The Macalope Weekly: I Love My Mac-usin' Son!

What gives?! The Macalope goes on vacation for a couple of weeks and Google gets into the operating system business? Well, fear not, loyal readers. He's back now, just in time to save you from the Wal-Mart OS or some other atrocity.

So, who wants a big slice of Dvorak Schadenfreude pie? Ha-ha! That's silly. We all do, of course. Meanwhile, David Coursey is throwing some loose charges around and Microsoft opening stores next to Apple's? There goes the neighborhood.

Thanksgiving is going to be real uncomfortable

Prepare your best Nelson Muntz impression, people, because John Dvorak's son just went Mac.

The family flag is flying at half mast.

The Dvorak family flag, as you know, is a jackass rampant, avec jerkweed azure.

Anyway, he ended up with a new MacBook Pro, one of the few laptops being sold that actually impresses me.

Well, let's see, there's the MacBook and the Air and the Pro. So, if "few" means more than one, then most of Apple's laptops impress Dvorak. Not that he'd put it that way.

All these whiz-bang features make me realize that I have fallen behind.

You mean the action's not in concern-trolling Apple anymore? But that gig seemed like such a sure thing! Oh, wait, he's not talking about that.

When I do use a laptop, I prefer the lightest machine I can get hold of. I continue to use an old Toshiba R200 weighing in at 2.2 pounds.

That's right. The go-to laptop of John C. Dvorak, technology pundit extraordinaire, is four years old. Now, John says he primarily uses a desktop machine and the desk he sits at is probably made of laptop review units, so it's not like he hasn't seen the improvement made to hardware under the new pope. But in terms of mainstream usage patterns, John's fallen so far behind he can't even see the behind of the thing he fell off of. So far behind, in fact, that technology has actually lapped him.

You see, John, that lightweight laptop sporting a processor from 2005 you've got is called a "netbook" these days. And they're apparently all the rage amongst the don't-mind-running-an-8-year-old-operating-system set.

By the way, Toshiba's spec page actually says the R200 weighs 2.68 pounds, which is pretty equivalent to the MacBook Air if you ever feel like using a modern laptop.

Dvorak distastefully spits out some nice words about Macs, but in typical fashion he can't complete a column about Apple without throwing in some trumped-up charges.

It's like a car dealership in the '70s, with layers of various salespeople, each trying to screw you.

Clearly the implication here is either that if you go into an Apple Store to buy a laptop, the salesperson will have one of those fake discussions with his manager about whether they're going to let you out of the store without buying AppleCare. The Macalope, of course, has bought many, many things at the Apple Store and has never once had to go through "layers of various salespeople." Yes, you're going to get asked if you want AppleCare--once, politely.

This discussion ignores the fact that AppleCare is actually a good idea, particularly for a laptop.

Maybe his son had a bad experience; the Macalope has seen people get passed to someone else to complete a transaction in a crowded store on a Saturday.

More likely John is just trying desperately to find something to complain about.

Because when mindlessly dissing Apple is pretty much your shtick, it really must be galling to have the fruit of your loins switch to the other team.

Apple's monopoly (actual monopoly not included)

When Coursey was in Egypt's land, Let my iPhone go; Locked down so hard they could not load, Let my iPod go.

David Coursey says Apple's iPhone and iPod Monopolies Must Go!

Is it really in customers' best interest for Apple to have such tight control over what iPhone and iPod users can buy?

Now, the brown and furry one has some of the same complaints about the App Store that Coursey has and there is no alternative to the App Store other than jailbreaking your phone. But apps written for the iPhone are not portable to other platforms, no matter who runs the store. So, other than limiting choice and making it unpleasant for developers, this is no more lock-in than any other scheme.

And media? C'mon. The Macalope currently has 12 feature-length movies in iTunes, exactly zero of which were purchased from the iTunes Store. He does buy some TV shows and the bulk of his music there, but frequently uses Amazon's MP3 store as well.

Yet, the tight linkage between iPod/iPhones, iTunes, and the Music Store is a big wall for potential competitors to climb. And if Amazon can't compete head-to-head with Apple, who can?

But Amazon does compete head-to-head with iTunes. It managed to get DRM-free music before Apple did. It might help if Amazon made a dedicated app that allowed you to purchase and download in one interface, but they don't want to be stopped from pointing out that people who bought songs by Coldplay also bought AXE Body Spray and lots of hair-care product.

That would dramatically increase competition in smartphones and players as well as between the Music Store and its suddenly compatible competitors.

Yeah! Why doesn't Apple do that?! It's almost like it's not in their business plan to promote competition against their products!

Okay, sarcasm aside, there is currently huge competition in smartphones. Not only does Apple not have a monopoly, it doesn't even have the largest market share.

Before you call something a duck, David, you might want to check to see if it has wings and quacks.

"Innovation" is the sincerest form of flattery

Hey, kids, if you're strolling through the mall some time and you're getting close to where the Apple Store is and you see a store that looks a lot like an Apple Store but reeks of brimstone and flop sweat, don't be fooled!

It's probably a Microsoft store. Don't worry, that confusion is apparently only temporary.

The executive was emphatic that the stores wouldn't imitate Apple retail, at least in the long term, but that they would "innovate."

Yeah-huh. As soon as we're done doing exactly what Apple does, we're going to innovate like hell! Watch this space, because the innovation train? She's a-comin'! Spoken like a true innovator.

You know, the one thing the Macalope has noticed about people who are really innovative, they don't say they'll be innovative next year.

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