News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
cactus Mail Starting 7/17/97

From: trimble@blueskystudios.com (Chris Trimble);
Sent at 7/17/97; 8:33:51 PM;
Re:"Elevator jokes"

I think it was Peter Bogdanovich who told a story about what Alfred Hitchcock used to do in elevators. When the first person got on with them, Hitch would spontaneously act like they were continuing a conversation by saying something along the lines of, "..and it was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen!" As people got on at each floor, Hitch would raise the odds: "... and blood was spurting out of his mouth! Blood! Gushes of it!"

Finally, when they were nearing the bottom, Hitch would say "... and you know what he said to me? He raised his head up and his last dying words were..." *ding!* and everyone would have to get out of the elevator. Ha ha! Now that is a far worse elevator prank, if you ask me. This is, of course, the same man who said "Always make the audience suffer as much as possible".

From: hale@onr.com (Mason Hale);
Sent at 7/17/97; 6:10:12 PM;
It's about Fear

My perspective on this whole "Dave bashing Apple" controversy, is that it boils down to how people rationalize and express their fears.

The Sure Road to Bankruptcy surely struck a deep chord with many people, mostly Mac users. My perception is the thoughts expressed in that essay forced many Mac users to face suppressed fears of the Macintosh they love and depend on being removed from t heir lives. Some people expressed that fear with sadness, some with denial, some with anger. Unfortunately these powerful emotions seem to have been focused on the messenger, Dave, rather than the message itself.

The fact is many (most?) Mac users have harbored unspoken doubts about Apple for some time. It's just that most of us don't have the courage to stand up before a crowd of thousands as Dave does in DaveNet and share our doubts with the world.

I know I was thinking "game over" when Apple canceled Copland. But I didn't hear anyone else in the Mac world expressing that opinion. The Mac press was heralding the coming of the Next Big Thing, even though at the time it was thought to be the BeOS. So I was able to bury my doubts, rationalize my anxiety away as unfounded, and move on about my business. But deep down I've always had doubts. On another level I was ashamed to have doubts about Apple. It was as if I felt like a heretic, an infidel in the h oly war that was being waged in the hearts and minds of Mac users.

So when someone like Dave, who I respect very much, climbed up the high platform of DaveNet and shouted "Apple is Going to Die!" (one possible interpretation of the essay) - it caused all sorts of emotions to push forward, dislodging my doubts, my fears a nd my shame. From the reaction expressed the mail messages I've seen, I suspect my experience was similar to many other DaveNet readers.

I didn't pour my emotions into an email and send it off to Dave. I didn't have to. I have the comfort of now being familiar with "darkside" of Windows. I'm writing this now from a Dell laptop running NT workstation. It's really not that bad. Some things a re deeply missed. Some things were pleasant suprises. So my fear perhaps is not as great as someone who is staring into a great unknown world if they are forced to leave their beloved MacOS.

I at least have the assurance of knowing that no matter what happens to Apple, I'll be OK.

I really think that this is message Mac users want and need to hear. "Everything will be alright". Too many associate their well being too closely with Apple's. When you realize a world without Apple Computer can still be fulfilling and full of joy, then you can let go of the fear, and move on.

From: ccline@sbforums.com (Craig Cline);
Sent at 7/17/97; 3:53:08 PM;
Mars attacks! (BTW, this is a very funny film if you haven't seen it yet)

this line from don Lyke's email about says it all...

"If Apple ever has trouble making it as a corporation they can always go for non-profit status as a religion."

My daddy always told me not discuss politics and religion in polite company, because it brings out the savage in everyone.

From: ted.oliver@asu.edu (Ted Oliver);
Sent at 7/17/97; 2:47:23 PM;

There has been a lot of great mail posted today, and many excellent observations and points have been made. Like many others, I stop by scripting.com daily, and am always intrigued (sometimes agreeing, sometimes disagreeing) by your commentary. Here's a couple more:

1) Nobody should be subjected to flames for stating their opinions. But they are! It's the nature of the game; it may not be nice, but it's the way it is.

2) Excerpts from "The Sure Road . . ." were widely quoted in the media. If they contacted you before quoting, then you consciously changed the message by letting them use your words. Something said on Scripting.com is different than something shouted from a rooftop. Opinions when printed (er . . .published?) become more than mere opinions, or at least that is how people see them. They gain power, and power is dangerous. There is a risk to using power, to gaining stature : it is sticking your neck out and lots of folks are likely to take a swing. The cost of fame can be great; we live in a dangerous world. Lots of folks still care a lot about Apple, it is part of the religion metaphor people keep bringing up. And there is no shortage of negative coverage about Apple, much of it perhaps true, but there is still a strong negative bias in many stories. Puts a lot of folks in a tense, highly reactive, emotional state of mind.

3) IMHO, you have an irrational dislike of Steve Jobs and anything he's touched. Your opinion of Apple came across, not anti-Apple or hating Apple, but as one who has totally given up, game over. Rhapsody is their route, they've chosen, they are not going to go back (like someone else would buy NeXT back from them). So your criticism did not come across (to me) as constructive in any way, only destructive, pouring gas on the flames. If that's how you feel, fine, but it is ironic because your stature is based on your history with the Mac - you were quoted largely because you are an outspoken long-term Mac developer; if you had switched over to Windows by now (as you say you will) your opinion would not have been so widely cited.

4) Spamming =! Flaming. Spamming is unsolicited commercial email, flaming is what happened here.

I am sorry that you were flame-bombed, as I generally am when I read yet another "evangelista mailbombing" followup piece from journalists - I don't think they help much of anything. But it is a part of the game; in a perfect world it wouldn't be, but . . .in a perfect world lots of things would be different.

From: kcheung@cyberpalate.com (kcheung);
Sent at 7/17/97; 5:59:40 PM;
We are supporting you!

I believe the Internet is created to encourage freedom of speech, love, peace . . . all the good things. No legal enforcement, we regulate ourselves. Now I think I am wrong. I am also getting a few flamed emails simply because you posted my message on your site. I always thought that I am a fair person. I don't say, "Mac is good and Windows is bad." I express myself based on evidence, truth and facts. No one should argue the fact that the Macs don't perform as well as Windows machines in web-usage. It's slow, it's not stable, most softwares comes out on the PC first . . . these are facts, I didn't lie. Yet, I get email saying that his Netscape is running x times faster than his friend's PC. I don't know how he get that result, may be a PPC 604e 250Mhz with T1 vs a 386 with a 14.4 modem, but my experience told me that even a PPC 604e 120Mhz doesn't perform as well as a Pentium 120Mhz given that they are using the same connection speed. Am I wrong? Is stating facts wrong? I think what you have done in the past few articles is just pointing out some facts of Apple's current situation, and add your opinions. Everyone can express their opinions, so do you. Steve Job, being Apple's founder, being Apple's advisor, being an ex-Apple CEO, doesn't make him a good CEO. Capitalism brings us one bad thing. We look at someone by their social status, or how much money he/she has. That is not true, Forrest Gump told us that one doesn't have to be a smart person to be a rich person. It is, LUCK, which determine whether one could be rich or not. If being a CEO means that he/she will make smart decision, Apple would have been saved long times ago.

From: gkucharo@netpower.com (Greg Kucharo);
Sent at 7/17/97; 1:48:00 PM;

Personally, I have been flamed by people who read my mail posted on DaveNet. I really don't mind this, because frankly I don't know and will never know this person. Not really. I believe that e-mail exists in a weird area. In a sense it is quite personal in the way that talking one on one with another human is. In the same conversational way that a face to face discussion is, email also holds back just enough to protect yourself. You never really connect. The route of the conversation always skips around the line between aloofness and passionate embrace. It's interesting to note how fine that line is. Most of the time it is never crossed.

I felt bad that this person couldn't just challenge what I had to say. Instead it was a poorly worded and stupid reply. If they had simply said, "Hey I have a real problem with your opinion, here's why", that would have been great. I suppose it has to do with the psychology of someone backed into a tight spot with no room to get out. They tend to strike out at what is in their way. Or what they think is blocking them. I do not block the continued success of the Macintosh any more than the continued success of my own body.

Then again, it's just a computer. When you're really into computers though, that means a lot. What I would like now more than anything is letting a thousand OSes bloom. I love the Mac, but I also enjoy the BeOS a great deal. Why can't I write for both? Absolutely no reason. There is a definite trend toward determinism in software today. It seems that most people(who are not programmers) want only one system to win. Why? Users have a legitimate excuse to want to keep to one machine and one OS. It takes time to move. Time and energy. That is no reason to squash the life out of any other system to the deference of another. Some will still move to a new thing. We as programmers should give them that chance by developing for a many systems as possible. Each system has something new and different to exploit. I think now, even at the height of Windows dominance, we are moving toward an application centric world as opposed to an OS centric approach. I see many developers moving their applications to as many OSes as they can. This does not signal the death of one OS over another as many pundits have proclaimed. It signals the new power of the independent developers. What we need now is better tools for going cross-platform. Java is the best we have right now. C is still a very portable language. There will be more to come.

The company that best demonstrates an understanding of this new landscape is Be. Jean-Louis knows how to schmooze developers and he has given us a fantastic system to work with. He has made it easy for us to get on his OS while we continue to support others. Be does this by giving us a clean and concise API that is easy and quick to learn. In contrast, the other OSes swamp the developer with so much information that it takes months if not years to learn a decent amount. With BeOS, you can get going on a powerful program right away,( a few weeks or less).

Be also scores by not beating you over the head with the "our OS is the only one you will ever need" line. I think Be has all the good parts of everyone, i.e. Apple, Microsoft, Linux, Sun, SGI, etc. And best of all, it's fun.

From: telstar@wired.com (--Todd Lappin-->);
Sent at 7/17/97; 1:39:22 PM;

FWIW, Comrade Dave...

Carl is way off base, and so are the rest of the flamers.

Your insights have been dead-on, and if they choose to blame the messenger for delivering a message they don't like then...

...that only means you're doing your job well.

From: mac@wpi.com (Michael McCarthy);
Sent at 7/17/97; 11:56:35 AM;

Two brief (for a change!) comments:

--Carl's beef is that he believes the opinions you express and suggestions you offer are bad for the Apple community in the sense that if they were followed, the Macintosh product/community/whatever would go downhill and be destroyed. That's his opinion about your opinions; legitimate as far as that goes. Where he creates a problem (and I do this myself all the time) is the syllogism: That suggestion would hurt Apple; you made that suggestion; you must *want* to hurt Apple.

So instead of arguing the merits, you argue whose intentions are good or bad. Politicians and political factions do this all the time -- notice how well political debate progresses and leads to useful solutions.

It's human nature. So what. It's hurtful, and it doesn't move things forward to any useful goal. Except the possibility of discouraging the target of your attacks from speaking out any longer - which is not equivalent to moving the search for truth forward.

Like I say, I do it all the time. Shame on me.

--Rik Myslewski's beef is that a lot of pundits offering corporate management advice likely don't know what they're talking about. Interesting point, and worth discussing - I often think that myself. But Rik himself suffers from pundit's disease: He wraps his observations and suggestions in the most volatile language he can find. Makes him vivid and controversial. Too bad; people will defend the reps of their favorites, or attack the "chimpanzees," and the underlying issue gets brushed aside.

Of course, it's ridiculous to argue that pundits don't run billion-dollar companies and therefore can have nothing useful to suggest. That would limit comment to present and former big-time CEOs, which is silly. It's not so silly to take a look at how often pundit-commentators offer advice to the industry in tones of self-assurance they have no grounds to feel. Or offer advice that, with a little reflection, is obviously unrealistic.

But that would be a discussion. And we're not having a discussion, are we, Rik?

From: twlmb@italy-c.it.earthlink.net (Thomas W. Lamb);
Sent at 7/17/97; 12:28:52 PM;
Your last opinion on Apple

Phew, Why hasn't the Apple Board put you in the CEO seat?

Opinions are a dime a dozen. - even a chimpanzee has 'em.

Opinions do not necessarily correlate to knowledge or expertise.

Too bad most readers don't know that

From: wesley@binarycompass.com (Wesley Felter);
Sent at 7/17/97; 12:02:37 PM;

It's too bad people feel the need to attack you. Maybe they missed that part about DaveNet being your (sometimes humble, sometimes not-so) opinion. This reminds me of the CDA all over again; if you see something you don't like, just have it banned. Attack it. To me, that isn't right. Sometimes I disagree with what you say, but I don't feel the need to blame all of the Mac's problems on you.

This reminds me of a bigger problem in the Mac community that I call "raving EvangeList syndrome." Guy Kawasaki's EvangeList was a good idea IMO, but it quickly got out of control. Before I unsubscribed, I remember seeing messages with a tone of "my company has a few DOS computers that do everything they need; how do I convince them to rush out and buy 10 new 9500s?" A rational person would be shocked. But loyalty to the Mac (even false loyalty) has become more important for some people than rationality. They want the old Apple and won't settle for anything else, not stopping to realize that the old Apple is gone and it can't come back. Apple is not above reproach, and if someone thinks so, they're delusional.

MacInTouch is also under attack. It worried me yesterday when I found out. What has Ric Ford done to anyone? His site is one of those resources that make the Internet what it is (or was): a place of sharing. The Hack-a-Mac challenge, which only attempts to find the truth about the security of Mac OS, is also under attack. These are strange times when the users of the Internet revolt against those who have cared for them for so long. It reminds me of your writings about Ayn Rand. The Internet is run by many volunteers who do things just because they want to. If the users of the Internet don't appreciate this effort, will people still provide it? If providing a free public resource only opens you to hate, why do it? That's not a scenario I like to think about.

From: matthewk@seeme.lochrie.com (Matt Koster);
Sent at 7/17/97; 1:08:06 PM;
Insults and stuff

I'm just a regular programmer that came upon Frontier one day and fell in love with it. I have no loyalty to the Mac, Windows, or UNIX. I just program and I love it.

It seems that some people have questioned your loyalty to the Mac, and while their facts and motives are sometimes questionable, one undeniable fact remains: You and your success is ( as it is now ) tied to the Mac. The Windows mentality does not accept products as great as yours, or let alone products that are free. They want products that require training, support, and frustrations. That makes money!

From: jackbell@ricochet.net (Jack Bell);
Sent at 7/17/97; 11:04:53 AM;
A note of support...

Since you seem to be a victim of an organized flame campaign, I thought I would send you a note of support. Perhaps it doesn't stand for much by itself, but at least it represents a bit of leavening in the mass of hate. www.scripting.com is one of my da ily stops on the Internet and although I don't always agree with the contents I do find them thought provoking and (I think) honest.

I do not believe you are on a personal vendetta against Apple. It seems more that you would like to save it as a platform when perhaps you should have given up on both the platform and the company long ago. So, when you castigate Apple's management you do not seem (to me) to be attacking a hated enemy so much as tilting at an old and decrepit windmill. Foolish perhaps, fruitless almost certainly. But to call you an Apple hater is stupidity. From the Davenet's I have read over the past year I would sa y the opposite is true in every way.

Please note that I am a programmer who has worked on both Macs and Win boxes. My first (paid) programming job was on Macs (back when SE's were new and cool). Also note that I was an ardent believer in the "Microsoft is evil' theory for many years. I ha ve since changed my mind (or at least softened my position) and have even worked at MS as a contractor in recent years. Why is this?

First off, ardent Mac users seem to have some kind of religious feeling for their platform. They will shout from the rooftops about how much better the Mac is, but never engage in honest and reasoned debate. Personally I am agnostic. One should use the best tool for the job, not try to remove screws with a hammer. Extreme positions tend to alienate me.

Secondly I realized, back when Win 3.1 came out, that MS would win in the long run and changed my plans appropriately. It was a hard thing for me to do at the time, but whether this success was do to intrinsic 'evil' or just hard work and good planning m ade no difference. As a programmer I must go where the users are. I am not wealthy enough to ant than fighting over which tool to use. And I think you agree. I think that, although you prefer that one old chisel or like the way that familiar screwdriv er fits in your hand, when the chisel is chipped and the screwdriver doesn't fit you also pick up different tools and are glad of them. After all, it is the end-product that is important.

So tell them to take a flying leap Dave. They can argue the earth is flat all they like and welcome to it. The rest of us will run up our sails and go a-voyaging anyway.

From: howardc@MICROSOFT.com (Howard Campbell);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:38:45 AM;

I think it was Virginia Satir who said it first, and I know Jerry Weinberg has said: feedback is always about the person giving the feedback, not the intended recipient of the feedback. Your column is a good, honest, and brave piece of writing. Thanks.

From: hankp@proaxis.com (Hank Prohm);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:32:49 AM;

Somebody needs to try to counter-balance the spammers:

I say: keep up the good work; tell it like you see it and don't be afraid to be critical of Apple.

I am a store ownere in beautiful downtown Lebanon, Oregon who sells IBM clones exclusively.....but I got my start many years ago (1980) with an Apple II.

The IBM computer design is nothing more or less than the Apple II updated and moved from Motorola to Intel. It would have died on the vine if Apple who OWNED the PC market when the IBM was introduced, had had sense enough to develop a 16 bit, backwards compatable computer.

Unfortunately for all of us, Steve Jobs ego was in charge of Apple at that time and he was trying to prove he was as good or better than Wozniak when it came to designing computers. His ideas: do everything Woz did in reverse: no slots, no expandability, no color, no easy access to users and third party developers. Thus, we got the Lisa and the original Mac. Pl;us, Apple told its (4?) million Apple II owners: If you want to stay cool, current and up to date, you have to jettison all of the hardware, software and KNOWLEDGE that you've accumulated on the 6502 and buy all new hardware and software on the wonderful Macintosh.

Faced with a platform change, SUPRISE, SUPRISE! Most Apple II users became IBM owners.

I am grateful to Apple: my younger son (a Mac fan) graduated with a degree in computer science in May and much of his interest in computers is due to exposure to Apples (he can do IBM but hates it).

Anybody who can real test results knows that today's Mac is superior to IBM in hardware and operating system. Anybody who has been around knows that Apple, given two choices, one good and one bad, has a consistant history of always finding a third, worse choice to make.

As for my thoughts on what Apple should do? I think they ought to put Wozniak in charge and let him turn it back into the user oriented, gee whiz type of company it was in the Apple II days. For my part, I'd also like to see them put out hardware that would happily run ANY operating system. Buy a box with an Apple logo and run Mac OS, Next, W95 and NT without concern.

Anyhow, keep up the good fight!

From: danlyke@chattanooga.net (Dan Lyke);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:30:42 AM;

I'm a relatively recent subscriber, amazed and grateful at the time and energy you put into this endeavor. A couple of things have been gnawing at me, so pardon me for tossing some catharsis on you.

Back around the time of the US Rock festival in the early '80s a writer in Byte magazine said "If Apple ever has trouble making it as a corporation they can always go for non-profit status as a religion."

What we're seeing is the last throes of that religion.

This has been a long time coming. I abandoned Apple back in the days of the IIgs when it became apparent that they were hobbling that computer to promote sales of the Mac. To me the Mac was a business machine, I couldn't see home users not wanting cheap color and direct video memory access for fast games.

At the time I was just out of high school, involved in a computer store, and when we talked to Apple about becoming a dealer it also became apparent that they were more interested in selling through guys with suits than through people who knew and understood their product. I could make more money with less capital investment and deal with hardware people who cared that I knew their product on the MS-DOS platform. so I did.

When Steve Jobs (full disclosure: I now work for Pixar) asked John Sculley "do you want to change the world, or do you want to sell sugar water?", what Steve missed was that marketing folk don't change their stripes. Rather than producing products with vision, Sculley thought that the same thing sold with different marketing would survive. What the Mac folk with their "Win95=Mac87" bumper stickers don't say is that "Win95=Mac95" is also true.

Anyway, I still had a soft spot in my heart for the compnay that produced my old ][+. So about 4 years ago my girlfriend decided she needed to buy a computer I suggested she go Macintosh. She was working in a school system which used Macintoshes, so she bought a teacher package, something like $2300 for a Performa 550, printer, modem, and a software bundle. Perhaps a couple of hundred more than I could have set her up with a '486 and Windows, but I thought I'd spend less time supporting it.

Boy was I wrong.

The modem was 2400 baud. Kind of ridiculous for late 1993, I'd far rather they'd tacked the $10 on to the selling price and given her a 14.4 (I don't think I could have bought a 2400 baud modem anywhere other than an Apple dealer). But the Internet provider I was starting was going 28.8, so I grabbed one of the 14.4s we were throwing away and went in search of a modem cable, a simple mini-DIN to 25 pin male connector. Let's just say that Apple Certified Retailers should be neither.

The printer died after 2 years, it never fed paper well and leaked ink, when it came time to get a replacement the Apples were priced way too high, so I bought a dual interface Epson, which works okay but has lousy Mac drivers.

None of this would have been a problem if I hadn't felt like she (and because I had to support it, I) was paying a premium for things to work. Yeah, cheap Wintel stuff wears out, but it's cheap enough that you just replace it. And now I'm looking at putting her machine on my in-house network, trying to figure out just which network card (if any) will work in her machine, and looking at paying $150 when on a Wintel box I'd pay $40 and know it'd work.

The difference between the low end Lexus and the high end Toyota isn't just the name tag, there's also a whole lot of hand-holding and feel-good vibes. Apple no longer has that.

Anyway, my girlfriend's next machine is going to be a Linux machine, and the hardware will not come from Apple. Easier for me to support, better networking, about the same amount of commercial software, known upgrade path. When she calls me at work and says "It doesn't do what I want", I'll be able to telnet in and figure out why. And it'll run Mac software just in case there's anything she wants to still use.

So yes, you're going to get attacked: These are the last of the believers, bitter because their faith has been misplaced, still wanting to believe in that vision of "1984 won't be like 1984", or the Apple ][ as a computer for everybody, and they're going to hate people who point out that their devotion has been abused.

From: msimmons@macaddict.com (Mark Simmons);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:54:42 AM;

How ironic to hear that you're being thus targeted - I'd just penned a response to a press inquiry in which I cited you as an example of someone who doesn't get blitzed by Mac loyalists, because (unlike some high-profile critics) you know what you're talking about. But I guess that's not necessarily a viable defense after all.

Just to tip the balance a little further in the favor of friendly feedback: This Mac loyalist appreciates your writing, respects your opinions as valid and well-informed even when they differ from mine, and particularly appreciates your willingness to change your mind and revise your opinions. On everything from AppleScript and Rhapsody to Java and push media, you've shown that you're open to constructive feedback and don't balk at reconsidering your original opinion. It's a good quality in a pundit, and a person.

From: msimmons@macaddict.com (Mark Simmons);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:54:42 AM;

How ironic to hear that you're being thus targeted - I'd just penned a response to a press inquiry in which I cited you as an example of someone who doesn't get blitzed by Mac loyalists, because (unlike some high-profile critics) you know what you're talking about. But I guess that's not necessarily a viable defense after all.

Just to tip the balance a little further in the favor of friendly feedback: This Mac loyalist appreciates your writing, respects your opinions as valid and well-informed even when they differ from mine, and particularly appreciates your willingness to change your mind and revise your opinions. On everything from AppleScript and Rhapsody to Java and push media, you've shown that you're open to constructive feedback and don't balk at reconsidering your original opinion. It's a good quality in a pundit, and a person.

As for the micro-controversy surrounding the Sure Road to Bankruptcy piece - no quibble here about your not blowing the whistle on Amelio's resignation. The only thing that one might take issue with, it seems to me, is the timing; by releasing it a few hours before the announcement, you came off looking abnormally prescient (and provided a perfect source for media quotes). I know the piece was in the works anyway, and you would have had to go out of your way in order to hold it until the announcement, but there's my two cents. I wonder what the principles of journalism would dictate in such a case? Beats me - I never had any training in that area either. :-)

From: dbruns@kazanpub.com (David Bruns);
Sent at 7/17/97; 11:41:10 AM;

In The Sure Road to Bankruptcy, you characterized Amelio like this:

> Amelio is confused, out of breath, over his head, gears stripped, > without grounding. He has no power within Apple.

This may not be name calling, but I personally think its a pretty damning statement to make about someone. And (coincidentally?) a perfect sound bite. Just the sort of thing the media wants -- it was widely quoted, appearing even in the following day's Wa ll Street Journal (though they didn't quote the 2nd sentence).

What goes around comes around.

I don't think this is bad -- your writing stands out because you are willing to take risks. But when you make flamboyant statements like the above, I think you should expect emotional response; both positive and negative.

From: hunter@CS.Cornell.EDU (Scott B. Hunter);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:18:02 AM;

I'm truly sorry if you feel attacked by the barrage of nasty mail you've received. Manners are in short supply these days, and not just over the 'net. And while this won't be a love letter, I hope it won't be considered an attack. But since I don't really know you, that's up to you.

Jesse Berst writes a piece singing the praises of some of your ideas (after making sure the reader knows you two usually disagree). You got at least some mail in response to that reference -- its on your Mail site. I don't recall a whole lot of basis for his opinions, at least not in the piece.

Then Rik Myslewski writes a piece that trashes the idea, also without support. He links to the piece (he doesn't even describe it, leaving that for the reader to determine for him- or her- self) and says to let you know what they think of it. Now you're getting nasty mail (though none of it shows up in your Mail site).

I'm sorry, but while you have a legitmate beef (IMHO) with those who can't keep a civil tongue in their, uh, keyboards, blaming Mr. Myslewski seems uncalled for. He didn't call you a chimpanzee, he called you a pundit, and you yourself said you'll go on expressing your opinions when YOU feel it's appropriate (which is what pundits DO) -- and frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way. He didn't ask for people to tell you what a stupid idea HE thought your idea was -- he asked people to tell you what they think. (Think maybe there were some people, people who LIKED your idea, who let Mr. Myslewski have a few choice words?) If all those writers sang its praises, would you be shaking your finger at MacUser?

Oh, and just as you can't help how you "seem" to your readers, MacUser can't help how its readers will react to ideas they don't like. Shame on YOU for twisting the facts around. Getting attacked is inexcusable, but so blaming somebody who points out your ideas and doesn't happen to agree with them.

Thanks for the Thursday wish, and I'll let us both get back to making it come true,

From: giff@envive.com (Giff Constable);
Sent at 7/17/97; 9:59:50 AM;

Your email intake probably just doubled. Now you're getting both flames from parts of the Mac community and pats on the back from your supporters. Well, I'll contribute to the latter. I haven't gotten the impression that you are a "self-appointed world's greatest mac expert" or whatever that MacUser columnist wrote. You just happen to write good enough opinions and take the time out of your day to point out interesting links and happenings that the rest of us want to go to your page and pay attention. I thank you for it.

In my opinion scripting news is the internet at it's finest -- a forum for quality information and exchange, not a sinking to the lowest common denominator as much of the web and usenet news often does.

Take two: Lost in the Apple hubbah was an email I sent you the other day which I thought you'd be interested in (SJMercury had a brief on it and InformationWeek just picked the story up as well) -- the legal case where DSC was suing an employee for not disclosing some technology he dreamed up outside of work. I think Scripting News would be an interesting forum for discourse on individual IP, lawsuits affecting entrepreneurship, and how all this is changing in the software world right now.

From: jason@mail.herring.com (Jason Pontin);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:04:44 AM;

Dave, you should see the stuff they sent me after we asked Amelio to resign and after we, too, said that Jobs had taken Apple. I don't know why the Mac encourages this kind of fanaticism. People were very unkind. JP

From: andy@gleep.org (andrew watson);
Sent at 7/17/97; 1:02:47 PM;
insight into recent happenings and such

i think the reason you get email like you did from carl is because there are a lot of people out there clamoring for stability in this wild ride that is the Mac Community. A lot of people are struggling with choosing between sticking with apple and jumping ship and so they look to people like you for signs that everything will be alright. What happens though is that as soon as you yourself appear to have some questions about the future, they panic, and attack. Not out of anger, but out of fear. I think it would be great if there was someone who would step up to the plate and whip apple into shape. I don't know if Jobs is that person or not. I would love to be involved in that process, but first i have to graduate from college. I think what carl is saying is that because you acknowledge just how bad apple's situation is, that you have given up but that's a bad call on his part. i see apple's future as rough and tough but not unmanagable. i look forward to rhapsody because i'm a linux geek and a next geek but i am first and formost a mac user. hopefully with rhapsody i can have my cake and eat it too. I think it would be really cool to run frontier on rhapsody too because i like its scripting language and outlining, but i also like perl too so i'm stuck in the middle. but that's not so bad. keep up the neat stuff and keep digging!

From: david.small@hlh.co.uk (David Small);
Sent at 7/17/97; 5:35:41 PM;
I'm touching the sky

The Internet is up the spout today (at least from here in the UK) but I wanted to send you a brief message of support. I read the attack linked to by macintouch and thought about it. But I don't agree. I've been a Mac user since 1984 and a reseller since 1986. But I don't care about the past much.

Frontier changed my life. In Feb 1996 we got a contract to develop the HotelWorld site. Like many others, we started from the Apple Internet Server kit and I did the first version in AppleScript. It didn't take too long to run up against a number of brick walls. I speak as a long term programmer - I wrote a C compiler in 1982 - and I must say that I felt really let down. The AIS was being marketed as a solution, yet it couldn't be used for real applications. For instance, it's almost impossible to write ACGIs in AppleScript, yet this is essential to handle more than one request concurrently without the server grinding to a halt (which it did as soon as any real load was applied).

I discovered Frontier in July 1996 and have never looked back. I had a huge increase in performance within a week and was running live in two, having struggled equally hard if not harder in AppleScript during the previous four months, only to get more and more bogged down. The discovery of this threaded, modular, rich, fast and reliable programming environment was very exciting then. Discovering what it allows me to do still is a year later. That doesn't happen very often.

My particular version of your encounters with WinNT has been the requirement to produce a Win95 CD-ROM version of the site. I chose Visual BASIC for this - not a bad system I suppose - but it took far too long. There are so many things in Frontier that just fall under your fingers (for instance "fileloop f in path") and bring a real lift to the heart - (been there, done that, see what you're doing, thanks, it's just what I needed) - which make every day like Christmas. There are a _few_ things in VB like that, but mostly it's back to 1979.

One of my favourite sayings is to try to stand on each others' shoulders, not on each others' feet. I'm standing on your shoulders here and I'm touching the sky.

Thanks and keep up the great work.

From: len@trend.com (Len MacDonell);
Sent at 7/17/97; 9:20:01 AM;
Old DOS people

First of all, I very much enjoy reading your site each day. I like controversy.

I was using the Internet pretty actively in 1990, founded an ISP in 1994. It was based on Mac and NeXTSTEP. http://www.znet.com. I quickly learned that the Mac wasn't cut out for the demands of a growing ISP. MacTCP would choke after sixty-something connections..., Rebooting Macs got old, quickly.

Software for admin, for Radius security, for news, was not to be found.

In contrast NeXTSTEP was quite rich. Being UNIX is was well suited for use on the Internet and easier to install and run than a Mac. The business ultimately had to be moved to SUN for the stability needed. I thought that Apple should have bought NeXT in 1992-93 but that's another story.

It's been easy to love Macintosh, hate Apple. To me I read you as being in that same boat. However something changed with you this year. Your opinions clearly express a dislike for Steve Jobs, Openstep, Web Objects and Rhapsody. These are all great things that in my opinion _will_ help Apple and Mac users.

To me this is all like Microsoft growing from DOS to NT. I compare a large group of current Mac zealots to that dying breed of DOS users. All the same religion, same arguments (used to it, productive with it, does what I need, etc.). I find myself forced to have NT, WIN95 AND Mac in my office and look forward to replacing it all with Rhapsody with all the yellow, blue, red, and green boxes the hardware will run. To run a MACOS Webserver after Rhapsody ships would be plain silly. IMO.

I respectfully see you as an old DOS user! I don't mean that as a slam, I just think you are way too protective of MacOS which is a dead end operating system (for many good reasons). It sounds like you have little or no experience with OpenSTEP, you should take a good scientific look at it!!! It should be a priority!!! I think it will help you understand the decisions being made over at Apple and change your opinions.

For you to lead any sized group of Mac users from MacOS to Win NT would be a travesty, we may all end up doing that anyway but I'm still cheering for Apple's success. I think you should lead the way to writing great software for Rhapsody, I think you'd achieve HUGE successes, bigger than any others, so far.

BTW, Apple's stock is now up 37 percent (12 3/4 > 17 1/2) since you ran your Apple bankruptcy article. It's outperformed almost every stock in the world during the biggest fastest hi-tech rally in history. Pretty interesting at a time when 95 percent of the so called expert Mutual fund managers can't even keep up with the S&P 500. Perhaps if they stopped dumping their Apple stock to be bought up by an Arab prince.

From: shawn.callahan@tmhe.com (Shawn Callahan);
Sent at 7/17/97; 12:31:48 PM;
Hang in there, The truth is the hardest thing to say.

I have been reading Scripting.com for a few months now. I really respect your work.if I may indulge you, a few thoughts from a lowly worker in the trenches.

I am a graphic arist who works with windows machines. It was not my choice but as I work for a corporation that signs my paychecks, I felt that I was not in a position to dictate to them how I work. I learned on the Macs, still have a few in the office

I know what its like to leave a religion.

The Macintosh is a religion. Those who dare speak ill of God must be stupid or heritics. Look at the words that Macintosh zealots use when discribing the experince and aura of using the Mac OS: ...Soul, Love, Feelings

MacUser, MacWeek,, and other Mac trade publications have a vested intrest in Apple and Macintosh. Heck Mac Users do too. They have all dumped that money , time, and religious feelings into this platform.

For crying out loud, Its a piece of metal, glass, and plastic. When it comes to tools, I'm an athiest.

Now God falters.... Denial, anger at the mesengers, acceptance.... Classic stages of mourning. Something is dying.

It more interesting to watch people divest themseves emotionally from Apple than to wach the actual theatrics of Apple Corporation and the CEO D'Jour (CDJ).

You are a observer of people Dave, a mirror. Some times people don't like what they see in that mirror. Acceptance of those true reflections is a hard apple (pun intended) to swallow. Good Work. You are making many take a good hard look.

From: dsandler@cs.rice.edu (Daniel Sandler);
Sent at 7/17/97; 11:25:32 AM;

Just thought that I'd send some support and rational discourse at a time where you may miss hearing either.

I might not like one of your pieces, I may not agree with your opinions, but they serve a very important and welcome purpose -- they get me to think. What about this possibility? Could this be? What an interesting take.

We're in an industry that doesn't silence opinions. Rather, it does, but shouldn't -- things move fast enough that the outcome really and truly is anybody's guess. It could be yours.

Sadly, far too many people choose not to *think* about what they read. They simply react. They lash out, forgetting the well-known ability of e-mail to make brazen and thoughtless its users, and scream at people they hardly know.

At people! There's no time to scream at people, the ride stops soon.

Have we lost the art of thoughtful conversation?

Good luck, Dave. Keep diggin'.

From: icatlin@cisco.com (Ian Catlin);
Sent at 7/17/97; 4:37:08 PM;

if nothing else, these mails show some kind of "passion" about the Mac, something I've lost over the past year or so of NT work... ...then I get to use a Mac for a hours or so and remember where my computer "passion" came from.

From: Michael.C.Tilstra-1@tc.umn.edu (Michael C Tilstra);
Sent at 7/17/97; 11:12:43 AM;
Something said for programming

Seeing you get flooded for your opinions of Apple, too bad. Not that I agree, but you said what needed to be said. And anykind of spammer is a pain. It seems to follow that line of thought, "Gee, that person disagreed with me, they should die." Yeah, massive show of intelligence there.

Anyways, I read your artical Programmers, good call. Reminds me of the funs I get in college. I like Macs, most my friends use Windows. We pretty much got the OS wars overwith rightway, we all found that we could punch holes in most any argument for or against either platform. So we stopped, got down to doing what we liked doing. Turned out to be much more fun than argueing. Though they always ask me why I picked Macintosh, I usually say "Because I don't like messing with hardware". I'm a pure software person, I like to code. I want my computer to work without me having to tweek it. Windows didn't have that when I started programming. They're getting it now. I like the way the MacOS seems to dissappear. Its there, you don't really notice it. That was nice for starting out. It let me put all of my attention into programming. And when the computer did crash, I knew it was purely my fault. That's my reason for my choice.

I find an odd occurence with my friends. All of my friends that like tweeking hardware, doing MIS work, and tweeking the OS for the machine it is on, own Windows. All of us that like to program, or fiddle with raw data, and seem to avoid the hardware part of the computer, own Macs. It seems weird. Maybe that's just my friends, maybe it means something, maybe it doesn't.

From: mmcon@netcom.com (Jon Gallagher);
Sent at 7/17/97; 9:14:30 AM;
Unconditional Support

I am sure there are times when I have disagreed with you, though I cannot remember them right now. I am also sure that we both, as imperfect human beings, could find ways to conflict.

But right now I am astonished and deeply saddened that people would flame you at all, much less with such wounding intent, over the opinions and insights you've shared through DaveNet and your site. This letter is probably going to be one of hundreds you receive from people all over telling you that you matter and we support you.

I hope this becomes a way for you to find out how valuable you are to people, rather than a way to collect yet another sample of immature people who inhabit cyberspace.

The best of luck in life to you sir,

From: mike@ptginc.com (Mike Hon);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:52:08 AM;
Semi-Anonymous Villification

I read your DaveNets on a regular basis. I don't always agree with your perspective, but I don't doubt your integrity. I particularly appreciate the transparency and passion you share in your essays.

Long-time members of the Mac community like myself do have some soul-searching to do these days. It's a pity when we're petty and lash out at our sisters and brothers. It's ironic a platform that inspired such messianic zeal for so long has created such an autophagic atmosphere.

So, thanks for being transparent, and for consistently taking the high road when it's *sooo* easy to resort to ad hominem attacks. An axiom for today's climate: Love people, use computers. Not the other way around.

From: calebjc@well.com (Caleb);
Sent at 7/17/97; 9:10:20 AM;

Good piece.

Seeing this from afar I am struck by how similar it is to the passionate, rebellious and young crew of an independent sailing ship of old. They love their ship and are known to be a creative colorful crew, one that can make record time and uses inventive, simple, but brilliant navigation to out sail it's rivals.

A new captain comes on board, one not originally in love with the ship, but now professing to be. He brings a new flashy mate who used to sail with the crew, but then left to pursue the love of a different ship, thereby betraying his original love for all time. Now he sees a chance to gain personally by professing his love again in her time of need.

Then a storm comes. All the problems that were slowly accumulating now come to a head because in a storm things have to be very shipshape and there is no time to make them so. They are not and the main mast breaks. The crew starts to fight among themselves, venting their frustration for not doing something sooner, before they had no choice, or time. They cast blame and lose trust in their commanders. The captain jumps ship leaving the mates hiding in the captain's cabin trying to make time. The flashy mate is in a daze, as he realizes he is on a sinking ship that he doesn't really love anymore. The storm continues and the ship takes on water as the crew fights and works in anger.

A good crew could easily save this ship. A cabin boy could become a hero and save this ship. The flashy mate could have moment of clarity and save this ship. A rediscovery of love could save this ship. But the fighting, the feelings of frustration and denial continue, and the storm continues to get worse...

From: steve@woz.org (Steve Wozniak);
Sent at 7/17/97; 9:04:00 AM;

Many Japanese are known for very polite ways of saying things that are negative. Even some Americans. For such people, weak negative wordings are less offensive (you and Carl can still be friends in his mind) and leave you space for rebuttal (with him listening). Everyone has opinions but we all differ in how we claim to have "correctness" cornered. To many, the world is black and white and only their own opinions are right. To many others, the world is gray and both sides have a right to a say and, besides, we're all human and we all make mistakes.

From: markman@batnet.com (Markman);
Sent at 7/17/97; 8:52:58 AM;

The jlg piece was spectacular.

Sorry you're getting flamed. Sorry Stewart was flamed. But it does seem to be the nature of the beast. Keep patiently aducating people. It's gotta help (slowly and at the magins, but keep reminding us hotheads with email to moderate our voice and speak with civility. We're learning.)

"Seems" is legit. Unfair, perhaps, but legit. Carl isn't describing you as you are, but I think it's legit for him to tell you how you come across to him (and probably others.) Communication is not what the speaker says. Communication is what the audience hears and feels. So when Carl tells you how you "seem" that's data.

The irony, of course, is that people in Carl's camp are doing an awful lot of "seeming" themselves these days.

The further irony is that Apple still draws so much passionately felt advice, criticism, defense, and scrutiny. For a company that so many people say they're writing off as irrelevant, Apple commands inordinate attention. That's data too. And from that passion a comback can be fueled. We've seen a lot of strong brands drift out of the spotlight, Sunbeam, Schwinn, and others. Does anybody care? Apple is a high passion brand. Like Harley-Davidson. That's data. That's a wellspring of hope.

Stay tuned. The game is getting interesting.

From: dwiner@well.com (Dave Winer);
Sent at ;

"come across" is just like "seems".

Ask me how I feel, don't tell me how I feel.



From: sutherla@micro.ti.com (Dean Sutherland);
Sent at 7/17/97; 11:28:00 AM;

On the one hand, you really DO come across as being quite negative about Apple and most things Mac. On the other hand, you generally back up your opinions with reasonably well thought-out explanations of WHY you take those positions. And on the gripping hand... It seems to me that there must be room for legitimate differences of opinion. I always look forward to reading new DaveNet pieces even though I disagree with you more often than I agree (at least when you're talking about Apple related stuff).

For one example: I think that you were on the wrong track in "The Sure Road to Bankruptcy". The $400M spent on NeXT was (for example) much better than throwing still more money down the Copland rathole. But I digress...

I value the opinions I get via DaveNet. "The Sure Road..." encouraged me to THINK about the issues. And that's better than mindless belief any day!

Ignore the flamers and spammers -- they give up the right to be taken seriously when they leave respectful discourse behind.

From: seth@snet.net (Seth Dillingham);
Sent at 7/17/97; 11:48:04 AM;

Hang in there! You are, unfortunately, in the middle of a 20th Century Holy War.

The world of Macintosh is changing, (probably not truly ending), and people don't want to accept that. The force that inspired these people's belief and love is no longer there: Apple is not who they used to be; but that doesn't matter, as their belief has become self-sustaining.

How people are blinded (by themselves) to Apple's change is a mystery to me, when the facts of apple's current situation are so clear.

To many people, too many people, the facts no longer matter, they're not basing their opinions on them any more. Most of what you present in DaveNet are not facts, either, but you don't claim that they are: you're not a news site, you're a commentary site. You at least provide facts, and links to them, whenever you say something non-opinion based (unlike some of the recent, ridiculous rants we've seen).

BUT, your commentary is well-read, and by some very big names who then repeat what you've said, and don't always repeat it accurately (as you mentioned recently), or back up their own "facts" with proof.

Also, your commentary is being written towards what looks to be the end of a holy war. To many people in the "Macintosh camp" your suggestions and opinions make you sound like a traitor, and this is unfortunate. With Apple reeling from so many 'losses' in recent quarters, Mac-manics are getting desparate. "If they (the chimps?) would stop writing so many bad things about Apple, it wouldn't be happening." Yet even MacWay (EvangeList) was bragging that Apple "only" lost $56 Million, instead of $200 - $400 million.

Don't let the flames and spams get you down, lots of writers (journalists, op-ed, and fictional) get attacked for expressing their beliefs and opinions. At least you seem to be trying to do some good with your suggestions.

From: howland@conxion.com (Curt Howland);
Sent at 7/17/97; 8:46:28 AM;

Personally, having worked at Apple myself, I find your insights into their functioning and user community quite refreshing. I have often wondered why the management of Apple never seemed to understand where the strengths of the company and its market lay.

The old addage is "it takes one to know one", and your being a software developer makes reading your positions on software development and the development environment all the better.

Too bad about the abuse, people get emotionally attached to their computer, and there are a LOT of very simple minded folks in the world. Not evil, just simple, and easily exploited by the Big Lies.

From: jaggi@pingnet.ch (Christoph Jaggi);
Sent at 7/17/97; 5:21:14 PM;

Your assessments of Apple and the Mac are better than the assessment Apple has of itself and the Mac. I have noticed that especially in the US a lot of people have a tunnelvision leading to a wrong perception of reality. This is not only due to a lack of multidisciplinary and international education, but mostly due to the main focus being money and fun.

Keep on your excellent work and recommend the reading of Immanuel Kant's "Criticism of pure reason". Most probably people will understand the content, but not really get it, but at least it is worth a try.

From: rsucgang@bcm.tmc.edu (richard sucgang phd);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:32:46 AM;
the mackido arguments

I dunno what to say, I guess most Applephiles don't like point arguments against Apple. I don't know about the timeline, I wasn't there, but I do know that many of the things you say are right on, and someone's got to say the tough things.

One of the tough things is letting System 7 go. Remember when I wrote to you about that? You liked the idea then:


I have an addendum to the letter, but it involves the earlier part. Seems to me that either Apple or one of the clone vendors should take a close look at Cyrix's mediaGX chip. No word about this from the Mac camps, but this chip packs pentium level performance, video controller, port controllers and what have you into a $99 chip. It is the thing that enable's Compaq to build a sub-$1000 computer complete with 24 megs of RAM and a modem. This, I think , should be the foundation of a really inexpensive crossplatform powerMac. Imagine if one replaces the video controller with the mediaGX chip. As it stands, that is already cost competitive, but on top of that, you get hardware accelerated WinTel performance!

The winds of economy argue that Macs have to go Wintel to survive (so says Don Crabb...I dunno if I agree), but here is an unexplored avenue.

What do you think?

ps: I finally finished porting my personal website to Frontier. Seemed easier porting my other web projects to Frontier.

From: rafec@insource.com (Rafe Colburn);
Sent at 7/17/97; 10:36:25 AM;
Not a chimpanzee

What I got from the chimpanzee article was that analysts should be referred to as Chimpanzees, not you or Jesse Berst. I agree that generally analysts are chimps.

In fact, the footer of the article states:

Sorry, Mr. Jobs, but Rik Myslewski is not available for the position of CEO of Apple Computer. Talk to Jesse, Dave, Galen, or the chimpanzees -- they appear to be interested.

The article seemed (there's that word again) tended to be your typical smarmy column, nothing new for the publishing community, and really not to be taken seriously.

From: mwilson@teleport.com (Matthew R. Wilson);
Sent at 7/17/97; 8:34:23 AM;

Dave - I always enjoy reading your DaveNet pieces and am totally in shock over all of the "negative attention" that you are getting.

Sure, I do not always agree with your opinions, but I still like to read them. Mac users have traditionally been known to stand behind their machine (which for the greater part of the Mac's existence has meant standing behind Apple), convieniently encompassing the hardware and software all into one package and locking us into our own little "Apple World." Because of that, just about everything that you read these days written by Mac users tends to be along the lines of "oh, everything is just fine and the Almighty Apple will someday kick Microsoft out of the industry with some nifty new technology." Seeing your essays provides a welcome diversion from those fantasies and keeps me, along with everyone that reads them (whether they want to accept it or not), in touch with not only all points of view, but also a reality from someone who is becoming a powerful and well-known figure in the industry and knows what he's talking about. I'm sure you have seen different products rise and fall throughout your programming days, and because of your connections and experience you have a much greater insight into what goes on in the computing industry.

I guess my message to everyone that is attacking you is that you are merely stating your opinions and letting your voice be heard. If they disagree with what you are saying so strongly that they feel personal attacks on you are necessary, why don't they re-channell their efforts into writing their own opinion piece that tells what _they_ think about where Apple is going, and what they think Apple should do about it. Furthermore, if they are so offended by what you say, why don't they go through to simple act of making a message that says 'unsubscribe davenet'?

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