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Talkin' Smack: You So CrazyA response to your recent letters
It was an innocent enough opinion piece, one that I seem to have endorsed at the time, as evidenced by my initials on the galley proof. While I might not recall exactly which of my interns wrote that column or what, precisely, it was about, I do recall that it jibed in general with my world view and that it reflected what I might think about the topic, if I were the kind of person who had the time to think about things other than how to get a more natural-looking tan from a salon or how much Kalhua goes into the perfect White Russian.
As I sit here now reviewing that article, it seems to me that the main argument was that Apple shouldn't charge users $130 to upgrade from OS X 10.0 to 10.1. Simple. Consumer-friendly. Certainly nothing of a particularly inflammatory nature. And yet I received so much angry mail about that one little opinion that my publisher actually recalled me from my sabbatical in Mexico to address your concerns personally and to apologize for getting you so upset.
Well, I'm not going to do that. They don't pay my holding corporation a huge annual consulting fee just to say sorry for trying (in abstentia, granted) to advocate for the needs of my readers.
However, since I'm here and at least lucid enough to find my own keyboard and hammer out a few sentences, I might as well go ahead and answer some of the mail that I received.
Your letters varied widely in tone, clarity and use of profanity. But I think I can accurately classify your opinions into four major groupings.
- Dave, you rock. I got reamed on that upgrade, and I'm glad somebody as influential and handsome as you said something about it.
- Dave, you suck. I can't believe someone as influential and handsome as you has nothing better to do than whine about a measly $130.
- Apple rules. Microsoft drools. It's an honor to give Apple money. If you think otherwise, you must be a peecee user.
- I am being held against my will by the U.S. government as a political prisoner, and Blink 182 stole my music.
All right. Let's go ahead and take these in order.
To the first group, I say, "You're welcome." But you're in the minority, as the vast bulk of responses fell into one of the other three categories. Clearly you are the most intelligent and best looking of our readership. I like you, and I think you should come down and party with me in Mexico. Bring Kalhua.
As for the second group, I'm not sure what to say. You start writing a weekly column just about the Mac, and we'll see what you're whining about when you get to the 89th one. Or, better yet, start writing columns for me, and you won't have to worry about my whining anymore. Either way, mellow out a little bit, and then come meet me down in Mexico with some Kalhua.
Now this third group really troubles me. Somehow I become a peecee user everytime I write something even remotely disparaging about Apple. Look, I have eight Mac desktops, a PowerBook and a "Woz" edition Apple IIgs. I've been a Mac user since 1986, and I have never, ever supported, purchased, owned or even had in my possession a Windows machine. Some time ago I had to use one at work for about three weeks, and it made me feel dirty. That's the longest I've ever been on one of those filthy knockoffs, and I hope never to do it again. Look, just because I criticize Apple every now and again, it doesn't mean that I prefer Microsoft. It's a given that Apple and the Macintosh operating system are far superior to Microsoft and Windows. But there can always be improvement, and it's never all right to charge users for bug fixes. If you like to throw away money, why don't you spend it on a train ticket to Mexico and a bottle of Kalhua?
Finally, we come to the fourth group. I sympathize with you. The same thing happened to me a little while ago, or at least I think it did. Sometimes I get those sissy bands confused. Just hang tough. One day you'll get released, and the recording industry will have to recognize your greatness.
Now that all of that is settled, I'm going to hand things back over to my assistants and get back to my sabbatical. I will conclude by requesting that you refrain from these outbursts in the future. I don't like have to come up to the States like this to clean up these messes. It's a creepy time here, what with the security craze and the ban on smoking in bars. I mean, really, I can't smoke inside the bar, and I can't bring my cerveza outside the bar, so what's the point? There isn't one. So just mellow out and spare me the hassle. I am far too busy and important to deal with these petty issues. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to a little town outside Tepic where I hear they've perfected the White Russian, and I don't expect to be called back again until I've had a chance to find out for myself.
Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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