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But I Digress...
by Doc Hillman

Mac Things (And Other Things) I Am Thankful For
November 27th, 2000

This week I'm supposed to be finishing up a three part series. That would all be well and good except for the fact that part three of the three piece series is caught on the Pismo, which doesn't seem to have a fondness for much of anything these days; in particular, this includes booting up in the first place. I get about as far as the Finder starting, and suddenly, up comes Error 41. The culprit? "Time Synchronize." The solution? Well I'm fairly savvy as these things go, and I can't get it to do anything right. The DVD-ROM drive is down, so nothing will boot from the CD, and I'm about ready to run screaming to Apple with a fairly expensive piece of machinery. Anybody e-mails me the solution and I'll do something nice for you. I don't know what really, just something nice. Luckily, the mission-critical stuff is here.

I'll turn then to a theme of Thanksgiving, with a bit of a list of what I'm thankful for, and what I'm not.

Thankful: My laptop's got DVD.

Unthankful: It's broken.

Thankful: Microsoft has come out with its new Explorer.

Unthankful: Netscape has got Netscape 6 at long last. Now I don't mean to digress here, but what the hey, let's do it anyway. We've got to face a simple fact. Aside from iCab, we are living in a world where Microsoft has taken over. Remember good old Netscape? The first really functional web browser? Well, welcome to Netscape 6, virtually the same product they came out with as 4.7, but it is now ugly as all heck. The only other problem is this time the damn thing is prone to glitches, won't load things that need to be loaded (when it wouldn't load The Mac Observer, I became royally ticked off.)

What's with these guys anyway? I'm not the industry analyst that some lay claim too around here, but I've got to draw some of my own conclusions about the affaire de Netscape 6. My spin? They really don't give a damn about their Mac user base anymore. How else do you explain a product that bad? It's like trading in a car and getting the same one back, only messier than before.

I guess this is what it has finally come to in the industry. This isn't a prophecy of doom, but one of reality. The only company that's going to give us decent browser technology is going to turn out to be Microsoft. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm glad that Microsoft actually takes its Macintosh browser business with something of a serious attitude. It's a different product from its PC cousin, and the truth be told, it's better to work with. The PC Version is just downright atrocious. Not as atrocious as Netscape 6 on a Mac, but atrocious.

Where's our software going to come from then? Take a good look at your machine and check out just how much there is from Microsoft that lives and works there. Plenty of my colleagues use Outlook Express, and plenty use Explorer. It's not that we like Microsoft. When Shawn King and I spoke on The Mac Show a few months back I was stunned when we both started to rave about the Microsoft Optical mouse.

Again, this isn't to say that Apple's optical isn't great. It is. My kids love it. But damnit, that wheel on the Microsoft optical is just too convenient. You'll have to pull hard to get the thing out of my hands. Does that kill me? Yes, it kills me.

But I digress.

Thankful: Finally, it seems that the pundits who were attacking me for being a pundit have settled down to a relative calm. That's what anonymity gets you.

Unthankful: I didn't give them a piece of my mind when I should have. Chicken.

Thankful: The Mac Observer has nicely dovetailed into a niche created when MacCentral changed its focus. MacCentral is without question the primary source of news and information for Mac users, but The Mac Observer manages to keep the news AND opinion coming.

Unthankful: The dot-com failure thing caught up with far too many enterprising young people with good ideas this year.

Thankful: Readers take the time to let me know what's on their mind.

Unthankful: Flaming has been reduced to a new low in the history of the web.

Thankful: Rodney Lain and I have actually gone nine months without killing each other. This is particularly good because I am opposed to killing. Particularly when it is me. Rodney too.

Unthankful: That I wished death on the neighbor's dog. I felt really bad when it died. You've got to understand though, this dog was a killer. About 24 inches long, but a killer. I wished him dead and he is. Instant Karma's gonna get me.

Particularly thankful: That a new year is coming for me, the Mac faithful, and Apple Computer. It's been more than a little rocky lately, and I think everyone is kind of anxious to get 2001 off to a different start than seems to be shutting 2000.

Particularly unthankful: This recount thing still goes on. I don't really care about who is President any more. Let's just get the thing done. Al? Bow out. Dubya? Bow out. Give the job to someone who really deserves it. Somewhere out there has got to be an individual who can actually lead our country forward. (sorry to the foreign readers I've now lost)

And finally most thankful? God, ain't it great to be alive. Even if your Pismo is acting as if it needs life support.

But I digress.


Your comments are welcomed.

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Dr. Tim Hillmanis a long time contributor to the Mac community through his work with MacCentral, MacOPINION, and most recently MacOS Daily.

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