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Opinions about the Computer Industry

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Opinions about the Computer Industry
Trends & Predictions | Opinions about the Computer "People with opinions just go around bothering each other." Siddhartha Gautama, aka "The Buddha"

The Buddha was very probably right, but there is no shortage of opinions here at the offices of Computer Buzz. We have an opinion about almost everything at one time or another during the course of a day, and we are not shy about wanting to share them with you. We ask only that you take our opinions for what they may (or may not) be worth. And we would like for you to share your opinions concerning the following topics with us, especially if you are in disagreement.

Our peers think us fools.
Our creditors think us thieves.
Our priests think us sinners.
Our employers think us slackers.
Our neighbors think us jerks.
Our bankers think us poor risks.
Our wives think us scrooges.
Our professors think us dunces.
And our dogs are quite certain that we are gods.

(Adjacent image is an actual photo of Gautama Buddha (c.563-c. 483 BC) philosopher, teacher, religious leader, and founder of Buddhism.)

Greatest Digital Innovator—Apple
For the past three decades, there has been more progress in the broad field of personal computers than in any other area of human technological endeavor. And in the opinion of Computer Buzz, no outfit has been at the forefront of the PC revolution longer or more often than Apple Computer (recently renamed Apple, Inc.).

Apple's list of hardware and software firsts and smash successes makes the rest of the computer industry look rather pale by comparison. We don't have time or space to list all of them, but we'll remind you of a few of Apple's home runs and innovations (some of which, admittedly, were achieved in conjunction with industry partners):

—Very first usable PC for the general public (Apple II)
—First comprehensible PC operating system (Apple DOS)
—The 5.25-inch floppy diskette/drive (in the Apple II)
—The 3.5-inch floppy diskette/drive (with Sony, for the Lisa)
—The world's first spreadsheet program and the first-ever “killer app” (VisiCalc by VisiCorp) was written to run exclusively on the Apple II.
—The first commercially viable GUI (graphical user interface, running on the Apple Lisa)
—MacWrite, the first WYSIWYG word processor (written in-house by Randy Wiggington)
—MacPaint, the first graphical paint program (written in-house by Bill Atkinson)
—The world's most popular spreadsheet, Excel, was developed by MS exclusively for the Macintosh and then later ported to Windows where it killed off the wildly popular Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet and drove Lotus out of business.
—The world's most popular word processor, Word, was developed by MS exclusively for the Mac and then later ported to Windows. It killed off the market-leading competitor WordPerfect as well as MS's own MS-DOS-based original Word application.
—The world's first laser printer with the Adobe PostScript interpreter, the Apple LaserWriter, was the catalyst for the desktop publishing (DTP) revolution.
—The world's first handwriting recognition device, the Newton PDA
—The world's first computer model (iMac) available in your choice of (13) colors (Blueberry, Strawberry, Grape, Lime, etc.)
—The iPod, a digital music player that now accounts for about three-quarters of all DMP sales on planet Earth
—iTunes, the digital music sales service to complement the iPod, now sells more than half of all music on planet Earth.
—The first Unix-based operating system designed for use with a mass-produced PC for the general public (Mac OS X)
—The iPhone, the biggest leap forward in cell phone technology since the first cell phones were introduced in 1987.
—The first eight-core mainstream computer for the masses (in 2007)

No other hardware or software company, extant or defunct, can touch Apple's record of computer innovation.

Official Website: Apple.com

(Adjacent image shows the 13 available colors of the original iMac G3.)
Greatest Digital Innovator—Apple | Opinions about the Computer Industry
Greatest Digital Innovator—Apple
Freeware
Surely, the three sweetest words in the entire English language must be, “Free—take one!” Here at Computer Buzz we like things that are free: free love, free beer, and—best of all—free software. “Freeware,” as it is called, has been around for a long time. In the beginning, it was closely related to the concept of shareware application programs, a good idea that never really took off. Freeware is what shareware used to become when the shareware users didn't bother to pay the shareware programmer for his efforts.

But there's a new kind of freeware out now, and it has nothing to do with shareware. It originated in the Linux and Unix communities, and in more recent years it's been spreading to Mac and Wintel users. Unlike the earlier freeware and shareware apps, the new freeware is really quality stuff that any computer owner would appreciate using on a daily basis. By and large, it compares favorably with analogous apps from software giants like Microsoft, and it usually contains fewer bugs and viruses.

We're thinking now about freeware programs like the Firefox browser, the Thunderbird email client, OpenOffice.org office suite, Abiword word processor, Gnumeric spreadsheet package, the Gimp image manipulator, Inkscape drawing program, and the list goes on and on. These are quality apps that are well maintained and updated fairly regularly.

But Computer Buzz is concerned about the long-term viability of freeware. Sooner or later, the freeware authors are going to have to pay their rent, and the price they're getting (i. e., zero) for their excellent software isn't going to cut it. The so-called “free market” isn't really free at all, and anyone who gives their goods and/or services away for free isn't going to remain in that market very long.

Computer Buzz loves the free software that is available these days, but we're pessimistic about its long-term future. Shareware has been around long enough for us to pronounce it to be a conceptual failure, and we're unable to see where freeware's salvation is coming from.

(Adjacent image illustrates OpenOffice.org, an office suite package that is one of Computer Buzz's all-time favorite freeware programs.)
Freeware | Opinions about the Computer Industry
Freeware
i'Ve hAd eNough!
Hey, is it just us, or is everybody in Western Civilization getting sick and tired of computer jerks taking obscene liberties with the chaste rules of spelling and punctuation? It's hard to say exactly when and where it started, but it got totally out of hand more than a decade ago, and some recent examples of what we're talking about include such wildly popular products as the iPod and iPhone. Shouldn't that be the “Ipod” and the “Iphone”? Where does Apple get off capitalizing the second letter of the names but not the first?

And then, of course, there's the “iMac” and the “eMac” as well. And Apple's software department is no better. They've come up with apps called: iPhoto, iWork, iLife, iDVD, iSync, iTunes, and more. But we don't mean to pick on “aPple” (or would it be, “iApple”?); almost everybody in the computer business is in on this thing. Purposely incorrect capitalization and punctuation and run-together words, often misspelled, has reached epidemic proportions in the computer subculture, and Computer Buzz is at a loss to figure out what the big attraction is.

One of our very favorite websites is DistroWatch. Why not “Distrowatch” or “Distro Watch”? And one of our favorite application packages is OpenOffice.org. What's with the capital “O” and the period in the middle of the name? Were all the good and rational application names already taken?

The list goes on and on; there's Photoshop, RealPlayer, TurboTax, SeaMonkey, FastTrack, NeoOffice, DrawWell, PhotoPrint, AppleWorks, QuickTime, KaleidaGraph, PostScript, ClarisInpact, AppleScript, iStock, RagTime, and far more than we have time or room to list.

Now we realize that there must be more important things to worry about, like world peace, finding a cure for cancer, and what Paris Hilton is going to wear to the party this weekend. But enough is enough. If this nonsense doesn't stop by the end of this month, Computer Buzz is going to jump on the band wagon and rename this web site “ComputerBuzz.”

(Adjacent image shows an ad for the iPod "nano," one of the worst scofflaws with respect to conventional spelling and capitalization.)
i'Ve hAd eNough! | Opinions about the Computer Industry
i'Ve hAd eNough!
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