When Did Discover Get So Jackasstic?

David Freedman, writing for Discover magazine on the top stories of 2011, “The Man Who Gave Us Less for More”:

But while Jobs has left most of the world with the impression that he was just so brilliantly right about what the world needed, I can’t help pointing out that Jobs actually got a lot of things wrong. Who remembers the Apple Lisa, a chunky desktop that sold for $9,995 in 1983, or the Newton, a $700 PDA/paperweight?

That’s quite a scathing critique of Jobs’s career: one failed machine from 30 years ago that was created by a team that he was effectively kicked off, at which point he took over the team that created the Macintosh; and, even better, a PDA that was created by Apple after Jobs was forced out of the company, and which he shut down soon after his return.

Then there was the next [sic] computer, to which Jobs devoted a decade of his life, believing that it would win over academia. It was well regarded, but with prices starting at $6,500, Jobs sold only 50,000 units ever, versus the 150,000 he had expected to sell annually.

Yeah, whatever happened to NeXT and that crazy operating system of theirs?

I used to see Apple’s devoted fans as cultish, but now I’m the one who’s left in a cult: the shrinking cult of technophiles who want stuff that above all works well, solves problems, and delivers real value, and the hell with look and feel.

“The hell with look and feel” says a lot more about Freedman than it does about Apple. 20 bucks says he spent the ’90s railing against GUIs, in favor of the DOS command-line interface.

OK, so Steve Jobs proved to be a brilliant visionary after all. But there will always be a part of me that resents the fact that he empowered the world to force me to endure prettier, more-expensive technology for what will most likely be the rest of my 150 years.

La, la, la, fingers in my ears, I can’t hear you, Apple’s kit is overpriced — always was, always will be.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012