The Macalope Weekly: Ball of confusion

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Is this week’s title in reference to silly technology pundits and their penchant for hyperbole when it come to Apple, the Windows 7 upgrade matrix, the App Store approval process, or the iconic ’60s song by the Temptations?

Sadly, just the first three.

People are strange

You may not have noticed this, but the Macalope is something of a media critic. Specifically, an Apple media critic.

Yes, it’s a niche market, but when you’ve got a classic Mac for a head there really aren’t all that many job options. The antlers don’t help either. And the hooves. The cud-chewing can also be off-putting. People can be so narrow-minded.

People at NASA, for example.

Anyway, this week brought the Macalope a veritable smorgasbord of criticizable Apple coverage.

First we have PC World’s Todd R. Weiss asking Is Apple’s iPod Dying — And Does Apple Care? Yeah. Dying like a fox, Todd.

Which is probably not a good analogy since foxes get hunted with dogs and die kind of miserably, but you get the idea. The iPod may be slightly less important to Apple than it used to be, but it’s still huge. Save the histrionics.

Then there’s ZDNet’s Zack Whittaker, who knows for a fact that the tablet that hasn’t been introduced yet is flawed from the start. Zack, Zack, Zack! We covered this material last week! Please, if you’re not going to do the required reading, just drop the class.

Finally, in the realm of more annoying than irresponsible, CBS gave ex-future Apple CEO Jean-Louis Gassée over 2,200 words to make lame “Jesus tablet” jokes (maybe they’re funnier in French) and give us a history lesson about the Newton and how he started Be. It’s not all about you, Jean-Louis!

The Macalope realizes that, for better or worse, this is the beat he was born to cover, but forgive him if he sometimes looks wistfully at his rejected application to astronaut training school.


You can’t always get what you want

The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg asked Microsoft for a matrix that would show the definitive list of combinations for upgrading to Windows 7. The result should not be viewed by pregnant women or people prone to seizures.

Now, to be fair to Microsoft, it’s not as confusing as it looks. If you already have Vista and you want to go to the comparable version of Windows 7, it’s an easy upgrade. Anything else, though and your whole weekend is shot. And if you were to plot it as a probability chart…

Oooh. Walt should totally ask them to plot it as a probability chart. And then he should ask them to plot it using a least-squares regression algorithm to account for seasonal variances.

Because it doesn’t mean anything!

It must be pretty nice to be Walt Mossberg and be able to call up Microsoft and absolutely ruin some poor intern’s week by forcing him to figure out that matrix. That’ll look good on a resumé, though. “Danced like a monkey for Uncle Walt.”

The Macalope did do a little math and going by Internet usage stats, about 80% of Windows users are looking at having to do a fresh installation instead of an upgrade.

It’s a good time to be glad you’re not a PC.

You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’

Speaking of Microsoft, the pointy one has been seeing some commentary lately on how Apple is the new Microsoft. And that’s not really fair. While the company has gone through some growing pains of late, particularly with the App Store, the worst you could say is that it’s the new Microsoft, except with style. And class. And senior executives who aren’t nearly as sweaty.

It is, however, almost a truism that the bigger a company gets—whether it’s in terms of physical size or market presence—the more there is to criticize about it. That part’s just physics. It’s hard to run a big omelette-making business without breaking a few eggs.

So far the complaints are all coming from the developer side. In all this discussion of how screwed up the App Store is (and it is), it’s still easy to use for customers, and that gets the butts in the seats. This week, for instance, we all got incensed that Apple won’t let us have a simple dictionary until the developers get rid of the Seaward (which, apparently, was not really even the case), but does your average iPhone owner follow each app’s road to the App Store like we do? The Macalope suspects they don’t. They just know that practically everything’s a dollar and they’re real easy to download.

Apple’s pleading, “We know it’s not perfect. We’re trying!” Well…keep trying! Until developers start leaving en masse, they don’t have too much of a problem. But the crowd’s getting a little surly.

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