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Prodigal Mac: If It Ain't X...

Microsoft To The Rescue? By Kevin Schmitt
Before I get into this week's topic, I want to give a quick shout out to all of you who graced my virtual inbox with letters of sympathy/support/commiseration after reading my previous column about my TiBook shopping experience. I apparently didn't just touch a nerve, it seems I grabbed the nerve, stretched it all the way across the room and let it snap back like so many rubber bands. I don't think I let anyone's message fall through the cracks unanswered, but please accept my apologies if that happened to you. And to all my new "friends," whom, judging from their creative use of profanity, I would venture to guess vehemently disagreed with my point of view, I'd like to extend a hearty round of thanks for engaging me in such witty repartee. However, I doubt those readers in question are likely to be with us this week, so let's just move on.

I'm not sure if the commercial that seems to constantly run through my head is shown in everybody's area, but it certainly gets my vote for one of the more annoying ads I've seen in quite a while. The commercial I'm thinking of is the one put out there by what I am assuming is an association of egg farmers, and it features the insipid little ditty which goes, "If it ain't eggs, it ain't breakfast. I love eggs." I seem to recall plenty of meals I've eaten which I thought could be classified as breakfast; however, since they didn't directly involve eggs (usually cereal or bagels), I guess I must have been mistaken. After all, if it ain't eggs, it ain't breakfast. Anyway, whatever agency is responsible for the ad is ultimately doing their job pretty well, since the song they've come up with is not only floating through my brain so much that a full frontal lobotomy would seem to be the only solution, but I'm also giving their client(s) some free publicity by talking about it here. In any event, I need to thank whoever wrote the "If it ain't eggs" song (who is probably also the guilty party in a another annoying egg campaign, "the incredible edible egg"), since the jingle was the inspiration for this week's column. I assure you, I'll eventually explain why, so just bear with me.

Now, as some of you already know, I just recently came back to the Mac platform after spending a few years over on the Dark Side. What drew me back wasn't Apple's sleek new approach to hardware, nor was it a nostalgic longing for the classic Mac OS. It wasn't even me being sick and tired of all the monopolistic doo-doo Microsoft tries to shove down the industry's collective throat. The reason I wanted to come back to the Mac was (and still is) OS X. At long last, my excuse to switch back: an updated Mac OS look and feel sitting on top of a Unix core that offered all the speed and stability Apple has been promising to deliver to us Macheads since the first George Bush was president.

Now that's for me!

Well, March 24th came and went, and I watched from afar as the early adopters ran out and got their spankin' new copies of OS X. I also watched from afar through the months that followed, as it became pretty clear that a majority of those same early adopters weren't getting a whole lot of work done in X. Judging from the number of complaints, it seems that stability and speed were two of the major culprits, as well as a dearth of big-time software apps. Don't get me wrong; OS X represents something of a software boon for Mac users and developers, as a ton of *nix apps suddenly began popping up for use by a whole new audience. However, the success or failure of an operating system can largely depend on how many of the major software players ultimately embrace it. Just look at Be, which now "Be" nothing more than a Palm afterthought, despite all the hype, promise and user and critical kudos. No major developers ever ported their software to Be, so buh-bye Be. As for the Mac, I wasn't even using OS X before the release of 10.1, and even I was frustrated at the non-announcements and general blase attitudes of the Adobes and Macromedias of the world. They were all over XP while it was still in pre-beta and known as Whistler, but all you could get was a definite maybe about OS X support.

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