Wednesday, January 7

How to guarantee a billion comments to a blog post

Rafe Needleman writes for CNET. If you subscribe to their Anchordesk email newsletter, you will recognize his name. On January 5th, 2009, Rafe wrote a blog post on CNET's news site called Switcher's lament: The case against Mac in which he tells the story of he and his wife switching to Apple MacBook computers (they'd been previously using Windows notebooks).

The blog post was, I thought, quite fair and balanced (apologies to Fox News for borrowing their slogan, there). Rafe admitted up front that their problems were caused primarily by switching from a Windows environment where they both had a number of applications they'd come to rely on for their everyday work. He also said plainly that the Apple hardware was high quality and stable. He did pick one nit with Mac OS X regarding where the standard UI locates an application's menu bar, but I don't think he made too much of it.

The blog post has already generated a huge number of comments. I know, big surprise, right?

There are three topics you never cover unless you are ready to deal with the pushback from the zealots: Politics, Religion, and Apple. It's almost as if Steve Jobs has promised the Mac faithful high speed WiFi in heaven, if they defend Apple against any hint of criticism in this life.

Rafe had to know what sort of storm his blog post would whip up. Any of us who have covered technology for more than a few weeks know that Mac users sniff out anything that even vaguely resembles criticism of Apple or their beloved Mac computers, and attack it with a ferocity that is unparalleled in the online world.

I use two computers on a daily basis. My notebook runs Windows Vista and my desktop PC runs Windows XP Professional (although I will be replacing it with a NEW desktop PC very soon now, and I expect that one will run Windows Vista also). It does not threaten me or make me angry that some people don't use Windows. Nor do I think I am right, or they are wrong. I don't use computers because I love the operating system that runs on them. I use computers because I want to run specific programs to do my work, manage my life, and play video games. Those programs run on Windows, ergo I use Windows.

Why must every Mac user take it as an insult that I prefer my computers to theirs? Why must every Mac user treat it like some test of intelligence or ethics? There is a term used to describe those who cannot handle criticism.

Insecure.

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