If they're so dumb... why are they rich?

By Michael J. Smith on Sunday September 26, 2010 08:32 PM

From the San Jose Mercury News -- oh yes, I read it religiously:

How dumb was the Silicon Valley hiring conspiracy? Let us count the ways

When I think of Google, Apple, Intel, Intuit, Adobe and Pixar, the words that come to mind are usually innovative and progressive.

In the wake of their shocking settlement with the federal government Friday over charges they colluded to not hire each other's employees, another word comes to mind:


It's not just that their actions are shameful.

It's not just that these actions violate everything Silicon Valley represents.

Of course I had to stop reading at that point. "Everything Silicon Valley represents?" What does this poor bloody fool think Silicon Valley represents, apart from venture-capital sharks using poorly-socialized creeps like Mark Zuckerberg, or downright sociopaths like Steve Jobs, to acquire monopoly positions in some carefully walled-off intellectual-property laager?

(The back story was also covered by the Daily Diary of Onanist Aspiration here.)

* * * * *
I am closely related to some Mac people -- live under the same roof with them, in fact. Now it's always seemed to me that Apple is just Microsoft with a better haircut. But try telling Mac people that. They're like, Oh, I'm a Mac person. I'm soooo cool!

Just recently, for the second time in two weeks, one of my beloved Mac people experienced a problem with one of her way-kewl Mac apps. I think it was some kind of don't-worry-your-pretty-head, we'll-take-care-of it automatic backup thing. Turns out they make you change your password -- we're Apple, we know best, do what we say -- and as soon as you do, you're locked out, if I understood her correctly.

So my housemate made an appointment -- an appointment! -- several days away, to take her sleek Mac to the Genius Bar -- no shit, that's what they call it -- at one of the half-dozen or so Mac tabernacles in Manhattan.

Always in search of grist for the mill, I accompanied her to her appointment.

This particular Macernacle is on Fourteenth Street in Manhattan, all the way west, practically in the river. Albert Speer on mescaline. All frosted glass and brushed stainless steel and a spiral staircase made out of Pyrex -- a life of power, behind walls of iron and crystal, as Marinetti fantasized way, way avant la lettre.

It took the geniuses quite a long time to figure out my housemate's problem with their employer's proprietary software -- hours, in fact. So I had plenty of time to watch the Mac kids come and go.

It's a mall, really. A much cooler, hipper, better-designed mall than the suburban version most of these nicely-coiffed younkers probably grew up on. But a mall is a mall. It's a controlled and patrolled private space, devoted to selling things. And yet -- where are you gonna go, if not to the mall?

Comments (14)

"And yet -- where are you gonna go, if not to the mall?"

Down to the nearby pond where I can catch frogs, wiggle my toes in the mud and enjoy a gorgeously sunny day?

I've put up with Mac vs. PC thing for years and I'm always quick to offer up that I hate both of them with a passion.

They're tools. They're useful for some things for sure. But the amount of ego folks invest in what are really just massive calculators that can exchange bits of information with other massive calculators is beyond me.

Watch it there, man. None dare call me "fanboy".

This, despite the fact that I've used only Macs since my first Mac -- my first computer ever, in fact -- a 512K, in 1985. I've sworn by MacOS ever since, because it's always had a much better-designed UI, and I didn't have to deal first with MS-DOS, and later with Microsoft's pathetic-assed MacOS knock-off.

That said, just because I'm a die-hard Mac user doesn't mean I don't have serious issues with Jobs and Apple that go waaaaaayyy back -- to around 1989, to be precise, about the time the Mac IIcx/ci series rolled out. RAM modules weren't nearly as cheap as they are now, but with the Mac II series' highly-expandable memory capacity came, almost instantly, a massive bloating of application and OS system memory requirements, meaning that I couldn't get jack shit for work done unless I could scrape up several hundred dollars or more for RAM modules to expand my system memory enough to run the then-new generation of applications at anything faster than glacial speeds. Shit, Steve-O, thanks a goddamn' lot, man.

And don't even get me started on the iPhone and iPad bullshit. That crap with the censored apps in the App Store and the ATT lock-in really griped my ass. Needless to say, I've stuck with my trusty old "dumb phone", a humble Samsung flip-phone that does everything I need a mobile phone to do -- send and receive phone calls.

The iPad? Spit. Fuck that goddamn' thing. When I first heard the rumors rumbling about an Apple tablet device, I thought at long fucking last, a tablet with an 8.5x11 "live" area that I could write and draw on that ran MacOS! Imagine my disappointment and disgust when it turned out to be an overgrown iPod Touch, a fucking overpriced hipster toy. And, to add insult to injury, it didn't even come close to being the "Newspad" (remember, from Kubrick's 2001?) which was the one sci-fi gadget I lusted after even more than a flying car.

Oh, and I love this goddamn' "Genius Bar" crap. What a goddamn' load. Back in the day, we didn't need no goddamn' Genius Bar; we had a quaint little institution called a "user group". Remember those? If anybody had any questions or issues, you could always go to a user group meeting or log onto the user group's BBS system where there was a whole gang of friendly, knowledgeable folks -- myself among them -- who were more than happy to sort out a problem or help out a struggling noob without all the hipster pretense.

So, yeah; I'm a huge Mac fan, but I ain't no goddamn' "fanboy".

Now, get off my lawn.

Peter Ward:

It reminds me of the Ford pickup vs Chevy pickup sectarianism of my home town (everyone laughed at Dodge owners).

By the way, the hip thing these days seems to be install the Apple OS on non-Apple hardware. How this is significant I can't tell you. But I can tell you Leopard runs like a dream on my HP Mini 110.


My first Mac was a Quadra 630 which I still have. I'm now up to a Mac Pro running OSX and Windows XP. As far as user friendliness and the tendency to induce near suicidal bouts of hair-pulling frenzy, the Mac OS beats Windows by a mile.

That being said, I have to laugh at the whole Kewl Kat, Apple is like waaay kull, Microsoft sucks fandango that erupts whenever the two companies themselves are compared. Apple's business model is little different than Microsoft, with the exception that Apple almost never admits its fuck-ups until they become common knowledge and even then they often won't admit or fix the problem.

Case in point: "Spotlight," which provides OS X's built-in search functionality. It doesn't work. It never has. I can be looking right at a file and Spotlight can't find it. It often can't find files through partial word searches: searching for "Wash" when you are looking for a file called "Washington" may or may not find the file. Sometimes it will fail to find a file one time but find it minutes later.

The most basic function of any half-ass computer is the ability to search through a massive database and find a particular bit of information, and Mac OS X can't do this with any degree of consistency. Call tech support and they will deny that Spotlight is a problem and tell you to reindex your drive, which usually doesn't solve the problem.

So yeah, fuck you, Apple.

I've got a Mac, but that's because a friend of friends was ditching it, so it was free.

Most of the people I know who treat Mac like a religion are success-obsessed hipster assholes. We don't have much to say to one another now that they've survived the economic downturn with their hipster cred intact, while I'm lucky to be doing scutwork in a fucking warehouse.

That's not a cultural gap you can breach just by bonding about how bad Vista sucked.

Al Schumann:

I have high hopes for Steve Jobs. One fine day, he's going to start screaming at a convention hall full of his fans, "you're all veal! VEAL!", and as he loses it he'll start sobbing, running up and down the aisles, and biting people who can't get out of the way. Some of the fans will try to help him—by holding down their friends, so he can feed. Others will stab pointlessly at their iPhones. Because that's what iPhone people do. The next day huffy articles will appear in the papers, with one exception: the San Jose Mercury News will headline the event, "Jobs Gets His Mojo Back". Apple stock will rise five points and Jobs himself, though completely insane, will be touted as the next Steve Jobs.

Actually, I still have my old beige G3 as well; the original plan was to donate it after I bought my G4 tower, except that the scanner I bought with the G3 in 1998 refuses to die -- so, as I can't find an OSX driver for it (even though I can find the USB adapter hardware), the G3 is still hard at work driving the scanner, as well as being used as my TV set via the old ixMicro "Turbo TV" card (a complete cable-ready TV set on a PCI bus card -- sadly, an analog TV) for watching old movies on the VHS deck I still have hooked up to it.

Laugh if you want; back when I still owned a car, I was one of those guys who'd buy a car brand-new and drive it until it fell apart. When the scanner finally dies, I'll buy a new USB 2.0 scanner, take the G3 offline and see if there's a school or something that'll take it.

Actually, the whole Mac vs. DOS/Windows thing goes a little deeper than the Ford vs. Chevy sectarian conflict.

At the time that MacOS first came out, the only game in town, pretty much, was MS-DOS -- a clunky, fussy, command-line interface which seemed designed solely for geeks and which seemed bound and determined to keep users from getting any work done. On top of that, any kind of "under the hood" work was pretty much the province of sysadmin and programmer types who, at the time, were almost a kind of secret society, a priesthood.

I likened their reaction to the arrival of the Mac to the reaction of the ancient priesthoods to the arrival of moveable type and mass-printed books which brought literacy to the masses. Before, it was mostly the clerics who were the only ones who could read; when the printing press arrived, suddenly the proles became literate and didn't have to depend on clerics to explain stuff to them.

MacOS eliminated the need to spend hours figuring out what magic words to type into the command line to do simple things like copy files or view the contents of a hard disk; suddenly, I could just pick an icon and drag it to where I wanted it: take this, put it here. Open this drive. Throw that old file into the Trash... you get the idea. No more AUTOEXEC.BAT. Fuck that noise.

Everything I know now about how computers and operating systems work, about things like disk and memory management, I would never have learned if I'd been stuck with DOS/Windoze. I'd have ended up hating computers if it wasn't for MacOS.


Long time mac user here as well. I can't go full fanboy though because the quality is so uneven between their products. Some products are great (latest generation unibody macbooks, original Mac Pro, iPhone 3GS) but others are complete garbage that should have been recalled (pre-unibody macbook pros, cinema displays, early iPods, certain generations of imacs, iPhone 4). They are the worst company for completely evading responsibility for products that are clearly faulty and ought to be recalled. The products literally have to self-combust before Apple will issue a recall.


in the end its value poses
perverse sex and gadgets
that wake this site up

consumption chat
rules the waves and wires

the job black ball game
seems enough of a story

dark op
hard to reach interactive site
blackball.com nick name only

need to find the unique matching prime pair
for a number
2 to the zillionth power digits long
unless you're a black ball club member
and already have them
then of course yer in
and you can list or match to
all black balled hu-caps

for member access only !!!!

opportunity must become a one way street


I have always loathed the idea of the Apple as the 'rebel' computer but I hated Windows UIs and security holes more. Then there is IE, which is the stuff of every web professional's nightmares. If I am any example, web developers buy Macs more out of spite than anything else. Hence, when I needed a new computer, I shelled out close to 3k for a Macbook Pro. But now comes a buddy of mine, a diehard Mac-user who just switched to Windows 7 and seems to have all the machine I have at about a third the price and the UI seems plenty user-friendly.

There is almost nothing worse than a conformist stooge that thinks he's a rebel and Increasingly Apple users are becoming the Dennis Millers of the computer user world. If you want to see how sorry they are, search 'apple tattoo'


I have a good friend whose main obsession in life is consumerism. He loves his gadgets. He loves to bust on my old phone, my old truck, my old computer, my old .mp3 player, my old stereo (no "entertainment center), my old TV, etc etc etc. As I own mostly old stuff (use 'til product death is my motto) he has lots to bust on.

One of his favorite themes is to bust on me for using a PC, a non-iPhone, a non-iPod, and he loves to tell me I need to buy shares in Apple. He's a pilot for Delta and he loves telling me about all the new Apple stores he sees as he flies around the nation. Naturally he obsessed over the iPad and had lots of problems with his most recent iPhone.

He's not really a religious guy, even though he is fully-Jesuit educated. But I'd swear he worships Steve Jobs and Apple.


It's odd, I have just realized owned, at some point in my life, a mac and a pc and both ford and chevy pickups.

Richard Wall:

Few surveyors can demonstrate similar skills in writing case study, and even less can assure its quality. Best work I've seen by far! Your free thesis papers are a profound one. I swear it cost a major brain work.

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Sunday September 26, 2010 08:32 PM.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31