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Steve Bogart

News, Pointers & Commentary: June 15-30 1997

30 June 1997  
New Scribble: Outlook for the MacOS?

Here's a tasty tidbit: the monthly Ziff-Davis magazine PC Computing has a handy guide to NT LIES: The Top Ten Lies about Windows NT. Wait, you mean Microsoft's been misleading in its product positioning? Surely you can't be serious...

Speaking of Microsoft's distortions, how about this one (courtesy of Windows Magazine): Office 97 Sales Don't Necessarily Add Up. Seems Microsoft's sold 10 million licenses to Office 97 but many companies are using them to run Office 95. Hmm. Maybe Office 97 is oh, I don't know, NOT that compelling an upgrade? I still use Office 95 on my work PC (except for Outlook 97) and don't plan to upgrade until I absolutely have to for compatibility with other users.

Webmaster salaries are up according to Network Computing: see their article What Webmasters Earn. A quote:

"According to Network Computing's first annual Web/Intranet Managers' Salary and Career Survey, Web/intranet managers will earn an average of $60,100 this year. (Median salary-or midpoint in the range-is $59,800.)"
Funny, that's not what I'm getting...
Maybe if I got out of the nonprofit sector...
26 June 1997  
Well! Today's something of a Hallelujah day, with some major bright spots:

First, the really big one: the "Communications Decency Act" has been struck down by the Supreme Court. For all the links and enthusiasm you can handle, stop by Dave Winer's Scripting News page.

Second, a light bulb has come on over Apple's head: Apple is finally ditching BBDO, their less-than-stellar advertising agency. Advertising Age has the story: Apple to review $100 million account.

After reading that, consider this: doesn't BBDO seem intent on looking like the injured party here? News flash, folks: Apple's marketing has been LAME for many years now, which has allowed Microsoft to trumpet various "advances" as though they were home-grown in Redmond, Washington. (Look, long file names! Oooh...hey, thanks, Bill!)

Doesn't the advertising agency bear the primary responsibility for the poor marketing of Apple's products and, by extension, the widespread belief that Apple is a hopeless has-been? BBDO failed, repeatedly and consistently, to present Apple well; take the loss of the contract as an indication of that. Don't whine about how you stuck by them and are now getting the shaft.

End of rant.

It's a good sign that Apple's looking around for a better ad agency; they could use one.

23 June 1997  
Hey PC Week! Thanks! Here's a follow-up to my latest Scribble: there will be a correction to PC Week's misattribution of the FireWire technology to Microsoft. See Mark Moore's response to MacInsider (which, I have to say, was awfully gracious compared to how some journalists react) for details.

I can't honestly take ANY credit for this; there were plenty of sites pointing it out. I'm just glad it'll be corrected.

20 June 1997  
Panic in the streets! Hey, have you seen in the (awestruck whisper) New York Times that Steve Jobs is about to (oh dear) sell all his Apple stock except for one share? Hide the kids and bar the door, folks! This is horrible news for Apple!

Wait a minute, didn't we hear the exact same story two weeks ago? Uh, yes, actually.

Has something new happened? Well, no.

Has he actually sold his stock? Um, uh, no, not yet.

See Macworld's column: Apple's, Jobs's Stock Follies: Apple events blown out of proportion...again for another sadly-necessary reality check on this story that won't die.

18 June 1997  
a new Scribble (finally!): Hey PC Week! Somehow Microsoft and Apple have been confused with each other again...

Apple's advertising needs an overhaul: For a long time, Apple's customers have been carrying its message without meaningful help from the mother ship. Word-of-mouth is great but insufficient when trying to maintain a market presence. Apple's failure to market itself well is legendary; the failures outnumber the successes by an impressive margin. Well, the Mac users are getting tired of this particular status quo, and are starting to make some noise...

Check out an editorial from thessaSOURCE called Hey, Apple! Where Are You? and the extensive Reader Reaction page. Very interesting stuff, especially the assertion by a reader that Apple board member Mike Markkula owns a big stake in BBDO (the company which has been behind Apple's lame marketing for years) and therefore Apple won't switch agencies despite BBDO's atrocious track record for them. Come on folks, would you buy a clue?

17 June 1997  
Design change: As you may have noticed (IF you have a browser that shows background colors in table cells), each day's header is now a colorful bar, the idea and format for which I assembled from a couple of places ("MacInsider" and O'Grady's PowerPage are the ones I'm consciously aware of). Hope you like it; I'm quite fond of it.

This seems like an appropriate time to mention again the great help that UserLand's Frontier is in helping me maintain this site. Without it, I would not have even bothered to try making each day's header look better; with it, I just wrote a macro which accepts month, day and year as parameters and spits out the appropriate HTML to make the colored table AND the anchor link. For instance, at the top of this day's text I only had to write {day("June","17","1997")}, and at the bottom of the day I just put {dayend()}. The code for the tables get created automatically with no chance for me to screw up and put in a typo.

That's cool enough right there, and that's enough reason to use Frontier to make the pages, but the real beauty is this: as soon as I decide on a better color scheme or even if I want to format the day some other way entirely, I just have to change the macro, once, and tell Frontier to re-render my site. The change will then propagate throughout my entire site without me having to type another keystroke.

That's labor-saving software. That's why I use Frontier.

16 June 1997  
There are still conflicting reports about whether the Netscape bug affects non-Windows platforms, but the majority seem to think it does.

Today is unhappy user day on the web:

To Fix PCs, Start Over by an unnamed author (what's up with that?) is a properly annoyed rant against the difficulty of keeping Wintel machines happy (not that the Mac side has eliminated complexity, but Macs ARE generally less troublesome).

Today's must-read gem, along much the same lines, is David Coursey's Pardon Me While I Vent from Computerworld magazine. A couple of choice excerpts:

"Everything Microsoft does is supposed to be easier to use, but it never quite is."
"Yes, I love Office 97, but did I really need it? Especially with the RTF file format/ interoperability problem that won't be fixed until the 'service' release this summer? I feel like I've been serviced, all right."

I ask again, as I do so very often: why do people sit still for this? Why do we keep buying garbage from Microsoft that doesn't work as advertised? How long will it be until people start looking for alternatives again? The alternatives are there.

"Because everyone else uses Microsoft Office" is NOT an acceptable answer.

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