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The Cult of Mac 374

Posted by timothy
from the distant-drumbeats dept.
cgjherr (Jack Herrington) writes "The Cult of Mac, a new book by Leander Kahney, is a love letter to the Macintosh community. The book seeks to simultaneously define and evangelize the Apple cultural phenomenon. With 25 million users (in the author's estimation) there is a lot of culture to go around. The tattoos. The modified machines. The pilgrimage to MacWorld. The sub-cult of iPod. It's all here." Read on for the rest of Herrington's review.
The Cult of Mac
author Leander Kahney
pages 268
publisher No Starch
rating Excellent
reviewer Jack Herrington
ISBN 1886411832
summary A love letter to the Mac community

The form and structure of the book is a cross between a Wired magazine (for which Kahney has long written on Apple) and a coffee table book. There are great pictures of people, machines and art to appeal to the eye. Some pages are all pictures, while others are primarily text -- most are a combination of the two. The layout is always attractive. If this were a book from Apple, the style would be cleaner and there would be less emphasis on the past; this book is from and for the fans, though, so the style is more edgy and chaotic.

The book is divided into five large sections. The first covers the Macintosh itself, its users, its evangelists, and a little of its history. Including, to my amusement, but not surprise, its connection with pot, which occupies three pages. Wozniak is covered lovingly, and Jobs is painted with the same awe, love and hate brush that the community uses. Leander even covers the TV and movie Macintosh spotting, where the good guys always use Macs and the bad guys always use PCs.

Section two takes us into the MacWorld phenomenon. The secrecy, the crazy crowds, the keynote -- the whole shebang. We also get a look into the Mac phenomenon in Japan.

The final three sections are the most interesting to the hardware lovers. Section four covers modifying the Macintosh, futuristic designs, and the variety of things that have been built from dead Macs. The fourth section is about collecting Macintoshes; there is an excellent image here of a reception desk built entirely of old Mac Classics. Some attention is also paid to the devotees of Apple tsotchkes -- the shirts, the pins, the shoes, and other logo-branded novelties.

The final section is all about what comes next. Here Leander covers the iPod and its subculture, as well as the ongoing cultural battle between Microsoft users and the Mac world. The author even goes so far as to associate the construction of the swivel head iMac to that of a newborn baby to justify our attachment to it. And that makes my Powerbook a what?

There is a lot of great material in this book just to flip through, or to sit down for an enjoyable read. For the technically minded, there is nothing here to help you write better code or get more out of the operating system. This is a book about a culture, its icons, its people, and its ideology.

I can't recommend this book for a PC person, Unless he's interested in learning about the phenomenon or becoming part of it, I doubt there is much he'd interesting in this book. A PC user uses his machine to perform a task and thinks little of the machine itself. A Mac, on the other hand, is a key component of an integrated lifestyle. If you don't live the lifestyle and you care to know more about it, then check out the book. Otherwise, you might as well skip it.

As a Mac enthusiast myself I really enjoy this book. I started programming on the Macintosh with the first 128K machine, took a hiatus on Windows for a couple of years, and switched back with OS X. I've been to a MacWorld and seen some of the phenomenon first-hand. But it's nice to see it catalogued here in such an attractive, nicely constructed, well-written book.

In the early days of Apple versus Microsoft we had a real culture war, command line versus GUI. Windows won. Which is bad because Mac is, IMHO, better. But the Windows victory does allow us in the Mac camp to revel in our own individuality. This book is a fun way for new and old Mac fans alike to share in the common insanity which is our somewhat unrealistic love for this computer and it's company.

I'm certainly glad this book came out before Christmas. Now I know what I am going to give a couple of my fellow Macaddicts.


Reviewer Jack Herrington authored Code Generation in Action, and edits the Code Generation Network. You can purchase The Cult of Mac from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, carefully read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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The Cult of Mac

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  • apple tattoos (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Coneasfast (690509) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:47PM (#10667284)
    ok, i've never heard of this, but the first google search came up with this page [theapplecollection.com]
  • Propoganda! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kazrath (822492)
    Mac's need to stick to serving burgers!!!! It's actually surprising what some of the technology Apple has been pushing out the door in the last few years. Apple seems to be more geared to specific aspects of computing and do it very well. I have a hard-core Linux co-worked who is seriously thinking of purchasing a MAC for a media PC. Either the marketing is getting better or the options are. Good job Apple.
    • Re:Propoganda! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:40PM (#10667817)
      I agree Mac is doing a good job these days. I was a die hard PC person for the past 20 years and I admit i hated Mac and it's entire user base, but I couldnt' explain why. Years later I just think I hated Mac/users because they were different and it didn't make sense.

      Now Apple embraces open standards such as Unix / BSD and throws their beautiful GUI on top of it. I personally enjoy using the Mac whereas when I used my PC I didn't enjoy it, I just used it. Plus after using PC's for so many years you come to release everything keeps repeating itself (better 3d cards, more RAM, faster CPU's, etc) however in the Mac world things do get quicker like PC's however they veer off into the 64-bit RISC world which most PC fans only dream of.

      You people can make fun of me, but it comes down to you get what you pay for. You spend $50 grand on a Porsche and you get high quality, and you don't have to question "do i like this". Same goes for PC's. People have their hobbies and like to invest in what they believe in. Nothing wrong with enjoying Macs for their raw performance, logical architecture, and open source standards.

      I dig Mac in a big way and anybody who disagrees, go and try using a Mac for a bit if you can. You will find you enjoy computing again.

  • Uhhh No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JavaLord (680960) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:50PM (#10667328) Journal
    A PC user uses his machine to perform a task and thinks little of the machine itself. A Mac, on the other hand, is a key component of an integrated lifestyle. If you don't live the lifestyle and you care to know more about it, then check out the book. Otherwise, you might as well skip it.

    Being someone who spends equal time all day on a PC and Mac (G4 and G5), I can tell you that a Mac in no way is a "key component of an integrated lifestyle". It's a computer that happens to run an alternate OS and have a good marketing department, which is nice if you don't like windows or you are a drone consumer who cares about what is 'cool'.
    • Re:Uhhh No (Score:5, Funny)

      by Kenja (541830) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:55PM (#10667381)
      I can tell you that a Mac in no way is a "key component of an integrated lifestyle". It's a computer that happens to run an alternate OS...

      Then you are not a Mac User, your just happen to use a Mac.

      • Re:Uhhh No (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        In Soviet Russia, the Macs use you.
      • Maybe (Score:3, Insightful)

        by abb3w (696381)
        Then you are not a Mac User, your just happen to use a Mac.

        I think the term you are looking for isn't "User" but rather Bigot [catb.org]. I use a Mac at work. I even like it. I even didn't mind adding Mac troubleshooting skills to my Windows and Linux skills-- it wasn't that different. I would even go so far as to say that I prefer doing 90% of my Real Work at a Mac. (Games are another story.) But I while I think the iPod is kinda cool, I'm not planning on replacing my Archos Jukebox 20 until it keels over dead...

        • which, incidentally, won't be due to the batteries.

          Incidentally, does anyone have hard information on how many batteries failed prematurely? I believe that site and the people that made it blew things way out of proportion. A battery can die "prematurely" (in 18 months) if say the iPod was used every day and charged every night, because that's about 500 charges. There are limits to LiOn chemistry, batteries can only be charged so much. At least there are first and third party battery replacement progr
      • What's the diff? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Rimbo (139781) <rimbosity.sbcglobal@net> on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:48PM (#10668440) Homepage Journal
        Then you are not a Mac User, your just happen to use a Mac.

        If a Mac user is not someone who uses a Mac, then what is one?

        I use an iBook for both my work stuff and my home stuff. I have an iPod. I got the free subscription to MacWorld. I have all of the accoutrements of the Mac User subculture.

        I got the iBook because it does what I need it to do. Because it runs on top of BSD and GNU, I can get it to do a lot of other things. I got it because it revolves around my life. My life does not revolve around it.

        In fact, it is that very thing that caused me to "switch." With my Windows box, I had to diligently upgrade it, monitor the many hardware components to make sure they were working together... I spent more time getting it to work than I spent working on it. My life revolved around the PC.

        I dedicate as little time as possible to maintaining my Mac, and the question in my mind is always: What have you done for me lately? The day it stops serving me, I will drop it. This is not a lifestyle choice. This is merely: Do what I need done efficiently, or I'll find something else that can.

        The Mac has been a better experience than the PC for me, but that has more to do with having the proper drivers and a pre-assembled machine than anything "Mac"-y about it. I might have had an equal experience buying an Inspiron or a Vaio if I used the OS as installed by the manufacturer.
    • Re:Uhhh No (Score:4, Funny)

      by gordgekko (574109) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:00PM (#10667989) Homepage
      People who fetishize an object need to develop outside interests. As in go outside and do something interesting...
    • Re:Uhhh No (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hackstraw (262471) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:10PM (#10668071)
      It's a computer that happens to run an alternate OS and have a good marketing department, which is nice if you don't like windows or you are a drone consumer who cares about what is 'cool'.

      Maybe I'm just in the minority of Mac users, but I don't consider OS X an "alternate" operating system. Alternate to what? Linux, Solaris, Windows, or FeeBSD, or insert OS here?

      I use a Mac because it is a great computer in terms of its hardware and software. Its not perfect, but there is no other computer that I could buy at any price that I would want on my lap right now. I'm a computer professional, and have spent years working with a number of operating systems and hardware platforms in development and administration, and its refreshing to have a personal machine "that just works" so I can do my work.

      I require an OS that has a nice windowing system and a functional command line interface. My Mac with OS X, in my opinion, is the only system that even comes close to my expectations. The screen is high quality. The keys are backlit. USB and Firewire peripherals work fine with it. Multiple displays work good. Safari is an excellent web browser, and with PithHelmet I don't see any web ads, no popups, or any of the stuff that was common years ago. The Terminal appication is the best of its kind that I have ever used. Expose is a very uniqe and useful feature. I can dump anything to a PDF file. I can use the same dotfiles from my cvs repository that I use on Linux and Solaris. I can take my laptop and easily drop it into my many environments in terms of networking and printers with no problem, and putting it into a new network is simple. Installing and uninstalling software is excellent either from the GUI or from the commandline via fink or even from source for many standard OSS packages. I still find new things that I like about my Mac. I rarely find things that I don't like, and I'm picky. I could go on, but its not some laundry list of features, its simply a pleasant computing experience. I could not imagine having to settle for anything less at this time. Maybe another vendor will surpass what Apple has achieved at this time, but right now, I simply believe that its the best thing that I have ever used in my lifetime, and from what I see its only going to get better.
    • Re:Uhhh No (Score:4, Funny)

      by psifishdot (699920) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:32PM (#10668292) Homepage
      A PC user uses his machine to perform a task and thinks little of the machine itself. A Mac, on the other hand, is a key component of an integrated lifestyle.

      I wish someone had told me this BEFORE i bought my iBook last week... If I had known that it would require a lifestyle change, I'd have gotten another thinkpad.

      Integrated Lifestyle=
      /
      | lifestyle dMac
      /
  • Excuse me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr.henry (618818) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:51PM (#10667335) Journal
    A PC user uses his machine to perform a task and thinks little of the machine itself.

    WTF? Certainly [thebestcasescenario.com] PC users [modthebox.com] don't [case-mod.com] care [twistedmods.com] about [hardforum.com] the machine [directron.com].

    Fucking Mac snobs.

    • Re:Excuse me? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WilliamGeorge (816305)
      I agree! I frikin BUILT my PC from SCRATCH!!!! Its much closer to a "baby" to me because of that than a MAC could ever be. And I am constantly adding to it, giving it better parts, tweaking it to run faster... in fact, thats the very thing that turns me off so much about MACs - the lack of being able to "build my own". /rant off

      • Re:Excuse me? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dreadfire (781564)
        Macs are hot. Hands down, they are designed for multimedia power and design. All of those cases you should didn't have the style of a mac. Macs are hot.
      • I swear, everyone here is retarded. Including you and me.
      • Re:Excuse me? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Moofie (22272)
        I've built my own PCs for ten years, and I've never found one that is as well designed as a stock Macintosh.

        There simply isn't a PC case that's as well-engineered and designed as the G5 case (Or the G4 case. Or the new iMac.) There doesn't exist a cooling system that's as well designed and elegant as the current Apple state-of-the-art. You can't find an operating system that works as well, as elegantly, as flexibly as Apple's.

        There are a lot of reasons not to own a Mac. Quality of the user experience
    • Re:Excuse me? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wandazulu (265281)
      I think a proper comparison would be a Porsche to a Ford. There are some beautiful [fordvehicles.com]Fords. There are Fords that are a work of art [autointell-news.com]. It's not denegrating to Ford, it's just that Porsche's have that certain look and appeal. It's not for everyone, but those who are "into" Porsche's are *really* into them. I think it's safe to say that with Porsche and Mac, there is very little middle ground. Sure, to some Porsche owners it's "just a car", but on the other hand, they still are concious of the fact that it's a Po
    • Re:Excuse me? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by misleb (129952) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:14PM (#10667566)
      That isn't the same thing. Also, those links are exceptions to the rule. Mac users, as a rule, really appreciate their machines in a way that most PC users just wouldn't understand. Macs are hightly integrated and are presented to the user as a whole package rather than having, for example, a Dell computer running Microsoft Windows XP.

      FWIW, I'm a PC (but not Windows) user, but my wife is a long time Mac user.

      -matthew
      • Macs are hightly integrated and are presented to the user as a whole package rather than having, for example, a Dell computer running Microsoft Windows XP.

        Funny, that's the exact same reason most people don't like Mac :)

        That, and the absurd pricing. *ducks*

        • Funny, that's the exact same reason most people don't like Mac

          Why would someone not want a highly integrated computing experience?

          -matthew

          • Re:Excuse me? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by NeoSkandranon (515696)
            Because if the group doing the integrating decides you dont need it, you dont get it.
            • Because if the group doing the integrating decides you dont need it, you dont get it.

              Unless the group doing the integrating decides, on a lark, to join [macworld.com], embrace [apple.com], and even contribute [linuxjournal.com] to the open standard/software movement. 'Cause then you might be able to still decide what you want [metadistribution.org] or need [sourceforge.net].

              But that couldn't possibly come from some over [linuxinsider.com] priced [no-ip.com], consumer-electronic excuse [macosxlabs.org] for a computer [weblogs.com], now could it? No way.

              Just keep doing yer thing, man... [homestarrunner.com]
    • Re:Excuse me? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015)
      I'd say those users think little of their PCs. They look more like riced computers than anything else. :)

      Before you flame, I'm not a Mac user or owner. But seriously, IMO, usually the thing that happens when people individualize their PC make it uglier or more contrived. Same goes for cars too, most of the time.
    • Re:Excuse me? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:51PM (#10667925) Homepage
      A PC user uses his machine to perform a task and thinks little of the machine itself.

      Yeah, sounds like BS to me, too. A lot of people on a lot of different platforms appreciate their machines for different reasons. Some people get their biggest kicks out of the latest and greatest, some from an old Amiga/NeXT/Commodore64. Some love a big honkin' box with all sorts of fans... they like to feel like their machine has enough power to get you from NY to LA in 3 hours, if you just put wings on it. Some dig those tiny little devices that can only be operated by Japanese midgets.

      Very few, however, have such a rediculous pseudo-religious attachment to their computers as Mac users. Except maybe Gentoo users.

      I happen to be both, but not because I can then "appreciate" and "think of" the machine. I like them specifically because, once set up properly, they both work reliably (for what I do) and don't require thought. When I go to check my e-mail, I don't have to worry about viruses. When I go to look at a web page, I don't have to think about spyware. The machines go about happily doing what they're supposed to do with little in the way of maintenance.

      What I like about MacOSX (over gentoo) is really only the ease with which I can get it to the point of "set up properly". (well, and I do like some eye-candy here and there. And photoshop/dreamweaver without jumping through hoops)

      So, not all people who use Macs are whacked out fanatics. Some of us enjoy thinking little of the machine itself. But saying Macintosh users are unique in their appreciation of their computers sounds about the same as if someone had claimed only Porche drivers like their cars, and everyone else just thinks of their cars as a means to get to and from work.

  • by Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:51PM (#10667336) Homepage
    It doesn't get much more main stream as far as Apple products go.
    • It doesn't get much more main stream as far as Apple products go.

      I'm not that sure. First, it's easy to use (at least once the songs are loaded; I do this service for my relatives) and a non-techie person can use one right away. I bought one for my father and another one for my significant other. Second, if one could say that the clubbing scene is a sort of main stream for urban young people, then the iPod has already won the battle - at least in London [pocket-lint.co.uk]. There are many interestung cultural phenomena rela
  • Newton (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elid (672471) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (dopi.ile)> on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:54PM (#10667364)
    Let's not forget the Apple Newton [wikipedia.org] fan club.
  • Reminds me of Saturn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zymurgy_cat (627260) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:55PM (#10667385) Homepage
    This reminds me of Saturn (at least when they first came on to the scene). Here was a company that did things differently, even in an off-beat way, and was rewarded with the type of customer loyalty that gives Harvard MBAs wet dreams.

    Such companies define the "niche" market that everyone seems to talk about these days. It's the narrow market that captures the imagination and excitement of its customers.

    Of course, one cannot manufacture this. I think its formation is a rare combination of vision, guts, luck, and a willingness to task risk. Unfortunately, the vast majority of companies today have none of this, valuing things like "vision statements" or "world class (insert skill)" over creativity and audacity.

    • Back when Saturns were new and Macs used OS 8 or 9, I noticed a big overlap between Mac owners and Saturn owners, and I thought they were both wierd :)

      Today I like Macs, I have never seen anything special about a Saturn.
  • by l4m3z0r (799504) <kevin@nOsPaM.uberstyle.net> on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:56PM (#10667392)
    The PC users that constantly come on here with dell quotes talking about how you can get a "Better" machine for cheaper should be forced to read this book. Maybe then they will understand that price is not the end all be all factor in why someone would want a Mac. I know that the culture is probably the number one reason I own a Mac. I pay the extra price because I am proud of this high quality product. Furthermore by paying "more" i find I'm supporting a company and a group of people that are doing an excellent job. Even at 1/2 the price I wouldn't feel the same way about buying a PC or MS software. I just don't feel like they earned my money but Apple on the otherhand has.

    This is where the culture comes in bringing in a sense of loyalty to the product you use. I don't feel like PC users have that same phenomenon and maybe if they understood it they wouldn't rant and piss and flame on here about price differences and single mouse buttons.

    • Some of us already have enough culture without needing the help of various electronic appliances.
    • by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:21PM (#10667631) Journal
      The PC users that constantly come on here with dell quotes talking about how you can get a "Better" machine for cheaper should be forced to read this book. Maybe then they will understand that price is not the end all be all factor in why someone would want a Mac. I know that the culture is probably the number one reason I own a Mac. I pay the extra price because I am proud of this high quality product.

      I am typing these very words on an iBook and actually price WAS an important factor when choosing a portable (somehow all x86 alternatives are either bigger and heavier or stripped down of some important functions like combo-drive... or pricey as hell). I am really happy with my machine but I don't think of it as of a "high quality product". It's just a notebook, dammit. Quoting the Russian astronaut from "Armageddon", "Russian computers, American computers, they are all made in Taiwan". The same relates to notebook computers - "Apple notebooks, Dell notebooks, they are all made by subcontractors in Taiwan". You don't get "higher quality product" when choosing Apple instead of Dell, they are both made by the same company (usually Quanta [quantatw.com]). My advice: be a member of Mac community. Be a member of Mac user group. Be a member of Mac developers society. But don't be a member of Mac culture, because it's nothing but marketing tool for a corporation like any other.
      • umm, they are made by the same subcontractors, but what Dell considers ok as far as QA, and what Apple considers OK as far as QA is what makes the difference is quality. not to mention the Engineering that went into the design of the system itself.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Maybe then they will understand that price is not the end all be all factor in why someone would want a Mac

      Offer me a loaded Mac G5 or a loaded PC desktop from Dell, Alienware or Falcon NW - I'll take the PC thanks. Because I can actually use it for high-end graphical apps, playing games - and have a chance in hell of being able to reuse some of the components in 5 years when the machine is nearing the end of it's useful life.

      I pay the extra price because I am proud of this high quality product.

      Absolu
    • That's what many of "we" do not understand about MacLoonies. Apple is, no matter how "cool," still just a coprorate entity that exists for profit. Like any good company they speak to their core and try to foster appeal to that core with each new product.

      I built my PC myself. While I don't have skill as a sculptor I still strive to make a unique machine that has as much power as I need while fashioning my desktop to meet my individual needs. I don't rely on a coporation to provide me this, I create it mys

    • I'm sure proud of the house I bought back in March. Sure, I could've gotten a better house for cheaper but it would've been in a worse neighborhood...

      But I'm not going to go to 'homebuyer conventions' and tattoo the builder's logo on my ass. :)

      Face it, there's a large vein of Mac pretentiousness regardless of the individual logic you used when making your purchase. I'm a programmer. I used to be a bench tech and a computer sales associate. I constantly get Mac weenies that know nothing beyond the iB
  • CULT-ture of Mac (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YetAnotherName (168064) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:00PM (#10667438) Homepage
    Sounds like a good read; I enjoy studying the social aspects of our industry.

    Having touched my first Unix system back when I was 9 years old (actually it was a Silent 700 terminal, built-in acoustic coupler modem, dialing into System III) I've been fanatical about the command-line, anc always views Macs as a curiousity more than anything else. Worthy of derision most of the time, and of a nod now and then.

    I then got stuck on the Windows platform for the longest period of time, and it was partially my own choice. I was doing Java development at the time, and the JVM from Sun was better than the early JVMs for Linux. That, and the fact that I kept getting more and more Micro$oft-based attachments that when edited with the early Star Office would be mangled beyond hope when I sent them back.

    One day last year my wife let me play with her PowerBook running OS X. It had a really nice JVM that ran Java apps with blazing speed. (Yes, "Java" and "blazing" in the same sentence!) It ran Micro$oft Office programs, and in most cases, with more reliability than their Windows counterparts. It was infinitely more usable than Windows' best user interfaces. And best of all, you could fire up a shell and run vi on your .bashrc file.

    I went head over heels.

    Now, I still have Linux systems (and even a FreeBSD system) in my server room, but my desktop and my laptop are all Mac OS X, and I've never needed to look back to Windows again. Am I a "fanboy"? Probably. (I even got an iPod.) But I'm a fanboy because of what's under the hood now, not because of the path Apple took to get here.
    • Silent 700 terminal, built-in acoustic coupler modem

      Odd name for it, then.
    • by crazyphilman (609923) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @02:21AM (#10670649) Journal
      I know what you mean.

      Up a couple of years ago, I didn't have much use for macs. I thought they were pretty machines, but they just didn't feel all that useful to me. Since '95, I've generally leant heavily towards Linux systems, built from parts. I bought a blueberry iBook as an experiment, but I didn't think it was suitable for my purposes. I ended up giving it to my parents, who never touched it. I ended up selling it on Ebay.

      But when they came out with OS/X, things changed. I got an iBook, and it was perfect for me. I really liked it. I ended up getting my folks an eMac, which solved their virus/trojan problem instantly. And, I found that just about anything I might want to do was there.

      OS/X was the turning point for the company, I think. Their older OSes were pretty limited, but this one is great, top notch. And, my iBook rules, I use it as my main computer at home. Nothing else is as smooth to use, as refined. I really dig it.

      But like you said, I like it because of what it is NOW. I didn't like their older stuff.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:01PM (#10667445)
    ...has been in my sig for months. It's not mine, but it's hysterical.

    As a mac user, btw, I'd like to say that there are so many stereotypes that are simply not true about many Mac users.

    • Not all of us are rabid evangelists(I grew out of that when I was 16)
    • Not all of us think a computer is some life-changing gee-golly piece of technology. It's my computer. I do stuff on it. That's it. Buying a mac doesn't change your life, or more accurately, it -shouldn't- change your life.
    • Not all of us think it's "Mac or nothing". I use the best tool for the job. My powerbook is my system; I serve stuff using Linux. I have a PC in the corner for games other than the really big stuff that gets ported to the Mac.
    • Not all of us think Steve's the greatest.

    I'm constantly amazed by how many stereotypes there are of Macintosh users, and it's actually quite offensive sometimes. "Oh, you're a MAC GUY, I see....our PCs aren't GOOD ENOUGH for you" is what invariably follows. Most of the time, I politely side-step platform-preference questions now, because of the assumptions and image people place on me when they learn I'm a mac user are just so goddamn tiresome.

    • by dswensen (252552) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:46PM (#10667880) Homepage
      A hearty amen to that. I work at an ISP where generally everyone uses Windows machines. I bought a Powerbook a while back (I use it as a writing tool), and after I brought it to work, I instantly became the "Mac guy."

      Not only was I expected to know everything about Macs going back to System 7.5 (I hate anything before OS X), but people would come up to me and make all sorts of political comments about how stupid Mac users were, how much Macs sucked, etc. as if they expected me to get offended and evangelistic about it.

      I even had a couple people say things like "Ugh, you're a Mac user? Don't let it touch me!" and "EWW!" and the like. Which just amazed me -- perfectly mature adults (for the most part) acting in this outlandish manner. I still own a Windows PC, and have plenty of experience in the platform, but suddenly ownership of a Mac makes me The Enemy.

      For all the reputation that Mac users have for being elitist and snobbish, I've seen way more snobbish, rude behavior from Windows people. Of course, what's funny, is they have an equal amount of hatred for "their" operating system. No Mac user I know talks about how much OS X sucks... yet, with Windows, it happens all the time. It makes me wonder if there's not more than a little defensiveness going on.

      My Powerbook does exactly what I want it to very well, and i find OS X a great computing environment to work in. I despise the politics that go with owning a machine, and like you, I just try to ignore it.
    • Define change (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) *
      Not all of us think a computer is some life-changing gee-golly piece of technology. It's my computer. I do stuff on it. That's it. Buying a mac doesn't change your life, or more accurately, it -shouldn't- change your life.

      What level of change though? Aren't computers supposed to be able to help you do things you couldn't otherwise - is that not a example of change?

      I'm pretty happy using a Mac desktop at home because I don't have to constantly clean the system or upgrade things all the time like I used t
    • I'm with ya... got 3 Linux servers in my office and my wife and I both use Macs as desktops now. We were both multi-year Linux desktop users (yeah, laugh it up, wife using Linux by choice, etc etc) but we both gave it up finally.

      I got a Blue and White G3 tower from Craigslist for $250 and spent another $200 or so jacking it up to run OSX.3 pretty well. Woo, that's expensive computing there!

      What I like to tell people though is that Apple is the BMW of computer equipment. Lots of people love BMW and swear

  • by Bill_Royle (639563) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:01PM (#10667449)
    I met Leander about a year ago down at TechTV for Mitnick's "back online" show and was impressed with how down-to-earth he was. While other media folks were working to impress each other with accomplishments, he did his job quietly and turned out a good article afterwards.

    While some people might see this as cheerleading for Apple, the same can be said for some Windows-favoring and Linux-favoring journalists. The difference I found with him was how *normal* he seemed, compared to other journalists that I have met.
  • It's OK if you have a deep personal relationship with your Macintosh....

    You PAID for it.
  • Apple is having a special get together in Jonestown, Guyana. They are even giving away Koolaid! Hope you can attend
  • by the_twisted_pair (741815) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:02PM (#10667465)
    X _ X
    \

    0F0064

  • by wankledot (712148) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:05PM (#10667485)
    I'm curious if there is a picture of my cube fishtank (http://home.comcast.net/~jleblanc77/cube/) in the book. The author and I exchanged some emails about it. Has anyone seen the book yet, and know if it's in there?
  • by Teese (89081) <beezel@NOSPAm.gmail.com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:07PM (#10667506)
    Says the reviewer:
    In the early days of Apple versus Microsoft we had a real culture war, command line versus GUI. Windows won.
    Actually, the Mac won. Its just that nobody used a mac, they just waited for another company to make a good enough implementation at an acceptable price before switching (notice I didn't say a cheap second-rate rip-off, I'm getting better! honestly!). Pretty much the entire industry uses the GUI way, not the command line way.

    (Arguments that its Xerox's GUI, some people use a command-line, There's a command-line in Mac OS X now aside.)


    • (Arguments that its Xerox's GUI, some people use a command-line, There's a command-line in Mac OS X now aside.)

      Don't cast them aside. They disprove your point. Apple != GUI. Keep in mind that in one variation or another X is as old as Apple, if you take it back to the MIT Athena origins.


      Pretty much the entire industry uses the GUI way, not the command line way.

      False. Virtually the entire *consumer market*? - yes. Virtually the entire *industry*? - no. "The industry" refers to software producer
  • by Dante Shamest (813622) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:07PM (#10667508)
    Compared to Grand High Emperor Linus and his Linux empire! He's aided by Arch Supreme Bishop Stallman and his army of F/OSS programmers!!
  • The cult of Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JonKatzIsAnIdiot (303978) <a4261_2000@@@yahoo...com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:08PM (#10667519)
    • Putting on a shirt and tie and carrying a briefcase won't make you smart
    • Wearing black leather and driving a Harley won't make you tough
    • Listening an indie band that no-one else has heard of doesn't make you an 'individual'
    • Swearing undying fealty to Apple ( or Sony or IBM ...) doesn't make you 'hip' or 'cool'.

    But these things will make you into a trend-humping fashion lemming.

    Apple's core product isn't computers or electronics. It's elitism.
    • Re:The cult of Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dswensen (252552) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:34PM (#10667768) Homepage
      I can't speak for anyone else, but I didn't buy a Powerbook to be cool. Believe me, using a Mac you have to develop a thick skin very quickly, as everyone who sees you using one will accuse you of being a crazy evangelist or snobby elitist. (Case in point.)

      I bought it because I like the way the OS works, and the software is perfect for what I want to use a computer for. And this is after 10+ years of using Windows PCs, not to mention giving Linux a try.

      The only trend-humping lemming behavior I ever see is from people who make knee-jerk assumptions that anyone who uses a Mac must be part of the Steve Jobs "cult."
      • Well Put (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *
        I can't speak for anyone else, but I didn't buy a Powerbook to be cool. Believe me, using a Mac you have to develop a thick skin very quickly, as everyone who sees you using one will accuse you of being a crazy evangelist or snobby elitist. (Case in point.)

        If mac users tend to congretate it's for the protection that a herd offers. There are two factors at work here. First is the need to enforce conformity that so many humans feel. The kids who beat the shit out of the kid with glasses because he has gl
    • So you are not a lemming for using windows and continuing to use IE despite the alternatives out there?

      Maybe some of use mac users happen to be former windows users who got tired of being a lemming and wanted to work with a "tool" that just works without all the hassle.

    • I personally think there is a far deeper cult around people who hate Apple, and hate Apple users. These are people that seem unable to acknowledge very real benefits from the Apple systems like ease of access, good ergonomic design, and thoughtful OS design.

      For many Apple users the computer is not aboult style, but about ability. Apple haters cannot see beyond this however, and have an overly simplified equation for life where functionality decreasing in direct proportion to looks. So which is more cult
      • I think you have hit the nail on the head on that one. I used to be part of the "cult of the mac" when I was a PC user trying desperately trying to mac my windows XP more mac-like.

        As a mac user now, I really have lost the fanboyish ferver I used to have when I saw a powerbook somewhere.

        Now that I have one, It's just a tool for me that I use for my creative pursuits and to communicate with others.

        The real mac cultists are the mac voyeurs who admire the mac from afar while staying on the PC.

  • poeple will talk about "The cult of the mac" vs "the drones of MS" vs "zealots of Linux".

    Sort of like Moonism vs Mormons vs Scientology.

    But steve got the best dibs on a prophet name and story..err "myth".

    Think about it, JOB.

    Founded the religion, got "crucified" by "betrayors"; only to later "resurrect" in the religion dying throes.And "protelyzing" it to new hights :)

    Oh yeah, BSD is heathen*run away*
    • But steve got the best dibs on a prophet name

      I dunno, the Gates of Heaven or Hell has a certain promise to it.

      Linus... well, there's a minor reference in the Second Letter to Timothy (4:21), but it's really unimpressive.

  • by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101&gmail,com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:27PM (#10667692) Homepage Journal

    Not to start a flamewar, but....

    In the early days of Apple versus Microsoft we had a real culture war, command line versus GUI. Windows won. Which is bad because Mac is, IMHO, better.

    The Mac may or may not be better; that's certaintly debatable. What's not debatable is that it's much, much, MUCH better that Microsoft won. If Apple had won, how long would we have been saddled with proprietary hardware with proprietary software? A LONG-ASS time, and Macs would have been far more expensive. The only reason that a Mac is "only" 50%-2x the price of a PC is because PCs are so cheap. Without PCs, we would be totally at Apple's mercy, and they don't exactly have a good track record of not gouging their customers.

    Microsoft may have its flaws, and they may charge too much for their software (although, I could argue that you get a lot of technology for a measly $129 retail), but at least they never tried to come out with a "Microsoft PC" with proprietary hardware.

    What's amazing is that Apple is still too stupid to realize that the money is in the software, not the hardware. It's really mindblowing when you think about it. If Apple had won, then they WOULD have been a petal-to-the-metal monopoly that would have had to be broken up.

    • An interesting hypothesis, though I think some of the points are a bit over-the-top. We have no way of knowing what kind of path Apple would have taken had they ended up on the top and stayed there. Business philosophies change to suit time and circumstances.

      If Apple had the market share that Microsoft does, I doubt their hardware would be as expensive.
    • I'm not quite sure I agree with your logic. Yes, Apple abuses and rips off its fan base (although they actually seem to like it). But I don't really think Apple could have ever gotten to the market saturation point Microsoft has reached, simply because Microsoft has been using unethical and anticompetitive business tactics from the start to eliminate their competition.

      I think that if Windows had not been able to acheive complete dominance, you might see Apple with 50% market share, MS with 30%, and the r
    • The Mac may or may not be better; that's certaintly debatable. What's not debatable is that it's much, much, MUCH better that Microsoft won. If Apple had won, how long would we have been saddled with proprietary hardware with proprietary software? A LONG-ASS time, and Macs would have been far more expensive.

      Or maybe -- and this seems far more likely -- we would have had a world of competing platforms (hardware, software, and assorted combinations thereof) some better, some worse, and none with Wintel Inc.
    • What you fail to acknowledge is Apple's lineage - the Apple I ushered in an era where you bought the box, and the box's operating system was unique to that brand of box.

      Whether in 1978-1982 you had an Apple, a TRS-80, a PET, a ZX80, a TI99, an Atari 800, or whatever, the platform was the box.

      The Mac continued to follow that model, as it was conceived during that era, and still follows that mentality even in this age of common commodity parts like hard disks, PCI cards and RAM.

      Few of those old machines ev
  • by sudog (101964) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:30PM (#10667729) Homepage
    However cult-ish you think Mac users are, or ever were, the Amiga users were zealots for their machines on a scale you probably will never truly comprehend unless you were there, a part of it.

    Oh sure, Mac users love their machines.

    Amiga users went beyond love. They worshipped their computers, fought for them, spent money they didn't have to keep the companies who sold Amigas and Amiga-related soft- and hardware in business. You wanna talk hardcore, you look at the former Amiga communities. THAT will forever define the meaning of the term hardcore for me, and nothing I've seen yet comes close.

    Even now, a decade after the platform basically folded up, there are large groups of people who want to revive the spirit of the Amiga.

    Mac users may think they're a cult, but they're just a pale shadow compared to Amiga users.

    Ha ha ha.. too funny.
  • These cult of Mac books - whether it be 'Insanely Great' or 'The Second Coming of Steve Jobs' or 'The Mac Bathroom Reader' etc - are now a dime a dozen.

    I'd like to see a book on the practise of MAC bashing. I see a lot more of that in the IT press than fan worship.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Mac users are a cult. I propose that they're actually more like sheep than Windows users. They're the stupid kids that get a peircing 'cause it's "Rebelious" only to eventually realize everyone's got a piercing. Idiots.

    My company distributes a product that is not compatible with Macs. Not our fault, we tried to work with Apple to get them to raise their standards in some specific areas, but they're not interested right now. No big deal. Since Mac users can't use our stuff, we don't want them hounding
    • by zpok (604055) on Saturday October 30, 2004 @02:53PM (#10673899) Homepage
      "My company distributes a product that is not compatible with Macs. Not our fault, we tried to work with Apple to get them to raise their standards in some specific areas, but they're not interested right now. No big deal. Since Mac users can't use our stuff, we don't want them hounding our sales people about it, so we don't let them on our website."

      This reminds me of the joke about the bad salesman who goes "For the last time, we don't have this in stock!" when the hundredth customer comes in to ask for the same thing.

      You go on feeling superior because Apple doesn't go down on all fours to fix your problem, that makes beautiful business sense. Given your attitude, I'm sure they're very motivated to do so.

      Afterthought: how do you treat Windows users who for some reason can't use your product? Like shit, or like customers?

      Really, your generalisations and "people skills" are just the thing that gives COMPUTER users a bad name (not that I care, I don't try to sell them things).
  • All this zealotism really doesn't help.

    I know it may be impossible to have a completely unbiased perspective on the subject.

    However I do find it a little difficult to make a descision when everyone is so dead certain their solution is the right one...
  • Ugh (Score:3, Informative)

    by DaveCBio (659840) on Friday October 29, 2004 @07:44PM (#10668844)
    Kahney is a religious zealot when it comes to the Mac. In fact when I wrote him once to ask him about an obvious bias in a Mac article he wrote for Wired he told me he likes posting stories with a twist that pisses off PC users even if the story doesn't need to.
  • by JeffTL (667728) on Friday October 29, 2004 @10:11PM (#10669538)
    Some of us just don't like Windows much -- though I personally use Mac and Windows both...as well as Linux, though due to reliability issues and the presence of a good version of Word I use the Mac for all my school stuff.

    Though I will confess that I do tell others to get a Mac -- though mainly when they complain about their Windows PCs. Then they'll shut up about Windows, I have enough trouble with Windows on my Windows boxes at home, but also have a geek reputation and therefore have to take up some of the aspects of the Rabid Mac Zealot (but not the tattoos!) in order to sort of get people not wanting me to fix their Windows machines. I'll still help them to the best of my ability, just mention the Mac while I do it -- and that position may change if and when Longhorn starts turning up, because I'm probably not going to be getting too familiar with it. Plus, I like my friends to not have as many computer problems -- the actual emotion at the heart of the much-touted "evangelism." Yeah, you heard it here; plain old altruism for your friends' nerves, spouses, and pocketbooks, of the sort that has existed since time immemorial, is the reason some people tell others to get a Macintosh.

    The actual Mac lifestyle, if there is one, is actually the lifestyle of there not being a Mac lifestyle, but rather just a state of not having to worry so much about whether the computer will work (unless it's particularly old, of course). As has been said in this thread, there's actually a bigger problem with the need for a Windows lifestyle...and has been recounted, the Windows zealots who will treat those who choose to use a Mac as pariah.

    There are those who go to conferences to see Steve Jobs and stuff, and if it were convenient for me to see Jobs I'd probably do it for much the same reason I'd go see Clinton -- an interesting speaker discoursing on an interesting topic, worth attending for the sheer oratorical value of it. Cicero and Clay are dead, someone's gotta fill their shoes.

    But you know, I think I've just wasted a lot of time yammering -- let me check MacRumors ;)

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