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Yes, Yes, I Am Too Tired To Write Coherently So Here Are Some Links, Mang

I am freakishly tired and did not do a very good job of editing it. Take all things written below this line with a grain of salt produced by a shaker with a strategically loosened lid.

There were a huge number of things that I wanted to write about today. The operative word here is 'were' since this brief pit stop between showering, eating, and then sleeping has dulled my interest down to the point of disincorporation from the level of even wanting to doodle on some scratch paper. Yes, the new job sucks that much.

John Gruber whipped up a hell of a post today in response to the bring me the head of Mark Pilgrim reaction that many readers of his site had to Mark Pilgrim's post explaining his reasons for not buying Apple. I think both of the above are right on money but I'm not a real monogamist when it comes to operating systems (more on that below) so I'm probably not a likely judge of the viciousness of the bash and counter bash that took place on both sites. Most of it is backpedaling of the high on the comedy scale and low on the basis in a reality we can touch and see scale. I don't envy Gruber's readership. Really, though, you should just go read his post because the sarcasm is going to get too thick here and I'm not nearly patient enough for an AngryCommentageddon. I just delete that shit while chuckling at the turd-like wads of impotent rage bounce harmlessly off the windshield of my escape pod. I also wanted folks to go read the post at Daring Fireball because I want to spend more time talking about me and less about people grown up enough to bother with a tsunami of angry comments that I would just flush down the iToiletWeb.

I bought a MacBook Pro a while back and nearly returned the fucking thing a week later. My intent in purchasing was not only to exploit the educational discount I'm entitled to through two different colleges in two different cities but also to spend a little money on an expensive and somewhat stupid toy. I am not a switcher or a success story or anything else in the cant of marketing drums of doom or the broken record fandom of brand specific yet soulless fanboyism. I bought it mainly because I had a little bit of money to play with for the first time in what seems like a decade (this really isn't that far off the mark) and decided to see if I had a digital life or some shit like that. Actually, I kind of wanted to see how the OS had improved and with the new architecture being a little more open to alteration and alternatives the inherent platform lock in. It was a safe way to drop some change on a new machine that I had grown pretty unfamiliar with. The last experience I had with Apple in a real way was so gut wrenchingly awful and bitterly disappointing that I really had no desire to monkey with the guts of the OS for a number of years. Try setting up a whole bunch of OS 9 clients on a Mac Manager server network (and this is like 10.1 server we're talking about), have a tech from Apple spend sixteen hours trying to get the client piece working and tell you that it just isn't going to work right before buying you a bunch of pizza, and nearly lose your job as result of it and you'll feel at least some of the pain that I previously associated with the company of black turtlenecks and first character lowercase camel casing product names fetish. I'd heard good things about subsequent releases from people who I actually respect and have opinions that are almost entirely unrelated to interface so purty that only a thesaurus can sum up my true feelings toward it vibe you tend to get from people who want a flashy product and the associations television commercials convince them come along with some product or another. Ip0dZZZ are a great piece of hardware/software for them to mess with but similarly they're worse than useless when it comes to technical opinions. So, yeah, smart folks (Hello Travis and Tony if you're tuning in) told me about some of the less oh!ah!Heavens, I've stained my dungarees features that are stirred into the batter these days and I got curious.

Anyway, the point is that Mark Pilgrim is really fucking smart and together for figuring out that the brand he'd invested a lot of time and energy around and into was no longer the operating system for him. He doesn't care so much about either association (other than of the FOSS sort) or the niceties that many find so attractive about OS X but the things that really matter if the idea of moving files around across platforms ever enters your head. Not being religiously tied to your platform will certainly make this issue stand out like no other. That's where the 'toy' part comes in for me: I don't do any serious work on this machine so I'm not as upset by the weird file formats, the potential of DRM mucking up my stuff, or even the incredibly broken implementation of virtual desktops. When this particular hipster coffee shop gets too irritating and constraining I just leave. The Linux laptop sits a couple of feet away so whenever I feel like I'm trying to compute in the land of Fisher Price meets BSD and getting nowhere I can escape back into the slightly greasy garage packed full of a bunch of familiar faces that will nearly always get their hands dirty to help me build whatever rocketship the shiny happy OS has problems dealing with. Sure, they don't have funny television commercials extolling their virtues but they accomplish the things I need accomplished with a minimum of fiddling or those annoying fucking 'bing's that accompany the screen flash when you've done something bad in OS X. Again, my pieces fit together more conveniently on my Linux box when simple work needs to be accomplished and part of that has a lot to do with the fact that I'm not making DVDs of my pets or synchronizing my wardrobe with my mini-disc collection or whatever. I want a mostly working Apache/Python/PHP environment that just works. OS X doesn't do that and makes installing MySQL a total pain in the ass. The number of hoops that people have to jump through in order to do development work on OS X that isn't specific to OS X (this assumes that you're working with something other than Java of course) is somewhat ridiculous and usually when someone cooks up a non-ridiculous installer/configuration tool it is shareware by default which is an entirely different sort of nightmare.

After all of that ramble I have to wonder how long it's going to take before many of the folks who abandoned more 'primitive' operating systems for the prettiness of OS X because the new version of Enlightenment hadn't come out yet have revelations similar to the ones that have haunted me since I dropped a fuckton of money into this machine. Do you want an appealing toy that caters to the fuck around aspects of your personality or do you want a machine that doesn't always second guess you, doesn't always have every package included in the distribution the moment it comes out, and might need some configuration post-installation? Can you move between platforms confortably or are you too busy thinking of your looking glass self reflected in the empty mirror that no one is looking at?

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  1. I find it funny that people make such a big deal out of a guy switching from an Apple to Linux. As a casual user, the two seem far more related to me than say… OS X and Windows XP or Linux and Windows 2000. Really… who gives a fuck? Then again, to complain about iTunes DRM is slightly questionable as an excuse to leave OS X. His issue isn’t with Apple’s DRM, but DRM in general. Portable formats readable in 50 years? Huh?

    I love my Mac in the same way some people love Chevy Trucks. I think they are the superior platform *for my needs* – Windows is too buggy and restrictive and Linux lacks the polish I want from a daily driver and many of the Apps I’ve come to love.

    But you know what? Some folks prefer Ford Trucks, Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS 7. Pepsi, Coke, Team Red, Team Blue, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos. Big deal, it’s a free country, for the time being.

    Then again… if he left Apple for Windows I’d be significantly more demonstrative about the anti-switch.

    Weird thing though… my MySQL install was easy as pie. Mind you, I’m not a power user and as you know I’ve gone bald trying to get PHPMyLibrary working on the Mac to no avail, but the basic install was a breeze.

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