Monday, July 25, 2005

The Truth Behind Recent Apple Headlines [Updated]


I just thought I'd make a quick post about a few recent Mac related headlines:

Think Secret apparently acquired some Apple part numbers from a retailer's inventory. Shame on the retailer for providing this information to them. It has been speculated on enough that Apple is overdue for iBook and MacMini revisons due to the distance between the last updates. The only reason Think Secret comes out with such sensationalist information is to continue to undermine Apple sales. Continuing to prove the real title to this site should be Trade Secret

See Jackwhispers previous article where I provide EXCLUSIVE content and research about this website and it's owner; Nick Ciarelli.

Save Nick vs Save Apple

The January 2005 Archive also has several articles on the topic of Think Secret


Arlo Rose of "Apple stole Konfabulator" fame has managed to undermine Apple again with this quote found in a Reuter's article that says; Yahoo has purchased Konfabulator. I think the only reason Apple didn't pursue a legal case against Rose, for Konfabulator, was because he was a former Apple employee and a well respected developer - Yahoo might find themselves in a legal battle - if Apple so chooses now that Rose has relinquished the software.

"Apple liked the concept so much that it includes a widgets dashboard in the Mac's operating system. With just three employees, Konfabulator designs its widget software to run on the ubiquitous Windows operating system as well"

Actually Apple had created a dashboard concept looooong before Arlo Rose released Konfabulator. Just take a look at this screenshot of System 6.

Read this Jackwhispers story for more details. What A Kon! Arlo Rose Of Konfabulator


And I just wanted to follow up with a comment I found at Insanely Great Mac concerning Bill Palmer. As he recently made headlines calling me "a depraved lunatic":

- Bill Bill Bill

by Chris

Bill Palmer is the perfect example of a blogger who suddenly thinks he is far more influential than he truly is. I've read his stuff for over a year and been on several of his online MUGS, and his problem is that he is believing his own hype. Just like Thurrott, Dvorak, and Enderle, though on the Mac side.

Bill's problem, so evident here but also evident in many of his other blog entries, is that he determines what's good for Apple based on his own personal preferences, like the eMac and iBook. He has no use for the higher end Macs or iMacs. He blasts those who like the higher end products as "not real mac lovers", mostly because he is jealous that he cannot personally afford those products. (he whined about buying a PB for weeks before finally doing it.) He drives a crappy car, lives in a crappy apartment, is about 27, and generally uses his three mac sites to blast anything he finds against his own taste.

Again, he is not anti-Mac, but he is pompous, ignorant about typical mac users, and venomous in his attacks. Remember, folks, like most bloggers, this is his only claim to fame, and he has been bashing the headless idea for at least a year, if not longer.

The great irony with Bill, that no one has touched on yet, is the fact that he thinks the eMac is the greatest Mac out there for switchers. He is big on switching people to the Mac. So why he would hate the MiniMac is beyond me. My bet is that he made up his mind long ago that this would fail, made his opinion public, and is now so pompous about LoadPod, iPodGarage, etc. that he cannot see how stupid and imbicilic he looks right about now. He will probably be proven wrong, but, happily, he is fuming over the bad press and his ranting prove this. No one will read him again, and he will be the Mac bloggers' own Thurrott, never taken seriously.

Note that this is from January 13, 2005 and in response to a main article at IGM titled: Bill Palmer: Two strikes, no balls, no one on by ron carlson - way before I did MY first post about Bill Palmer. The internet is littered with similar comments about Bill.

And honestly, I feel compelled to back this rant [above] about Bill Palmer with a link to this forum at Macrumors:

Bill goes out of control over a small issue


Thanks to Bill Fox at for providing this detailed view of the Henrico County School decision to switch from Apple to Dell for the student laptop program:

Details on How Apple iBooks Lost to Dell Inspirions in Henrico County (VA) High Schools: Apple rocketed back onto the frontpage of K-12 educational computing with a deal to supply tens of thousands of iBooks to the Henrico County (VA) Public Schools for daily use by students, teachers and administrators. This pioneering effort revolutionized K-12 education as many school districts across the U.S. and in Canada followed suit and supplied their students, teachers and administrators with laptops. But, like in all walks of life, success brings serious competitors. In the case of one-to-one classroom portable computing, Apple's success attracted Dell, the company that has been eating Apple's education desktop lunch for some time.

This year the four-year contract for high school laptops in the Henrico County Public Schools was up for re-bidding. Dell was awarded the new four-year contract over Apple (and CDWG) through votes of 9-0 by an evaluation committee and 5-0 by the school board. Apple retains the contract for elementary and middle schools, at least for now. But how did Apple lose unanimously at every stage in the high school contracting process?

Three principal issues were brought up by students, parents and teachers for consideration in designing the new contract: downtime for maintenance, the fees the schools charged parents and teachers and the desire for Microsoft Office. On the surface, none of these issues appear to be decidely in favor of Dell over Apple. In fact, the maintenance issue would seem to subtantially favor Apple and Mac OS X over Dell and Windows XP.

The iBooks' maintenance rate was 4-5 per cent of the laptops at any given time and Apple was 96 per cent effective at fixing things within 24 hours according to a school system report. This is actually surprisingly good performance to us, especially for laptops in the hands of high school students. Downtime could be reduced to near zero by having a small percentage of the laptops available as loaners as some school districts have done. Indeed, this is the approach taken by Henrico County and both Apple's and Dell's bids contained a 2 per cent overage for loaners. But, according to a school report, Dell also bid that it would increase the number to 5 per cent if that proved necessary. Dell appears to have been the smarter bidder by promising to cover the repair rate experienced with iBooks and appearing to offer a no downtime solution. But what if the Dells experience a repair rate that greatly exceeds the iBooks 4-5 per cent and fails to meet Apple's 96 per cent rate of repairs in 24 hours? The school district loses, of course. What data did Henrico County look at to determine if the Dells would have an expected repair rate lower than 5 per cent? The schools system's report does not say. The next four years will tell if the school system got bamboozled. We think they did.

The fee issue is partly an issue of how the laptop program will be paid for. But if eliminated, the fees are simply transferred to the cost of the contract and the county's school revenue sources rather than individual parents of students and teachers using the laptops. Doing so will also likely have the effect of increasing the repair rate since the damage waiver fee for students is an incentive to maintain the laptops. Henrico County kept the $50 student use fee but eliminated the $50 teacher use fee and the $100 student damage waiver. Care to guess which way the repair rate is headed?

Penultimately, there's the Microsoft Office issue. Dell's bid included Microsoft Office, of course, and Apple's included AppleWorks. As far as I am concerned, AppleWorks is perfectly fine piece of software and meets any possible actual requirement for high school use. But since the users expressed a desire for Microsoft Office, this issue is a no-brainer. If you offer people what they say they want, all things being equal they are going to take it, no? Even if all things are not exactly equal, an expressed desire is really an unwritten requirement that very definitely will be weighed in the decision, like it or not, especially when it is a voting situation rather than a strictly technical decision. Apple could have offered Microsoft Office but doing so probably would have increased the cost of its bid more than that of Dell's.

Finally, there is price. Dell bid $256 lower for each of 15,800 laptops than did Apple, i.e. $1,130 per 14" Inspirion 600m versus $1,386 per 12" iBook. The Henrico County Public Schools report did not include an estimate of the total cost of ownership. The report does mention a transition cost that it will bear in switching to the Dells but it did not reduce it to dollars for comparing the bid prices.

So, it looks like meeting repair rate expectations, Microsoft Office and price beat Apple. We think the first is bogus and Henrico County will regret its decision on this issue alone but only time and good, honest monitoring will tell. Microsoft Office, like it or not, is a monopoly just like Windows and the only way for Apple to win in situations where Microsoft Office is a desired element is to offer it. The only way that Apple can do that and come close on price is to license Microsoft Office for many if not all of its computers just like the Windows computer makers. It is curious that a base Inspirion 600m with 256MB RAM and base Microsoft Office sells for $1,610 on Dell's Web store while a base 12" iBook sells for $999 on Apple's Web store. On the surface, it looks as if Apple could have done better on price. Apple will have to do better on price or come up with some new killer innovations to beat Dell. We are betting on the latter. [Bill Fox]

I have nothing to add to that really. Just a shocking truth. Based on my own experiences though; Dell provides kickbacks to school district employees who assist in switching from Gateway or Apple.

In Late August, I plan to publish a week's worth of updates to all the stories posted on Jackwhispers thus far. I have also been updating stories for grammar and current information.



Anonymous said...

The only reason Think Secret comes out with such sensationalist information is to continue to undermine Apple sales?

The *only* reason?

Really, now, any halfway sensible person will realise that 'undermining Apple sales' is not even *one* of the reasons Think Secret does what it does. You could possibly argue that undermining Apple sales is an unintended consequence of Ciarelli's actions, or that he is naive to think it isn't, et cetera, but it really is beyond the pale to suggest that Nick is on some intentional sabotage mission.

You do this a lot. What normal columnists (and normal people) recognise as their own theories of cause-and-effect, you immediately ascribe to *motives*, thereby seeing evil vultures and conspiracy theories everywhere. Statements like this shed a lot of light on why you can't seem to criticise any other Mac writer without declaring that he or she is a *danger to the Mac community*, and often starting a *vendetta* against him for not believing what you believe about, oh, whether their actions are actually hurting Apple or not.

Some people are smart enough to realise that other people can genuinely believe something different enough about the world that certain appear ethical to them whereas to someone else they do not.

You are not one of those people.

FYT said...

The purpose of this site is to serve as a consumer advocacy site within the Mac Community.

Obviously you don't understand:

In past articles (which I don't think you've read) - I link Nick Ciarelli (conspiracy theory maybe?) to the reseller lawsuit.

Also, if you were being sued - would you be kind in any way to the people who were suing you?

Nick Ciarelli is a lawbreaker. Not just misdemeanor and certainly not protected whistleblower journalist. He is dealing in trade secrets and private property (business plans).

And yes, not to get all high and mighty like Bill Palmer or Jack Campbell, describing one of their sites; but no other site has the balls to post what I post. All other sites are chicken to point out that their sponsors may be con men. A lot of big names in the Mac Universe support these con men too! They don't want to see anyone point out an affiliation with a con man or criminal either.

What normal columnists (and normal people) recognise as their own theories of cause-and-effect, you immediately ascribe to *motives*

I often state that this site is my point of view and my opinion. My editorials are educated and researched though. So, my assertions are ALWAYS backed up. I would challenge you to point out specifically otherwise.

It would really help if you would read the welcome/forum rules section. Then read here if you want to know more about this site and it's intentions.

Some people are smart enough to realise that other people can genuinely believe something different enough about the world that certain appear ethical to them whereas to someone else they do not.

I'll try to make sense out of this as best I can - it is poorly written.

This compares to my favorite line in Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith:

Anakin: The Jedi stand for good
Palpatine: Good is from a certain point of view, Anakin

No! Good is good. Evil is evil. Only an evil person has a dogmatic view that "good is from a certain point of view"

Anonymous said...

Some people are smart enough to realise that other people can genuinely believe something different enough about the world that certain appear ethical to them whereas to someone else they do not."

It gets funnier every time I read it. Is there such a thing as "triplespeak"?

Anonymous said...

Only an evil person has a dogmatic view that "good is from a certain point of view"

In Return of the Jedi, when Luke asks Obiwan why Obiwan told him that Darth Vader killed his father, Obiwan responds with

Your father was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker, and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true. From a certain point of view.

Since Only a Sith speaks in absolutes, you might want to reconsider your statement.

FYT said...

Bravo on the quote - good comeback ... but I don't use absolutes here. I let readers draw their own conclusions from my editorials that have fact - both visual and written.

There are also many many things that I am not publishing that back up the facts I present here.

Saying evil is evil and good is good is not stating an absolute- it's stating a fact of life.

Johnathan said...

I'd like to see an article about the alleged Dell kickbacks. I think if true, it could be nearly as bad as the current Sony payola case (where radio stations were paid to play records).

FYT said...

I will work on it ... I think it would be a good story as well. I may even make it one of the new Con-versations special reports.

FYT said...

Read this from the Henrico County Schools website and tell me; if they think the iBooks had an Appleworks OS; the I see why they were pissed about Office not being on them - they thought Microsoft Word was the operating system!

News Release

Laptops on sale for $50 each

A unique opportunity is available from Henrico County Public Schools. Used Apple iBook laptop computers will be on sale for $50 each, with a one-per-person limit. The one-day sale will be held Tuesday, Aug. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

One thousand laptops will be sold at the school warehouse — 361 Dabbs House Road beside the Eastern Government Center — on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no waiting list. Only cash or checks will be accepted.

The white, Power PC 750s with 12-inch screens have 320 megabytes of memory and are installed with the AppleWorks Operating System.

From Interstate 64, take exit 193B. Travel east on Nine Mile Road and turn left at the second stoplight on Dabbs House Road. The warehouse is on the right.