Fact-checking comments March 16, 2012 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Fact-checking comments in "I have difficult news."
posted by Avenger50 to Etiquette/Policy at 11:38 AM (207 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I figure if people are going to reference their own comment histories in a thread on the Blue, that makes it fair game.
posted by smackfu at 11:41 AM on March 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


At least if someone is just hopping up and down and saying 'I told you so,' it seems fair to say 'Actually no you didn't.'
posted by shakespeherian at 11:42 AM on March 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


Well, to be fair, I was just telling story. I will prepare a monologue to express my contrition. In the meantime, if Avenger50 wishes it, perhaps one of the moderators could remove my comment.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:43 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure we really need this, but if folks do seriously want to argue about who said what in previous threads it sure as heck needs to happen over here, not as a noisy sideshow over on the blue.

In any case, this thread absolutely needs to not be just another place for folks to holler at each other about the general topic.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:43 AM on March 16, 2012


The rumors are true, I did in fact sleep with that woman.

In any case, this thread absolutely needs to not be just another place for folks to holler at each other about the general topic.

Cortex, you're not supposed to be wearing pants yet, wth?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:45 AM on March 16, 2012


Since we are in MetaTalk, I just want to savor this moment, for all the many posts and comments on this subject for which I and others have taken yet one unjustifiably and unwarranted abusive comment after yet another.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 AM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, it turns out Apple is perfect and faultless and essentially a God after all.
posted by smackfu at 11:49 AM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Really?

We should rename this place PettyFilter.
posted by -t at 11:50 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Does Blazecock Pileon get paid by Apple?
posted by drezdn at 11:54 AM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


"for all the many posts and comments on this subject for which I and others have taken yet one unjustifiably and unwarranted abusive comment after yet another."

I don't suppose you could actually point to one that is any way really related to the salient thread, you know, what we are actually talking about.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:54 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since we are in MetaTalk, I just want to savor this moment, for all the many posts and comments on this subject for which I and others have taken yet one unjustifiably and unwarranted abusive comment after yet another.

Seriously? Just shut up already. Please, please, please.
posted by kbanas at 11:54 AM on March 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Personally, the fact checking I saw in that thread seemed reasonable. It was directly related to the topic. If it pulled off topic discussions, then I think it would be poor form.
posted by drezdn at 11:55 AM on March 16, 2012


You know, if, as poster, I had the big red delete button, I probably would've hit it. I think this is an incredibly interesting story and couldn't believe how quickly it devolved into ASCII art turds.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:57 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter : come get abused for things you may or may not have said

But seriously, folks - flag and ignore. Within the comment, koeselitz says they 'didn't search very deeply' and linked to the wrong comment Kokuryu may or may not have been refering to.

So, a few wrongs; crowing about how right you were and got abuse for it, which doesn't really add to anything (I told you all in 1997 that the market was going to crash!), and then someone bothering to half-heartedly prove you wrong (a poor call-out without much backing), none of which really adds to anything either - other than proving that people don't really fact check things all that well.

I would rather have seen more commentary on how Daisey presented himself in contrast to the broo-ha-ha going on about Stewart and Mahr 'hiding' behind being commedians while Rush gets villanized for being an ass.

But then, I'd have to have expectations of the wheat rising above the chaff here on topics people seem to have some sort of emotional stake in.
posted by rich at 12:00 PM on March 16, 2012


On the one hand I'm glad you posted it and it is an interesting story. On the other, I'm not glad that every single news source, blog, forum, industry journal and social thing I read carried this story within about 5 minutes of each other this morning. Seriously videogame enthusiast blogs, you're covering this too? 15 people are sharing this on Facebook?
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:02 PM on March 16, 2012


Blasdelb: " I don't suppose you could actually point to one that is any way really related to the salient thread, you know, what we are actually talking about."

He's taken shit for his defense of Foxconn before. Or to be more precise, for saying that people were being hypocrites for targeting Apple when other consumer electronics, including Android devices, were also made there. And for defending Foxconn's suicide rate as low, comparatively speaking.
posted by zarq at 12:03 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ain't no fan

like an Apple fan

cuz an Apple fan don't shut the fuck up.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:05 PM on March 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


and linked to the wrong comment Kokuryu may or may not have been refering to.

It doesn't matter - I've learned my lesson. Never participate in threads about Apple products.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:05 PM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "Since we are in MetaTalk, I just want to savor this moment,"

Hey, the new iVictim™ Card comes sans microphone, so users can blank out reality entirely.

When you defend abuse, even to point out that your own beloved sacred cow isn't the only offender in a given situation and why are they the only one being picked on you hypocrites, you rather lose the moral high ground.
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on March 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


Here's my opinion if anyone cares:

If you pull up someone's past comments out of the blue (heh) in a thread in order to try paint them as a hypocrite or whatever, then not cool.

If someone references specific comments of theirs and makes claims about that comment, I don't see any problem with pointing out the comment and talking about it. If it's not okay for you to do that, then it shouldn't be okay for them to reference those comments in the first place.
posted by ODiV at 12:15 PM on March 16, 2012


FACT: chicken is T-rex's closest living relative
FACT: there are more chickens than people in the world
FACT: the chicken is a bird
FACT: there are over 150 varieties of domestic chickens
FACT: a chicken's body temperature normally runs at 102-103 degrees F
FACT: the average hen lays 265 table eggs each year


Fact Chicken since nineteen-bock-BWWAAAAAAAK
posted by Phredward at 12:15 PM on March 16, 2012 [21 favorites]


Since we are in MetaTalk, I just want to savor this moment, for all the many posts and comments on this subject for which I and others have taken yet one unjustifiably and unwarranted abusive comment after yet another.

You are a narcissist with a victim complex and you should seek professional help.
posted by empath at 12:18 PM on March 16, 2012 [16 favorites]


.....A kayak?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:21 PM on March 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


this thread absolutely needs to not be just another place for folks to holler at each other about the general topic.

I hope you'll forgive me for thinking that was pretty much the whole point of these threads.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:21 PM on March 16, 2012


Shut up kayaks are awesome.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:22 PM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I can think of better things to block a punch with.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:23 PM on March 16, 2012


If someone references specific comments of theirs and makes claims about that comment, I don't see any problem with pointing out the comment and talking about it. If it's not okay for you to do that, then it shouldn't be okay for them to reference those comments in the first place.

Narrowly speaking, responding to specific reference to comments with specific rebuttals makes sense, yes, and every once in a while that might actually make sense to do in a mefi thread if it's not a weird derail. Generally speaking, the whole thing usually is a derail and it'd be good to have neither the initial "I told you so" crap or stuff responding to it and perpetuating the sideshow, is our basic take on it.

In this case I think it'd have been better to have the thread itself wait until there was a little more coverage of the details of TAL's and Daisey's story to go into a well-rounded post so there'd be a little more meat right away and a little less conversational vacuum for the insta-GRAR, but here we are.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:23 PM on March 16, 2012


Shut up kayaks are awesome.

Oh, I agree. But it strikes me that retiring boxers could do with something more...soothing. Zen rock gardens, say.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:25 PM on March 16, 2012


Metafilter: Insta-GRAR, just add water!
posted by rich at 12:25 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ocean kayaking can be very soothing, especially when you get far enough away from land that you only see ocean in all directions.
posted by the_artificer at 12:27 PM on March 16, 2012


I was assuming the boxer would propel his kayak by punching the river.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:29 PM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess it beats hitting the road.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:32 PM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


What are you guys all doing in this line with so much stuff? Isn't this the fast check lane?
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 12:33 PM on March 16, 2012


Fact checking.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:36 PM on March 16, 2012


I can think of better things to block a punch with.

An iPad is probably not one of them, though.
posted by elizardbits at 12:37 PM on March 16, 2012


Ocean kayaking can be very soothing, especially when you get far enough away from land that you only see ocean in all directions.

Great, now I'm terrified.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:39 PM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


It isn't ocean in all directions, though. In some directions it's sharks.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:40 PM on March 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


Exactly!!
posted by joe lisboa at 12:40 PM on March 16, 2012


*goes for a walk in the landlocked park*
posted by joe lisboa at 12:41 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


the_artificer: Ocean kayaking can be very soothing, especially when you get far enough away from land that you only see ocean in all directions.

Yes, that sounds very oh my god, do I still have cell service, oh quick call the coast guard quick quick, but I've always been more of land adventurer.
posted by gilrain at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The sharks there are called bears.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


.....A kayak?

Well you know, a kayak can't punch back, and if you avoid the edges and concentrate on the middle could be pretty easy on the hands as well. A old boxer could do worse then beating up kayaks (as long as I'm in one at the time.

yeah, opened that thread and closed it after reading a dozen comments I just knew it was going to get Blazecock Pileoned for good or for ill.
posted by edgeways at 12:43 PM on March 16, 2012


If you're in Alabama, it may be a roving troop of gorillas.
posted by rich at 12:43 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian: The sharks there are called bears.

I was trying to sound outdoorsy, to be honest. I mostly stay in.

The sharks in here are called cats
posted by gilrain at 12:44 PM on March 16, 2012 [16 favorites]


Also centipedes.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:45 PM on March 16, 2012


NOW BUGS?!
posted by joe lisboa at 12:47 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


joe lisboa: NOW BUGS?!

Well, sure. Bugbears.
posted by gilrain at 12:55 PM on March 16, 2012


Technically, centipedes are not bugs. You should have fact checked that.
posted by rich at 12:57 PM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am seriously yoinking "Maybe you should go buy a kayak instead." for all sorts of situations. I'm going to tuck it away next to "This is the squatchiest ___ I've ever ___.")
posted by Kimberly at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


There goes my MOTH bit about that one time I fought a sharkbear-ipede.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2012




NOTCOOLNOTCOOLNOTCOOLNOTCOOL
posted by joe lisboa at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Maybe you should go buy a kayak instead

it reminds me of the thing from Uncle Shelby's ABZ book about how the magical land of oz DOESN'T exist and you'll NEVER be off to see the wizard and you will NEVER have funtimes with a talking lion/scarecrow/tin man, but MAYBE someday you can go to Detroit.
posted by elizardbits at 1:00 PM on March 16, 2012


OH GOD THAT IS NOT A PICTURE OF A FAT LITTLE CURIOUS BEAR

YOU BASTARD
posted by elizardbits at 1:01 PM on March 16, 2012 [23 favorites]


would it be better if i gave him a sherlock holmes hat and a pipe
posted by shakespeherian at 1:01 PM on March 16, 2012


i've pointed out that foxconn manufactures for a bunch of customers that covers basically anyone with a phone or a tv or a computer or a tablet. i wasn't raked over the coals for it. in fact, i don't think i was noticed at all. maybe it isn't the stated opinion that gets everyone up in arms but the beating a dead horse delivery?
posted by nadawi at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the house centipede is curious, though.

It's curious what would happen if it crawled above your bed while you slept and dropped down onto you.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian: "THIS BEARS INVESTIGATING"

Its... eyes.... follow... me... wherever.... I... go....


Dear G-d, make it stop.
posted by zarq at 1:03 PM on March 16, 2012


... but MAYBE someday you can go to Detroit.

*looks around*

Heh.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:03 PM on March 16, 2012


So if there's a story involving potential labor abuse AND a liar who made Ira Glass send me an apology email and you're still acting in such a way that when trying to prove your pro/anti Apple points it seems like you're in the running for the biggest assholes in the drama, perhaps you need to tone it down a notch.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:03 PM on March 16, 2012


It's curious what would happen if it crawled above your bed while you slept and dropped down onto you.

I hope you don't sleep with your mouth open.

their legs break off real easy
posted by shakespeherian at 1:03 PM on March 16, 2012


i wasn't raked over the coals for it.

Well, we use natural gas now.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:03 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


would it be better if i gave him a sherlock holmes hat and a pipe

throw in a monocle and i think we're good to go
posted by elizardbits at 1:04 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


also, apparently my office has reached that special drunken part of friday afternoons where people sneak into the momentarily unoccupied offices of their coworkers, fart, and run away.
posted by elizardbits at 1:07 PM on March 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Out on the ocean you get investigated by curious fish...
posted by the_artificer at 1:09 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


.....In my office they fart openly. And rate each other.

I'm two desks away from them. Help me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:09 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: "I hope you don't sleep with your mouth open.

their legs break off real easy
"

That's what you get for buying a Microsoft Centipede™.

If you had stuck with a Motorola Millipede running Android 5, you wouldn't have these problems.

They leap into your ears while you're sleeping, and their legs are guaranteed to never break off. On the other hand, they also run on human neurologic tissue and need frequent refills. Sluuuuurp!
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on March 16, 2012


throw in a monocle and i think we're good to go

DONE
posted by shakespeherian at 1:13 PM on March 16, 2012 [26 favorites]


i've pointed out that foxconn manufactures for a bunch of customers that covers basically anyone with a phone or a tv or a computer or a tablet.

Yes. Does anyone have any information on ethical sourcing of electronics? Because I would buy "sweatshop free" electronics if such things existed (being in the totally undeserved position of being able to pay over the odds for fair-labor and fair-trade goods), but I can't find any resources to support that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:13 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have any information on ethical sourcing of electronics?

That's been asked recently, about laptops at least. The question had some interesting answers, more than I thought they'd come up with, but mostly the answer is buy used.

Also I work with business students who do company research and every single semester they're completely shocked about Foxconn when I bring it up in class as part of my demo. Word is not getting out, which is a pity because it's such a nice teaching opportunity about business ethics.
posted by librarylis at 1:19 PM on March 16, 2012


Since we are in MetaTalk, I just want to savor this moment

Just FYI, this is not a great way to indicate that you value being part of a heterogenous community. As much as I think the pile-ons surrounding you are distasteful, there are also a lot of things you could do, totally reasonable things, to mitigate the response you get here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:40 PM on March 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Does anyone have any information on ethical sourcing of electronics?

For headphones, Grados, are made in Brooklyn, and are about the best headphones around.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:47 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]




Does anyone have any information on ethical sourcing of electronics?

it doesn't solve even half the problem, but getting your computer built by a boutique seller solves some if it. all of the parts inside of my computer and my husband's laptop are made in just as awful conditions as everything else, but the actual putting it together, testing, boxing, shipping stuff was done by people in the US under US labor laws. this also has the benefit that our technical support is also housed stateside.
posted by nadawi at 1:50 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


My last few mobile phones have been made in Finland and South Korea, which suggests better working conditions. I imagine you can work out the manufacturers, but they'll only make the high end models there.
posted by ambrosen at 1:51 PM on March 16, 2012


Japan is also a good bet.
posted by smackfu at 1:58 PM on March 16, 2012


smackfu: Japan is also a good bet.

Are Sony-Ericsson, LG, and Nokia phones mainly manufactured in Japan, South Korea, and Finland, respectively? I assumed the majority of their electronics were probably built in China, like everyone else's.
posted by gilrain at 2:02 PM on March 16, 2012


Since we are in MetaTalk, I just want to savor this moment

Just FYI, this is not a great way to indicate that you value being part of a heterogenous community.


FWIW, I thought Blaze was just harmlessly kidding on the square.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:10 PM on March 16, 2012


sony is a customer of foxconn.
posted by nadawi at 2:12 PM on March 16, 2012


I assumed the majority of their electronics were probably built in China, like everyone else's.

Oh of course. But it is possible to find headphones and such made in Japan still. Harder and harder every year... Gameboys once were made in Japan, now China. And my nice Energy speakers were made in Canada, now China.
posted by smackfu at 2:12 PM on March 16, 2012


I would encourage everyone to buy Panasonic, because the company is headquartered in Osaka, and one of the lead product designers is a friend of mine. I'm pretty sure their stuff is manufactured in Japan.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:20 PM on March 16, 2012


KokuRyu: “Well, to be fair, I was just telling story. I will prepare a monologue to express my contrition. In the meantime, if Avenger50 wishes it, perhaps one of the moderators could remove my comment.”

Weird. I kinda thought I was being called out here for doing the admittedly-pretty-annoying "fact-checking" thing. I still can't really tell.

In the event that I was – yeah, like I said, admittedly pretty annoying. I don't think I'll do that in-thread again. I guess I was a little annoyed that the community as a whole was being accused of shit-giving when I feel like, in this instance, we were actually better than we have been in the past on this Apple / anti-Apple thing - and what's more, I think your one comment is the only instance of anybody anywhere on the site calling Mr Daisey's qualifications as a reporter into question. Really, nobody besides you had "told us so." But really, there is no way for me to bring that up without it becoming a referendum on what people have or have not said.

And the fact is that really doesn't belong in-thread, anyway. I guess I should have let it go.

Sorry to any who were annoyed or offended.
posted by koeselitz at 2:23 PM on March 16, 2012


Does anyone actually want to talk about bringing comments from the past into conversations? I'm interested to hear different takes on it.
posted by ODiV at 2:24 PM on March 16, 2012


Does anyone actually want to talk about bringing comments from the past into conversations? I'm interested to hear different takes on it.

Depending on the context, it can be fine or wrong. Is there specific example you want to talk about?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:27 PM on March 16, 2012


I'm flexible. The one being discussed now along with any others people would like to bring up would be fine.

I was mostly hoping that conversation about the Apple, Foxconn, etc could be kept in the FPP and we could use this thread for comments about the actual topic at hand, like koeselitz's above.
posted by ODiV at 2:30 PM on March 16, 2012


Sorry to any who were annoyed or offended.

It was actually kind of exhilarating, like a battle royale or something.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:48 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm interested to hear different takes on it.

Doing it as a sort of "Aha!" or "Gotcha" is almost always terrible. If the conversation is specifically about things said in the past, it's sometimes okay. Almost all the time when people are doing this on MeFi proper with other people's past comments it comes across as weird and griefing. When people do it in AskMe it can be one or the other and phrasing matters an awful lot. There are ways to refer to someone's past participation reasonably without being all LINK LINK LINK about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:50 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: “There are ways to refer to someone's past participation reasonably without being all LINK LINK LINK about it.”

I almost did that, but isn't that kind of coy and argumentative? I mean, a person could say "actually, you're wrong about your past comments" and not point to any evidence of that, but that seems kind of... I don't know. It seems like the best thing would be just not to respond to references about past involvement in-thread at all.
posted by koeselitz at 2:54 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


rich: "Technically, centipedes are not bugs. You should have fact checked that."

Nope. Beyond the fact that there are two legged bugs, anything with more than four legs is definitely a bug. Period.
posted by deborah at 3:04 PM on March 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


but isn't that kind of coy and argumentative?

At the point at which you are hellbent on referring to someone's past participation for some sort of coy or argumentative purpose, sure. My point is that it's okay when someone is talking about their own participation to point out that your memory of it is different. Or if there's some sort of salient reason why the "You said that before and you're saying this now" point is germane. However most people who like to engage in this very specific sort of comment trawling are usually trying to catch someone in a lie or argue "That's not what you/I SAID, quit lying!" or other sorts of not-great-for-group-discussion sorts of things.

So I'd start with the "Is this trip really necessary?" approach when doing this about other people, and then move on to the "Maybe there has been some misunderstanding but I was under the impression you felt differently about this." junction and from there to the "I'm fairly certain you said the opposite of this previous." point, and I'd use linking as a last and somewhat distasteful resort. And at the point at which you are at this place, possibly just going to email or MetaTalk is preferred.

The whole SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE/WHERE I SAID THAT path is already usually a problematic one, though sometimes necessary when you're discussing really complicated or otherwise polemic topics. Part of being able to be diplomatic usually involves giving the other person the option of an out without having to lose face. Obviously this is not something that is mandatory on MetaFilter, but I usually think that it's the decent thing to do. There's far too much weird semantic overanalyzing of people's past comments as if there were some sort of mathematic certainty to that sort of thing, and as if people never change.

But yeah avoiding it all together would be my suggestion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:05 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


That makes a lot of sense. Thanks, jessamyn.
posted by koeselitz at 3:13 PM on March 16, 2012


anything with more than four legs is definitely a bug

except our squishy octofriends.
posted by elizardbits at 3:18 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, a centipede is a bug. Some dogs are even bugs. True fact!
posted by heyho at 3:50 PM on March 16, 2012


.....A kayak?


How about an iYak?
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:05 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


.....In my office they fart openly. And rate each other.

I'm two desks away from them. Help me.


The Sharks and the Jets?
posted by zippy at 4:10 PM on March 16, 2012


I'm flexible. The one being discussed now along with any others people would like to bring up would be fine.

Quoting past threads has to be done with care, and no taunting or negativity. That said, I don't think koeselitz should be regretting his fact checking.
posted by Chuckles at 6:00 PM on March 16, 2012


You know, I I'd much rather be given a kayak by a random fedora than an extra banjo.
posted by bonehead at 6:25 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


............all the many posts and comments on this subject for which I and others have taken yet one unjustifiably and unwarranted abusive comment after yet another...........



Anyway, agree with you or not - at least you prevent Mefi from becoming even duller these days. Thankyou for the entertainment.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:32 PM on March 16, 2012


elizardbits: "except our squishy octofriends."

I'd never say anything against an octofriend. They are scary smart and scare the hell out of me.
posted by deborah at 8:26 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


but MAYBE someday you can go to Detroit.

going to detroit is easy - getting out is the tricky part
posted by pyramid termite at 9:22 PM on March 16, 2012


In recent memory I have only one time felt moved to call to a previous comment to reference a commenter's silliness/hypocrisy. In that particular instance it was in the exact same thread 50 comments up. If you have a personal bone to pick with somebody just be patient and keep up and pay attention and you may be able to do exactly the same gotcha maneuver without being accused of dredging another user's comment history. If they are that bad they will do it over and over again and they are easy pickings. If it isn't that easy maybe you could just let it go?
posted by bukvich at 9:24 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gonna take my Mac
to sea in my kayak
with a banjo on my knee.
See?
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:10 PM on March 16, 2012


going to detroit is easy - getting out is the tricky part

Nah, that's easy. Staying is the tricky part.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:47 PM on March 16, 2012


Since we are in MetaTalk, I just want to savor this moment, for all the many posts and comments on this subject for which I and others have taken yet one unjustifiably and unwarranted abusive comment after yet another.

Britta, you're the worst!
posted by Falconetti at 11:49 PM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: Since we are in MetaTalk, I just want to savor this moment, for all the many posts and comments on this subject for which I and others have taken yet one unjustifiably and unwarranted abusive comment after yet another.

Blazecock Pileon, I really like your like your posts; you are typically insightful, you are often unabashedly idealistic, and we agree on many political topics. I also understand how easy it is to say jerky things, because my personality is of the sort that is prone to such things, and I work to keep it in check on the internet. When I say this, it is with respect and in good faith: that was an unnecessarily jerky thing to say. It is an example of something that would have been better to have been typed but not posted.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:03 AM on March 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


that was an unnecessarily jerky thing to say.

I thought it was totally justified, but I can be a bit of a jerk myself when the mood takes me.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:21 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought it was totally justified

One can be justified and still be a jerk about it. The justification is often what makes it so tempting...
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 6:49 AM on March 17, 2012


Since we are in MetaTalk, I just want to savor this moment, for all the many posts and comments on this subject for which I and others have taken yet one unjustifiably and unwarranted abusive comment after yet another.

You are a narcissist with a victim complex and you should seek professional help.

(repeated for emphasis.)
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:02 AM on March 17, 2012


While I have advocated for banning him from Apple threads in the past, I'm going to back down on that.. Sure, it would be best for the conversational tone of MetaFilter, but I'm sick of being an altruist. If he doesn't get to make outrageous comments in every new Apple thread, if he doesn't get to dig the hole deeper for himself every time a related topic comes up, I will miss laughing at him.

I feel dirty saying it, but it is truth.
posted by Chuckles at 11:24 AM on March 17, 2012


....Y'know, I agree that it wasn't fair if any Apple fan in here has caught flak -- however, any time there's a computer-trouble-related AskMe, and it involves a PC, invariably some putz will come in to answer "just throw that computer out and get a Mac", so I have to admit I don't have a huge amount of sympathy.

There are smug jerks on both sides, y'all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:45 AM on March 17, 2012


"just throw that computer out and get a Mac"

The thing that always infuriated me most about that was the typical Mac recommender's insistence that Macs do not cost more. The delusion in such a misunderstanding of the consumer marketplace is just jaw dropping.

The 'throw it away' thing was also frustrating, but born of ignorance rather than delusion. I used to just point out what you'd get if you put it on craigslist, and people would clue in.
posted by Chuckles at 12:33 PM on March 17, 2012


invariably some putz will come in to answer "just throw that computer out and get a Mac"

Most of the time we delete those unless someone has somehow indicated they're open to alternative suggestions.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:23 PM on March 17, 2012


PeterMcDermott: "I thought it was totally justified, but I can be a bit of a jerk myself when the mood takes me."

I guess I already did this plenty in the thread, but since this is Metatalk, I'll ask: justified in what sense? Isn't "I told you so" sort of reserved for people who actually did tell you so?
posted by koeselitz at 5:02 PM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


the typical Mac recommender's insistence that Macs do not cost more.


Maybe do some fact checking of your own. In many contexts, with "cost" figured as "total cost of ownership," that statement is simply true. I say that not as a partisan, but as someone who has bought hundreds of computers for use in institutional settings. It's not a hard and fast rule, mind you, but it is often just mathematically true. Generally, it depends on how much value you place on time in your particular context.

I am just returning from visiting a community (in Bush Alaska) where there is little technical expertise locally. Every few months when I show up I get to fix everyone's computers, which mostly involves hours spent cleaning up PC superfund disaster sites. Slowly, as I convince more of my friends in said community to go for Macs, my work gets easier and quicker and less necessary. If you value my time at a mere $25 an hour (in fact, I cost much more in real life settings), some of my pals' PCs represent hundreds of dollars of my effort over a couple of years. Luckily, as these are people I love (and people without a lot of money, which is why they end up buying crap Dell PCs so often), I work for nothing.

And don't even get me started on my mom. Getting her off a PC and onto a Mac a few years ago has saved me endless hours I can now spend eating her delicious pierogies rather than screaming in frustration at a virus-infested, registry-error riddled nightmare.

I've built more than a few computer labs in my time, going back to the early 1990s. I've seen (and produced for penny pinching administrators) the long term TCO numbers for all platforms in settings where users are sophsiticated, machines are kept up to date, and security is taken seriously. Macs save money in most of those case nonetheless.

Apparently Windows 8 represents a setback to 7s forward movement on this front. The 2 weeks a year you got back by moving from XP or Vista to 7 has apparently been lost in a sea of tiles and contradictory and irrational interface design.


Also, Apple tech support is entirely conducted stateside. Just saying.

All this shit is built by Chinese workers for whom the only fate worse than working at Foxconn is staying down on the farm and living on pigshit and tea.

A room full of techie nerds is not a good place to have this argument.
posted by spitbull at 2:57 AM on March 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am of no fixed opinion in regards to this matter.
posted by y2karl at 11:25 AM on March 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


spitbull: "the typical Mac recommender's insistence that Macs do not cost more.
Maybe do some fact checking of your own. In many contexts, with "cost" figured as "total cost of ownership," that statement is simply true. ... I work for nothing.
"

As someone in a similar situation, I've come to the conclusion that we are part of the problem here. If those people had to pay someone at commercial rates to keep fixing up the perpetual disaster that seems to be an intrinsic part of the Windows Experience, the TCO would indeed be much higher but, when you factor in the dramatically cheaper initial purchase cost and add the lifetime free tech support, the argument simply doesn't hold up. At the very bottom end of both markets (buying a no-brand box vs a Mac mini), the purchase cost of a Mac is at least double. The only reason I don't switch to Macs myself is much the same - I don't have any particular problems with the Windows machines I run because I know how they need to be set up to avoid the most common problems and it's trivial for me to resolve any issues that do come up.

Whenever people ask me what they should buy, I always recommend that they buy a Mac and try to convince them of the piece of mind that the extra cost buys (among other things), but it's a hard sell indeed. If nothing else, the majority of the population is still convinced that Mac and Windows machines are completely and totally incompatible and cannot share information. When it comes down to a battle between fear and logic, fear will win every time.
posted by dg at 3:49 PM on March 18, 2012


You right, we are the problem. When my Windows customers have issues, they call me up, and I solve them in 30 seconds. When my Max users call me up, it takes an hour of googling how to do each stupid thing because they are using non-standard hardware, and they don't know how to do anything advanced. Terminal window? What's that? I should just refuse to serve them, I'd get paid the same either way.

You see how stupid that line of reasoning is yet?

No, you don't, because you are zealots. Republicans of the computer world is it? That's about right..
posted by Chuckles at 5:43 PM on March 18, 2012


No, I don't see how stupid my line of reasoning is. Perhaps you could explain it in smaller words so that I can understand it? I find it hard to believe that you are describing me as a zealot from my comment above, but then I'm clearly not as bright as you, so perhaps you could expand on your reasoning there, as well?
posted by dg at 6:46 PM on March 18, 2012


I think the takeaway here is to stay the hell away from user support if you don't want to spend your free time embroiled in understandably invested arguments about the comparative merits of platform-specific PEBKAC handholding.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:58 PM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe do some fact checking of your own.

Oh no, someone said something you disagree with on the internet!
posted by smackfu at 6:06 AM on March 19, 2012


Generally, it depends on how much value you place on time in your particular context.

well, according to your argument, it would also depend on how clueless one is about safe computing practices

it does not take a significant amount of time to keep a pc running well if one is knowledgable about things

combined with the greater choice of software available for the windows platform, i think macs do not offer as much value for my money - and if i thought they did, i would get one
posted by pyramid termite at 6:30 AM on March 19, 2012


it does not take a significant amount of time to keep a pc running well if one is knowledgable about things

And the amount of time it takes to become knowledgeable about 'things' - is that significant?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:38 AM on March 19, 2012


combined with the greater choice of software available for the windows platform,

Quite the opposite, actually. You can easily run any windows software on a mac, but not the reverse.
posted by empath at 6:45 AM on March 19, 2012


well, according to your argument, it would also depend on how clueless one is about safe computing practices

it does not take a significant amount of time to keep a pc running well if one is knowledgable about things


I think a lot of this is shell-shock from people who never got over the 1999-2001 era of Windows viruses. I was doing windows desktop support for the federal government at that time, and I never wanted to touch a pc again after that. I eventually bought a macbook for DJing, and decided that I'd never touch a windows box again unless I was getting paid for it

I bought a windows box last year to play starcraft on, and I've had no problems with it because I'm just using it as a gaming console, but my work laptop is a fucking nightmare -- slow, crashy, weird UI choices (who decided that moving a window should EVER maximize it?). I only use it because they stupidly won't let me use my macbook on the corporate network.

That said, they've at least sorted out most of the security issues in windows 7, from what I can tell.
posted by empath at 6:56 AM on March 19, 2012


it does not take a significant amount of time to keep a pc running well if one is knowledgable about things

Absolutely. But for people who are not knowledgeable, if they're going to be in a situation where they don't have ready access to tech support services that they can afford, a Mac is a more steady-state option. PCs are great for huge companies with IT support staff who can push out updates and do minor bug fixing and set up firewall rules. They're also great for tinkerers who like to get under the hood and can customize them away from the default settings. I use both platforms pretty much equally comfortably but I also work with heaps of novice users teaching them how to search for things, get an email account and other super basic tasks. The ones with Macs are happier and have computers that work more like they want them to.

For techie people, really whatever you want for your main axe is fine because you can bend it to your will pretty much however you want. For people who aren't knowledgeable about things (which is an awful lot of people), or people who don't have internet at home or who are running five to ten year old hardware/software, the Mac line in my experience, works significantly better for them. We're really beyond a point where there is one better platform, different things work better in different contexts.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:34 AM on March 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think the takeaway here is to stay the hell away from user support if you don't want to spend your free time embroiled in understandably invested arguments about the comparative merits of platform-specific PEBKAC handholding.

Oh, yeah, right, that's easy for you to say.
posted by y2karl at 12:27 PM on March 19, 2012


I think a lot of this is shell-shock from people who never got over the 1999-2001 era of Windows viruses.

probably - in fact, at that time, i was doing most of my internet stuff through linux, simply because windows was so unpleasant to deal with

then it got better and i ended up using windows more and more - i don't have a compelling reason to change that yet - or even upgrade my current equipment
posted by pyramid termite at 2:10 PM on March 19, 2012


jessamyn [star]: "... for people who are not knowledgeable, if they're going to be in a situation where they don't have ready access to tech support services that they can afford, a Mac is a more steady-state option. PCs are great for huge companies with IT support staff who can push out updates and do minor bug fixing and set up firewall rules. They're also great for tinkerers who like to get under the hood and can customize them away from the default settings."

Absolutely. For a significant number of people, a computer is no different to a washing machine in that they want to be able to turn it on and have it just do the task they want to do with it. They don't want to have to fiddle with the mechanism, they just want it to work. For those people, a Mac seems to be a better choice out of the box, because it will just work. I think part of the problem with Windows is a result of one of the strengths of the OS - it's designed to be all things to all people, particularly in the almost universal support of all sorts of crappy hardware. Apple takes a different tack with this in setting higher benchmarks for supported hardware. So you can use your semi-functional second-rate hardware with a Windows machine and it will work, well, OK. The downside is that this universal support introduces all sorts of limitations and compromises into the OS. The same applies to software.

Corporate networks are almost exclusively Windows in part because it seems to be easier (or is perceived to be so by those that make purchasing decisions) to control the environment that users have access to and, perhaps, because there's such a huge investment in supporting Windows that changing is simply a task that is too daunting (and expensive) to consider. Our department is currently in the middle of migrating from Win XP to Win 7, a process that will take over 12 months (~70k users on the network) and will cost millions of dollars. Not in the software cost, because customers of this size have access to pricing that is beyond belief, but in the cost of developing and testing a new 'Standard Operating Environment', the cost of managing the migration itself, the cost of re-developing support resources and training help-desk staff and the cost of hand-holding users through the change. The work involved in migrating that many users to a completely new OS would be astronomical and simply not feasible, even without considering the cost of changing most of the hardware. This has a flow-on effect to the domestic market, because people are inclined to buy what they are familiar with. It would be interesting to see how the Mac/Windows split for home machines looks for groups of people that use Windows machines at work compared to those that use Apple machines at work. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a clear correlation.
posted by dg at 2:57 PM on March 19, 2012


I'm sorry, I'm sure you're sincere, but I continue to see Macs as class markers.

The cheapest mac, minis, are $600 bare, configured with a cheap (non-apple) screen, keyboard and mouse, they run $750 to $800 minimum. The cheapest configuration in the Apple online store is north of $1600 because all they have available is that huge 27" monitor.
If you want to run boot camp/windows stuff, you still need to plonk down another $100 or more to buy a copy of Windows.

By contrast, I can go into any of a number of big box stores and pick up a fully-functioning PC, including monitor, keyboard and mouse, for less than $400, sometimes less than $300 depending on the sales. Frequently they'll throw in a printer for that price too. It will be crap-ware infested and slow, but it will function as a web browser, office or students computer.

The difference at the low end between a $300-400 computer and a $700-800 dollar one is often the choice to get something or nothing at all. It may save money or hassle to buy a mac in the long-term, but a lot of people have to buy the cheap undies at Walmart that wear out in a few months instead of the $50 Patagonia ones that last ten years too.
posted by bonehead at 3:17 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think that anyone is going to argue that macs are cheap. They are, however, reasonably priced for what they are. Obviously, if you can't afford one, get a windows or Linux box. But that doesn't mean that buying a Mac is throwing away money.
posted by empath at 3:36 PM on March 19, 2012


No, however I do think that "getamac" comments are a mild expression of economic privilege.
posted by bonehead at 4:16 PM on March 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought I would do some research into what the price differences actually are. These are prices in Australia, so the differences will vary between what you would expect in other countries. I've gone for the cheapest option in all cases, rather than trying to match technical specs as, to the average consumer, the actual specs mean nothing. In all cases, these are the bottom-of-the-range product with no extras except that the Mac Mini has an optical drive and a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter to make the functionality roughly equivalent. All Windows machines come with Win 7 Home. It's interesting that the difference between an Apple and a Windows machine is dramatically less if you are upgrading a system and already have the peripherals. Either way, the differences are still significant for a large portion of the population. The no-name boxes are often available on special for much less, which exacerbates the differences as well.

Complete system
iMac (21.5") - $1,399
Dell Inspiron (18.5" monitor) - $699
No-name box (19" monitor) - $603

System without monitor, keyboard, mouse
Mac Mini - $817.99
Dell Inspiron - $597.79
No-name box - $484
posted by dg at 10:55 PM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


These are prices in Australia, so the differences will vary between what you would expect in other countries. I've gone for the cheapest option in all cases, rather than trying to match technical specs as, to the average consumer, the actual specs mean nothing.

The average consumer doesn't give a shit about ghz, but part of the reason that macs 'just work' is that they don't skimp on hardware and include a lot of extra features by default (like a built in webcam, and so on).

If you replace your dell inspiron with a monitor that's equivalent to the imacs, for example, the price is going to be pretty close.
posted by empath at 7:09 AM on March 20, 2012


I do think that "getamac" comments are a mild expression of economic privilege.

I've been thinking about this for a while and I'm not totally sure I agree. Not coming at this from Team Mac, but just as someone who is often asked "What is the right tool for the right job?" computer and tech questions a lot. There are things besides price that determine what sort of computer suits your needs, and people who have learned to use a lot of different computers over a long period of time know this. Their opinions are also shaped by things like brand loyalty, but I don't think it's privilege per se that tells people to get a mac.

It may be privilege that tells EVERYONE to get a Mac, or specifically tells people who say that money is a concern to get a Mac, but drawing a parallel like automobiles. If someone needs a car to commute with, you'd suggest a different car than if they need one to haul stuff to/from Home Depot. And if someone needs a car that is good on snow in the winter, you can either say "Well you can really learn to drive any car in the snow if you just know what you are doing" (mostly true but maybe not helpful) or you can tell them to get a car with AWD even though that's not the cheapest option.

The unspoken assumptions in the "What computer should I get" questions are often that price is one of the important markers (as opposed to total cost of ownership or whatever else) and that performance won't matter because they're basically all the same anyhow. This very well may be true, but it also may not be. The answer to every "What car should I get?" question is not Honda Civic or Ford F150. Kneejerk get a mac answers are not necessarily helpful but they're not necessarily privilege markers unless you think that price is the only variable that matters in the purchasing decisionmaking process and that the only thing that differentiates a Mac from a PC is cost and some vague "design/status" thing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:48 AM on March 20, 2012


Last night Blazecock Pileon speculated in the original thread that the reason Steve Wozniak made a statement about Foxconn is that the Woz is brain damaged. When people began responding to him, a calm and rational comment from running order squabble fest was deleted, and now the last comment in the thread is:

[Please stop with the "Woz might be brain damaged" line of discussion or take it to MeTa folks.] - Jessamyn

So here we are. running order squabble fest's thoughtful, (and not at all aggressive) response to him has been deleted. Blazecock's distasteful comments remain. The rest of us can't respond to him in thread without having our comments deleted.

If y'all are going to delete comments, would it not be more fair to delete both the problematic ones as well as the responses -- especially if those responses are not heated? The comments are not embedded in the thread, where removing them would be problematic.
posted by zarq at 8:23 AM on March 20, 2012


running order squabble fest's thoughtful, (and not at all aggressive) response to him has been deleted.

This was by poster's request. rosf did not reply to him in that thread, he replied to him in this one and then asked for his comment to be deleted because he thought better of it. We did not delete any responses to BP in that thread, or anything after that point. Generally we try to err on fewer deletions but redirecting conversations that are messing things up elsewhere because that's seemed to be what the community has wanted. So here we are.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:25 AM on March 20, 2012


BP's comment at the end of that thread is one of the most offensive things that I can remember reading in Metafilter. How do you even respond to something like that? How is that statement allowed to stand and how is someone who would say that allowed to remain a member here?
posted by octothorpe at 8:45 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


BP's comment at the end of that thread is one of the most offensive things that I can remember reading in Metafilter. How do you even respond to something like that?

.....flagging it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:46 AM on March 20, 2012


Yeah, sorry, that was my fault - I posted it in this thread, per Jessamyn's note, and then almost immediately rethought it, and asked the mods to delete it.

Cat out of bag now, I guess - and I still don't think it's cool to gainsay a statement from someone who has had cranial trauma or neurological damage with a suggestion that it must be their brain damage talking. It's a technique - the medical pathologising of dissent - which has been used against, among many others, people with mental health issues, people with disabilities, transpeople, and gay men and lesbians. When I asked for the post to be deleted, it was not because I thought what I was saying was wrong - it was purely that I saw no likely positive outcome possible from talking about this with the person who posted it.

That's pure moral cowardice on my part - not something the mods are in any way to blame for.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:47 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ugh, that comment from BP is one of the grossest things I've seen on Metafilter in awhile. The comment is so offensive and in such bad faith. He should be ashamed of himself, but I am sure he isn't.
posted by Falconetti at 8:50 AM on March 20, 2012


I really don't understand how BP can be such an abusive prick in thread after thread after thread for years on end and not have any consequences for it.
posted by empath at 8:52 AM on March 20, 2012


jessamyn: " This was by poster's request. rosf did not reply to him in that thread, he replied to him in this one and then asked for his comment to be deleted because he thought better of it.

I'm sorry. I didn't realize.

Apologies to you as well, rosf. Didn't mean to out you -- your comment just resonated with me and I appreciated it. It bothered me that it had (I assumed) been deleted.

FWIW, I disagree that asking for your comment to be deleted was in any way moral cowardice. Choosing your battles wisely is a good thing, yes?

We did not delete any responses to BP in that thread, or anything after that point.

My mistake. Thank you for clarifying. I made an assumption when I saw your note in the thread and couldn't find rosf's comment. (Apparently I also mixed up my threads....)

Generally we try to err on fewer deletions but redirecting conversations that are messing things up elsewhere because that's seemed to be what the community has wanted. So here we are."

Yes. I understand. But still... they bug me and I wanted to say something. Even if my reaction to them is perhaps more emotional than rational.

I didn't want to start a new MeTa, because, well, lots of reasons, including that I'd rather not instigate yet another high visibility pileon of Pileon. It's not as if we need another one.
posted by zarq at 9:14 AM on March 20, 2012


EmpressCallipygos: " .....flagging it?"

FWIW, I did that too.
posted by zarq at 9:15 AM on March 20, 2012


empath: "The average consumer doesn't give a shit about ghz, but part of the reason that macs 'just work' is that they don't skimp on hardware and include a lot of extra features by default (like a built in webcam, and so on).

If you replace your dell inspiron with a monitor that's equivalent to the imacs, for example, the price is going to be pretty close.
"

Yeah, absolutely. In fact, if you spec both the Windows and Apple machines so that they have equivalent features and performance, it's likely that the Apple machine would actually be cheaper (and you still wouldn't have that ultra-sexy looking Apple hardware). But that doesn't matter to the 'average consumer' for one of two reasons - either they are still stuck in the belief that Macs are specialist machines for graphic designers and that they won't be able to share files with their friends because the two systems are totally incompatible, or they would not be able to afford the higher-spec machine no matter what the benefits. If you are struggling to scratch together $600 (and many, many people are in that situation), $1,400 is nothing but a pipe-dream. Add to this that no-name Windows machines are often heavily discounted from the rack price and Apple machines are almost never discounted (or have only tiny discounts applied) and you've priced a significant number of people out of the Apple market.

The fact that Apple don't skimp on hardware and refuse (rightly, in my opinion) to support any crappy old hardware and software that you have lying around means that their product is inaccessible to a significant part of the population. I doubt very much that this is accidental and to do otherwise would likely lose them their current key customers - those who both care about quality and can afford to pay the premium that comes with it. I very much doubt that Apple marketers are losing sleep over not being able to attract the bottom end of the market, either, any more than Ferrari is worried about how to make their cars affordable to the average family.
posted by dg at 3:25 PM on March 20, 2012


I doubt very much that this is accidental and to do otherwise would likely lose them their current key customers - those who both care about quality and can afford to pay the premium that comes with it. I very much doubt that Apple marketers are losing sleep over not being able to attract the bottom end of the market, either, any more than Ferrari is worried about how to make their cars affordable to the average family.

I think the ipad is apple's attempt to reach the bottom of the market.
posted by empath at 3:28 PM on March 20, 2012


Maybe, but with prices starting at $539 for a 16GB Wi-Fi only model, compared with under $300 for a Windows Netbook and 'full-size' notebooks starting at around $600, I think they are still very much pitched at the top end of the bottom of the market (if that makes sense). I think, though, that one thing the iPad does is to introduce people to the possibility of becoming a 'Mac person' because the price point is more affordable. In fact, I think the complete dominance that iPods have over the portable music market and (here, anyway) the not quite complete but very significant dominance that the iPhone has in the SmartPhone market has done a lot to bring people over to that side of the fence because it's introduced people to Apple products and that makes them more likely to consider other Apple products when considering a computer purchase. I'm sure that the growth in Apple's market share at the expense of Microsoft is in large part due to the overwhelming success of the iPod.
posted by dg at 4:43 PM on March 20, 2012


There are lots of broke-ass people with late model Apple gear. The Ferrari anaolgy isn't quite apt.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:39 PM on March 20, 2012


True, but there are also people who own Ferraris that can't afford the payments. There will always be people for whom owning their favourite toys is more important than living within their means. My point was meant to be that neither Apple nor Ferrari care too much about marketing to the segments of the population that are not likely to be customers.
posted by dg at 7:25 PM on March 20, 2012


I guess. But their commercials are on mainstream TV. The notion of Apple as just a niche product for the well-to-do is kind of outdated, unless we're talking about their high end desktops. No company wants to market to an audience that isn't their target, but Apple products are for normal schlubs and elites alike, just like any other mid to high end gear. Anyway, sorry to set this off late in a thread.

(The site looks right purty on the new iPad, by the way.)
posted by Burhanistan at 7:41 PM on March 20, 2012


Yeah, absolutely. In fact, if you spec both the Windows and Apple machines so that they have equivalent features and performance, it's likely that the Apple machine would actually be cheaper

That just isn't true. At all. Here is my stock answer from back in the day..
Dell engages in differential pricing, so you absolutely have to "buy smart" when dealing with them. On the other hand, Apple has consistent prices across the board.

Basically.. Dell accepts that some customers are unwilling to buy from them at their regular prices. They believe that, as long as they are still making money, it is in their interest to try and make those sales anyway. Hence Dell has occasional, but spectacularly good, one day only specials. On the other hand, Apple believes that maintaining the perceived brand value is more important than catering to customers with low willingness to pay.

You can see very clearly in this thread that they are both right. They both understand exactly what markets they are catering to, and do a very good job of marketing and pricing to attract customers that suit their own business models.
Kind of makes me sick, to be honest :)

Whether you prefer paying for "perceived brand value", or patiently waiting for discounts, which have the consequence of feeding the beast, is completely up to you, of course.
There are three prices for new goods: MSRP (which doesn't play too much with computers), the price you'd pay on any average day, and the best price. With Apple, they are all the same, or at most 10% spread. With Dell the best price is often 33% below the average day price, and sometimes considerably lower.
posted by Chuckles at 7:54 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan: "The notion of Apple as just a niche product for the well-to-do is kind of outdated, unless we're talking about their high end desktops. "
No, I wasn't suggesting that at all (not intending to, anyway). I meant that Apple don't chase the bottom segment of the market, where people are buying whatever machine has the lowest price, with little regard for quality (usually out of necessity).

Chuckles: "Yeah, absolutely. In fact, if you spec both the Windows and Apple machines so that they have equivalent features and performance, it's likely that the Apple machine would actually be cheaper
That just isn't true. At all.
"

Well, based on the prices that I sourced yesterday, I'm pretty sure it is. Yes, Dell offer lots of discounts and the machine that I priced above was discounted by $300. Yes, they sometimes have spectacular discounts for limited periods that offer even greater savings. I don't really have the resources (or the interest, to be frank) to monitor prices over a significant enough period to be absolutely certain of the exact price differentials, but at the time I was 'shopping', those are the prices I could access. If I take the $699 Dell system and spec it up with a high-end monitor, web cam, wireless keyboard & mouse etc, the price of the system would likely be pretty damn close to the iMac (or a MacBook Pro for the same price). The price differential is often as much a matter of timing as anything and I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with either pricing model.
posted by dg at 8:35 PM on March 20, 2012


I don't really have the resources (or the interest, to be frank)

Alas, I no longer have the interest either, but we all have the resources. In Canada it is called RedFlagDeals, and in the US FatWallet.
posted by Chuckles at 8:42 PM on March 20, 2012


Alas, I'm not in either of those locations, but there are plenty of others for anyone with the will to find them.
posted by dg at 9:48 PM on March 20, 2012


Here is an almost textbook example of an ask going off the rails.

The Asker laid out their problem, clearly identifying a need (photoshop) and a budget and is currently getting wildly impractical suggestions from partisans.

I don't know the answer to their question, but I do know that recommending a desktop when they've asked for a laptop or a laptop with a much smaller screen than asked for (and at or above the top end of their price range, when you add in the extra screen) isn't really helping.

Look, if the mac is the right answer, that's great. The fact is though, they could do well with 800 or 900 of consumer kit. But we don't have that discussion. Instead we have unbridled enthusiasm for impractical, unhelpful "solutions" the Asker specifically ruled out in their question.
posted by bonehead at 3:37 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


And yet no one flagged anything in that thread and I'm hard pressed to see which comments would be deleteable. The OP clearly set up the "is the extra money for a Mac worth it?" question and mentioned that she wants a laptop but would never move it. I've seen textbook "going off the rails" questions (even in the Mac/PC universe) and I'm sorry but that one just doesn't seem close. The OPs of AskMe questions generally know that they are getting advice from random people for free and can pick the answers that are okay for them. The whole point is to get a bunch of different answers from differing perspectives.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:20 PM on March 21, 2012


The asker asked about MacBooks and the iMac, we told them about them.
posted by empath at 4:45 PM on March 21, 2012


bonehead, that thread is amazing. However, to the extent I could stomach reading the comments, there sure didn't seem to be anything that could attract mod action.

I guess that in a site full of zealots there is nothing much for it.. I feel I shouldn't have bothered trying to answer, but it makes more sense to put my ideas there than here.
posted by Chuckles at 5:05 PM on March 21, 2012


You should be fine with me calling that absolutely terrible advice then. Have you used photoshop on a mini or low end MBP side by side with a midrange i7? There's no comparison at all.
posted by bonehead at 5:05 PM on March 21, 2012


I did consider flagging arhammer, but excessively patronizing isn't on the dropdown
posted by bonehead at 5:07 PM on March 21, 2012


Have you used photoshop on a mini or low end MBP side by side with a midrange i7? There's no comparison at all.

She was already running a 5 year old machine. My guess was that she wasn't even running the latest software. That said, the question is not "Which machine will run Photoshop the best" it was "Help me find a new computer for my wife, here are my criteria..."

I admit that I may just be blind to the problem here but the only comment flagged at all in that thread is yours, bonehead.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:11 PM on March 21, 2012


Well, I guess we'll just have to disagree then. I'll step away from the thread given that my actions are causing you problems.
posted by bonehead at 7:33 PM on March 21, 2012


That thread looks to me like a textbook case of a question going well. The question gave some general guidance about what was needed and lots of people chimed in with thoughtful answers that gave a broad range of options to choose from. I think the asker is now much better informed about what those options are and the up and downside of those options. That's about the best you can hope for when asking a bunch of random strangers what sort of computer you should buy.
posted by dg at 9:38 PM on March 21, 2012


Now it is. When I wrote the first comment, it was all about the macs, with a single comment asking why the other dozen comments had ignored the majority of the question. I agree that it's changed by this morning, but only after I put in a few comments about the actual prices of Apple gear.

It's not that Apple makes a bad product, but I do think many people who recommend it, some of whom who have been with an OSX environment for years, really have no idea of the surcharge they pay for it, particularly at the low end. At the "professional" 1.5k level and above, Apple makes a decent value argument. Below $1000, Apple can't and pretty much chooses not to compete. The $1200 line is quite marginal, as the purchase cost comparisons in that thread show.

You can argue externalities, but, at the home, budget end of the market, Macs do cost a lot more at purchase, especially if Applecare is included.

It's a blindspot, particularly in a relative affluent community like AskMe. A lot of people have to make Vimes' choice though. I do think that happened here.

I don't know what this means for moderation. I'm certainly not intending to act as a Mac-Fact checker in Ask, nor do I think that would be positive for the mods to do.

But, also I think we have to reserve the right to correct comments which clearly don't answer the question or provide bad answers. Ideally in a factual, provable confrontation-free way, of course. If I allowed my annoyance to show, I regret that, but I don't regret saying that the principle of Ask is to Answer the Damn Question, and not answer the question you wish had been asked.
posted by bonehead at 8:21 AM on March 22, 2012


Did you actually see the price range the asker mentioned in the original question? It was well within the range where a mac was reasonable.
posted by empath at 8:26 AM on March 22, 2012


Could be purchased is not the same as reasonable. For the same price as the HP system the poster linked to in the article, people were suggesting the base model macbook 13, which by every metric is significantly worse. Comparable hardware goes for $500 to $600 for a Windows system. Add the cost of a Windows license and the Apple solution is literally double the price.

Look, the poster had given two examples of what they were looking for. None of the options being discussed even came close. If the poster has asked about mid-range hatchbacks with room for kids' seats, and people started chiming in with suggestions of low-end BMWs which cost about the same but didn't otherwise fit any of the poster's parameters, I'd be equally annoyed. In my view that's exactly what happened here.
posted by bonehead at 8:35 AM on March 22, 2012


For the same price as the HP system the poster linked to in the article, people were suggesting the base model macbook 13, which by every metric is significantly worse.

Nonsense.
posted by empath at 8:48 AM on March 22, 2012


It's "worse" by several data points, but overall HP laptops are disgusting piles of noisy fans and tacky styling. I mean, I get that people have budgets and are trained by marketing to expect maximum bang for their buck, but if they asses their use cases they often don't need that extra bit of horsepower on paper.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:55 AM on March 22, 2012


Try to spec out an Apple system that beats the HP example: an i7 processor, a 24" screen, a 1 TB drive, 6GB of ram and has a graphics card better than an ATI 6450. Then add $100 for a Windows license from Amazon, assuming you're not a student or something. As I said in thread, equivalent hardware about 2k for a Macbook Pro (with $200 for and external screen and 3rd party memory upgrades), or 1.5k for an iMac.

Note that Airs don't seem to come in an i7 version. Most of the perceived speed of the Air comes from the use of the SSD rather than a mechanical disk anyway. As I pointed out in thread, that option is about the same price in the Windows world too. So, again comparing apples to apples, a

The ASUS laptop linked to is harder to match---the only thing roughly equivalent is the 17" MBP, at not quite twice the price: $2.5k to $1.35k.

I get that you like Macs. I get that a lot of people find them easy to use. But this was a question from a person who was already well used to another system, had specific needs and gave us a couple examples of what they were thinking about. If you're going to suggest an alternate solution, at least make that case that spending roughly double is worth it.
posted by bonehead at 9:08 AM on March 22, 2012


Sorry: the 11" Air equivalents run about $800. Hit post too soon.
posted by bonehead at 9:09 AM on March 22, 2012


Try to spec out an Apple system that beats the HP example: an i7 processor, a 24" screen, a 1 TB drive, 6GB of ram and has a graphics card better than an ATI 6450

They gave no indication that they cared whatsoever about that stuff.
posted by empath at 9:12 AM on March 22, 2012


There were two examples of what they were considering in the question. If that isn't a strong indication of what they cared about, I don't know what is.
posted by bonehead at 9:16 AM on March 22, 2012


The specifically listed their requirements (can run windows, photoshop for scrapbooking, 17 inch screen) and then stated that they had no idea if the listed boxes met them, then asked if the macbook and imac was worth the money.
posted by empath at 9:19 AM on March 22, 2012


empath: " They gave no indication that they cared whatsoever about that stuff."

Specifically? No. But they gave two items (one from newegg and another from pcworld) that we can compare to as a baseline.
posted by zarq at 9:19 AM on March 22, 2012


empath: "then stated that they had no idea if the listed boxes met them"

No, they did not say that.

They said that they were "lost deciding the pros/cons of these specific machines or any other ideas out there." That's not the same thing as having no idea if a box meets their requirements.
posted by zarq at 9:21 AM on March 22, 2012


They gave no indication that they cared whatsoever about that stuff.

As a qualitative marker: I've been taking photography courses at our local community college recently. Their photo lab is equipped with 24" iMacs. I have a Windows system now that's not quite as good as that HP all-in-one.

PS (4 I think) and Lightroom 3 on the iMac is certainly usable, but I wouldn't call it quick. In contrast, at home, my system was noticeably more capable at the same tasks, to the point where I would defer work in the labs to be able to do it at home.

The question specifically asked for a system that would feel fast, "snappy". Both of the examples linked to would do that. If you think an alternate solution is better or more desirable, fine, but at least address that in the context of the question. If you're going to suggest a BMW 323 coupe, you had better tell them why that fits their needs better than the 5-seater Honda Fit hatchback they're asking about.
posted by bonehead at 9:37 AM on March 22, 2012


Asking if a Mac is worth the money is pretty specifically saying "Can you tell me more about the BMW because I maybe don't understand why people are raving about them" I get that this pushes your buttons and I hate when people ask for a PC recommendation and get a bunch of thoughtless getamac replies, but the OP specifically asked about Macs in their question and for a lot of people there are more variables that need to be considered besides cost alone, otherwise the answer to every "help me eat healthy" question in AskMe would be "lentils!"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:51 AM on March 22, 2012


The ones with Macs are happier and have computers that work more like they want them to.

Religious war? We can do that.

All my own computers run Debian. I do a lot of technical support for naive users on Windows and OS X and various Linux distributions.

My neighbor across the road has a Mac. I recently had to disabuse him of the notion that the right way to move pictures from his Mac Mini to his girlfriend's Macbook involves starting iPhoto on both machines and then asking me for a USB cable with an A plug on both ends, pointing out that since both machines were automatically connected to his wireless network, doing this should be a simple matter of using OS X's inbuilt file sharing features.

Then began the nightmare of trying to show him, in ways that he would remember, how to find the Macbook's Public folder on his Mac Mini and copy pictures into it, and how to move them from Public to Pictures on the Macbook once they were there. Because all his instincts after years of Mac use tell him "if you want to do something with pictures, start iPhoto". He just has no notion of pictures-as-files or files-in-folders or folders-being-shareable or even drag-and-drop to move files.

And why should he? OS X offers precious little in the way of encouraging that awareness. As far as I know there's no way to persuade the Finder to expose anything as mundane as a pathname for the folder whose window you're looking at, and navigating the folder tree can only be done with arcane keyboard shortcuts.

This experience is representative of the reasons I dislike working with OS X. It is just too dumbed down, and it actively discourages going beyond the limited range of things it does genuinely well and acquiring new skills by exploration and experiment. To me, working with OS X feels a like being made to live in a gated community with a totally unreasonable HOA. And don't get me or my fingers started on Apple's toy keyboards and pointless-new-gesture-of-the-week pointing controls.

My own response to seeing people bash their heads against Windows has been to start refusing to do new Windows installs on customer machines. Instead, I now do Debian installs. For people who need Windows to run business-related software, I install VirtualBox and set Windows up inside that, show them how to make snapshots, and recommend that they do so before any major configuration change.

And after a few initial calls or visits to help people get accustomed, I have been finding that these systems will run well for years without needing further intervention from me.

In my experience, the thing naive users fail to cope with above all other things is change. People don't want to be forced to adapt to new way of doing things, and that goes double for people who don't give two shits about the way their machines work in the first place. And the more naive users I work with, the more sympathy I find myself experiencing for their outlook on this.

Mac OS forced windows, icons, menus and pointers into public consciousness and made computing accessible and fun for lots of people who would otherwise not have been interested. But Windows 95 got windows, icons, menus and pointers pretty much right, and every desktop UI variation since then has basically been either cosmetic or counterproductive.

I frequently do Debian installs for people whose first exposure to computers was Office 97 on Windows 98 and find that these people have much less trouble adjusting to XFCE than they do to Windows 7. And I'm laying in a supply of good earplugs for the mainstream release of Windows 8. I just don't want to hear that much screaming.

Ho hum.

That was all a bit phoned-in, I fear. I just can't get that excited about IT religious wars any more.

Also, lentils.
posted by flabdablet at 9:54 AM on March 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


flabdablet: " Then began the nightmare of trying to show him, in ways that he would remember, how to find the Macbook's Public folder on his Mac Mini and copy pictures into it, and how to move them from Public to Pictures on the Macbook once they were there. Because all his instincts after years of Mac use tell him "if you want to do something with pictures, start iPhoto". He just has no notion of pictures-as-files or files-in-folders or folders-being-shareable or even drag-and-drop to move files."

Open Finder Window.
Select other computer under Shared (Left side icon bar in every finder window)
Connect as registered user (once you do it once, you shouldn't have to do it again.)
Double click user name.
Double click "Pictures."

Open another Finder Window.
Click "Pictures" under "Places" menu of icons.
Drag images from one "Pictures" folder to the other.

It shouldn't be complicated. Everyone in my office transfers files *very* frequently across multiple shared volumes and NAS drives.
posted by zarq at 10:02 AM on March 22, 2012


Plus he can use the spacebar to preview images and docs, as in Linux. Makes identifying which photos to transfer a snap.
posted by zarq at 10:03 AM on March 22, 2012


You made it way more complicated than it needed to be, you can just drag the files to the other computer directly if you have multiple macs in the same house set up for file sharing.

OSX is getting away from 'files' and 'directories' entirely pretty soon, I think, anyway. It'll just be all iCloud.
posted by empath at 10:06 AM on March 22, 2012


flabdablet: “In my experience, the thing naive users fail to cope with above all other things is change.”

This is precisely the issue. I actually became (heaven help me) an evangelist for Apple for about five years, and when people came to me asking what kind of computer they should get or told me they were struggling with understanding the underlying paradigm, I told them to get a Mac because the interface was easier.

That only succeeded in convincing at least half a dozen people never to ask me about computer stuff again (which isn't really a bad thing, I guess.) They hated OS X. Absolutely loathed it. Why? Who knows. I think it was just foreign to them. That's okay, they're not required to like anything anyway.

My conclusion is that OS X and Windows and all the rest actually all make sense right now, and are generally internally self-consistent, but that's an internal thing. At this point, none of them is more "intuitive" or "immediate" or whatever. I think people who use Apple products a lot have a tendency to feel as though OS X is more intuitive, but that's because OS X is what they use, so of course it's more intuitive. Really, we're talking about machines that do incredibly complex calculations here. There's not really any way that they can be "intuitive" beyond a certain threshold.
posted by koeselitz at 10:21 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


> OSX is getting away from 'files' and 'directories' entirely pretty soon, I think, anyway. It'll just be all iCloud.

Nah, there will be that option, but people will still want to have their local network storage.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:22 AM on March 22, 2012


Religious war? We can do that.

You have made the last four comments in that AskMe thread after we deleted two of your comments for being ranty about disliking the mac keyboard. At this point I'd like to politely suggest that if you have further comments you email them to the OP because as much as it's great that you're giving the OP a lot of information it's also turning that thread into your own personal soapbox on the issue.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:37 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


koeselitz: " This is precisely the issue. I actually became (heaven help me) an evangelist for Apple for about five years, and when people came to me asking what kind of computer they should get or told me they were struggling with understanding the underlying paradigm, I told them to get a Mac because the interface was easier."

I've recommended macs to a number of folks over the years, for similar reasons. For the most part, those reasons are still valid. Also, macs have a much lower frequency of problems with viruses and spyware. They're far less likely to have weird compatibility issues between software and hardware. They're reasonably good machines for people who like their computers to be a sort of sealed system: They don't need to get under the hood. They just want to be able to turn it on and have it work.

But I *always* caution them that Apple hardware has a designed obsolescence. After models have been discontinued, Apple won't necessarily stock replacement parts, and if your machine is old enough, you won't necessarily be able to find parts online. (I have had this happen several times.) And macs aren't always easily backwards compatible. So if you upgrade to a new mac from an old one, you might find that your peripherals won't necessarily plug into your new machine easily. Or you might have other issues.

These are problems which PC's also have to some degree, but they're less prominent. PC hardware and software usually has decent legacy support.
posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on March 22, 2012


It shouldn't be complicated.

Oh, I agree. And to anybody who actually understands that pictures are a subset of a thing called files, and that files are things that exist inside folders, and that the Finder is a thing for moving files around between various folders, it's not complicated at all.

But I meet and have to support lots of people for whom those basic concepts never really stick.

My neighbor has it in his head that his pictures are "in iPhoto". So if iPhoto can't do whatever he wants to do, he's stuck, and he starts lashing about and inventing nonexistent USB cables with an apparent cargo-cult-like belief that finding one will make some magical machine-to-machine USB transfer option appear inside iPhoto.

The fact that his pictures are "in" his Pictures folder and "in" iPhoto at the same time simply doesn't fit within his Mac-encouraged app-centric model of how his computer works; so unless he needs to move pictures around regularly, which in fact he won't need to do, he will simply not remember that he can use the Finder to move his pictures around and he'll be asking me for a double-ended USB A cable for the third time.

It's not that he's dim; he's far from it. But he bought Apple precisely so that he would not have to think about his computer, and to an extent that I personally find insanely frustrating, that's Mission Accomplished.

My main objection to OS X and the Apple ecosystem generally is that it makes it hard for people like that to get that pictures and movies and music and Word documents have things in common and that some form of file browser is the right tool to manipulate those common properties.

It'll just be all iCloud.

Which is fine and dandy until you've got enough stuff that searching with Spotlight doesn't cut the mustard any more and you need to organize it somewhat, and/or your Internet connection is slow enough or expensive enough or unreliable enough that keeping local copies still works better.

And we can already do "all iCloud" with files and folders; it's called Dropbox, and it's easy and OS-agnostic. But what will win instead is balkanized online storage in various proprietary forms (Office Live, Google Documents, Ubuntu One, iCloud) all of which try to do far too many things at once and all of which work differently and all of which do their best to make the "too hard" idea of files as a useful general-purpose abstraction even less discoverable.

turning that thread into your own personal soapbox

My bad. I'll stop doing that.
posted by flabdablet at 10:59 AM on March 22, 2012


They're reasonably good machines for people who like their computers to be a sort of sealed system: They don't need to get under the hood. They just want to be able to turn it on and have it work.

They're also good if you do like to get under the hood, btw. I use terminal all the time, and use the unix utilities, and it's nice that it has all the major scripting languages installed by default (ruby, perl, python, etc). It's also got extensive scripting capability with applescript, and programs like Quicksilver that let you do a lot of things quickly and simply. It also comes with xcode (well, it's a free download), which makes it easy to code your own apps, if you want to go that far, including drag-and-drop UI design.

I don't accept the premise that Windows makes it easier to fuck around with the guts of your OS. The windows registry is a fucking nightmare (though I haven't looked in Windows 7, so maybe it's better since XP).

OSX is basically everything that's useful about linux, plus you can use it brainlessly if you so choose.
posted by empath at 11:20 AM on March 22, 2012


OP specifically asked about Macs in their question and for a lot of people there are more variables that need to be considered besides cost alone

I totally get that. There are other ways to assess value other than lowest-cost. A good chunk of my job (too big a chunk) is exactly that, in fact (the only thing I dislike more than writing RFPs is writing the rubric for evaluating the proposals). The question outlines a bunch of those criteria, as we've hashed out above.

However, it's also fair, in my view, to raise externalities or other factors and discuss those in an answer. There are, in fact, considered answers that discuss the side question later in the thread. The answers I don't like, and the ones that do push my buttons are the "Get this because I have one!", and "You'll like it, trust me!" which characterize many of the answers at the beginning of the thread. The most egregious of those admitted that they had no direct experience with the specific software mentioned and then dismissed one of the specific asks in the original question. Ugh.

Maybe I should have just flagged and moved on, but the answers prior to my comments were not helpful, IMO.
posted by bonehead at 11:26 AM on March 22, 2012


The windows registry is a fucking nightmare (though I haven't looked in Windows 7, so maybe it's better since XP).

Nope. It's worse than ever, because they've invented a new way to fuck up permissions. Windows 7 can assign a security ID to processes as well as to users, so it's now possible to have registry keys (and files or folders, come to that) that the administrator cannot get access to except in Safe Mode.
posted by flabdablet at 11:29 AM on March 22, 2012


empath: " They're also good if you do like to get under the hood, btw.

Oh yes, absolutely. I meant that doing so isn't required for normal operations. Whereas there have been versions of Windows that were whatever the opposite of plug and play is. Heck, there's a mac in my office that seamlessly connects to a network printer in OS X, but the moment you switch to Windows 7 on the same machine, printing becomes a complicated mess.

I don't accept the premise that Windows makes it easier to fuck around with the guts of your OS.

It doesn't, you're right. But the chances that the average user might have to are a lot higher than in OS X.

The windows registry is a fucking nightmare (though I haven't looked in Windows 7, so maybe it's better since XP).

No, it's still awful. As flabdablet mentions, permissions are a huge issue now.

OSX is basically everything that's useful about linux, plus you can use it brainlessly if you so choose."

Sort of, yes. I mean, you can install the latest incarnations of Linux on just about anything, but you can't do the same with OS X.
posted by zarq at 11:45 AM on March 22, 2012


OSX is basically everything that's useful about linux

Well, yes and no. One Debian feature I find extremely useful is that when a customer wants to buy a faster machine, all I need to do is take the existing hard drive out of their old one and stick it in the new one, switch it on, and regardless of how different the new machine is from the old one it will most likely just boot and run. If it doesn't, all I need to do is put it back in the old machine, install the latest available kernel package using the exact same package manager I use to install application software, and try again.

The Linux kernel can be (and does, in Debian) incorporate drivers for pretty much every piece of hardware that Linux has ever supported. That makes Linux-based systems easier to use to maintain a consistent computing environment across hardware upgrades than any other system I've ever used.

The fact that I don't need to pay money for any of the software I use is pretty bloody useful as well.
posted by flabdablet at 11:45 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


flabdablet: " Well, yes and no. One Debian feature I find extremely useful is that when a customer wants to buy a faster machine, all I need to do is take the existing hard drive out of their old one and stick it in the new one, switch it on, and regardless of how different the new machine is from the old one it will most likely just boot and run. If it doesn't, all I need to do is put it back in the old machine, install the latest available kernel package using the exact same package manager I use to install application software, and try again.

Whoa. I didn't realize that. It makes total sense now that you mention it, but... damn, that's cool.
posted by zarq at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2012


Yeah, it's pretty seriously cool. The hardest such upgrade I ever had to do just involved installing the proprietary nVidia driver because the old machine had an ATI GPU, and that wasn't actually hard.
posted by flabdablet at 11:52 AM on March 22, 2012


The fact that I don't need to pay money for any of the software I use is pretty bloody useful as well.

Yeah, but all that free linux software also compiles for osx, doesn't it?
posted by empath at 11:54 AM on March 22, 2012


Are we at war yet? So far this feels more like an interfaith meeting. Anybody for tea and biscuits?
posted by flabdablet at 11:55 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Compiles? What is compiles? I just install packages.

Seriously, I have not had to compile anything I didn't write myself for at least three years.
posted by flabdablet at 11:56 AM on March 22, 2012


Well, i'm non-denominational-- I have a windows laptop for work, and a windows box at home for gaming, as well as a macbook air, and before I became an 'Apple Person' I was a linux advocate, and before that, I was waiting for the Amiga to come back....
posted by empath at 11:57 AM on March 22, 2012


Seriously, I have not had to compile anything I didn't write myself for at least three years.

Yeah, but most of them have binaries for OSX, is what I'm saying :) I've never looked for a linux app and not found and OSX binary, i don't think.
posted by empath at 11:58 AM on March 22, 2012


If I were able to set up an OSX desktop with a top panel containing a notification area and a well-organized applications menu (as opposed to a vast field of garish icons on a charcoal background) and frequently used application launchers instead of the global menu bar, and application menu bars inside their windows, and window control buttons on the right hand side of the window title bar, and a panel containing buttons for active windows at the bottom instead of that idiot bouncy Dock thing, and if the Finder showed me the current folder path and let me add a second folder pane, and if I could replace all the BSD userland tools with GNU ones without breaking init, and if X was installed by default so that all my free Unix apps would work and I could run the occasional thing remotely using ssh -Y, and if the keyboard had Insert and Delete and Home and End and Page Up and Page Down keys, and if scrolling worked the way God intended, and if there was a package manager as easy to use as aptitude or Synaptic with a decent set of repositories behind it, then I would probably feel almost as unencumbered by OSX as I currently do by XFCE on Debian.

But because every OSX machine I ever encounter is set up pretty much as it comes out of the box because it belongs to somebody who wants their computer to Just Work, I constantly find myself needing to use more clicks and bigger gestures with an OSX desktop than XFCE requires for the same thing and I end up irritable and frustrated.

It's not as bad as GNOME 3, which has mashed a lot of OSX and iOS ideas together and redone them less well. But it still gets in my way a lot.

Windows I just expect to be a crippled and broken and crazy toy, so it doesn't annoy me as much when it lives up to those expectations. And Windows 7 has become much less intolerable since I found out about holding down Shift while a cmd window is opening to make it run with elevated privileges. But I have it in my head that the Mac is supposed to be this wonderful intuitive easy seamless capable thing, and every time I find a new way it fails to be that, I get a little crosser with it.
posted by flabdablet at 12:43 PM on March 22, 2012


empath: “OSX is basically everything that's useful about linux, plus you can use it brainlessly if you so choose.”

Well, this is sort of designed to get my goat – maybe not intentionally – so I will confine myself to this remark: OS X isn't a community of free software the way Linux is. Yeah, people may not necessarily care about that, but if I'm honest that's why I use Linux.
posted by koeselitz at 12:59 PM on March 22, 2012


zarq: "koeselitz: " But I *always* caution them that Apple hardware has a designed obsolescence. After models have been discontinued, Apple won't necessarily stock replacement parts, and if your machine is old enough, you won't necessarily be able to find parts online. (I have had this happen several times.) And macs aren't always easily backwards compatible. So if you upgrade to a new mac from an old one, you might find that your peripherals won't necessarily plug into your new machine easily. Or you might have other issues.

These are problems which PC's also have to some degree, but they're less prominent. PC hardware and software usually has decent legacy support.
"

This is, to me, one of the biggest differences and both a strength and a weakness of both systems. Only supporting current hardware and software means you don't have to make so many compromises in development of either because you don't have to worry about supporting every piece of shitty $5 hardware bought from a discount store. But by doing so you increase the overall cost to the consumer dramatically, because they have to keep buying new hardware and software if they update the basic system.

Adding support for anything with an interface that can be jammed into one of the holes in the box means that consumer's hardware they already have can be retained on a newer system and supporting every piece of crap software broadens the choices for consumers in the same way. But you end up with an OS that is so full of compromises from a stability and security perspective that it becomes unreliable and vulnerable.

I have wondered if some of the difference in approach between Apple and MS can be explained by one being a hardware and software vendor and one being (primarily) a software-only vendor. If you have a vested interest in people buying more hardware, you have an incentive not to provide legacy support for hardware but, if your interest is selling as many copies of an OS as possible, you have an interest in making it available to as many people as possible, which means extensive legacy support becomes mandatory to support the business model.
posted by dg at 6:15 PM on March 22, 2012


Adding support for anything with an interface that can be jammed into one of the holes in the box ... and supporting every piece of crap software ... you end up with an OS that is so full of compromises from a stability and security perspective that it becomes unreliable and vulnerable

This is true if the OS vendor has no control over the quality of the hardware drivers, and no ability to patch and recompile broken application software.

Microsoft's WHQL QA and driver signing process largely addresses the hardware issue, but the fact that most Windows apps are closed-source makes the software-rot and associated backward-compatibility-kludges issue insuperable.

The Debian ecosystem doesn't suffer from either of those things anywhere near as badly as does Windows, even though it offers comparable and in many cases superior flexibility. That's because all the software is free for anybody to patch and fix and update and modify and Debian has a talented army of volunteers who take it upon themselves to do just that, plus the ability to share the work of similar armies surrounding most other Linux distributions and that of the upstream dev teams.

As does Apple, to some extent. There's a tremendous amount of open-source code inside both OSX and iOS. Personally I think of those as the best bits.
posted by flabdablet at 8:12 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


flabdablet: “As does Apple, to some extent. There's a tremendous amount of open-source code inside both OSX and iOS. Personally I think of those as the best bits.”

iOS? Really?
posted by koeselitz at 8:36 PM on March 22, 2012


Both, yes. Shocking, ain't it? :D
posted by zarq at 8:50 PM on March 22, 2012


flabdablet: "The Debian ecosystem doesn't suffer from either of those things anywhere near as badly as does Windows, even though it offers comparable and in many cases superior flexibility. That's because all the software is free for anybody to patch and fix and update and modify and Debian has a talented army of volunteers who take it upon themselves to do just that, plus the ability to share the work of similar armies surrounding most other Linux distributions and that of the upstream dev teams."

I've seen this in action. My partner's laptop (a Dell Inspiron) fried its HDD and I needed to re-install the OS etc. I was sick of listening to complaints about Vista and had an XP licence free, so thought I would 'upgrade' back to XP. After installing the OS, absolutely none of the hardware would work because it all needed drivers installed but, because the machine had no access to the Internet, I had to do the USB-drive shuffle to get things working. After many hours of searching, downloading, installing finding things still didn't work, more searching and downloading and installing (even collections of drivers that claimed to have all the drivers for the machine were useless, partly because it's hard to identify what parts are installed due to Dell re-branding everything), I gave up and used the original Dell DVD to install Vista. But not before I booted the machine up with a Ubuntu bootable CD, to try and convince my partner to give Linux a go (she declined because she doesn't care to learn how to use a new OS - I had the same problem trying to convince her to buy a Mac to replace this machine). It took quite a while to boot up but, once it had done so, every single piece of hardware simply worked, it found and connected to our wireless network without any prompting, it found the shared printer etc. It sounds like a stupid, inconsequential thing but, after the drama of trying to get XP to work at all, the fact that it Just Worked was pretty amazing to me.

I haven't given up on converting her yet ;-)
posted by dg at 10:49 PM on March 22, 2012


After many hours of searching, downloading, installing finding things still didn't work, more searching and downloading and installing (even collections of drivers that claimed to have all the drivers for the machine were useless ...)

I've never had much luck with online driver collection sites either, and have given up on them in favor of getting drivers from OEM support sites or, failing that, chip manufacturer download sites.

If Dell ever offered that particular Inspiron with a Vista Business option, it's quite likely that you will find a complete set of XP drivers for it on their own support site. Vista Business came with downgrade rights to XP Professional and I'm pretty sure Dell would have supported that with drivers if any of their users had a legitimate right to use it.

Personally I agree with you that Vista -> XP is an upgrade.

it's hard to identify what parts are installed due to Dell re-branding everything

Do you know how to find the PCI vendor:chipset IDs that will help you find the drivers you need on the chip manufacturers' sites?
posted by flabdablet at 12:23 AM on March 23, 2012


On the OS switch persuasion front: I gave up on Ubuntu at Lucid, when they screwed up the window controls; now that Ubuntu comes with this horrible Unity fascia, and the GNOME project has disappeared up its own fundament in search of a lost smart phone, I've given up on GNOME.

Which leaves Debian and XFCE. The current XFCE has got rid of most of the annoying quirks of the earlier versions, and is now quite smooth and slick. The XFCE panels, in particular, work better than the Gnome 2 ones ever did: or a start, you can lock them so they don't flip all over the place if you accidentally do a drag gesture on top of one, you can add quick launch buttons to them just by dragging icons out of the applications menu, and they don't get all wocked up when you flip screen resolutions.

XFCE is also very easy to set up in a way that looks and feels somewhat like Windows. If all your partner actually needs is a desktop that doesn't look scary, take the half hour you'll need to set up Debian Wheezy with XFCE and widen the panel to 100% and put an applications menu labelled "Start" on the left hand side and see whether she still runs screaming.
posted by flabdablet at 12:38 AM on March 23, 2012


I have wondered if some of the difference in approach between Apple and MS can be explained by one being a hardware and software vendor and one being (primarily) a software-only vendor.

Well Steve Job's philosophy was that you can't separate the two if you want the best quality possible. Your software should be designed to run on particular hardware and your hardware should be designed to run that software. Anything else, while it may be cheaper, is going to lead to compromises in quality somewhere. I think the Mac/OSX line was really a half-step there, to be honest, and that the iOS line is closer to what he was imagining. Assuming that Apple doesn't take a hard right turn somewhere, I have to believe that there is another generation of desktop/laptop computer coming which is closer to the iOS model than the OSX model.
posted by empath at 6:12 AM on March 23, 2012


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