Hello and welcome to annual Make the Internet Stupid Day. For the record, my Xenosaga I & II import preview was totally and completely on the level. It’s not my fault that the game is a complete joke.

More significantly, today also marks the thirtieth anniversary of Apple Computer. I was hoping to celebrate by making a bold leap into the company’s next era, but alas — my new MacBook Pro was put on a slow boat from China and has only now arrived at some sort of holding facility in Oakland. Monday, maybe.

The fact that Apple launched its first product (the build-it-yourself Apple I, complete with wood case) on April 1 for the price of $666 is, I suspect, probably indicative of the guiding philosophy behind the company — namely, Steve Jobs’ utter and total contempt for his customers.

The anniversary is making me a little nostalgic, like for the first time I used an Apple ][ at some summer computer camp my parents sent me to as a second grader, thus sealing my fate as a nerd from an early age. Come to think of it, I believe I programmed a piece of Tron art in LOGO, so maybe I didn’t need much encouragement. Or sneaking away from my sixth grade classes to “help” in the computer lab, where help was a euphamism for “playing Lode Runner and messing around with MacPaint.” Or being given a choice of high school graduation gifts, a used car or a new computer, and proving my parents’ early brainwashing efforts had paid off by choosing an LCIII. (Especially when you consider I had to pay for half of of the stupid myself thanks to the exhorbitant costs of computer hardware in 1993 — the top-of-the-line laptop I just bought cost less than the craptacularly underpowered computer I took to college). I sort of have fond memories of owning the two least reliable Macs ever made, the fire-prone PowerBook 5300c and the crash-prone Performa 5300. “5300” was not, it seems, a good number for Apple.

I even sort of miss the heated mid-90s knock-down drag-out arguments between Mac and PC enthusiasts. Sure, people still argue about it today, but it just makes both sides look stupid. Anyway, bravo to Apple for surviving (especially the Spendler/Armelio years), even if it’s squandered its long-standing alternative credibility by turning iPod into a raging touchstone of wanton consumerism.

P.S. Please do not send your hit squads after me for making fun of Mr. Jobs. Thank you.

18 thoughts on “Fools

  1. I remember I spent 6 months at Swarthmore College in Peensylvania circa 1995 and all the computers there were Apple Machintosh and I remember them being everywhere in campus, literally, everywhere. Coming from a PC dominated environment where problems were the norm, I was amazed at how well organized and how efficient the college’s network was, particularly for 1995. I think Macs have always been one step ahead from PCs and offered something the PC has still yet to achieve: Complete stability and uninterrupted performance. I remember playing Macross there and then when I returned to my PC hell, which I’m still in, I wanted to get the game for PC and was very dissapointed to find out it was a mac exclusive. (And I was in that college for reasons I don’t want to tell you, because I’m mysterious and shit like that, after all, I am Chaz Chandler, let it just be said that Quakers rock). I love the PC because it has been a part of my life since always, in the 80’s MS-DOS was my poison of choice (and Golden Axe for DOS was awesome back then), but I recognize it requires a special type of patience to work with PCs. Macs allow themselves to be loved, like a lovely nerdy girl whose only dream is to teach at a college and have children and live peacefully, the PC is a New York bitch who requires all of your attention, time, money and patience.

  2. My fondest Mac memory is the “honeymoon is over” realization when I took my iPod in to get a replacement. You see, my battery lasts all of 15 minutes. This was the first time I got to witness Apple’s genius policy of providing “replacement units” that also happen to be previously-owned.

    I now own a $300, used, iPod Video. Thanks Apple. You make GameStop look credible.

  3. I did tech for iPods, so preaching to the choir.

    I love that if you’re under warranty but it’s past the first six months, you have to pay 30 bucks to mail it in because Apple insists on DHL. Of course, you could buy a protection racket for 60 bucks at that point….so you can get something repaired under warranty.

  4. The only system advocacy worth shit back in the ’90s was OS/2 versus the world. Now that was a debate you could have some fun with.


  5. jparish: I did mention “stability” for a person who came from a PC environment. Emphasis on PC.

  6. That’s a shame about Xenosaga. I’d heard some bad things and stayed away from the originals, but I thought this one looked cool.

  7. I used to think the Turtle icon thingy would make a bitchin’ game mascot. I re-envisioned it as a sort of cybernetic, pointy Koopa who fought crime.

  8. I never understood why thinking “different” meant having to use a mouse more cumbersome than an X Box control pad. Or forcing me to pay extra for a zip drive.
    I still consider Jobs to be “the lesser of the two evils” next to Gates, especially since that comment about “utter contempt for customers” could easily apply to the 360, but I don’t feel like buying a computer which is only useful for drawing. Though that seems to be why the Mac’s popular in Japan…Maybe they know something we don’t about electronics, since they were buying LD’s back when we stuck it out with the vhs.

    “Xenosaga I + II is quite frankly a game that could just as easily have been created for Game Boy Advance. The graphics are entirely 2D: simple sprites presented from an isometric perspective. The series’ famous (or infamous) cinematic interludes have been reduced from 30-minute real-time movies with dramatic camera angles and full voice acting to simple text boxes over largely static field sprites.”

    So it’s basically like Persona?

  9. Oh man, I remember back in middle school our computer class was all about the Apple ][C. Of course ‘computer class’ was basically a modified and updated version of typing class having the typewriter replaced with a computer and a program called Paws where you fought an invisible cat by typing letters as fast as you can. Your reward was being told your Words Per Minute (or WHAM!). It didn’t take very long before kids realized you could get 255 words a minute if you pressed on all the keyboard keys at the same time. It wasn’t as good as Logo (in fact it sucked) Unfortunately Logo was taken away as soon as we figured out how to make noises on it. It drove the teacher nuts.

  10. “I never understood why thinking “different” meant having to use a mouse more cumbersome than an X Box control pad. Or forcing me to pay extra for a zip drive.”

    since when were zip drives ever free? you’re the best troll ever, and probably very cute as well.

  11. There is…another…

    I never liked the old Macs we had at my school, the ones that ran OS 8 or 9. They were cumbersome, hard to use, and obscure, plus the mouse was terrible. I hear OSX is better about that, but I could also just toss Linux on my PC and save about 300 bucks (which I did). Stablity and ease-of-use (if everything works) without all the hassle and money.

    That said, my iPod is pretty nifty. Well, besides the whole “making it work under Linux” thing, ie, it doesn’t. Hey, Apple, throw the rest of us a bone, will ya? You KNOW there are *nix systems out there. It makes me sad.

  12. Are you guys intentionally speaking in tongues? It’s all gibberish to me. What the hell is a zip drive?

  13. Yeah, no kidding. I was a Zip Drive early adopter. At the time my classmates were all using SyQuests and after losing a semester project when someone ejected my SyQuest without dismounting it (thus destroying the file directory structure) I preordered a Zip as soon as they became available. Ah, click of death… how I miss you.

  14. Bleh. Zip Drives always scared me, and I always avoided them like the plague. Then again, after being forced to switch up from Amiga to PC, I was trying to stay far away from having to learn any other new things as I could…

  15. “Spendler and Armelio”? Were those intentional misspellings?

    According to my dad, this was my first computer experience:

    When I was six months old and on summer vacation, dad held me on his shoulder while playing a Pac Man cabinet in a store. A year later, we passed by that store, I pointed to it from the outside and said “Bamans!” Dad took that to mean that I remembered the Pac Man game from a year earlier. He was so impressed that he wrote a little action game on his C64 that he named “Bamans”.

  16. I’m considering to get a Mac Mini after college. It looks nice for the most part, but I wish it had a discrete graphics card. I wish Apple offered a Shuttle-like form factor that would allow fairly easy part swapping.

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