Friday, February 15, 2008

With My Purchase of a MacBook I Achieve Compliance with all the White Liberal Stereotypes

I have bitched and moaned here of late about the misfortunes and indignities I have suffered as a PC user and general user of Microsoft products. Raised in the somewhat cryptic and academic UNIX world, I have been looking down at Microsoft the company, their products, and their users for years (but, as a practical type, I've used the products anyway rather than be that insufferable asshole at the office who insists on doing everything his way). A couple of years ago, with XP and a new job involving the use of Microsoft products (SQL Server) and technologies (.NET, Visual Studio, Sharepoint), I decided to give them a chance.

A few years into the experience, I can say that the suspicions I had about the general shakiness of their products and the pain involved with their use were pretty well-founded. Vista was the last nail in the coffin, the straw breaking the camel's back, etc. and so on. Except for Toolio Iglesias at work who's incapable of finding fault with anything Microsoft does, NOBODY I know has good things to say about Vista, aside from vague statements about it being 'pretty'.

My non-Vista experiences confirm the general suckitude. I currently have a Dell laptop as my work machine, and using it is slightly better than a sharp stick in the eye. It is slow. It takes what seems like hours to boot up, and does that thing where it fakes me out and shows the screen after a minute to 'fool' me into thinking it booted quickly. It crashes frequently. It decides not to work when I'm minutes away from giving a presentation in spite of hours spent pre-presentation going through test-runs and trying to anticipate all the ways it will fail. It is big and ugly, like a Trabant. I could go on, but everybody has their gripes on this topic.

Anyhow I tend to be slow to go from deciding to do something to taking action, but I did finally order my MacBook. It was a thing of beauty, and tho it is still awkward at times because I'm not used to the 'Mac Way', I'm happy. It boots quickly, it works fine, it runs the software I need it to run. It's even built upon a Unix foundation, so if I want to go all old school with the command line, I pop up a terminal.

Python is there, Perl is there, Ruby is there. Microsoft has reinvented the scripting wheel with some laughable product called 'PowerShell', which used to be called 'Monad' (of course, Microsoft is always changing the names of things). If I had done a lot of scripting with VBScript (I've done enough to never want to do it again) and I was too fucking stupid to realize Windows versions of Perl and Python have been around for years, I guess I'd be all jazzed about PowerShell. As is, it's just another article to skip when I get one of those free publications from Microsoft. Of course, AppleScript is kind of pointless, too, but it's been around for years, and you don't want to piss off people who've been with you since way back.

Apache is there, SQLite is there for your lightweight database needs. All this, and it's pretty.

I am well on my way to becoming a snotty Mac User. I realized the larger significance of this development today when I stumbled on the blog 'Stuff White People Like'. There it is, #40: Apple Products:

White people also need iPods, iPhones, Apple TV, AirPort Express stations, and anything else that Apple will produce. Because you need to express your uniqueness by purchasing everything that a publicly traded company produces.

Apple products also come with stickers. Some people put them on their computer, some people put them on windows, but to take it to the pinnacle of whiteness, you need to put the Apple sticker in the rear window of your Prius, Jetta, BMW, Subaru 4WD Station Wagon or Audi. You then need to drive to a local coffee shop (Starbucks will do in a pinch) and set up your apple for the world to see. Thankfully, the Apple logo on the back will light up! So even in a dark place, people can see how unique and creative you (and the five other people doing the exact same thing) truly are!
My Prius is on the list (#60)
Some white people decide to pull the ultimate move. Prius, Apple Sticker on the back, iPod rocking, and Democratic Candidate bumper sticker. Unstoppable!
As is Recycling (#66), Japan (#58), Living by the Water (#51), Irony (#50), Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops (#48), Asian Fusion Food (#45), Public Radio (#44), Sushi (#42), Indie Music (#41), Marathons (#27), Coffee(#1) the list goes on and on. All stuff I like. I feel like a walking stereotype now. I still love my Mac, though.


kemibe said...

Yeah, Vista sucks. It's a memory hog and not for the right reasons -- MS seems to have put more resources into "toy" aspects (Really Big Thumbnail icons, way too many pop-up warnings about trivial bullshit) than into a smoothly running and efficient OS.

Makes sense that this release would suck, since IE7 was about the worst browser the company ever put out.

SDC said...

I'm sorry you have to use Vista. I can't really comment on IE7, as one thing IE7 does is cause some software we use at work to no longer work (nice going, MS. nice going, people who wrote that software.).

I'd like to think there's a light at the end of this tunnel, but Microsoft appears to be the company that cannot die, and the only likely cause of their demise ('cloud computing' under the control of the next Monopolist, Google) seems likely to introduce a whole new set of troubles. But I guess everybody likes change, right?