Tag Archives: fanboys

Are you a Monoglot?

Technology is like a religion for some. If it ain’t in their language it must “suck”. We may be able to thank headhunters and job descriptions for this unnecessary level of specialization. Jobs often come with a laundry list of specific required skills and those specific skills are either the result of a monoglot project leader or the preference of the previous developer. Either way requiring 15 years of .NET programming experience is a sure way to weed out some great prospective brain power. (as well as any honest candidates in this case since .NET hasn’t been around that long)

We often steer folks away from .NET implementations for the simple reason that compiled languages add an unnecessary layer of complexity to the production process & have caused a nightmare for maintainers. I personally love writing C# but can’t recommend it for a web site. Not when interpreted languages are so powerful and often perform better than the .NET VM.

However the title of “sucks” is reserved for a handful of technologies whose developers knew exactly what they were doing. Making products purposely limited to control the user base does suck in the tyrannical, Godwin’s law, way. That’s all I’ll say about that for now.

However, if you are a polyglot you may be a dying breed. Unless you’re careful that work you’re doing now will be the only work you ever learn to do. The more specific your experiences are the less adaptable your solutions will be. Then one day you’ll say, without any embarrassment: “I don’t know how to do that.” … If you are a real technologist that sentence had better be followed by: “ … but I’ll figure out how.” … if it is not, you are probably a monoglot, and you may well find yourself cursed with the ungraceful miasma of obsolete skills. Perhaps your employer will “keep” you because of your obsolete skills, but you’ll be stuck, and it will suck. You’ll rot in your office chair anxious for the day you can retire.

Polyglots like us have the gigantic benefit of never becoming obsolete, we are edge cutters, we aren’t afraid of new stuff, we assimilate new technologies like Cheerios. Polyglots are cool, and we may make a hobby of antagonizing the Monoglots (or “fanboys”) but our license is our knowledge. We can rip on the things we know, it’s what the “fanboys” don’t know that make them entertaining.

If you are a monoglot, stop it. Stop it now! Then you’ll get the joke.

Windows 8 Impressions

I began this article with plans to have at Microsoft for the same reasons I had at Apple on OSX Lion. Dragging desktop interfaces down to the level of mobile devices is an absurd strategy. However, Microsoft has been accused for years of lacking ingenuity. However upon reviewing the tidbits available on Windows 8 I’m quite certain that whatever may come while Steve Jobs is still implementing ideas he had 27 years ago (or so he claims with iCloud), Microsoft really seems to have some new ones. It might be time to get some stock in M$FT.

As I saw these colored tiles pop up on the screen I thought: “here we go again”… However, it really is not like anything we’ve had before. HTML5, javascript, running the desktop! This is very exciting. A: “Mosaic of Tiles… Tiles are better than icons for several reasons…” … I actually buy that. Snap an app, alt-tab. “Thumbs” keyboard… I’m sure the fan boys and “geniuses” we like to ridicule so much here will find a way to claim that these are all stolen from what would have been Steve Jobs’ intellectual property given enough time for him to come up with it (and perhaps will file a lawsuit to boot). I frankly don’t care. While OSX is releasing what amounts to service packs as “new products” Microsoft has been busy. By the time Apple has OSX service pack 4: Sea Horse, or Tiger Lily, or whatever they call it next, I just hope Windows can get some good Q/A done despite their bureaucratic tar pit. If a mobile OS has a chance at beating Android this is how it would be done. I’m just happy to have a win/win. In fact I may need to get to work on figuring out how to dual boot my phone!

Momentarily remove your robe of resistance to change and take a watch yourself, do you see what I see?

Microsoft Market Share 87.5%, that’s HUGE!

In an article entitled “Apple crushes forecasts again…” the Reuters “reporters” rely almost entirely on the words of one Tim Cook, who just happens to be Chief Operating Officer of… you guessed it, Apple.

On the same day, Intel’s PR department was explaining that there had been some strong purchasing in the past quarters and current numbers represent modest results, despite headlines like “Intel’s sales shine, defy PC growth fears” or “Intel’s earnings leap on business demand for PCs“.

So now look at the MacObserver version of this: “Apple Crushes PC Market with 28% Growth in Mac Sales. Wow, impressive. Also, again, lots of quotes from Tim Cook. In fact a lot of similarities with the Reuters article, only everything bigger, and now for the fun quotes:

IDC pegged Apple’s March quarter market share at 8.5%, up from 7% in the year-ago quarter” – Though half a year ago we were reading this: “Apple’s now third largest PC vendor in US with 10.6 percent market share. That was from Engadget, but don’t be fooled, that could be a different type of market share. Now look at this article from just about a week ago: Gartner rivals IDC to report Apple fifth largest, with 9.3% share of US PC market.  Ah, ok, now Gartner thinks the market share is higher, but look closely at the chart! Yes, that is a vendor list, it isn’t Apple vs. Microsoft, it’s Apple vs. Toshiba. That’s the same stat as the other two articles! Not only that but the stat that is consistently chosen by Mac fan sites are the vendor lists, not the OS comparisons, why? SPIN! Apple is still tiny in the PC Market and the most recent OS specific market share numbers (averaging 7 different reports March 2011) Microsoft 87.5%, Mac 7.12%. On phones, Android has more than TWICE (4qtr 2010 Gartner) the market share, despite the headlines.  Now just for laughs, how do you like this one from Apple fanboys pretending to be reporters in January 2009 (yes, 2009, that’s no typo) “Apple market share tops 10%, Windows share lowest since tracking began. So in January 2009 it was 10% and now it is 8.5% and this is fantastic news? That’s what Apple wants you to believe. BTW, the “Windows share lowest ever” had Windows at 88.7%. Gulp, they lost 1.2% share in more than 2 years. At this rate anyone else has a chance at getting just half the market share in, oh, roughly 75 years.

Apple has tapped into some powerful fuel. Firstly, fanboys. Fanboys are so completely loyal that they completely ignore any logic or factual information for the sake of their cause. They create faux IT news sites, blogs, and even magazines to promote their cause. The second, the tendency of news to really emphasize small things while downplaying the truly large. In other words, straining at gnats and swallowing camels. Hence the title of this article. Just don’t be fooled, there is a LOT of fluff, especially in the APPL stock price.

Apple Products

Being something of a country boy I’ve never had much use for fancy stuff. Fancy makes a great hick word for things that cost more than they should because of their fad premium or people who prefer such things. Apple products are just too fancy. There are definitely people technical enough to make an argument for the fancy machines. I’ve heard them flat out admit that they just like fancy stuff. Fair enough. What I most often hear though are falacious comparisons between a 2x to 3x more expensive fancy box and an ancient Dell. I’m torn when a techie type speaks such nonsense. Is it savvy marketing that propogates the illogical loyalty? The type that causes even the technical minded to defy reason? As I mentioned earlier, fair enough if you just like fancy things. Or, if the Mac user is like my friend who says he just knows the Mac shortcuts, well more power to you, but for a techie to stoop to marketing slogans to defend their purchases it’s just shameful.

Let me set the record straight on the Mac vs. PC fallacy. Here at V-Tek we have several Dell M1710 laptops from 5 years ago. They are still treating us great and capable of running all consumer OSes, including OSX, and that fast! They have higher native resolution than the 2011 iMacs, and even have fancy lighting that of course we turn off. Are we due to upgrade? Probably so, but in the last 5 years how many fancy Macs have turned yellow and croaked? Not only par but probably sub par. As a matter of opinion I will include my thought (shared by many) that Vista was bad. However Windows 7 is stable, secure, and powerful for the average user. For the non-windows developer, if you don’t know Ubuntu you really are missing something.

In summary, there are good reasons and bad reasons to own any type of product. Even if you think it’s “cute” that’s your choice. Just save your superiority complex. I’ve worked for months on OSX and don’t even mind it, what I mind are the bogus comparisons. If you have extra money to spend get the higher spec PC and it WILL outperform a Mac in the same price range. If you just want it to look good, well beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I just happen to find the price tag to be a big part of pretty.

I was raised with the words of wisdom: “beauty is only skin deep” and believe it or not that’s right there in the Bible too. If you can’t trust the Bible, what can you trust? “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain…” (Proverbs 31). It’s not just true of people, but of technical gadgets too.