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PC Week - Are MacUsers raging Holy War?
If you define "Holy War" as a crusade for the truth, then maybe so.

By:David K. Every
©Copyright 1999


 

PC Week article (1/25/97) - by Rusty Westonmailto:dke@MacKiDo.com

The article discusses how poor writers are being bombarded with hate mail -- just because they are idiots that lie about the Mac and harm Mac developers, users, resellers with their misinformation. Trying to imply that the Mac users (some of the nicest and most helpful people I know) are mean and can't take a joke. Like when Barbara was "joking" and said that the Mac platform was "dead". Now I can take a joke like the next guy, but I didn't find that funny - nor was the tone of the article "humorous", it was a serious attack on fact and reason, and tried to harm the business where I make my career. I find that about as funny as a heart attack. In fact I find that there was probably more good spirited "humor" in the user that subscribed her to a sex-related news group -- probably thinking that since she liked screwing us, maybe she would enjoy reading about others getting the same treatment. (I don't subscribe to that action, nor condone it, but it is certainly more in the "joking" spirit than attacking someone's livelihood or "playfully" harming their industry).

There are 3 authors mentioned in specific -

  • James Coates
  • Cheryl Currid.
  • Barbara Kantrowitz

Each author has numerous Mac slams to their credits - and each of those articles were laden with myths and errors. I have other articles on this site for these authors and articles, and links to the originals - if you have any question I recommend you chase down the source and read my commentaries.

Rusty then discusses how Guy Kawasaki has a "campaign to spread the Macintosh gospel has amassed a flock of 37,000 E-mail subscribers", and goes on to say that guy uses this list as "a call to arms". Implying that Guy rallies a "flock" of followers to attack at will. Closer to the truth -- many users subscribe to a Guy's special-interest mailing list about what is going on in the Mac community, where Mac facts and articles are often pointed out -- the negative articles pointers usually include a plea "if you are going to respond, please keep it positive (and do not flame)".

Isn't spin amazing? It can convert drawing attention to an error, into cries for crucifixion. It also converts those who are begging for a little accuracy in the media, into a bunch of vicious zealots who attack poor innocent writers who were just doing their job (by misinforming the public and dodging their journalistic responsibilities). <sigh>

The article goes on with quotes like the following -

Bill Holtz, vice president of Northern Telecom's Global Enterprise Services, from his base in Philadelphia. "There was a lot of concern about the wisdom of the decision [to go from PC's to Macs]" Small wonder: Holtz is overseeing the three-year migration of 30,000 Macintoshes to Windows 95.

Isn't it ironic that a company that says they only have 5,000 Macs is migrating 30,000 Macintoshes to Win95?! It is these kind of inflated numbers and sensationalized stories (and negative ones) that get the Mac users ire. There are also plenty of company migrating to more Macs, but that doesn't make good press. So the story is spun to achieve the authors goals - that the Mac is dead, and Mac users are just a bunch of spiteful whiners by not caving into the fiction of Macs, and instead trying to stick up for the truths about them.

NASA's Johnson Space Center, CIO John Garman on getting rid of Macs - "We're projecting more than $60 million in savings over five years, more later, for converting to a single standard which is Windows 95 and Windows NT"

I find quotes like this exactly the point. There are many studies that prove that converting from Macs does not save money, and in fact costs money. (example - http://www2.apple.com/whymac/ggstudy/default.html) The article that fails to point out this truth and WHY the Mac users are up in arms is irresponsible -

NASA looked into Garmans behavior, and has found much to question and stated clearly in a letter that Garman had not done his homework. http://www.madmansdream.com/FairyTales/IGReport/IGReportTOC.html

Garman has been quoted in MS literature and propeganda because of his pro-MS bias. So it seems much of the reason for eliminating Macs was politics and personal power (fiefdoms), and not giving valid justifications.

It is not a single standard to support two different Operating Systems "Windows95 and WindowsNT", especially when there are many Applications and drivers that can not just jump back and forth.

So the point is that many writers (including Rusty in this article), are doing their jobs poorly. They are allow egregious errors and myths to riddle an opinion article sold as factual analysis. The negative and damaging spin harms Apple and Mac users, who then respond. Then the writers get offended when MacUsers, who are more informed than the writer, challenge these writers on their many mistakes. Instead of correcting the mistakes, the writers usually get bruised egos, and write follow-up pieces with more errors than the originals and blame the Mac users for being "hostile".



A letter I sent to Rusty Weston, that he did not respond to --

FROM: Me - dke@adnc.com
TO: Author of PC week article - rusty_weston@zd.com
RE: Mac users wage holy war (not a flame!)

I understand the point of your article... but I think its a little harsh in points. Mac users are tired of myths and lies in the press. I realize that it takes a lot of work to get a story correct - and that deadlines force a lack of verification - but some of the article border on the inept and and hate mongering.

I do *not* subscribe to Guy's EvangaList mail list... yet I do respond when I see errors in print. I consider it my little contribution to society and correcting errors. It is not done to punish bad writers (or lazy ones) but to correct them. I think if a writer gets 800 pieces of mail then there may be a reason -- and it seems pretty weak to imply that people are just sensitive to the truth. Many are more sensitive to errors and myths by those that are ignorant or making gross errors in the news about apple - especially when those myths are widely reported as facts. Also remember, Guy Kawasaki does not encourage hate mail - and points out the article and pleads for polite responses if you feel you must respond (I was a subscriber about a year ago for a couple months). I feel you should point that out. Reporting has often been used as a weapon, and it seems like it is used far more against apple and the Mac than BY apple.

James Coates is the perfect example of this. His article had many errors -- if you would like I can give you about 20 mistakes in his first article, and about 5 in his second whiny article. Maybe if he had done his job and been more accurate the responses would not have been as shrill or harsh. But the mistakes were his fault, and his faulty article got a lot of play, and did damage to me and my industry - and was wrong. IMHO he was an idiot for not doing his job, and for getting such an error ridden opinion piece reported as "news".

Kantrowitz also had many many errors. I am a software engineer by trade, I am intimately involved in this industry - she was way out of her league. She got some hostile mail for it. I am sorry if the mail was hate-filled, but again, if she had done her job, or known enough to leave it to those more qualified, then she wouldn't have gotten the response she did. (I do not think she is unqualified because she is not a man, I think she was unqualified based on her errors and lack of understanding about OS's, Computers, Software, Marketing, Business, etc.).

Currid's article was one of the worst. She got a bombardment of REAL facts -- instead of correcting any of her errors, she made a follow up article that was more error-ridden than the first. She was also shredded for her bias inside of her own publications. Her points were illogical and wrong - but at least hers were reported as opinion - Kantrowitz and James Coates were mistakenly reported as news.

Do we see a trend here? If reporters are going to write trash pieces about the Mac - then they had better have their facts straight. Whining about the response they get seems pretty immature. Sure some Mac-Fanatics would respond even if they had written well thought out and accurate articles -- but the numbers would have been much fewer and much less shrill. Instead they wrote bad articles, didn't check their facts, made many mistakes, and got a harsh response - so it seems to me they got what they deserved.

In no way do I want you to see this as a flame. But if people correct the errors of your article, then you should not get mad at them - but read what they are saying. Some will be idiots, but some may know a lot more than you do, or have counter points as valid as yours.

David K. Every


Created: 01/28/97
Updated: 11/09/02


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