The Mac community has been dealt a series of reeling blows in recent weeks by the publication on multiple web sites of a compelling body of evidence that indicates Apple computers and the Macintosh operating system suck. Apple CEO Steve Jobs convened a hasty press conference this morning in a frantic attempt to quell the panic already rippling through the nation’s schools, graphics departments and homes where Macs are used.
“We at Apple are still reviewing the material on SBP’s Anti-Mac Homepage and other sites,” Jobs said. “It will take us some time to digest this information but we expect within a few weeks to be able to determine if this will force us to take any action, such as a corporate restructuring. Obviously, this is as much a shock to us at Apple as it is to our customers. We simply had no idea that Macs suck so badly.”
Most devastating to Apple’s Macintosh product line is evidence unveiled on SBP’s Anti-Mac Homepage entitled “Technichal (sic) Reasons to Hate Macs.” Former Apple enthusiast and Macworld columnist Andy Ihnatko described his reaction to reading the incontrovertible evidence that the operating system he has proselytized for years sucks: “It was like a light went on, you know? One mouse button. No software. Low market share. Overpriced. The list went on and on. Reading it, I felt like I was in a car crash; everything was happening in slow motion.”
Analysts indicate that Apple has several key questions it will need to answer over the coming days if it is to right itself. Can it quickly make changes to its Macintosh product line to make it stop sucking or, at least, suck less? Does the recently introduced iPod, which is not a Macintosh, also suck or is it exempt from the suckage? Do certain Apple applications, such as WebObjects, that are able to run on other non-sucky operating systems, also suck? Even if it is just the Macintosh itself that sucks, how will the company restructure itself to survive solely on those relatively few products it makes that do not suck?
As Apple struggles to answer these and other questions, time appears to be running out. Already a class action suit is being initiated against the company and Cupertino police have formed a cordon around the Apple campus where an angry mob has gathered. Demonstrator Mark Grudzilanek, a 40 year old sound engineer, told CARS reporters “It just never hit me before that I had bought a computer without a floppy drive. I mean, I’ve never really needed to use one, but a computer without a floppy drive? How much does that suck?” Other protestors echoed Grudzilanek’s comments. Deborah Getty, a 29 year old a school teacher from San Jose, demanded “What am I supposed to do with this iBook I got last Thursday? I just found out it sucks.”
Apple’s stock has plummeted in recent days and is currently trading at $0.24/share, having been severely downgraded by a majority of Wall Street analysts.
Howard Lindquist, a system administrator at Yoyodyne Propulsion, pointed out he doesn’t “do Macs” when recently asked to assist with the set-up of a newly acquired G4. “The IT group doesn’t support ’em,” Lindquist stated, pulling his belt up high around his ample stomach. “But I’ll take a look for ya.”
Martin Yang, a designer in the company’s Graphics Department, contacted Lindquist shortly after accepting delivery of the new dual-processor PowerMac G4. “I know the IT group doesn’t support Macs, but I wasn’t sure how to configure the TCP/IP settings in the Network control panel,” Yang said. Yang handled the rest of the machine’s initial set-up himself, physically putting the machine together, partitioning the hard drive for OS 9 and OS X, and installing Microsoft Office, PhotoShop and several other graphics applications. “Actually, I was going to do it all myself and only called to find out if we use DHCP or if I should put in an IP address. But Howard seemed pretty concerned by my question and came over immediately.”
“I thought he had a Windows 2000 machine,” Lindquist explained, pushing his glasses up on his nose and squinting. “That’s the standard. I didn’t want him to change anything we had already set up.” Lindquist was surprised to find the G4 when he arrived. “I don’t do Macs,” he reiterated. “I heard the Graphics Department still had ’em, but we don’t support ’em.” After several minutes of haggling, Lindquist felt it preferable to try to input the settings himself, rather than have Yang complete the configuration.
Sitting down before the flat-panel Apple monitor, Lindquist encountered some initial difficulty. “What the hell’s wrong with your mouse?” he asked loudly, turning the heads of the other members of the Graphics Department. Yang then demonstrated how to use the “no-button” Apple Pro mouse. Gingerly holding the mouse with his fingertips, Lindquist first began slowly navigating to the lower left hand corner of the screen before being visibly startled by the absence of a Start button. After several mumbled comments to himself and deep breaths, he veered the cursor to the upper left hand corner and accessed the Apple menu. From there the network configuration proceeded without significant incident. Lindquist was surprised to find that OS 9’s Network control panel contained essentially the same options as those found in Windows 2000.
Emboldened by his success, Lindquist smiled broadly and again hiked up his belt as Yang resumed control of the G4. “You let me know if you have any more trouble with that Mac!” he called out as he exited through the Graphics Department’s glass doors. The settings now in hand, Yang quickly rebooted and configured the OS X environment before starting work on a video presentation for a client conference.
It’s not even half way through the school year, and already 4th grader Mark Averill is tired of Steve Wozniak’s stories of how he co-founded Apple Computer. Wozniak volunteers his time to work with children and support the computer environment in the Los Gatos, CA school district and often recounts his tales of the early days of Apple to eager audiences. But after three months of repetition, Wozniak’s stories are wearing thin, according to Averill.
“The first day of class, Ms. McReedy introduced us to Mr. Wozniak, and he told us the whole story about the garage and Xerox and the mouse,” a visibly bored Averill explained. “It was pretty interesting the first time around, but that was like, September.”
Since then, Wozniak has continued to repeat the same tales again and again. Fellow classmate Sabrena Harris agrees with Averill’s assessment.
“He’s nice enough and he helps out a lot with the computers but jeez…” Harris complained. “Last week we had a problem printing from the purple computer and the whole time he was working on it, he kept blabbing about the time he wrote the first printer driver for the Apple II.” Harris added “I just wanted to print my pony picture, not hear some dumb old-guy story about stuff that happened in the middle ages.”
When reached for comment, Wozniak appeared oblivious to the students’ reaction. “The kids love my stories!” Wozniak beamed. “The kids are great to work with and I think it’s good for them to have positive role models! Just the other day I chatted with an impromptu group for almost 3 hours after school. It’s rewarding to see them take their own time to learn about the early days of Apple.”
Wozniak’s enthusiasm was apparently not shared by the students involved in the “impromptu group”. According to sources within the 4th grade that did not wish to be identified, students were either under the impression that they were required to attend or simply felt uncomfortable asking to be allowed to leave.