Free men are not equal, equal men are not free.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Apple and SJW Convergence

Recently at VoxDay's, a commenter had asked why Apple, despite obviously focusing on SJW-centric issues, had not imploded severely.

My take on it.

Steve Jobs was a hard-core liberal. Maybe, several years after his death, he would have become an SJW as well, but one can only take him at what he chose to do before his death. Like his choices or not, Apple kit wasn't simply flashy looks for a lot of money - despite several missteps pushing technology beyond practical limits, he methodically laid the groundwork to build hardware at a quality level and price point that no - one could achieve. Yes - there were cheaper laptops - Apple didn't sell cheap ones. There were faster ones, there were more expandable ones, but you wouldn't get much that was as solidly built, with similar performance specs, at a significantly cheaper price point elsewhere.

He was obsessively fixated on creating his vision of a fantastic product, with the attendant tradeoffs.

Corporate welfare or virtue signaling? He wanted to change the world by making a great desktop, a great laptop, a great pocket computer. He considered charity and causes to be something individuals at the company could do - or not - and not something for the company to advertise.

Cue Tim Cook. Apple now makes a big deal out of how inclusive their presentations are, and other social issues they support. From here and there I've heard how hard this focus on inclusiveness, etc. has been pushed internally. If you focus on something other than the best code, the best product, the most effective and consistent manufacturing, well, you get more of that, and not the outstanding product.

Here's the thing - Apple has a lot of technical inertia. They have room to fall to mediocre as the mediocre companies fall to even worse, and can still relatively shine. It takes time for sloppy programming and focus to screw up existing, refined products and code. Unlike their competitors they have not become mere value-added, but intimately build and design and design the manufacturing of their products from the ground up. They still have a lot of low-level "tribal knowledge".

But they are screwing up. Nothing major - yet. A few more design issues that make you scratch your head and wonder "why did they make it charge like that" - but the pencil, or mouse, otherwise works great. A few more bugs creep into DNS handling. The product line starts to lose focus as more product types are added.

Given our choices are Google and Apple for mobile, even moving to Linux only helps a little bit - and the open source world is not entirely immune either. Leaving aside the various projects pushing codes of conduct, and pushing out founders, the lead developer of linux Mint doesn't want you using Mint if you support the Israeli government over Palestine (he has since removed the post).

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