3.1284 Mac-bashing (278)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Mon, 9 Apr 90 22:36:24 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1284. Monday, 9 Apr 1990.

(1) Date: 8 April 1990 (12 lines)
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: time to extract the silver from the dross in silence?

(2) Date: Sat, 7 Apr 90 00:05:00 EDT (13 lines)
From: GORDON DOHLE <DOHLE@Vax2.Concordia.CA>
Subject: IBM BORES

(3) Date: Sat, 7 Apr 90 13:11:44 EDT (137 lines)
From: "Patrick W. Conner" <U47C2@WVNVM>
Subject: 3.1277 Apples: idea, device, and corporation (137)

(4) Date: Sat, 07 Apr 90 11:31:46 EST (30 lines)
From: Stephen Clausing <SCLAUS@YALEVM>
Subject: Macs:the evil empire

(5) Date: Sun, 8 Apr 90 12:16:41 EDT (13 lines)
From: David.A.Bantz@mac.dartmouth.edu
Subject: Re: 3.1266 Mac affairs (73)

(6) Date: Mon, 09 Apr 90 09:01:42 EDT (33 lines)
Subject: Apple Arrogance

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 8 April 1990
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: time to extract the silver from the dross in silence?

May I suggest that as a gift to our new editors, we take the opportunity
of the coming silence of Humanist to ponder the worth of Mac-bashing and
continue the topic after Easter to the extent that it deserves?

Yours, Willard McCarty

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------20----
Date: Sat, 7 Apr 90 00:05:00 EDT
From: GORDON DOHLE <DOHLE@Vax2.Concordia.CA>
Subject: IBM BORES

How boring is this Mac-bashing! One must be drawn to the conclusion that
those who were unfortunately drawn into the IBM world as they began to
understand computers are desperately attempting to maintain their own
personal control of technology at all costs, going so far as to "force"
students to learn to use obsolete equipment based on instructor bias
and ideological concerns.
Perhaps they also still drive VW Beatles.
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------146---
Date: Sat, 7 Apr 90 13:11:44 EDT
From: "Patrick W. Conner" <U47C2@WVNVM>
Subject: 3.1277 Apples: idea, device, and corporation (137)

I promised myself as one of the performers at the Macademia
Conference that I would not get into the argument which has
developed over whether Apple ought even to support a conference
which purports to deal with education, which has now degenerated
into whether Apple ought to be boycotted by all right-thinking
American. Bah. I haven't heard heard such muddle-headed reasoning
and self-righteous posturing since Jim and Tammy Bakker left the
airways. Jeff Bowyer has summarized the points neatly, so let me pick
on his diatribe, even though his is by no means the most excessive of
the commentaries.
     <Apple does not allow competition, which leads to higher prices>
I, too, wish that Macintoshes were cheaper.  I wish everything were
cheaper.  But if, in fact, Apple doesn't ALLOW competition, then there
are anti-trust laws, are there not, to take care of that.  The truth of the
matter is that Apple doesn't encourage competition, and some of my
HUMANIST colleagues have decided that this is unethical.  (Indeed, it
is to ethics that Richard Goerwitz makes his appeal.)  I would like to
know what someone whose field of expertise is business ethics would
make of this claim.  I would guess that in a capitalist system, a
business's primary ethical obligation is to its investors, its secondary
obligation is to its workers, and its tertiary obligation is to its
consumers.  I would assume this hierarchy of obligation, because of
the three, the backers/investors are most vulnerable to the decisions
made by management, and everything they put into the company can
be lost; secondly the workers can lose their jobs, but their skills --
their contributions to the company -- are not taken from them so, in
that sense, they are not quite as vulnerable as the investors, although
the effect is likely to be more devasting until the worker finds another
job. Consumers have, correspondingly, nothing to lose.  They simply
choose to consume or not to consume.  If the company doesn't provide
the product advertised, the courts can be invoked;  if consumers in
sufficient numbers decide to buy another product, then Apple had
better find out why, and correct whatever is wrong.  But, for the life of
me, I cannot see how Apple is being unethical by setting prices at a
level which apparently creates the demand they are prepared to meet,
nor by using the means available to them to forestall the development
of numerous clones.  I wish there were clones, but I can't blame Apple
for refusing to underwrite their development.  It is also worth
mentioning, since we are pretending to recognize the corporate
holiness of IBM (as if IBM actually wanted all of those clones to be
produced), that Apple has created numerous programs for educators,
reducing the prices of their products; that contracts are negotiated
with universities at substantial savings to the institution, to the
faculty, and to the students; and that credit programs are available to
students which lend the student the money to by a computer interest-
free until he/she graduates, whereupon it begins to accrue interest.
(No, Jeff, they don't give them away, but neither does IBM.)  Those of
you who want to rage about Apple's lack of ethical concern for their
consumers need to look more closely at its programs, and not imagine
that what YOU would like to pay for the produce is necessarily the fair
price, either.
      <Most businesses do not use Apple computers>
Untrue.  Most corporate offices in the US today have a Macintosh,
although most word processing, spread-sheeting, etc., is done in a DOS
environment.  The lion's share of DTP still goes to the Mac, and there
are whole companies of graphics design, etc., which use nothing else.
Yes, there are more DOS machines in corporate America, but Macs are
there, and they are apparently there to stay.  One suspects that
Microsoft wouldn't produce such a solid line of software for the Mac if
it saw no corporate future for it, and certainly they would not have
linked DOS Word5 and Macintosh Word4 if they saw no need for these
programs to work together in the same office environment.  Don't
believe everything IBM tells you, Jeff.
     <Technically, Apples are very inefficient machines (they waste a lot
      of horsepower generating those pretty pictures>
This is simply a stupid idea which the writer hopes will have some
sort of rhetorical force.  The graphic interface is what makes a
Macintosh particularly valuable to those of us who use it, for designing
courseware, for DTP, for linking graphics and text in word-processed
documents, for writing in hundreds of languages and thousands of
fonts, etc., etc.  Horsepower used in the way one wants it to be used
is not wasted.  Criticizing the Macintosh for its graphic interface is
rather like criticizing Will Shakespeare for writing plays and not
corporate reports.
     <Apple's management is currently in disarray.  I wouldn't be
      surprised to see another debacle on the order of Ashton-Tate Inc.,
      maker of  DBase IV, occur at Apple>
Apple didn't crash when Steve Jobs left, and it won't crash if John
Sculley leaves.  Ashton-Tate's problems had to do, I believe, with
extensive investments in several new software programs which
required more marketing support to catch on than they had the
capital foundation to provide.  I don't see how Apple is in any sense
parallel.  Rather, Jeff is attempting another little rhetorical flourish
here which, no doubt, scares his students, but which I find completely
lacking in support.  I'll apologize, Jeff, if Apple folds in the next two
     <Much more software exists for IBM-compatible machines than
This again.  Here at West Virginia University, our library has an
extensive collection of materials related to coal research, as you might
expect, since much coal is mined in the state.  It doesn't have much of
a collection in my field of early medieval literature.  Should I prefer
this library to another with a great medieval collection simply because
this library has more books? Of course not.  Yes, there is some great
text processing software which runs on DOS machines, and some other
things one might want to use in that regard, but there is nothing a
student is likely to want to do which cannot be done as well or better
on a Macintosh, and there are many things for scholars a Mac can do
which a DOS clone simply cannot do as well or as easily.  Find out what
is involved to get your DOS machine to word process in Hebrew.  (Yes,
it can be done, but I can word process in Hebrew in five minutes, once
the software is in my hand).  Find out what is required to word
process in Japanese (including the kanji) on a DOS clone.  Then ask
yourself what the I in IBM really means.  The much more software
for IBM statement has been meaningless since about 1986.
I would suggest that you tell your students, Jeff, that they cannot
submit their work to you on an old Apple II which their parents got
for them when they were in high school, because you don't have an
Apple II to run their disk on, and that they cannot submit on
Macintosh disks for the same reason.  Then, tell them to investigate
the various computer labs around the campus, to check with the
computer consultants, etc., and to find out whether there are ways of
converting their files through networks, etc., so that they can do their
work at home if they're willing to deliver the essay to you in a form
you can use it.  The real issue is not whether they OUGHT to be using
an Apple product; the real issue is whether they can give you a disk
you can read.
Pat Conner
one of those Macademia Nuts
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------38----
Date:         Sat, 07 Apr 90 11:31:46 EST
From:         Stephen Clausing <SCLAUS@YALEVM>
Subject:      Macs:the evil empire
    I have tried to keep out of the latest IBM vs. Mac dispute, because I
consider the whole argument childish, but Jeff Boyer's diatribe against the
Mac has left me no choice but to respond.  His arguments that the Mac has no
horsepower and that little software exists for it is patently wrong and
corresponds to 1985 attitudies.  It is a ludicrous argument anyway, since the
students whom Boyer forbid to use a Macintosh obviously had the necessary
programs and no doubt they felt their computers had sufficient horsepower.  In
any event, shall we start measuring clock speeds to determine who has the best
computer?  I think most of us are more concerned with general ease of use.
His argument that business don't use Macs is also a relic of 1985.  Boyer
forbids his students to use Apples for word processing because that would make
them less competitive in the IBM world at there.  Excuse me, but we are talking
about word processing here, not configuring a VAX.  How does Boyer know his
students are going to be using IBM in the future?  How long is it going to
take them to learn to use WordPerfect on an IBM if they do?  Why is it any of
his business which computer they use to write an essay?  Let me give a
counter example.  I taught a progamming course last year in which the entire
curriculum revolved around the Mac. Two of my students asked to use IBM because
they had IBMs themselves and liked them.  Even though it was inconvenient for
me and the TAs, I let these students use the IBM.  In one case, I had to go to
the student's dormitory room to check his programs because he had the only
suitable computer.  This is what teaching is all about, it is not about
foisting one's own prejudices on students.  Boyer should cut short his leave
and go back to computer programming.  I am sorry to be so harsh about this,
but these are the kindest words I can force myself to say about Boyer's
(5) --------------------------------------------------------------24----
Date:   Sun, 8 Apr 90 12:16:41 EDT
From:   David.A.Bantz@mac.dartmouth.edu
Subject: Re: 3.1266 Mac affairs (73)
if I buy something to make the Mac better I have to buy it from Apple
--- end of quoted material ---
I read this comment on my Mac SE which is running with an internal Jasmine
hard drive, non-Apple RAM expansion, Radius accelerator card, Sharp video
output card, and is connected to a Hewlett Packard printer.  I'm connected to
our network through a MultiTech modem; I'm running non-Apple software (except
the system software, enhanced by non-Apple inits and CDEV's).
(6) --------------------------------------------------------------40----
Date:     Mon, 09 Apr 90  09:01:42 EDT
From:     ZAK@NIHCU
Subject:  Apple Arrogance
Has anyone out there actually BOUGHT (not had provided by their place of
business) a microcomputer and done the shopping themself?  I did.  When I
went looking for a computer to use for writing, I confined myself to IBM
(DOS) compatibles because I was told that "everyone else is using IBM" and
"there is more software for IBM-compatibles".  The price on clones was much
cheaper than for a Macintosh system, and I was going to have to go into
hock as it was.
To make this story short, I went to a number of computer stores and asked
to see various word processsing packages in action (text entry, editing,
reformatting, printing, etc.). I was lucky if the salesman could get the
program running at all.  How was I, a flaky writer-type, going to figure
this out when I got it home?  Luckily for me, an old friend turned up who
had become a computer consultant (mainframes and all kinds of micros) who
introduced me to Macintosh.  When I balked at the price for a Mac system,
he walked through the numbers with me.  I could buy a DOS clone for less $,
but by the time I had upgraded it so that it could do what I needed it to
do (and what the Macintosh could do straight from the box), I would have
had to purchase add-on graphics cards, a special monitor, and upgrade the
memory from 256K to 1024K--and that was just for starters.  Aside from the
extra $ for these add-ons, I would have to have all this stuff installed,
not to mention the insult of having to learn DOS.  I'm a writer, for God's
sake, not a computer nerd.  When I want to write, I want to write, and I
don't need any computer esoterica getting in my way.
And as far as "everyone out there is using IBM" and "there isn't any
software for the Macintosh"--I thought that silliness went out with the
"Macintosh is just a toy ploy" in the mid-80s.  And as for arrogance, what
do you call forcing people to learn DOS to get a little writing done?