Charles Petzold vs. IMac

If you’re a windows programmer then it’s likely you know who Charles Petzold and his many books on Windows programming. Charles writings are always technically concise and almost always devoid of commentary, which is why I was quite surprised to read his blog article on his experiences with Apple and in particular, the IMac. Here’s an excerpt:

On Apple’s home page, the most important information they deemed necessary to convey to me was that I needed QuickTime 7 to view even more of those insufferable TV ads where that smug goateed glazy-eyed dork tries to make closed architecture and a complete disregard for backward compatibility seem cool.

There are other notable passages with words like “dreadful” and “baffle”. Having read many of Petzold’s books I find this direct, blunt commentary a bit surprising. Turns out my hero Charles is also human.

On the subject of the IMac however, I’m in agreement with Petzold’s assessment. I’ve worked with Macs over the years and frankly, I don’t get their appeal. Perhaps I’m just too much of a geek or maybe I’ve drank too much of the Windows “Kool Aid” to ever go back, but I’m not impressed.

I remember a few years back consulting on a Web project and working with a graphics designer on the art work. She was very good and was squarely in the Apple camp when it came to computing. I remember one thirty minute session where she had to reboot her system 4 times. What was notable however was not the reboots, but her complete tolerance of the situation. She simply waited for machine to reboot and then continued on as if uninterrupted. I guess she liked the machine/environment so much that she could look past what I would consider a glaring fault.

That’s not to say Window’s users don’t do the same thing. I’ve on occasion entered into the Mac vs. Windows debate only to find my own views on the matter more opinionated than I might care to admit. Still, I’ve always been puzzled at the near Messianic devotion of Apple fans. I’m often left wondering if I’m not “getting it.”

And I have to agree with Charles, the TV ads really are insufferable.

The one application that really shines on the Mac is the Safari browser. It’s one (and only) Mac application that I’ve ever envied. Fast, slick and standards compliant. I would pay money for Windows port of Safari.

As for Charles, my hat is off to you. Your books have always been an inspiration.

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