And just because you string a bunch of words together in English doesn’t mean that they’re true or make a lick of sense.

Clem Chowder

Once upon a time, Forbes was just another magazine on the stack of magazines in the dentist’s waiting room. Since jumping to the Internet, however, Forbes has moved into the Apple-fan-trolling business.

No link, because that’s how the Macalope does with such tremendous trollery, but we just have to take a look at Clem Chambers’s piece titled “Without Steve Jobs, Apple Has All The Appeal Of Dell.”

Wait … Clem Chambers? Claim chowder?

OK, now you’re just pulling the Macalope’s leg, Forbes.

No one should own so much Apple stock that a significant share price drop would impact their financial standing.

Well, sure. That’s sound financial advice. A diversified portfolio is …

Apple is toast.

Wha … whaaaaa?

Bubbles come and go and, despite what many appear to believe, Apple is one of those bubbles.

A decade-plus-long bubble full of tremendous growth in the sales of actual products. So, not exactly a traditional bubble.

Yet even when these factors are taken into consideration, there exists no justification and no hard evidence suggesting that Apple can hold its position as the world’s most valuable company over the long-term.

No hard evidence other than an unprecedented track record of success and a huge pile of cash. Who are you going to believe: Clem Chowder or your lying eyes?

Market reaction to the most recent quarterly figures released by the company underline the painful truth that to maintain its current valuation, Apple must keep up its chain of product hits.

Yes, as Horace Dediu put it:

Apple’s share price has now fallen to levels unseen since June 29th.

Truly devastating.

Basically, the iPhone 5 needs to be amazing yet my guess is the latest update of Apple’s iconic smartphone will fail to make the technological quantum jump required.

There’s no evidence Apple will continue its string of hits, but your guesses we’re supposed to take on faith. Uh-huh.

The calculus is simple: Apple + Jobs = phenomena. Apple- Jobs = normal company.

Simple! You can’t dismiss simple formulas, people! They’re rock solid! Just like the rocks in Clem’s head.

I could go on about how the iPhone is now passé. How you now see old folk with iPhones scrubbing away hip and groovy from the Apple brand. I could rattle on about how great my Samsung Galaxy is. I could jibber about how Google‘s Android is going to kill iPhone.

In other words, you could just make up a bunch of crap. Got it. Good to know. Thanks for that. ‘Nuff said.

Yet that’s not it. Hit-driven businesses are fragile. They are worth less than those businesses which are not reliant on avoiding business- model- destroying product flops.

Yeah! People are used to getting lousy products from Android device makers! What good are actual sales against the power of low expectations?!

Does anyone think Jobs wasn’t ultimately the genius behind the Apple product line?

The sole genius? Yes. They’re called rationalists.

Unless there’s a jaw-dropping product in the pipeline, then the rough reception after Apple’s earnings miss can be notched up as the first step of the superstar company’s reversion to the corporate mean.

Truly, having the same growth it last had in 2009 means this is the end. You can’t argue with that logic! [circles hoof around his ear in cuckoo gesture]

And remember, Clem Chowder called it first! Except for all those other idiots who called it before him.

[Editors’ Note: Each week the Macalope skewers the worst of the week’s coverage of Apple and other technology companies. 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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