The Macalope Weekly: Are you crazy?

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That’s what the Macalope frequently finds himself asking aloud as he reads some of the material he slogs through every week so you don’t have to. This week, one analyst tried to drive a busload of investors over the edge of Contrarian Gulch. Meanwhile, an InfoWorld writer wants you to shed a tear for how poorly Microsoft has been treated. And finally, the Macalope has never thought “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” was a particularly good definition of crazy, but Katherine Noyes makes a pretty good case.

Now on ESPN2: Extreme contrarianism

There’s contrarian and then there’s “someone get that guy’s car keys” contrarian. Here’s hoping BTIG’s Walter Piecyk has a designated driver.

APPLE GETS DOWNGRADED: BTIG Forecasts A Big Revenue Miss Later This Year

Uh, how’s that, Walter?

For Piecyk, it all boils down to the iPhone. As Business Insider summarizes, Piecyk believes “2012 will be the year that the wireless carriers fight back against having their margins constantly squeezed.”

What fight are you watching, Walter? How, exactly, are carriers supposed to get back into this bout? More Android phones?

No, Piecyk believes carriers will turn to the Windows Phone juggernaut.

Well, OK, crazy analyst guy. The Macalope supposes that’s possible, if maybe a little harder than you imagine. Over at Wired Christina Bonnington, having recently pimped sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Note, wants you to know that sales of the Nokia Lumia 900 are already super-duper!

Initial sales indicators for the Lumia 900, Nokia’s most important U.S. Windows Phone to date, are showing that the handset is off to a good start despite the fact the phone launched on Easter Sunday, a day when most AT&T stores were closed.

Wait, if most of the retail locations were closed until the day you wrote this piece, then how can you tell?

Read more…

The Lumia 900 rose to the top of Amazon’s smartphone rankings today, beating out favorites like the Droid Razr Maxx, the previously most popular phone, and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. As of press time, the black Lumia 900 model holds the number one spot, and the cyan model holds the number two spot. Yesterday, the handset debuted in fifth place on the site.

The exact sales numbers that propelled the 900 to the top of Amazon’s leader board aren’t known at this time.

So… just to be clear, in your piece claiming that sales of the Lumia 900 are “promising,” you admit you have no idea how well it’s selling.

Well, maybe the Lumia 900 will sell well and change the fortune of Windows Phone, magically returning the carriers to the throne of whatever the country is in Game Of Thrones—look, the Macalope’s been meaning to watch it, he’s just a little busy and he doesn’t get HBO, OK?

Heck, you can get a Lumia 900 for free! Admittedly because of a bug that shuts off cellular data after a reboot or shutdown. You weren’t planning on using the “smart” part of your smartphone anyway, were you?

It seems odd than an analyst would ignore all the evidence pointing to the fact that people want iPhones (which, incidentally, Amazon does not sell through its own wireless store, so it doesn’t appear in its rankings). Carriers like T-Mobile, which don’t have the iPhone, have been seeing their users flee like hipster rats from a sinking ship to a better ship, a ship that has the best-selling smartphone.

Apple’s third-quarter results will be out in July. The Macalope will set himself a tickler to remind him to come back to review this prognostication then.


Oops. Wrong kind of tickler.

Or is it?

(Yes, it is.)

The Redmond waaaaaambulance

InfoWorld’s J. Peter Bruzzese wants people to leeeeeave Microsoft ALOOOOOOONE!

I’ve noticed an unfair, ongoing trend: If Microsoft does something a little off, it gets bashed into the ground for it. But if Google, Facebook, or Apple (all three of which can be categorized, like Microsoft, as The Man in their own rights) missteps, it generally gets mild reprimands and even support from the media and those drinking the Kool-Aid.

That must be a neat trick, since drinking the Kool-Aid actually kills you.

Seriously, people, read a history book—or even Wikipedia—before you fall back on a trite, overused metaphor.

One wonders if Bruzzese has read some of the fawning coverage Microsoft has received for products it hasn’t even shipped yet and which won’t ship for months. Seriously, that stuff’s so sweet it’ll give you diabetes.

Case in point is the famous iPhone 4 antenna issue (affectionately termed “antennagate”), where holding the iPhone 4 in a certain way would interfere with the cellular signal. Then-CEO Steve Jobs said, “Hold it differently,” and everyone said, “Oh, it’s not a design flaw, we are simply not holding it properly.”

Wha-what?! That’s what people said? Were you in some sort of sensory deprivation tank during the summer of 2010? It is not hyperbole to say the streets literally ran red with hyperbole!

Actually, that’s ridiculous. Of course it is. But there was still a lot of hyperbole.

If Bruzzese is talking about iPhone 4 buyers, though, what they decided was that the flaw, while not ideal, was still outweighed by the other benefits of the phone. And if he’s talking about pundits, the Macalope can easily point you to ones who flew off the handle about it.

But it sure is easier to make a point when you just argue against strawmen! And they sure do burn pretty, don’t they?

Take the brouhaha over the “Smoked by Windows Phone” controversy as another example where a very tiny thing is blown up to huge proportions simply because it is connected to Microsoft. …

… One guy at one store won the challenge using his Galaxy Nexus by displaying the weather of two different cities faster than the Windows Phone did. The store claimed he had to show two different cities in two different states, and he and the blogosphere cried foul. The guy was eventually offered a new laptop and smartphone as an apology.

Yeah, after people made a big deal about it. Does Bruzzese not understand cause and effect? Is that the problem here?

This is a simple case of store employees not knowing what to do and making a bad call…

Now who’s making excuses? The guy won and they refused to honor the contest. That’s not “not knowing what to do,” that’s knowing what they should do but not doing it.

If Microsoft bids to buy patents, it’s a patent troll, but if Google does it, it’s protecting the great open source Android OS.

Well, not the way the Macalope tells it, that’s for sure. Hey, if anything Microsoft has gotten a lot of support from Apple fans recently. That thing where they’re getting $15 for every Android phone sold? Brilliant!

I’m not saying you’re mistaken to praise other companies about their products. But when it comes to product flaws or any wrongdoing (including privacy issues that should worry us all), they should be treated equally. Microsoft is not treated equally.

Possibly Bruzzese just doesn’t keep up with the coverage of Apple. The Macalope would argue that it’s substantially more unfair than what Microsoft has gotten of late, but reasonable people can disagree about that.

What they can’t do is just make things up.

Saturday Special: She’s baaaaaack!

The Macalope really thought we had accomplished something. He thought that, working together, we had sufficiently shamed PCWorld’s Katherine Noyes into thinking carefully before writing about Apple again.

The Macalope is sorry to say that that is apparently not the case.

Before we get started here, the horny one want to apologize to Linux users for taking a few cheap shots at them. The Macalope really has nothing against Linux. It’s just that Noyes’s shtick is really getting tiresome.

“‘Flashback’ Mac Malware: One More Reason to Switch to Linux”

…Macs have long been billed by many as the secure alternative for those wary of the near-constant malware attacks on Windows.

Then, last year, we had MacDefender. Now there’s Flashback. It’s starting to look like Apple’s “walled garden” isn’t as safe as many thought it was.

Katherine, Katherine, Katherine, KATHERINE. We’ve covered this material already! The Macalope is very hurt that after all the time and care he took to write responses to your articles you haven’t read them carefully and taken them to heart. Very hurt.

Once again, though, the “walled garden,” as people call it, is iOS, not OS X. How, exactly, is OS X walled? Anyone can develop for it. You can even run janky open-source apps in X11! It’s true! You can look it up!

But all this should sound familiar, because the Macalope’s been telling you this stuff for over a year.

No platform under the sun is perfectly secure, but it looks like Linux is the only big desktop platform left that’s still standing relatively strong.

While Flashback was primarily aimed at Macs, Kaspersky Labs found that one percent of the machines infected were running Linux or FreeBSD. Which, given the relative proportion of installed Linux machines, is what? All of them?


Let’s just remember that Noyes spent a bunch of time telling people that Android would be more secure than iOS because it’s based on Linux and LINUX IS SO AWESOME IT’S THE BESTEST EVER YOU GUYS. Unlike Linux on the desktop, Android took off and so did Android malware, shredding Noyes’s entire argument about the inherent Linux security advantage. But dope springs eternal and she keeps trotting it out over and over again.

If Linux does have an advantage it’s because of its smaller installed base, just like the one Apple has enjoyed in the past. Well, and the fact that Linux users don’t have credit cards because they live in a post-capitalist, barter-economy utopia.

There have been attacks on Linux over the years, of course, but for a number of reasons they typically don’t have much of an effect.

On Katherine’s head.

Even better, though, is that Linux is so diverse, so users aren’t all on a single, common operating system—instead, they’re on many, many distinct distributions. That makes it much harder for a malware creator to find a worthwhile segment to target.

And creates no other problems at all. THE END.

In short, Macs may have their advantages for a segment of users out there…

A much larger segment.

…but Linux is better on more than a few key features.

It’s funny that users don’t seem to think that. It’s probably because of marketing.

Ugh, look, we’ve been through this over and over again, but you like Linux. We get that. We’re happy for you! We really are! But there are very real reasons—like usability and design and professional application selection and many, many others—why we prefer the Mac and would rather fall face-first into a swimming pool full of deer ticks than switch to Linux. Why can’t you accept that?

Or not accept it and just stop talking about Apple? That works for us, too.

[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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