Friday, April 20, 2007

Don't Be a Hater -- Think Different

People still fear what they don't understand or what's not familiar. When I arrived at the SOA conference in Kuala Lumpur a couple of days ago, I was met by the hotel's AV guy to hook up my Mac to the projector. I used the normal elaborate procedure I usually do to sync my Mac with a projector: I plugged the projector into my machine. But, unusually, no signal. I tried Display Preferences, changing the resolution, the number of colors: nothing. He was convinced that my exotic, bizarre machine/OS was the problem, and I kept trying to convince him otherwise. Finally, I persuaded him to go get another cable, which he reluctantly did (I don't know any Malay curse words, but I'm pretty sure I've now heard some). You can probably guess what happened next: new cable, perfect signal, at all my original settings.

Which reminded me of another conversation I had a couple of years ago with a friend in Singapore. We were sitting around talking about computers, and he made an off-hand comment that he didn't like Macs because he thought they were unintuitive, but he thought Windows made perfect sense. So, I asked him "So, you're telling me that the operating system where you click on the Start button to turn it off is the more intuitive on? I think you're just used to it", to which he replied: "You're right, I'll shut up now". I saw him again last night in Singapore, and we were catching up on all sorts of stuff. And you know what he told me? He just got a new machine with Vista on it, used it for 2 weeks, and returned it to Dell. He told me that he can't wait until his laptop finally dies because he's going to get a Mac. The reason for the change? He's now addicted to his iPod, and it's made him realize that Design Matters.

I can't resist beating everyone on the head with the moral: Don't succumb to FUD because something is different. And, in the tortured grammar of the old Apple campaign, Think Different. Because Vista is so different from previous versions, it may be the best thing that ever happened to Apple. If you're contemplating a change anyway, why not look at the entire field so that you end up with the OS equivalent of an iPod, not a Zune.


Sonny Gill said...

Hi Neal,

Are you still in KL?
Any more talks open to public?


- Sonny

Neal Ford said...

No, I'm in Singapore now, talking at Webinale on Ajax, Ruby on Rails, and web security. I fly to Germany on Wednesday to speak at a Java conference (JAX), then back to the US!

Sonny Gill said...


Would have liked to come to one of your talks.

Hope You had a good time in SEA :)