Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bits and Pieces - October 6, 2011

Paul Krugman comes around on the Occupy movement, and Charles Pierce gives some impressions.

Hard cases make bad law, and, unfortunately, the extremists are driving toward hard cases.

Thirteen ways the Republicans are wrong, from a Republican. There probably are more. Ezra Klein gives you the opportunity to suggest questions for the Republican presidential candidates.

I'm a great Matrix fan, but I don't have time to check this out just now.

It's sad that Steve Jobs has died. He greatly influenced this machine I'm typing on now and many other things. But I tend to agree with Kevin Drum that much of what he did was self-limiting by design. I'm not an Apple person, and it seems to me that where I went off the rails and why I stayed off is consistent with what Kevin says. I walked into an Apple store a few months ago, found everything quite opaque to my intuition and walked out. Plus I never could make my iPod work right. That might be me, but it also suggests some limitations in the Apple approach.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you brought too much previous computer experience, too much Windows muscle memory, into the Apple store with you.

I know that for all the Aunt Millies of the world, people flummoxed by computers or who have the computer equivalent of the would-be gardener's brown thumb, Jobs' designs have been a godsend.

I switched about seven years ago, after more than fifteen years struggling with the difficulties of numerous versions of Windows. Not that OS X doesn't have its oddities and complexities, but for the most part it more successfully abstracts away a lot of the nerdiness of the computer experience, the iPad even more so.

Using Apple products I spend more time concentrating on work instead of concentrating on the computer itself. Now I only work on PCs when someone pays me to & for my personal use I stick with systems that almost always 'just work'.

Getting family & friends switched over has reduced my technical support calls from them to almost nil.

Cheryl Rofer said...

I'm sure that is true. Some very long time ago, I had a Macintosh at work. That was my employer's standard. And then a competitor started using the latest version of Word on his PCs, and it always came out later for Mac; plus it had fewer features and didn't work as well.

The problems of trying to make a lesser product work on a superior machine, we sniffed. But compatibility and competitiveness problems made me switch to PCs. I wasn't the only one; by then my employer had given up on Apple purity.

I've had compatibility problems with Apple friends up until a few years ago; that finally seems to have been fixed, as was the word processing issue, long ago.

I'm sure it is my expectations, but picking up a white slab and not seeing a way to turn it on, or swiping and poking at an unresponsive screen is not my idea of intuitive use. The iPod problem was probably mostly mine, but some of it was the way the software didn't work on my PC; that old compatibility bugaboo.

I'm just saying that Jobs built Apple for a very specific clientele, about 10% of the users. For those for whom Apple works, that's a joy and, apparently makes computer use possible for some for whom it otherwise might not.

starbird2005 said...

Ironically I think its the opposite. He's built it for the vast majority (it still amazes me how quickly children pick up how to use an iPad or phone).

My own experience is that I got to use a Next cube when it first came out, and it was an eye opener, particularly mathematica which Jobs helped design with Wolfham. The power and ease-of-use for the time were remarkable (the web was invented on a Next machine). People who couldn't program could program.

Some of the wonder I think is lost today, simple because people forget how god awful it was before Jobs came along, and how many ideas from Apple and Next have been translated to Windows.