Linked by Kroc Camen on Tue 15th Jun 2010 10:03 UTC
Apple Apple have updated the Mac Mini. It now sports an aluminium (no, I am not going to spell it "aluminum") enclosure, an HDMI port, an internal PSU (no power-brick!) and oddly, an SD card slot in the back. There's also an access hole on the bottom to change the RAM easily.
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RE[7]: UK Price
by Neolander on Tue 15th Jun 2010 20:50 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: UK Price"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

And those products have the additional benefit of not having to sacrifice basic things like computer security to work. Unlike OSX which gives you a false sense of security to make you feel better, and a strong need to identify yourself as a Mac user in order to compensate its unimpressive characteristics. And continue to give money for nothing to Apple...

The emblematic product for TAC is the iPad. Here is a product that comes on instantly, looks and feels gorgeous, feels fast, is easy to operate and does (in a fantastically convenient form factor) most of what most people do most of the time on their computer (ie browse the web, send emails, watch movies, read stuff and look at and share photos).

Okay, it's a beautiful piece of hardware, we agree. I wanted an iPad myself before I learned that it would be packed with iPhoneOS crap. And then ?

Plus it has two huge benefits for most consumers. First it doesn't feel like a computer - this is a good thing for most people because most people's experience of using computers has been bad.

In other words, Apple is using trickery to lure consumers into buying their products, because advertising them as what they are would help people understand how crappy iPhone0S on a 7-inch device is. A computer is a computer, meaning a machine which is good as processing large amounts of information, no matter how you call it. And it seems rather unethical to call it otherwise in order to benefit from past failures of the competitors.

Secondly it feels very safe because of Apple's curated computing model, and most users of computers have previously felt unsafe most of the time.

Again, it "feels". You don't like to use rigorous reasoning, do you ? So bad, it would help you to understand that the sole *feeling* of safety, without something solid underneath, is also experienced when someone made tiny holes in your condoms without you knowing it. Feeling safe without being so is actually even worse than not feeling safe at all, because you're taking more risks that what you'd usually do.

Also, I'd like to hear more about that "curated computing model". Sounds fun.

The very reasons that make the iPad such a huge success are the very reasons that Techies don't get it. If one product above all induces TAC its the iPad. Techies say "but Apple has an iron grip and is killing our freedoms" (people want safety much more than some obscure technical freedom)

Which the iPad does not provide. It only provides a false sense of safety. Ever heard about iPhoneOS not actually deleting mails when you press "delete", leaving room for a huge security hole ? About Apple being able to kill an iPhone 4 through its internet connection, leaving room for future exploits of this backdoor ?

What some people do not seem to understand is that safety and technical freedom *are* compatible. They are not opposite. They are two features. You can have one, the other, or both. As simple as that.

, "the iPad doesn't have [insert any number of features that consumers don't care about]"

Again, you seem to know consumers pretty well. So bad you don't know more about all those people who visit multiple video websites and play flash games on a daily basis. You should go in an average high school someday and watch what students are doing on their computers when the teacher is not watching, someday, really...

, "its not a real computer" (exactly).

No, wrong. It IS a computer. Just a castrated one. Computers were made to let the user do pretty much everything he wants which involves processing information. iPads restrict this to what Apple lets users do. Which means that it remains a computer, provided that you consider Apple as the user, the one in control of the machine.

So the continuing, relentless and accelerating success of Apple seems almost inexplicable to most Techies, "how could such products be so successful?"

The answer Techies come up are fairly predictable:

- Apple's voodoo marketing: Apple is pulling the wool over the consumer eyes (sometimes this is blamed on media hype).

- Apple's evil lock in: Apple has a locked down and closed platform, once sucked in people can't leave.

- Apple consumers and users are idiots: Fooled by marketing and glitzy packaging the sheep can be sold everything.

Well, let me advocate a slightly different theory for once.

Apple sell dreams. Dreams have immense values. As you said, people encounter countless issues with poorly made computers everyday. Apple pretends to have invented well-made computing devices. People get excited. They see the price tag, and agree that at such a high price, it must be something wonderful. Especially since according to apple's website, the device does X, Y, AND Z !!! (All that are basic marketing tactics, nothing voodoo in there)

When they've finally bought the product, the users split in two categories.

1/Those who admit that they've been f*cked. It's not the most frequent case, because it takes some willpower to say "Well, I bought crap, with that much money I could've bought a new bike which would have been much more useful on these days. Truth hurts". Admitting that you're wrong is hard. Because of the psychological pain which ensues, such people then get angry and end up bashing Apple for a few months (in an I-know-better-than-you fashion that everybody ignores), then get apathic for some times, and finally buy a product for another brand. And consumerism goes on.

2/Those who don't want to admit it. After all, all their friends are watching their new gizmos with curious eyes. You can manipulate it with your finger. It does run facebook. So it isn't that bad, isn't it. Actually, why would someone expect more than that from a tech product ? Such a denial attitude can be compared with the "everything is right" attitude, which can be seen in a couple when both partners want to stay with each other for some reason, even if they don't like each other. A real-world example : my girlfriend's mother bought an iPhone because it sounded so easy to use and had all those applications. She opened the App store exactly once, and downloaded nothing from it. She now uses her iPhone for phoning and sending texts, just like her previous phone. Nothing more. And tries to justify her previous uninformed choice by telling that this phone is so much easier to use that her previous phone. I let people who already used both kinds of devices for those texting+voice call purposes conclude...

Apple doesn't need to magically blind users who can get blind all by themselves due to a trick as old as the human race, really. They just need to put together the conditions needed to make the trick work.

Because Techies believe that these are the real reason people buy Apple products (other than the more obvious reason which is that they actually like them a lot) Techies also believe that this state of affairs cannot possibly last and therefore the final piece of the Techie response to Apple falls into place. Deranged by TAC Techies often come up with the most delusional statement of all - Apple is doomed.

Only if everyone was aware of the major aspects of what they're buying *before* buying. Most crap in the high-tech world exists because of the unique fact that in his area, people don't know exactly what they're buying before buying it. Apple capitalizes on the aspects of a product which the user doesn't know before buying and gets used to afterwards.

As an example, notice that you generally can't try out cellphones before buying them. This allows the most horrible buggy phones which don't even manage to delete messages from the mailbox to survive (yeah, I'm looking at you, LG), while in a setting where people were fully informed they wouldn't stood a chance.

As a counter-example, notice that picture quality of TV sets nicely improves with time, due to people being able to actually look at them in the supermarket, and see for themselves what's better.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[8]: UK Price
by Moochman on Wed 16th Jun 2010 20:02 in reply to "RE[7]: UK Price"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

What some people do not seem to understand is that safety and technical freedom *are* compatible. They are not opposite. They are two features. You can have one, the other, or both. As simple as that.... It IS a computer. Just a castrated one. Computers were made to let the user do pretty much everything he wants which involves processing information. iPads restrict this to what Apple lets users do. Which means that it remains a computer, provided that you consider Apple as the user, the one in control of the machine.

Yes, thank you. That is exactly it. The whole hubbub about lack of freedom is not something that just matters to nerds. Apple stifles innovation by disallowing any apps that remotely compete with the Apple ones. They prevent Flash and other cross-platform friendly technologies from running on the system, thus ensuring that only the most well-endowed software houses (those that can afford to support multiple code bases) can release cross-platform titles. These problems are actually big deals for the consumer, but most people simply don't know about them.

As an example, notice that you generally can't try out cellphones before buying them. This allows the most horrible buggy phones which don't even manage to delete messages from the mailbox to survive (yeah, I'm looking at you, LG), while in a setting where people were fully informed they wouldn't stood a chance.

I would argue that stability is as a general rule one of Apple's strengths. They may make developers' lives difficult and not always be as magical as they claim, but you can generally count on them not releasing any half-baked features. If it's not stable, it doesn't make the cut. I think Apple has earned its reputation in this respect because lest we forget, freedom from bugs is also a kind of usability enhancement in and of itself.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: UK Price
by tupp on Wed 16th Jun 2010 23:51 in reply to "RE[8]: UK Price"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

I would argue that stability is as a general rule one of Apple's strengths.

I would argue the opposite. Apple software and hardware is no more stable than its counterparts.

Just read a few of the posts in one of the Macfixit forums: http://forums.cnet.com/mac-forums/mac-desktops-forum/?tag=contentMa...


They may make developers' lives difficult and not always be as magical as they claim, but you can generally count on them not releasing any half-baked features.

No half-baked features?

Are you referring to the Iphone's method for making ellipsis, which requires one to go into a secondary keyboard, and, then, perform an unintuitive press, and, then, make an extra tap? Something which is so simple and intuitive on many other phones requires a tutorial to perform on the Iphone: http://artoftheiphone.com/2009/06/25/iphone-basics-how-to-make-an-e...

This ellipsis example is not the only one.

By the way, Apple is never as "magical" as it claims.


If it's not stable, it doesn't make the cut. I think Apple has earned its reputation in this respect because lest we forget, freedom from bugs is also a kind of usability enhancement in and of itself.

Here is one of several Apple bugs appearing today on the front page of Macfixit (not the forum): http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20007737-263.html

Note that the bug involves the fact that the Mac trash can doesn't always delete files when commanded. The solution requires differing entries on the command line, depending on the location of the trash can. I'm guessing that the typical Mac user is going to have a little trouble with this fix.

What is most amazing is that the "trash can" is about the only thing that Apple has actually invented in its 33-year history, and it can't seem to get it right!

Furthermore, I have firsthand experience with Macs crashing. I can't count the number of times that I have had to wait in a Final Cut Pro edit bay while OSX had to be rebooted, because the system froze every couple/three hours.

These system crashes involved Apple software with an Apple OS on hardware! I guess that I was experiencing the legendary Apple "software/hardware integration."

Apple's "walled garden" is more lie a decrepit prison decorated with a few hanging plants.

Incidentally, I use the somewhat experimental Sidux, and I am constantly trying different software from a variety of sources. It has crashed maybe once in the last two years.

At any rate, use of Apple products ("integrated" or not) hardly ensures "freedom from bugs."

Edited 2010-06-16 23:56 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2