It’s All In The Editing

While the new Microsoft ads make more sense than the Bill and Jerry” ads, in that they do appear to be advertising something other than confusion, I don’t see how they are supposed to be selling me on Vista. The campaign is a clear rebuttal to Apple’s “Macs are cool slackers and PC’s are John Hodgman” adverts, but they seem to be off target. Yes, most people in the world use PC hardware (technically so do I). There is no questions about that. After Service Pack 2 was released, most of those PC users were pretty content with Windows XP, and thus pretty content with their over all computing experience. “I’m a (proud) PC doesn’t even address the operating system, which I assume is Vista. I know they aren’t spending 300 million to convince me to stick with XP.

I understand that Microsoft are in “repare the brand” mode and I don’t fault them for that. Apple are certainly playing dirty, and have dealt a pretty significant blow to how the general public perceives PC’s. The thing I don’t understand about the concept of “I’m a PC” is that Microsoft doesn’t control the “PC experience.” They make an operating system and suite of software that runs on PC architecture, and they certainly popularized the format in the 80’s but they don’t have final control over how a user intereacts with their PC.

What I’m getting at is if you are comparing Microsoft to Apple you are comparing a software company with a lifestyle company. Apple makes the only Mac hardware, they make the OS, they license the peripherals and keep close tabs on the software developed for their platform. Microsoft could never hope to acquire that control over the end user experience. How many non-tech people do you know that think “my computer sucks” because their email is slow? Or maybe they think they need a new computer because it’s always crashing, when all they need is new RAM. I’ve seen dozens of acquaintances and family members throw out their old machines because they loaded it down with so much spyware that it became unusable. THIS is their user experience and MS really doesn’t have anything to do with any of that.

I’m not saying Microsoft aren’t as good as Apple. I’m saying they probably shouldn’t even be compared other than in the areas in which they directly compete (operating systems).

Regardless, does anyone find it strange that Cordelia Chase [apparantly it’s Eva Longoria] is in those Microsoft ads (or that they were made on a Mac)?

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  1. Molson pimp goblet haha. I am a PC person simply because I need compatibility, upgradeability, and freedom in my computer. That being said I wish my family used macs because they know dick about computers which makes me their weekly tech support bitch.

  2. I dont subscribe to the BS "war" between mac and PC…and I hate the fanboyish arguments of both sides. I use a PC desktop computer for everything I need to do at home/work. And if I had the money I would by an Apple laptop for everything would need to do on the move.

    I believe the ads are the 'seemingly unrelated' buildup for windows 7 (or whatever they're calling it, probably not going to be vista2 lol)

  3. I use a PC desktop for gaming and daily use and a macbook for school/work/laptopery. But I agree with the longer-than-usual schpiel by HE.

  4. Yes, Synchro, you are a PC. So is a Mac for that matter. Macs are now made on Intel and PC hardware. Apple is only producing an operating system which is based on Unix, so a Mac is just an unbelievably overpriced, incredibly locked-down, outrageously stupified PC. Linux is just as much "based" on Unix as Mac is. Instead of asking whether or not you're a PC, we should be asking what type of PC are we?

    /I'm a Linux PC. I don't get viruses or spyware. My OS and all my software are free. I'm not bound by restrictive license agreements. Linux – Without Walls.

  5. The only thing that I didn't care about the new ads is that they had Eva Longoria and Pharrell Williams from N.E.R.D. Let's be honest, they're both probably not using a PC.

  6. OSes are actually something I've put a lot of thought into. For instance, if tomorrow I won the lottery and never had to work again, one of the first things I'd work on would be to write the OS I've always wanted. The problem is really that no one has done it completely "right" yet, although different companies (and individuals) have gotten pieces correct over the years, none of them have been able to bring all the right pieces together. Apple for instance understands how to make things relatively intuitive and simple for the user. They do not understand how to make things powerful (or secure), and they're really more in the hardware business than they are software. Microsoft knows business. They know how to work the CEOs, and how to convince PHBs that they absolutely cannot afford to not throw piles of money at Microsoft. They've also managed to lock down game developers primarily because there's no real competition in that space. Microsoft absolutely does not understand security in even the most remote fashion, and they're UI is a middle ground approach, too complicated for a novice, and too simple for an advanced user. Linux (and its UNIX cousin) get power users, and has the best overall security of all (which is still a far cry from what it "should" be), but seriously suffers from lack of a unified vision, and a simple interface. Linux is powerful, and when you've massaged all the wrinkles out it's a glorious thing, but it requires attention and careful maintenance. It's a bit like an old muscle car, you can do amazing things with it, but it's not really the best solution for your soccer moms and anyone that really just wants things to work out of the box.

    All three major options have things that they do right, things the excel at, and some of those things are mutually exclusive (for instance you cannot have a single interface that pleases both novice users, and experienced users at the same time), but all of them fail overall at providing a good user experience. To a certain extent, until something better comes along we really just need to use whatever is most appropriate for us in whichever situation we find ourselves, although we shouldn't be complacent about the state of things.

    Eh… so, what's my point? Operating Systems suck, all of them, in their own unique ways, so just use whichever one works best for you, and anyone that says you're wrong for whatever choice you've made doesn't really understand that nature of the market.

    Oh, and the whole Apple vs. PC thing is a misnomer, it should be Apple Hardware and Software vs. Commodity Hardware and Windows, but that title is a bit long and pedantic to make a good ad campaign. As for the Vista ads… uh, y eah, wtf?

  7. I must be the only person who doesn't actually care if an ad sells me something. If it entertains me I watch it, if it's boring I don't. I let the company worry about whether it's accomplishing its goal of selling its product. I liked the Seinfeld spots because they were pointless and they surprised me. I don't watch the Apple ads anymore because they took an interesting theme and drove it unto the ground until it was devoid of any real originality.

    I feel like Microsoft is on the side of the road giving away free t-shirts and everyone's standing around and getting upset because they don't understand what Microsoft gains from giving away free t-shirts. Just take a shirt if you want one and move on.

  8. Interesting point. I think Apple needs to drop the current campaign too. Theyve made their point. "We are different that Windows for these reasons" but now its time to stand on their own merits.

  9. I think those commercials make PC users look kinda bitter. Like they are saying "How dare you imply that PC people are not as cool as Mac users! We are so cool! And to prove we are, we are going to show you celebrities no one cares about touting PCs and legitimizing our choice!" I could give a crap who uses what. I use a PC, but I love Macs for my graphics work. Can't we all just get along?

    Disclaimer-If Joss Whedon ever endorses either one, then I will start caring. Just so you know.

  10. You are illustrating the fact that the OS is eventually going to fade into the background or disappear completely. We'll all be on thin clients or dumb terminals while the computing is done either by a distributed server or a main home server.

  11. No, the OS provides too many functions and is too critical to the security of the computer to be completely marginalized. It's a common argument I hear that the OS won't matter and we'll all move to a thin client model, but that ignores the fact that even in a thin client system we need at least a minimal OS to authenticate the servers we connect to to provide our functionality. There's also the problem that unless we move to a system in which there's no external hardware (IE usb thumbdrives, cds, DVDs, iPods, etc.) then you still need an OS to provide the drivers and interface with that external hardware. The only way a truly dumb terminal can function is if it merely acts as a display and input device, ala keyboard and monitor, and it has to have a direct hardline connection to the underlying system. The minute you must perform any sort of unverifiable routing (IE the internet), or attach random hardware a thin client no longer works.

    This also is going backwards technologically in many regards, back to the old mainframe days. Part of the reason our computing power has exploded so drastically is the ability to distribute computing across a wide area. We may move into a co-op style system in which computing tasks are farmed out to various computers on the network, potentially transparently to the user (see the various @home projects), but I don't think we'll ever move to a truely dumb terminal system because even when the processing is distributed across a "cloud" of nodes, each of those nodes must in turn run some sort of OS.

  12. PC is a generic term for anything that isn't a mainframe system, and arguably anything not rack-mounted. Considering that almost all computers these days, barring legacy hardware and the few bits of custom systems used for very specialized industries, are constructed of the same basic hardware (I.E. 80×86 CPUs with matching motherboard, flavor of the month RAM, PATA/SATA/SCSI/SAS storage peripherals, and PCI/PCIx/PCIe expansion cards) other than the form factor of the enclosing case and the relative clock speeds/capacities of the components involved there's virtually no difference between any modern computers from a hardware standpoint.

    PC, being an acronym for Personal Computer, just about anything small enough to fit on a table counts as a PC. Of course, in modern usage PC is usually used to refer to IBM compatible PCs, but since IBM compatible just means it uses the 80×86 instruction set, and all consumer AMD and Intel chips use the 80×86 instruction set, it's really still the same thing. So, in short, as Joel said, nearly all computers today count as a PC, even under the slightly more restrictive usage of IBM compatible PC. Exceptions to this rule would be (arguably) the Itanium Intel processors, and the Sparc series of processors by Sun, although either one realisticly still qualifies under the older less restrictive definition of a PC.

  13. I'm a Pie Cutter!
    I'm a Poop Counter!
    I'm a Pretty Crow!
    I'm a Pill Cop!
    ok I'm done w/ that

  14. "a machine that has an operating system that is arguably bug-free (feel free to nitpick, but compare to Vista first)"
    Say what you will but I've been running Vista for about three months and it's been virtually completely bug free.

  15. If I say I want a PC, I get a computer with Windows on it. If I say I want a Mac, I get a computer with Mac OS on it. Walk into your local computer store and ask for a PC and see if he takes you to the Mac section, I'd be surprised if he does. That's the point of this ad. Apple encompasses Mac whereas PC applies to most everything else. If the AVERAGE consumer is out shopping for a computer, he/she typically has two options: a Mac or a PC. PC includes Dell, Gateway, Compaq, HP, etc. and Mac includes Apple. So… yes, in a sense you are technically correct in calling a Mac a PC, but in the consumer sense and market sense, they are two different products.

    "Overpriced?" In the sense that you get a virtually virus-free machine that outperforms a comparable PC with the same specs, a machine that is reliable without the need of any upgrades for years on end, software that is fully installed with no trials that require deinstallation, and a machine that has an operating system that is arguably bug-free (feel free to nitpick, but compare to Vista first). You pay for quality manufacturing in every aspect of consumer life. Cars, binoculars, TVs, cell phones, clocks, and so on. If you can't afford a Lexus, then that's a fact of life, not a reflection on the manufacturer.

    "Locked-down?" There are countless freeware and shareware apps all over the Internet for Macs with new user-generated content available everyday. So unless your definition of "locked-down" means that it's hard to infiltrate Apple, Inc. and burn down their building(s) then yes, I imagine they have pretty tight security there.

  16. I get the feeling you completely skipped over every other comment on this board and posted your la-la-land idea of what the differences between macs and windows machines are.

    "Real 'computer people'" have more than one machine. Many of them are for single or topical use. Many of them use multiple operating systems. If by "real 'computer people,'" you mean yourself who is probably someone who simply plays games on a custom-built or dell gaming computer, then you're wrong.

  17. He's either trolling, or ignorant, either way ignore him. If he wishes to learn something he can read the comments on here, there's not much else to be done.

    On a related note, does ID have a ignore capability or threshold? I know on some moderation systems if a comment gets modded low enough it becomes hidden, any such thing here?

  18. 'I’ve seen family members loaded with so much spyware that it became unusable and MS really doesn’t have anything to do with any of that' . Really, MS has nothing to do with OS vulnerabilities? I've now run an OSX box for a couple of years taking no special precautions and had no detectable malware problems, most PC users I know of have regular trouble despite being reasonably knowledgeable and taking precautions, I think I can tell what the difference iis and it isn't the hardware.

  19. Windows security does suck, but honestly the security on OS X, and even Linux isn't that much better. The main reason you don't see many viruses and worms targeted at OS X or LInux is simply a case of effort versus return on investment. Since windows is the dominant OS of your average clueless user, and there are plenty of windows systems around that are easily compromised it's simply not worth their effort to spend the time required to infect OS X. Interestingly enough, I've seen plenty of Linux systems cracked, although never in a way that wasn't blatantly obvious. In the case of Linux systems their interested in servers and rely on them not being carefully monitored as opposed to Windows in which they can more easily hide their activities. If the situation was reversed, and OS X had a 60% or better market penetration most viruses and worms would be written for OS X.

  20. How many non-tech people do you know that think “my computer sucks” because their email is slow? Or maybe they think they need a new computer because it’s always crashing, when all they need is new RAM. I’ve seen dozens of acquaintances and family members throw out their old machines because they loaded it down with so much spyware that it became unusable. THIS is their user experience and MS really doesn’t have anything to do with any of that.

    That's one of Vista's features, actually. They've got the protection that asks you for verification any time you do anything that could possibly mess something up. But MS can't win because because people who know what they're doing find it very annoying to have to do that all the time.

  21. At my last job i had to systematically disable all of Vistas security features one by one in order to access the network, print, etc. I also had to reinstall my printer driver every time I had to print something due to a know vista issue.

  22. Yes and no. Vista asks you to click ok anytime you do anything that might in any way potentially mess something up. It should be noted that there are a lot of things you do every single day that have the potential to possibly mess something up, as well as the fact that the popups don't actually ask you if you want to do whatever it was you just tried to do, at least not in a way your average user is able to understand. That was the biggest failing of the so called "security" in Vista, it doesn't provide enough feedback to the user about what exactly it is that they're saying "ok" to, which in many regards is worse than not even asking in the first place. The first time it happens, the user is rightfully worried and reads over the message carefully. Not being able to understand exactly what it's asking they say ok, and wait for something bad to happen, and when nothing does they assume everything is ok. Repeat 10 or 20 times over a period of a week or so of regular use, and the user quickly learns that anytime that particular popup comes up, just click yes. It defeats the entire purpose, and trains the user that warning popups aren't important. A warning that can't be understood by the user, is less useful than not having a warning at all.

    I've thought of ways of dealing with this problem, and could go on at length about it, but this really isn't the place for it, and I doubt Joel would care for me to fill up his comments thread with paragraph upon paragraph of OS design and security discussion (not that I haven't already made a start of it, sorry Joel).

  23. Depends a lot on what you do with it to how much you notice the warts (and how long you've been using it, they've fixed a lot of them, and I do mean a lot). Vista has almost reached the point of being about as stable as pre-SP1 XP, which is still a lot better than ME ever managed, but less than most other OSes.

    The whole thing is mostly moot anyway, as Vista was just a stop gap for MS to get something to market till they could roll out Windows 7. I've said it in the past, and I'll say it again now, Vista is the new Windows ME. ME was created as a temporary patch in between 98 and XP that was put together by stapling pieces of XP on to a 98 core, and it showed quite often when pieces fell off. Vista is the same thing, it's pieces of Windows 7 stapled onto a XP core and it to shows its rickety providence. Is Vista the most terrible OS ever created? Hardly, but XP SP2 is still better, and that's not the way to roll out a new product. When your previous version performs better than your new version, you're doing it wrong.

  24. i ran windows xp for 7 years and never had any real problems with virus's or malware. I ran ADG free antivirus and spyware scanner and didnt open attachments in spam or run any exe's that I didnt recognize. thats really all you have to do.

    I agree with Orclev that I dont get Virus's on OSX because no one writes viruses for OSX. That will change as they gain market share, Im sure.

    The only virus that ever destoyed a windows machine for me came with a keygen that I was running to pirate some app. It was my fault entirely.

  25. Excellent point! Macs are toys and cant do anything substantial (like make this comic, record our podcast, edit my videos, etc etc etc etc infinity). My mom uses a PC and let me tell you, SHE knows what she's doing.

  26. I enjoy the fact that nobody has even commented on the fact that Snowflake is probably the worst possible name for a pimp (Canadian or otherwise).

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