SterlingNorth's Profile

  • Mar 08, 2010
  • 121
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Latest comments made by: SterlingNorth

  • Impressive. James managed to get every single prediction wrong in this article.
  • fact, I'll go farther than Parky and say the belief of better quality control has always been confirmation bias, where Mac users believe the system's quality control is higher because they bought them for that reason. Macs are right about average when it comes to reliability (as measured by time between repairs), but get higher results from surveys.
    SterlingNorth had this to say on Nov 05, 2009 Posts: 121
    Apple's Quality Control Is Overloaded
  • John Welch made the point in a way I cannot disagree with at all. Steve shouldn't tweet or social-mediaize himself just because everyone else is. Apple would be a disaster on it, unless they really want to become more open, which it does not seem to want to be.
  • You can't really lay all of the blame on networks with Microsoft -- remember that many netbooks were initially sold with Linux on them as well. That didn't prove popular, either. That said, it still remains to be see how Apple can capitalize on this, given that someone shopping for a $300 notebook is unlikely to buy a $1200 notebook, instead. They'll wind up getting a $600 or $700 notebook. The iPhone (in America) is still crippled by being on the worse network possible. (AT&T;).
  • I think to most Americans "stat" means right now, as in that's how they use it in hospitals (and medical shows)! The short form for statistics is stats (with an 'S' at the end.)
    SterlingNorth had this to say on May 28, 2009 Posts: 121
    Top 10 Reasons Why I'm a Mac
  • I'm going to have to remain skeptical of the security argument because we have documented evidence of Apple's up to now cavalier attitude to patching security flaws (compare how long it takes them to patch open-source components vs the original maintainers. Some items go a year without patching. Also Java.) And did someone actually argue that Macs would be susceptible at five percent share? That seems naively low. It took Firefox at 10% share to get attack, and attacking Firefox requires far less investment in equiptment or education. I wouldn't be surprised if it took a Marketshare of 20-30% given that malware authors would have to buy a Mac (or buy a clone or build a hackintosh), and learn to program using the Mac languages and tools (I think people misunderstand the marketshare argument. Windows high marketshare over two decades means there is a huge support infrastructure available to the hacker. I probably don't even need to know how to program to make a Win-bot. I can just pick up a malware kit. In other words, I can probably make a Mac malware program in a year if I put my mind to it and study. Likewise, I can probably make a Windows malware program in a year if I put my mind to it and study. Or for the latter, I can take an existing program and alter it and be done in a few days. That's why its foolish to think "Well, Macs have 5% of the market. Why don't they have 5% of the malware?") Anyway, I think from Windows Vista onward, Windows is pretty secure, which is why people will now focus on third-party programs, like Adobe Reader, Quicktime and Java for exploiting computers. The issue now is that those targets are multi-platform, plus people apply security updates to those items less than they do for the core OS.
    SterlingNorth had this to say on May 27, 2009 Posts: 121
    Top 10 Reasons Why I'm a Mac
  • Ha ha!
    ohh macs are for (sorry for the racism) black musicians who don’t know any better
    That's hilarious given the controversy at a Mac-developer conference when one speaker asserted that black people don't use Macs. There's a bit of a grain of truth to the statement -- was not presented well at all by that speaker -- which sort of relates to Chris Howard's point: Macs are expensive, and it is hard to justify the price differential.
    SterlingNorth had this to say on May 22, 2009 Posts: 121
    Apple, Please Give Us More Bang for Our Buck
  • This may actually be of interest to you. Sheila of the ad has contacted Joe Wilcox (Microsoft and Apple blogger formerly of eWeek) about that laptop. From that, we learn that she's using Adobe Premiere Elements to edit the film which was scripted in Final Draft.
  • PS: Going slightly off topic, but thanks for the shoutout in the piece, Chris Howard. I want to note that (aside from the occasional spambot that gets through) that the comments are great here. There are so many computer sites where I am tempted to leave a comment, but I'm discouraged by numerous one-paragraph or less nyah-nyah posts. I think it speaks well of the hosts that they can cultivate a good dialog in a blog.
    SterlingNorth had this to say on Apr 09, 2009 Posts: 121
    Macs: Round Pegs in Square Holes
  • Joe Wilcox, who writes both the Apple Watch and Microsoft Watch blogs for eWeek explains (more simply, or more convolutedly) what I was trying to say beforehand in his two pieces. Now, if Apple wants to counter these new ads, I think they'll actually have to begin enumerating why Macs and/or OS X is better (and worth the premium). In all of the "I'm a Mac" ads, Apple never enumerates why Macs or OS X are better, leaving the work up to the Apple Store employees or the website. In fact, until the last two ads set of ads that attacked Vista (or in an oddly meta twist, attacking Microsoft for making an advertisement campaign) the latest Apple ads have been emphasizing that you can do Windows things (use MS Office), or even install Windows if you need to. Otherwise, "I'm a Mac" has been advertising Macs are cool, so get one and be cool, too. Apple hasn't needed to advertise its benefits or defend its price because once you're in the Apple Store, it's too late to comparison shop and the salesman can work his or her magic on you. The PC ads make thinking about price return to the fore. If it can get the viewer to second-think that trip to the Apple Store, or even just have the commercial play in your mind while you're there, it's probably effective. I'm betting that's why Macs and the Apple Store and the "Apple Mystique" are as big a feature of the ads. That is the translucent foil in the two ads.
    SterlingNorth had this to say on Apr 09, 2009 Posts: 121
    Macs: Round Pegs in Square Holes
  • "Do you ever wish for Apple to fill a bit more of that square hole?"
    I think everybody's answer to that question is yes. On the technical message board I frequent, there is a running wish for a desktop tower Macintosh in the iMac price range, which they dub the xMac. (Pystar exists because that need is unfilled.) Many of the rumors I see on sites I see as people wishing upon stars for their hoped for system (Tablet Mac, Netbook Mac, an Intel version of the 12" Powerbook [or smaller]). I think that you're still slightly missing the point of what I am saying, but you came up with a great metaphor. Let me present it to you like this. There aren't perfectly round holes or square holes at all that people are looking to fill, but irregularly shaped ones ... round-rects, ovals, ellipses, rectangular, etc. But, from all of the computer manufacturers, all they have to fill those holes with are cylindrical and rectangular pegs. I don't think there exists a computer that perfectly fits every system requirement one has, so everybody has to prioritize what they want. It's how everybody shops, PC and Mac users. If you want a Mac, well, you've prioritized that requirement. Most people really don't care about the OS (or don't think they do... they really do, but only in that the OS is familiar and works. Windows is familiar, and for the most part works. OS X is familiar enough, and again for the most part works. Linux really hasn't crossed either threshold with consumer systems. Linux proves the OS matters only when the OS doesn't work.) The big priorities for computer shoppers are price, and following that are all of the performance metrics. (Being CPU, storage space, screen size, and various extras.) I suspect people when shopping will actually think of it as though it's on a Libra scale with price/cost on one side and everything else on the other side. There might be one or two thing on the feature side that will make him consider adding dollars to the cost side, but he will more likely take stuff out of the features side until they see a good balance. This is the thing that seems to offend some Mac users like Sean Weintrab, Daniel Eran "Prince McLean" Dilger and others. They seem to prefer that you seek out the best features and compromise on price, or go after the best of each feature you can afford. If you shop like that, Macs stand a better chance (though its not guaranteed). However, most people can't shop like that. Price is generally a hard limit, and many people will rather have more 2nd best of breed feature at a price than fewer but 1st of breed features. (And I'm granting them the conceit that the PCs are 2nd best. Now, if I wanted a machine with a Blu-Ray drive, or four USB ports, or a 12" screen, well you see where I'm going.) Now, back to the ads. At first I dismissed speculation that one of the goals was to provoke a reaction in the Mac world, but I am reconsidering, given remarks from the agency. Looking at the tizzy the Mac sphere is in, with Weintraub, Dilger, John Gruber and even you here writing multiple pieces on the campaign, it appears to have worked. And the Mac sphere risks looking mean-spirited with this (given how many people have called Lauren and Giampaolo stupid, and how many dismissed the whole campaign as fraudulent when it turned out Lauren works as an actress), especially given that most people shop the way those two do. But the point the ads seem to want to get to, is that you can far more easily get a PC that fits your supposed needs on your budget than you can with a Mac. You can choose what you want, and what you don't with a PC. Those decisions are taken away from you on the Mac. It's the difference between being able to whittle the peg into the shape you think you need than surrendering to Apple and buying a round peg. The ads are empowering.
    SterlingNorth had this to say on Apr 09, 2009 Posts: 121
    Macs: Round Pegs in Square Holes
  • Did you miss the "Mojave Experiment" ads? Or the "Rookies" part of the campaign. A single ad is not the totality of an advertisement campaign. OK, while I believe Mojave was made independently by MS, the entire twist was the fact that they were using Vista and it didn't blow up computers like some people had thought it would. "Guess what, you're using Vista" was the line used at the end. Rookies is all about how Windows is so easy a four year old can send pictures. That one *is* part of the continuing I'm a PC campaign like the Lauren ad. Anyway, I can always pull out one Mac ad or another and ask why it attacks Vista or Microsoft (spending money on ads instead of "fixing Vista") instead of telling me why I will love my new Mac or whatever, but I know that isn't the totality of the Mac campaign. (Though most people agreed that the ads vs fixing ad was too mean-spirited).
    SterlingNorth had this to say on Apr 02, 2009 Posts: 121
    Giving Microsoft Bad Ideas
  • Amazingly, I forgot about the one bit of idiotic segmenting that hits me personally. Running a 64-bit version of Windows. Every single Mac currently produced have 64-bit processors, but you only get official support and bootcamp drivers if you have purchased a Mac Pro or a MacBook Pro. There is absolutely no good reason for that, except as a cash grab! Especially given you can upgrade a iMac to use up to 8GB of RAM.
    SterlingNorth had this to say on Apr 01, 2009 Posts: 121
    Will Microsoft's new Ad Anger PC Makers?
  • Chris, I think you're just about completely wrong on your points here. I think you completely misinterpreted the ad. The ad is really about the choice and the lack thereof in the Mac universe. If you just want a "desktop replacement" size 17" notebook, you are pretty much stuck with spending $2800+ to get a lot of things you may not necessarily want. (This point was made apparent to me to the various criticisms of the ad elsewhere -- but the computer has no 'N' wifi, no bluetooth, no gigabit eth. etc. I actually realized that *I* don't make use of those features on *my* notebook. My broadband connection can't even come close to saturating a 100Mbit eth. port!) This ad was a direct shot at how segmented the selection is at the Mac Universe. To get a 17" computer, you have to buy a lot of extra costly features you may not want. Or if you are on a budget, you may wind up having to sacrifice the thing you really want (that 17" screen) for a lot of nice things that you don't care for. This is apparently what causes all of these spec/price wars that lead PC and Mac defenders to call each other fools. Price it as find a Mac and compare it to like PC, you find that Macs are competitively priced. But do it as "find the least you have to pay to get this important feature", you discover that damn, why is Apple "ripping me off?"! For forever the feature would have been the SuperDrive (aka DVD writer) or type of Firewire port. Fortunately now, Apple has finally standardized on that, but now it seems to be screen size or RAM (or for the Mac only segmentation, whether or not you get a Firewire port or [so help me God] a non-glossy display.) Now, I can't really understand your response to Beeb. Do you not see why Microsoft would run this ad? They have been beaten up fairly and unfairly by Apple's ads and the press. Apple has been brilliantly successful in negatively branding Microsoft as dorky and uncool. Left unchecked, this could turn Windows into IE (the former monopoly that is now bleeding useageshare at what must seem to them to be an alarming rate). Apple has the buzz, the mindshare, the hearts and minds of the trendsetters. Curiously, this ad looks to be their attempt to (as they say in politics) attack Apple's strength. Apple is self-assuredly cool. The flip side of that is smugness. That one little twist of a phrase from Lauren DeLong ("I'm not cool enough to be a Mac person.") turns that smugness into a liability by connecting cool into affluence-snobbery. (I suppose everyone has those stories about the cliques in HS would judge everyone on how much the clothes they wear cost, whether it be Abercrombie & Fitch preppy wear, or the $300 basketball-star sneakers.) In this framing, Apple is no longer the underdog, but the envied/reviled overdog. FoxNews even called it a red-state/blue-state ad, though I think the war it is stirring up will never be seen by those normal people outside of the PC/Mac battlefields.
    SterlingNorth had this to say on Apr 01, 2009 Posts: 121
    Will Microsoft's new Ad Anger PC Makers?
  • I get the suspicion that zato3 is a macro-bot of some sort of automatron. I can't figure out how the quote he is complaining about is in anyway "anti-Apple". To me, it seems like a rational defense of Apple.
    SterlingNorth had this to say on Mar 24, 2009 Posts: 121
    Ballmer fixated on Mac, Misses Big Picture