I read a few tech blogs on a daily basis; Engadget, Bynkii, and of course, TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Blog). I like reading about new technology, and I like reading about people using both new and old technology as well. I come across a lot of good blog entries on these sites… and then I come across something like this post.
TUAW blogger, Steven Sande, recently wrote an entry entitled: “My weekend Windows experience, or why I love Apple so much”. This is just a long title for some Mac fanboy bashing Windows like it’s 1998 again. Posts like this are a dime a dozen, and some of them have valid points, but this one just really got me annoyed for many reasons.
Now, if you read the article you’ll know that this guy just bought a “rather inexpensive Chinese-made” Wifi webcam from Amazon that claimed it was compatible with “Apple Mac and Windows”. After he gets the product he finds that it first needs to be set up in Windows before it can be used on Mac, therefore the company lied which means that a) the camera you bought is made by a shitty company in China, b) you should just send it back and get a real camera, and c) anything you do after this point is your own fault, right? Not to this guy, he decided to set it up in Windows Vista, excuse me, a Windows Vista VM on his Mac. This is all fine and dandy, but so far nothing is here about why he enjoys Mac over Windows. Now, his “process”:
3) Fire up Windows, then realize that I can’t use the camera software install CD since it’s one of those mini ones that were so popular in 1998. They don’t work in slot-type SuperDrives. Need to download the software from vendor’s website.
4) Start up IE7 in Windows.
5) Can’t get to downloads page from IE7 so download and install Firefox.
6) Go to vendor site, get to the downloads page. Can’t download the software until I download and install the Flash plug-in.
7) Install Flash Player.
8 ) Download the software, finally. It’s an .rar archive.
Now, all of these steps are pointless. The first thing I notice is that he’s in Windows, which is installed on his computer, and he is using IE7 and doesn’t have Firefox installed already, why he didn’t have it installed is a mystery to me, but it begs the question why couldn’t IE7 download it? This is another problem with the camera’s manufacturer, not Windows. Same with the next step, installing Flash; why is Flash needed by this vendor to download a file, and why the hell wasn’t it installed already anyway? I suppose you don’t want to install all of this extras stuff on your Windows VM because you want to save space for your Mac, but these are essential things for any Windows install, so that’s your fault, not Windows.
9) Windows has no idea what an rar file is. I have it “use the Web service to find the correct program.” I find out that WinZip or StuffIt Expander will work.
10) Realize that WinZip is a program that, with all the add-INS, will cost me almost US$37. Didn’t it used to be free?
11) Go to StuffIt site and download free StuffIt Expander. Wait while McAfee scans for viruses.
These steps here made me want to smack this guy through the machine. First, if you claim to have years of experience working on windows machines (In the article: “I am familiar with Windows. Way too familiar, as at one point in my career I was a project manager on a 12,000-seat Windows deployment for a large enterprise.”) you would know to just get WinRAR or 7Zip and you’d be done with this stupid mess, but no, you use the “find correct program online” option like a moron and decide to download StuffIt (a pain in the ass in it’s own) instead of WinZip (which you can use free forever). And that last line about McAfee just makes it even worse. You were the “project manager” of a large enterprise deployment and you’re using McAfee?
12) Install StuffIt Expander. “This may take several minutes” it says.
13) Installation continues for an incredibly long time, most of which is marked by a status message that doesn’t change. Considering taking up smoking. Read War and Peace cover to cover while waiting for installation to complete, then build a 1:1 scale model of La Sagreda Familia out of toothpicks. About to perform a self-appendectomy when the installation finally finishes. Put away the X-acto knife and vodka.
14) Trying to reinstall StuffIt when Windows tells me in needs to activate. That’s perplexing since I installed and activated this legal copy of Windows Vista Ultimate weeks ago. Decide to at least try reinstalling StuffIt before going through activation again.
15) StuffIt Expander installer won’t run since it says that there’s already another installation in progress. System monitor shows no other application is running.
16) Restart Windows. Or at least try to. It takes forever to shut down. Finally Force Quit VMWare and hope for the best.
17) Re-launch VMWare, which unfortunately comes up in Windows shutdown mode. Finally find the Shut Down command in VMWare, then restart Windows Vista. It’s now 7:55 PM. Windows Vista plays its 4-tone startup tune, which I salute with two raised middle fingers.
18) Start up the StuffIt Expander installer again. Get an error message. Re-download the installer and try again, this time sacrificing a chicken while starting the installer. The installer takes its good time, but finally shows a completed installation. I feel sorry for the chicken, but happy that StuffIt Expander is installed.
Okay, you’re installing StuffIt inside of a Windows Vista VM and it’s taking forever and you’re surprised? You’re also surprised that it takes forever to shutdown, and restart in a VM? Okay, you’re blaming Windows for running slow in a VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT when it’s not really designed to be run in one. Ever think to blame VMWare for this? Or StuffIt for making a bad installer? Oh right, you’re a fanboy.
Windows asking for activation means one simple thing, you didn’t activate. I know it says you did, but you didn’t. That is your fault. Sure, it’s a very annoying occurrence to have to activate Windows, we all hate it, but it’s your own dumb-ass fault.
19) What was I doing before all of this? Oh, yeah – I was trying to unzip the webcam installer. This goes well until the unzip crashes. I see the installer on my desktop, so I double-click to install. This installer runs quickly, but I need to reboot the Windows virtual machine.
20) Weeping uncontrollably, I wait as the virtual machine lies to me about shutting down. It’s now 8:09 PM. I wait, and wait. Did I mention the waiting?
21) I’m so bloody tired of waiting for the shutdown that I invoke the Shutdown menu item again. Windows reboots again.
22) Double-click the webcam software. After I nearly have a heart attack when it temporarily can’t find the .exe file, it launches. This program is supposed to find a camera on the network and allow me to change settings. It’s doing nothing, so I decide to start pinging addresses on my network from Safari. I find my printer’s built-in web server, but not the webcam.
23) While I’m playing on the Mac, Windows mysteriously reboots itself. WTF?
24) I figure out that Windows thinks it is on another subnet. I look at some of the glowing reviews on Amazon and see the key phrase “connect to the camera over Ethernet the first time.” Nice of the vendor to put that in the docs. I’m tired. It’s now 8:58 PM. I decide to try this tomorrow on my old iMac since I have work to do. I’ll set up a small Ethernet network using a router I have, and hope that I can get this to work.
Again, most of this is the camera vendors fault and the fact that you’re running a VM.
Number 24 wouldn’t come naturally to someone who isn’t a tech person, but since this guy claims he is one, he should already know that when running in a VM you’re on a fake subnet created by the host to allow you to share the network connection. And the fact that you didn’t setup the camera over Ethernet FIRST is beyond me. For someone who knows technology this is pretty fucking stupid. Also, what kind of tech person doesn’t have a fucking network setup in their house? How do you not have an extra Ethernet port somewhere, ANYWHERE in your house? What the hell?
25) It’s now the next afternoon. I set up the old Linksys router, grab a few Ethernet cables, and fire up the camera app on the old iMac under VMWare and Win XP. Not surprisingly, Win XP works much better than Vista and within about 5 minutes I’m seeing the camera “anonymous” in the camera app.
27) Reading the tiny print in the poorly-translated user manual for the webcam, I see that the vendor recommends using IE to bring up the built-in administrative web page and set up Wi-Fi. I double-click the name of the camera, and I’m immediately rewarded with a login screen for the admin web page. I log in using the default user ID and password, and then watch as IE7 proceeds to block the various controls that are trying to load.
28) At this point I’m discouraged and shouting four and more-letter expletives at IE7. I decide that it’s time to grab my spouse and go out to eat (and drink) away my frustration. A few beers later we’re back home and I download Firefox onto the virtual Win machine.
29) I launch Firefox, go to the IP address of the camera, and become very happy when the camera controller loads properly and responds to my commands.
30) With the webcam finally up and running, I tell Windows XP to quit. Soon I’m greeted with a happy message that says something like “Windows is installing update 1 of 37. Do not shut down this machine.” I wander off.
31) Two hours later, the message says “Windows is installing update 31 of 37.” I may never get to shut down Windows.
32) Another hour passes. The message hasn’t changed. I decide that Windows XP has locked up, and I invoke the magic VMWare virtual power switch. Who knows if the flippin’ thing was updated or not?
Alright, you decided to ditch the Vista VM and go for a XP VM, good job, it only took you a day to figure that out. Now you’re going to try IE7 again and you say it’s “block[ing] the various controls that are trying to load” and you’re now discouraged to use IE7? Guess what, that means the camera vendor fucked up again, not Windows. Windows is in fact probably doing you a nice favor by blocking this vendors’ shitty software. Not to mention, you can tell IE7 to load those controls fairly easily. Also, if you’re using a web browser to set this up now…why not just use Mac OS? As a matter of fact, why didn’t you do steps 1-20 in Mac OS? All you had to do was fire up Safari and download the RAR file and open it with your StuffIt expander in Mac OS and guess what, you’d have taken like 4 hours out of this entire cluster-fuck process you went through. Again, if you’re a tech guy you should know this shit.
The last few things are just asinine. You’re blaming windows for taking forever to shutdown again (IN A VM!) because it needs to install updates. Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but you are supposed to install updates. If you’d boot into your VM more often to secure it with updates you wouldn’t have to wait an hour to install 37 fucking updates.
Then this ass-hat goes on to put this in:
But the point of this entire exercise was that if Apple had ever stooped to selling Wi-Fi webcams, the installation process would probably be like this:
1) Plug your Apple iCam into a wall socket.
2) Launch the iCam utility software on your Mac or Windows PC. It’s included on the CD that came with your device.
3) Your iCam appears in the “cameras on this network” list. Highlight the camera you wish to update.
4) Give the camera a name, and click save. Note the web address that is now listed on the page — this address is where you can point any web browser in the world to view your camera and listen to what’s going on in streaming stereo audio.
Guess what, if you bought a better camera instead of your cheap Chinese piece of shit (your own words only shortened) you could have done this. Just because it’s not Apple doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be simple. He also goes to bring up the virtual machine issue:
And I’m certain that someone will say “A real PC wouldn’t have done that; you’re running a virtual machine on a slow Mac.” Wrong, this type of thing has happened to me many times on real PCs as well. This isn’t a slow Mac; it’s a quad-core i7 iMac running 64-bit Windows Vista Ultimate.
Guess what? They’re right. You wouldn’t have had half of these issues. I don’t care what kind of processor you have, running in a virtual environment is never the same speed or experience.
So this bothers me for a few reasons as I stated above; first it just shows how stupid people like to blame their fuck-ups on technology that they obviously don’t know. Whether it’s some moron complaining about installing updates in Windows when they haven’t updated their computer in a decade, or it’s some guy saying “Macs are dum cuz they don’t have 2 mouse buttins” it’s all the same idea. You bash the OS you don’t like with stupid shit like this.
This also upsets me as a Mac user in general. According to Steve Sande’s bio on TUAW:
“[Steve is] A 52 year-old Apple geek, Steve has been writing online since 1986, when he started up a Mac Bulletin Board System (BBS). He’s been a Mac user since ’84, was a Newton Developer, and has been involved in the mobile computing space since 1993.Steve lives in Colorado with his rocket-scientist wife of 30 years, a cat, and many Apple products.”
This guy has been working on computers since before I was born, and I guarantee that this guy has been using ONLY Macs since then. So he’s not a Windows person: he is an Apple user. He knows what Apple people deal with from people when it comes to tech support for products, and what people think of Apple users (hippies who don’t know how to use a computer…blah..blah) and guess what; it’s because of guys like Steve Sande that people think this. You bitch and moan about Windows problems and then go to say “Well if this was Apple it’ll be like this and so much better.” Yes, Apple makes it super fucking easy to setup things with them, but if you notice one simple thing you’ll realize how they can do this: They are all made by the same company. Surprise! Apple products work very well with other products made by Apple, they’re designed for each other! Do you know how easy it is for me to set up my HP 1020 Laserjet in Windows over network? It’s so easy that I probably don’t need to explain it (plug in, turn on, find on network, done). It was a nightmare in Mac OS. I have to download third-party drivers and then an extra program just so it can find the printer, then I have to change some folders around until it works properly. So am I going to bash Mac OS because they made it so hard for me to get my printer working? Fuck no. I’m blaming HP because they decided to stop support for Mac OS 10.5.
I see things like this everyday online, in both directions. Go on an Apple-based blog and it’s WINDOWS SUX! Any gaming site and it’s GET A REAL COMPUTER! MACS SUX! Turns out, the users suck, not the machines. If you’re not smart enough to do something or to realize that something you have just won’t work with your system the don’t blame Windows or Mac OS, blame yourself.