From time to time, I like to read some of the curious blogs from certain controversial online tech commentators, while always worrying whether they are just making things up because they’re seeking more traffic. Certainly I understand that people are entitled to their own opinions, but I also believe in that old saying, that people aren’t entitled to their own facts.
Now some commentators delight in telling you exactly what a certain company must do in order to survive. While they are free to make all the suggestions they want, bear in mind that few of these people have any experience actually running a large multinational corporation. But they want you to believe that they know better.
In some cases, they may be right. Certainly the well-heeled board at HP doesn’t have a clue how to run that venerable company anymore. The founders must be spinning in their graves by now, considering that their dreams are not being fulfilled. Even though they run the number one PC division on the planet, HP can’t make much profit from those sales. They have rushed to the bottom, same as most of the rest of the industry aside from Apple, seeking volume above profits, hoping enough of the former will ultimately help the latter.
In dumping Leo Apotheker as CEO, the board picked one of their own, Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, to replace him. But it’s not as if Whitman has any actual experience running a company that builds hardware for both the consumer and business markets. It’s a far cry from running online auctions, and even there she had some troubles during her last year at eBay, where they made the foolish decision to buy Skype. No wonder Wall Street wasn’t impressed. Further, it’s not as if she has expressed any unique vision for HP. So for the time being, maybe the PC division will be spun off or sold, maybe it won’t, but you won’t see any unique ideas for a while, if ever. Surely a smart tech blogger can come up with some better ideas.
One commentator, a former industry analyst, is often on the wrong side of the argument. He has variously embraced and then rejected Macs, iPhones, and iPads. It seems he’ll work with them for a while, encounter some real or imagined bug, and then move on to the competition. While nobody expects perfection, you often think his reasons for jumping ship over and over again are simply made up. Sometimes what he believes to be the benefits of the competing platform he adopts next are also made up.
So, the other day, he was telling us how text display under Windows 7 is so much better than on the Mac. While Apple and Microsoft have different ways of rendering text, achieving different results, I fail to see that one method is necessarily demonstrably better than the other, although the anti-aliased look under OS X is usually more readable for me.
What concerned me, however, is the commentator’s complaints about constant crashes and some other oddities after installing Lion. Certainly he’s been at the game long enough to know that point-zero releases are perennially buggy. But one of his issues, erratic Wi-Fi performance, appears to have been improved with the Mac OS 10.7.1 update. But his particular problem, signal strength being reduced to a third of its former level, seems more of a router or Mac hardware problem than the OS. At least he could have waited for another one or two maintenance updates before bailing. But that’s just me.
Just recently, the commentator adopted a note-book using the Google Chrome OS. Now understand that a computer running Chrome is a limited function device that runs everything through the Chrome browser. That forces you to remain online, and you are largely restricted to what Google offers you for documents, email, and so on and so forth. It’s not as if you can just install the apps you want, unless they, too, work in the browser.
The alleged advantages to this scheme are instant start and shut down, plus the snappy performance you expect from an OS that has very little to do. I’m not even sure if you can print with the thing; you are forever tethered to the cloud.
Well, sure enough, the commentator ultimately decided that a Chrome-book wasn’t for him, and thus he will return to a more conventional note-book, probably running Windows 7 unless or until he decides he can’t stand Microsoft’s OS for some real or imagined offense, and returns to a Mac.
Understand that Chrome-books haven’t set the computing world afire, and the same is true for Google TV, which sort of married the failed WebTV concept with a TV set top box similar in function to an Apple TV. Indeed, Logitech struck out when they released the overpriced and underpowered Revue, a Google TV gadget. It cost the company millions, and they ultimately cut the price substantially to fire sale levels in a desperate bid to improve sales.
Oh yes, the commentator in question loved the Revue too. Or maybe he just has a knack for being on the wrong side of history. But, as I said, he’s entitled to his opinion, and I wish him the best.