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Sacha van Straten

An excellent take on an age old issue. I use PC and Mac, but there is something inherently more creative about the Mac hard and software for me, that manages to transcend the mere practicalities.

In much the same way social networks have been built on mutual admiration, sprinkled liberally with a dash of voyeurism, there is something in the DNA of creative and innovative companies that makes IT interesting. As you say, capitalising on it is the real challenge.

My 60 something dad had his first go with my MacBook Pro today. His PC at home in France was playing up. He reckoned it was to do with net connections and his account with AOL in the UK. So, I hooked up the MBP and he was rather surprised at the speed that pages loaded, and the manner in which the computer offered him solutions to his various grumbles (like accessing letters with French accents easily).

My point is, he found an affinity with the computer and the interface it provided. I tend to take that for granted. And I should say that if MS did it I'd prefer them. It's tools for jobs and horses for courses in the end. I'm enamoured equally with the Asus EEEPC range. The Linux aspect adds a quirkiness to the practical benefits that appeals. It's like being part of a (not so) secret society.

Anyway, thanks again for a well considered post.


AJ Cann

Eloquent :-)
Here's my precis: Bill didn't get the internet, and Bill's word was law.
You could equally well ask, why didn't Microsoft invent the web browser (or the GUI)? And I think Sacha is right to point to the rise of the netbook (or possibly smartphone) as the next stage of evolution. It's not just the credit crisis, it's design and implementation. Once again, Apple trumps Microsloth (but I'm still longing for a proper Apple netbook).



This is masterfully wrought, and really puts a grid on so many of the things that determine an environment of innovation and possibility. It also makes me bit prouder of being such a WordPress lover. In many ways the idea now, as you suggest, that this stuff is out there now in open source incarnations that don;t require you to be employed by one of two corporations makes this who reading that much richer. What happens when thousands of people can love and application and actually express their loves through extensions, modules, themes, etc.? Well, you have the beginning of mature open source scene that changes the very relationship between the Apple vs. Microsoft or Ford vs. Chevy debate. One can now embody it and act on it in some real ways, and that innovation is what keeps me coming to work every morning and feeling happy and proud. It makes me love my work, and one of the major objects of my affection is that fact that I have a platform I can hack at and shape in some real ways. I think you are "spot on."


@Sacha - yes, exactly, it's something about the reaction these products create in people, and particularly the type of people you might want working for you.
@AJ - yes, I could have chosen other examples, there isn't particularly anything special about iTunes - but I wanted an example that demonstrated them working outside of their normal sphere. That's what's amazing about iTunes really - a computer company became the biggest music store in the world, and that's what took real innovation.
@Jim - gee, thanks. I did have a whole paragraph on open source in my head that kind of got lost in the white heat (or moderately balmy) of writing, but you're absolutely correct. Particularly now that a lot of OS project have moved away from the real hardcore geeks, eg Drupal, WP, this democratisation has moved on another step.

Alan Levine

Ahhh, I am late to read this gem, but here courtesy of a Reverend Jin back link.

I cannot recall the name of the book, but it was about the rise of Microsoft in the early days over Apple, who had gotten a short step ahead. Bottom line, was that the concept of doing command line DOS over a GUI was more "macho" for the IT types making the decisions.

I though that was relevant maybe not.

You are on to something with iTunes- porting that to Windows was the brilliant two punch (do people still use WMP?) to the lead of the iPod.

The love comes from a design focus on the personal experience.

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