Archive for the ‘ Fanboy behaviour ’ Category

Fanboyism

I was poking around in Google+ today, checking out my local feed, when I stumbled upon the most hate-filled posts from a guy in my area who is clearly an Android fan. This got me thinking, why is this man so angry about people who like Apple products? It’s not like he needs to buy them.

Edit: Isn’t it the goal of every company to succeed at the expense of the competition? This forms the basis for capitalism, whether explicit or implied. Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google once sat on the board at Apple and had to step down from that position when low-and-behold Google introduced the Android phone, after Apple introduced the iPhone. But hey, Apple is the bad guy for wanting to protect their ideas.

Back up a few steps…

I’m a Mac. I mean, I use one at home but I’ve spent my entire career using Windows. I built my career on my knowledge of Windows, and how to make it tick. I don’t have problems with viruses, malware, or drivers in Windows so my choice to use a Mac in my personal time is entirely based on non-propogandic (if that is even a word) opinions. There was a time when Linux was my mistress, back before the Mac came into my life. But since OS X 10.2-ish, I haven’t compiled a single kernel, window manager or application.

I type this post on my stunning 27″ iMac, running OS X 10.7.2 “Lion”. A computer that sits roughly 15 feet away from my 46″ LCD TV in the living room, yet entirely dominates the space. When people come over to visit, they often tell me how nice my computer is.

I also have 2 iPhones, an iPad 2, a few iPod Touch, and an Apple TV in the house. So yeah, you could easily assume that I am a fan of Apple, and you would be right. Steve Jobs was someone I looked up to for many years before he lost his battle with Cancer, and with all of the media attention his death received I can honestly say the more I learn about the man, the more I would like to model my own career after his. That I also own a high-end PC and an Android tablet despite not having a need for 2 tablets in a family with more mobile devices than people should say something about my personal preferences.

When I work, I work in Windows… but in a virtual machine on my Mac. I also have a top-of-the-line HP laptop beside it that if I can get away with it is usually closed. It’s a nice laptop, aside from abysmal battery life thanks to a power hungry processor intended for desktop use. I don’t do this because I dislike my PC, but using it at home next to my iMac is like driving a Mustang to dinner when there is a Mercedes AMG in the garage. Sure, the Mustang is fast and overall a very nice car, but next to the AMG it’s kinds… meh.

I tell people that ask my opinion about phones, tablets or computers to consider Apple products. I do this because they have served me well over the last 6 or 7 years, and compared to my experience with Windows-based PCs (which as I mentioned above is a lot) have been a lot more productive. This is the key to my affinity to Apple products. I spent the first 15 years of my computer experience building PCs from scratch, tuning them, making them operate without a great deal of headaches, and helping others with their own PCs. This was followed by 4 or 5 years of learning how to build a Linux PC from less than scratch, literally learning the basic building blocks of a computer and getting them to abide by my will. Suddenly, I didn’t have time for any of that. I had 2 kids (3 now), a demanding career, and interests beyond the care and feeding of my computer. This was the same time I found myself using a Mac.

I had taken my knowledge of Linux (well, Unix), and my experience with PCs, and turned those into something truly powerful when using my OS X machine, a system built on BSD Unix. Yeah, its easy to use – unless you are my parents and have no desire to try something different – my daughter started using ours when she was 4, but it also has capabilities far beyond those of a Windows based PC. I’m not talking video games, video editing, or music. I’m talking about a set of tools underlying the system that allow me to control things in ways a PC can’t. It is called UNIX, Google it.

But I’ve used Android, and it’s great. Its based on Linux, which I like, and it is supported by a huge community so cool tricks and solutions to problems are never far away. I get that people think that it is free, but nothing in the world is free; Everything comes at a cost. It is somewhat more open than Apple’s menagerie of toys, but there are tradeoffs there. Some like that openness, and I totally respect that. Others prefer to have things work in a familiar way no matter what operating system version or device we’re using. That’s the beauty of competitive products, everyone has different preferences so these things can easily coexist.

I’ve often compared people’s allegiance to PC vs Mac, PC vs Linux, iPhone vs Android, and so on as subjects of religious debate; something better left out of casual conversation. In the beginning, I was kidding. But lately this has become all too true. Is it because people need to hate something in their day-to-day lives? Are we hard wired to align ourselves with a cause and defend it to our bitter end? Or is there something more sinister to blame for all of the hate, on both sides of this corporate war. I mean, I work for Hewlett-Packard but here I am talking about how much I love Apple products. I don’t work in the PC division, or I might have to conceal my name before posting something like this, but my point is if my financial well being depends on the success of my company I should have some personal allegiance to PCs, certainly more than some guy off the street who doesn’t work for Google or Apple yet fills his social media presence with hateful comments towards one or the other, right?

Maybe we’ve just become too consumed by our consumerism. Maybe the folks down on Wall Street protesting the corporate takeover of our generation aren’t just fighting the big banks, but the people at home watching TV as well. Because if we’re willing to defend our company of choice to the point of insulting anyone who decides otherwise, maybe the battle against capitalism is already lost.

Wow, that ended up being a lot deeper than I had intended going into this post.

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