Saturday, 24 July 2010

The MacMan

Gary Barker is a regular columnist for The Age, writing his weekly Apple column on Thursday’s Live Wire section (only some of his paper columns make it to the website). As one can expect out of a columnist dedicated to Apple affairs, Barker is an all out Apple fanboy, in a way which emphasizes all the bad connotations that term was meant to imply. That is, if you’re after pro Apple propaganda, you can’t do worse than read Barker’s column.
Personally, I skim through the column regularly, because in between the pro Apple PR there is the occasional bit of useful information. For example, it was through Barker that I learned about useful and wonderful iPhone apps such as Pulse. Yet Barker seems to be outdoing himself lately, which is why I thought it worth pointing out the dangers on deluding oneself with Apple fandom and what that fandom can do to a previously well operating mind.

A few weeks ago, Barker’s column was discussing Apple’s control over the contents of its iTunes shop. Sadly I can't find an electronic version for this article, which concluded with a statement saying that we all need to have the contents we consume edited and that it’s good to have someone [like Apple] do so for us.
So, Mr Barker, Apple is some sort of an uber-human that is capable of knowing what is good and what is bad for us better than we do? Why is it, exactly, that adults can’t determine these things for themselves without Apple’s “help”?
Sorry, Barker, but you should go and read your Orwell before you continue writing stupid things on your column.

This week, on yesterday’s column, Barker told us of the wonders of the iPad again. His focus was on its portability and ability to replace a laptop while travelling for work: it can run limited MS-Office like applications, and you can even run your presentations using an iPad if you have Apple’s special VGA extension cord for the iPad.
Wow, Barker, you’re so brilliant! But have you heard of an invention that has been with us for three years now called the “netbook”? It can run the real office applications, it has a VGA output built in, it weighs as much as your iPad, and it has a proper keyboard. Oh, it also costs half as much as your iPad.
You have to be totally nuts to consider an iPad better than a netbook for general office uses like editing documents and managing spreadsheets. That is, you have to be an Apple fanboy.
Oh, and in case your trouble with netbooks is that they don’t run the Mac OS: neither does the iPad. Still, hardware wise, netbooks should be perfectly capable of running the full on Mac OS (albeit without the greatest performance ever) if Apple was to abandon its freak control policy and let netbooks do so. But Apple doesn’t.
Barker is so deluded as to ignore the whole netbook phenomenon for one simple reason: Apple doesn’t sell one.


Moshe Reuveni said...

Barker is still unstoppable:
This week he suggests people should consider upgrading their iPhone 3Gs to an iPhone 4 because 3Gs early adopters have just run out of their manufacturer's warranty.
Get it? Your gadgets need replacing not when they break or when they're out of date, but rather when their warranty expires.
Hey, don't hold me back, I need to buy myself a new car: the warranty on my "old" one just ran out.

Would you consider Barker a somewhat mentally challenged?

Anonymous said...

Tiresome and, for the Age, oddly and unacceptably devoted to one brand.

What disappoints me is that his column is alleged journalism but is nothing of the sort, it's advertisng puffery masquerading as thoughtful comment.

I can only assume the Age tolerates this nonsense because of the advertising Barker brings, but Charles Wright on the preceding page and his interesting comments are diminished considerably by having to share editorial space with Barker's garbage.

I own a 20" G4 iMac with a dead screen (which cost $4299), a worn out powerbook with a scambled video screen ($3699) , a dead iPod, an intel iMac with 8 vertical lines and a 20" intel Imac, so far working fine, which replaced a 20" G5 which went through 3 (yes three) motherboards. Disposable trash, the lot.

Moshe Reuveni said...

I agree with everything you said concerning journalism. In particular about Charles Wright: it is virtually because of him that I read The Age in the first place and buy it on Thursdays. He really helped me a lot during the years. Barker? His stuff is no better than Brand Power’s.
As for the hardware side, I cannot say I have much experience with Apples. They’ve always been too expensive for me to justify. I do have experience with their smaller players, an iPod Nano, iPod Touch and iPhone 3GS. I have to hand it to the latter two: they were really groundbreaking products at the time I bought them. I have to hand it to Apple, though, that with their firmware updates they managed to kill these two for me: iOS 4 killed the iPod Touch’s battery (and I’m talking about a device that is not even two years old today and was about a year old during the “upgrade”), while 4.3 did it to my 3GS.
I’ll put it this way: Apple will have to do something truly special to make me buy another product of theirs. Barker’s writing is not helping their cause either.