Tuesday, April 20, 2010

iPad vs. Netbook

C|Net’s Dan Ackerman recently reviewed Apple’s new iPad, comparing it to any one of the plethora of Microsoft Windows–based netbooks out there. Of course, as happens with any Apple product, the responses are both polarized and numerous. Here’s my take on the subject:

Personally, I’d never buy a netbook. They’re too small, too slow, too—well, too just about everything I wouldn’t want in a computer. I just can’t see myself having any use for one.

IMHO, the problem with a netbook is that it tries to replace a laptop, while the beauty of the iPad is that it doesn’t. I think the funniest complaint I’ve heard is the one along the lines of “It’s just a big iPod touch.” Well, yes, that’s exactly what it is. That’s exactly what Apple was going for, and after playing with an iPad at my local Best Buy, I can say they achieved that intent quite effectively.

The reason some people are so excited about the iPad is because it meets a need they have. What is that need? It varies from person to person. Some are just Apple zealots; some just like to have the latest status symbol. But not every iPad customer falls into one of these categories. I have a client, for example, that has tremendous use for the iPad, one that will impact his bottom line significantly. For him and his business, it’s a good investment. For others, maybe not. So what? You can’t be everything to everybody. I don’t have an iPad for the same reason I don’t have a cell phone: I just don’t need it, so why should I waste my money on it? If the time comes that it meets a need for me, I’ll get one. Until and unless that happens, I won’t. Simple as that.

I guess what I’m getting at is that the iPad can either be a great product or a lousy one, depending on what you need. Since it really does meet some people’s needs, I can totally understand why those people would be excited by it. What I don’t get is why so many people whose needs it doesn’t meet are so bent out of shape. If I’m hungry for chicken, I’m not going to bash the guy at the next table for ordering spaghetti; I’ll just order my chicken and presumably enjoy my meal.

So what are your thoughts on the iPad vs. netbook controversy? Will you be getting one or the other? Both? Neither? Do tell!

The Gospel According to Jeffrey

Since most people aren’t following me over there, The Gospel according to Jeffrey has a new post. :-)

Friday, April 2, 2010

An Exercise in Irrelevance

A few years ago, Greenpeace blasted a bunch of computer companies for making their products out of non–environmentally-friendly materials—which, if you think about it, isn’t that surprising, neither on the part of the manufacturers nor on the part of Greenpeace. They each have a job to do and they’re doing it.

One of the many companies that Greenpeace blasted—and one that bore much of the brunt of their wrath, due to some of the specific components and chemicals used—was Apple. As a result, Apple made some major changes in the way they did things. Their computers are now much more environmentally friendly, including being made from (I believe) 100% recyclable materials. Whatever the case, Greenpeace was not only appeased, they began singing Apple’s praises for its willingness and ability to make such drastic changes so quickly. And that, we all thought, was that.

Enter the iPad.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, Apple will be releasing—tomorrow, in fact!—a brand new type of internet device called the iPad. It’s kind of like a cross between an iPhone and a computer, the latter comparison being primarily due to its higher-resolution, 9.7″ display. And thanks to this new product, Greenpeace is once again bashing Apple—only this time, with a twist.

Why, pray tell, are they bashing the iPad? Is it because it contains harmful materials and/or chemicals? Well, no, Apple’s now a green company—in fact, the most green computer manufacturer, according to Greenpeace’s own criteria. The reason that the iPad is being singled out as a danger to the environment is because it includes a web browser, which can, in turn, be used to access Facebook.


According to news site Electronista, “Greenpeace… calls out Facebook as a direct contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The social networking site opened its own data center in Prineville, Oregon, a location that allegedly relies on coal-based power from the utility company PacifiCorp.” As such, the popularity of the iPad (which has already received over 250,000 pre-orders and is consequently backordered into next month, despite nobody having actually seen the thing up close) leads Greenpeace to label it a “quintessential cloud computing device” that will increase “the IT industry’s appetite for energy.”


So in short: Greenpeace has told Apple that if they want to be an environmentally friendly company, they have to stop selling Internet devices because the Internet—especially Facebook—is bad.

If you’d like to learn more about Greenpeace and how you can save the environment, please check out their Internet site. Better yet, become a fan of their Facebook page, which oddly enough doesn’t mention the whole “coal-based” thing.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Three Hours in Somewhere Other Than Heaven

A couple of weeks ago, my beloved wife, Anna, went to the library and checked out a book called 90 Minutes in Heaven. The book is the semi-autobiography of a Baptist minister named Don Piper, who apparently presides over a congregation with 10,000 active members. Really.

So anyway, Rev. Piper had a amazing experience in 1989: he died. We’re not just talking he died on the operating table, or his heart stopped, or whatever. This guy was killed in a car wreck; he lay there dead, under a tarp, for 90 minutes; and an acquaintance, who didn’t even know who was under the tarp, was prompted to pray for his restoration to life. And it worked. Very cool stuff.

That’s the good part.

The second, and somewhat more striking aspect of the book, is what happened while Rev. Piper was dead: he claims he went to Heaven.

Now, never mind that God wasn’t there, Jesus wasn’t there, and the Holy Ghost wasn’t there. Never mind that there was a gigantic, pearlescent gate that neither he nor any of his friends and family could pass through, on the other side of which he knew there was someplace better than where he was. Never mind the fact that nobody goes to Heaven right when they die. Never mind that Rev. Piper’s every last detail sounds exactly like Hell, but he’s unfortunately too ignorant to have recognized it. (And no, that’s not me being mean; we’re all ignorant of a lot of things, and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on the subject. But I digress….)

So getting back to the point, let’s ignore all that for a moment. This amazing, supernal experience that has ostensibly helped so many people takes up a whopping eight—yes, eight—pages of a 200-plus–page book. Of the remaining 200 or so pages, about half deal with his fatal wreck—which is obviously important—and his recovery (which was also interesting; some really cool medical stuff in there), while the remaining half deals with how his experience affected him and others (which is, to be honest, not so interesting).

Let’s be succinct: this book is boring.

If you’re going to bother reading it at all, I’d highly recommend you bail out after the first eight or nine chapters, because after that you’re mostly just reading the same thing over and over again. In fact, my personal favorite example of this is chapter 14, where he spends a few pages talking about how his death and recovery affected his three children, then turns the time over to each of them to describe the exact same things he just talked about—often word for word!!!

The bottom line is that this book fails on two levels: first, it describes a “Heaven” that could be only described as such by someone that doesn’t plan to get to Heaven per se; and second, it spends about 100 pages telling stories that could easily have been summed up in ten. Having just discovered that there’s another, shorter version (at left; it’s about 80 pages shorter, which should be perfect!), I can only assume that that would be a much better use of one’s time.