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scrottie (4167)

scrottie
  scott@slowass.net
http://slowass.net/

My email address is scott@slowass.net. Spam me harder! *moan*

Journal of scrottie (4167)

Tuesday November 11, 2008
06:33 PM

Arguigng 101, retake, and the truth about Macs

[ #37860 ]

If I say, "http://tinyurl.com/5ccpja Re: OSX subminis. Not Jobs blessed != not interesting."

(The link goes to an MSI Wind rebadged to look like some sort of official Mac, with OSX running on it.)

Then I've said some things and _not_ said other things.

Here are some things I've said:

Sometimes things made by people other than Jobs are interesting.

Here are some things I have _not_ said:

Things created by Jobs are bad.

That would be falling prey to the ``"A implies B" implies "B therefore A"'' fallacy. Because Mike makes something nice and gets praised doesn't mean that Jobs is suddenly less good. If your power goes out when the wind blows really hard and you come home and the power is out, that doesn't _necessarily_ mean that the wind was blowing hard. Maybe the power company is doing work. Maybe the main breaker blew. This is the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions. High wind is a sufficient condition to take the power out but it is not a necessary condition. Jobs designing something is sufficient condition for it to be good but is not a necessary condition. Other people can design good stuff too. Really, only idiot Apple fanboys could take offense at another computer besides an Apple being praised.

If I then later say, "Btw, MacBook Air is nice, but Panasonic Toughbook CF-T and W series have similar keyboard size, screen size, weight specs w/ 8 hr batt & DVD"

Then I'm saying some things and _not_ saying others. Here's something I'm _not_ saying:

That you should go ditch your MacBook Air and feel ashamed for having bought it.

Reading what I said that way would be falling into the "straw man argument" fallacy. You're looking for a hidden message in what I said and arguing with that rather than what I actually said. The problem with that is if you guess what I'm really thinking, you'll often be wrong and look like an idiot -- especially if you do this implicitly rather than explicitly. If you say, "Scott obviously thinks we should give up our MacBooks and trade them for Panasonics", two things happen: people have the chance to debate the obviousness of it, and you divorce the assumption from your logic. Your logic might still be sound but depend on this assumption which ca be evaluated on its own. This sounds moot, but in logic, premises vs arguments is an important distinction. It would be hard to continue the debate without the assumption being made explicit. By the way, have you stopped beating your wife yet?

Then let's say I later say, "Few yrs ago, Mac fanboys were trying to convince me I didn't want a 4 pnd laptop. Intel was evil. Win on Mac - never! Hypocrites, toadies".

Again, I'm saying some things and not saying others.

I'm not saying that the MacBook Air is bad.
Mac fanboys arguing against everything non-Mac often use an argument of the form "You don't really want X because it has Y and Z problems". Everything has problems. Nothing is optimal for all situations. This is the "false panacea" fallacy. Under this fallacy, something shouldn't be done, bought, invested in, or whatever, because you can imagine something that's better. We can all always imagine something that's better. Or, your own set of values and requirements will be silently discarded and replaced with alternate set.

Years ago, Mac heads worked hard to convince me to trade in my CF-R1 for a Mac -- back when the lightest Mac weighed something like seven pounds. The R1 weighs two. I get compliments on it all of the time. So, I'm supposed to ditch my two pound semi-rugged Magnesium chasis that's expandable, for something plastic, seven pounds, and nearly not expandable, that costs more, and comes with a proprietary operating system, when my primary requirement is an open operating system? Yeah, I'll get right on that.

This also falls prey to the "circular argument" fallacy. If Apple doesn't make it, you don't want it. While they didn't actually say that, that seems to be the argument driving their other arguments. I couldn't peg it as circular at the time, though it struck me as highly suspicious, but the fact that Apple now makes a sub four pound notebook and Apple users idolize them gives them away. How many Apple users are making the argument that it's dumb to want to a sub-four-pound notebook now? A few, I'm sure, a heck of a lot less. Circular arguments take the form of "You should believe in God because God will punish you if you don't". They exist entirely in isolation. This makes them meaningless. Anything can "proven" using a circular argument. Because anything can be proven with them, they're worthless. They should be garbage collected and thrown away like any other circular reference.

Like any other cult, the Cult of Mac abuses logic terribly in furthering their goals. They're trying to trick you. Worse, they're being stupid, but treating you like you're stupid. That's what this is about.

I'm not saying Macs suck. They have some nice machines, features, and a nice user experience, for most users. My beef is with the idiots who try so hard to toady for them that they refuse to carry on a logical conversation.

So, take this:

Macs cost slightly more for the specs, base models don't have PC card or PCi Express slots, and the quality is piss poor. You have to pay more for Apple Care or you're alone against what has to be the highest defect rate in the industry.

The MacBook Air is nice, but (again) Panasonic had long before it and still has a machine that's lighter, has the same size screen, has a better keyboard, and has a DVD-RW drive (tucked under the keyboard, incidentally). No, it isn't as thin, but the battery is a lot longer. And the battery lasts a lot longer and is easily replaceable. You should consider buying it instead, based on your own preferences, values, and needs.

People do enjoy small form factor machines. They can stick them in their pockets, or carry them more happily. The first time I saw a P1120, a woman walked up to me in a Starbucks, asked me if I could help her get her computer on the network, reached in her purse, and whipped the thing out, like schlong or something. I respect that Apple doesn't want to go after the sub-10-inch screen market, but that doesn't mean that people don't want OSX on the things. Some people do. I don't know if enough do to make it worth while to Apple or anyone else to market OSX on such a thing, but there is _some_ interest. Only an idiot would argue that there is no interest.

-scott

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