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Punchline of the Week
Q: What's the difference between a peecee user and a presidential candidate?

A: There's no difference, they both blame their computers for their problems.

—This week's best answer came from Jim Cotton. Visit Jim at http://www.jalama.com.

Next Week's Punchline of the Week

See your name in glowing, correct-gamma phosphor lights by sending in the best punchline to this question:

Q: Why did the peecee user cross the road?

Send punchlines to [email protected]. You just might see your answer here next week.


Talkin' Smack: Apple's Back End Stinks

Until the Apple Store fixes its customer service problems, we ought to take our business elsewhere

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

I'm tempted as the dickens to squander this week's column writing about the election. But I'm a Libertarian, and my candidate has already lost. Between the two who are still in the game, I just can't bring myself to care. So I thought this week I'd actually address something relevant to all of you in Readerland: the way Apple treats its customers.

Now, I'm a card-carrying Mac psychofanatic from way back. If the Mac were ever to go away, I'd probably wind up like those die-hard Amiga users who refuse to give up their platform, hoping beyond hope that some company with deep pockets will buy up the technology and bring it back to life. But it's a strange relationship we Mac loyalists have with Apple. On the one hand, the Mac is by far the best platform available for creative work. Nothing else comes close. On the other hand, Apple really is a rotten company, at least in terms of its relationship with us.

Over the years, Apple has pulled some pretty lame maneuvers. They've come out with some really bad hardware. They've flaked on support. They've failed to address the needs of some of their professional customers. And they've refused to make amends for their mistakes.

Some of these problems have been fixed of late. Most of their hardware is truly terrific, though their USB implementation still leaves much to be desired. And they've begun to address some professional users' needs with multiprocessing machines and the impending release of an OS that offers full multiprocessing support, as far as we know. But they're still painfully holding back on expansion options for audio and video pros. Especially amid this supposed desktop video revolution, this shortcoming remains quite conspicuous.

Still, I can deal with a few hardware problems. The Great Bejeezus Above knows I lived with the Mac keyboard and mouse for long enough. And there are always tweaks to make my USB devices run properly. But what still gets me is how Apple chooses to deal with us.

I hear over and over again how Apple screws over its users, pro and consumer alike. How do I hear it? You guys tell me. My e-mail box and our user forums are filled with your horror stories. "USB this, iMac that and Cube the other." I'm used to it. But I never cease to be shocked by your stories about Apple's customer service.

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