Why I love Arguments

Mike Halsey MVP
Jan 16, 2011
Updated • Nov 29, 2012

One of these days, and I'll try this eventually, I'm going to write an article called "Apple" which will contain just a single word, that word will again be "Apple".  What will the reason be for doing this?  Simply because I know full well that some Apple fans will be up in arms and probably accuse me of being deliberately inflammatory about the company.

This is brilliant and it's just like being back in school in the heady days of the home computing revolution.  Then I had a Sinclair ZX Spectrum and those of us who preferred squidgy keys and colour clash got terrible batterings, in more ways than just figuratively sometimes, from those people with Commodore 64s.

It was brilliant that technology got people so hot under the collar, but then we hit the late 80's and everything became really dull and quiet.  In fact for a long period there was nothing to get excited about at all as the console revolution that we have today hadn't started, and PCs were still far too expensive for people to have in their homes.  If you had an ageing Commodore Amiga or Atari ST you'd use that.  If not you were in a non-technical wilderness.

When technology became more affordable again, which began with consoles, it was Sony that not only ruled the roost, but that had the entire market to itself and so far as PCs went, nobody dared get all excited about the horrible beige box they were forced to keep hidden away.

Now though things are much more exciting.  We've got all types of smartphones with competing operating systems, tablet computers with even more competition when it comes to operating systems, and home PCs that are finally funky enough, and with an operating system good enough, that their owners can start shouting at the Mac people again saying they got ripped off.

I'm a PC guy, I have a media centre PC under my TV, a Windows Phone and two Windows-based computers.  I also now have a Windows 7 tablet on the way to me as well.  Why do I have exclusively Windows-branded stuff?  It's certainly not for my job, as an author I could write perfectly well using Linux, as a tech blogger I could comment on all things Windows from a Mac and for my leisure I could be quite happy with an Android phone or an iPad.

We're back in the same situation were were in during the mid-1980's though when you find yourself, by hook or by crook, locked into a particular eco-system.  The reason I have all Windows stuff is that I need connectivity and for everything to work together in harmony.  It just so happens that this is the best way to achieve that.  This is in the same way that all my wireless networking kit is all from the same range and from the same company, it helps take the pain out of configuring it.

I have a good friend in London who has gone the other way.  He has a PC that I built for him but he never uses it.  He instead uses a Mac.  He's also had an iPhone for a while and has bought an Apple TV and an iPad recently.  It's all exactly the same kit that I have myself but, well, just different.  It will all work in exactly the same way as the kit I have here too.  Now I don't believe for a single moment that his choices were anything to do with brand loyalty.  I know him well enough to say with confidence that his primary concern was that everything worked well together and that each device didn't present him with a new, steep, learning curve.

It's interesting the way this has panned out because we're in a position now where the customers are once again doing much of the marketing and promotion work for the companies they buy from, just as my friends and I did in school singing the praises of Sinclair, Commodore and Acorn and even, once in a while, swinging someone else away from their own choice.

So occasionally I write things about Apple or Google but because people know me as a Windows guy I'll get flamed for it.  I have to write this stuff though because it's my job.  I love Apple and Google because, while I may not always agree with their business practices and products, they, like Microsoft have inspired a new generation of people to feel passionately about the technology that they buy and use.

What could be better then than a really good argument.


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  1. webfork said on January 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    In terms of Philosophers (who also love to argue) Aristotle would probably agree with you but Socrates would say that discussion is more important. Its not a subtle difference either: Aristotle essentially created the debate used now in court rooms, in politics, and those on two sides of an issue. Discussion remains the soul of society however, as debate assumes a dramatic division and discussion assumes some common ground. Debate may be necessary at first, but I always hope it gives way at some point to discussion.

  2. Paul(us) said on January 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I use to like main Apple 1, Apple 2, Apple 2e. Then the Apple 2c and not much later the Mac appeared above the horizon, with lead to that Apple prices skyrocketed much above what it was really weird.
    And now almost 30 years later there are still in a steady in a steady uprise and there is no saying when the Apple rocket prices ship, is even stabling on the same hight.

  3. David said on January 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    I started out in computing far too long ago…in the era of punch cards and ticker-tape and mainframes. In those days the programmes we wrote for our “big iron” were quite freely shared with others then came personal computing…after a good while we entered the beginning of the “modern age”, as I shall call it, where MS and Apple dominate the commercial landscape and GNU/Linux (GNU forms far more of the operating system than does the Linux kernel and thus GNU/Linux is the correct name giving the larger and smaller of the two main constituents in their appropriate order) leads the free alternatives. I gravitated from an exclusively Apple dominated business to several exclusively MS dominated ones then was able to switch to GNU/Linux…what a relief! Reliability is so much better and the key freedoms of the Free Software Foundation mean that once more, as we did in those early days, we can share with others not only data and advice but programmes too…even the operating system itself. We have better security than the commercial alternatives and vastly lower costs. Interconnectivity in a free software environment is just as easy as in an Apple shop or a MS shop…sure the actual software is different but no more so than it is between MS and Apple.

    So, why the very limited mention of GNU/Linux and then your conclusion which excluded it entirely? Do you not feel that the free software fraternity has done a huge amount to inspire people? Oh. and don’t you realise how much of Google’s work is powered by free software and how much they give back to it?

    My main argument with your posting is its balance…I suspect that your exposure to GNU/Linux (and, probably, BSD) is limited and that you fall back to what you know…we all do…but it put your article out of shape with regard to Gnu/Linux at least

  4. Barry said on January 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I guess it depends on how and where the argument takes place.

    We share essentially the same perspective since I’ve been playing with PC’s and game systems since the PC AT and Atari 2600. I am always amazed when a reviewer or blogger makes a comment about a perceived lack in Linux or heaven’s help us Mac even though he/she may have been just as critical of MS.

    They are accused of being everything from sorely lacking in intelligence to being a MS shill and all things in between.

    You would think it is religion and not a choice of how you want to interact with all things technological. It will be fascinating so see the response.


    1. Ronny said on January 17, 2011 at 1:28 am

      Please refer to this quick manual for some apostrophe help:

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