Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Steve Jobs

As probably anyone who lives on the Earth's surface knows, Steve Jobs died earlier this month. (I don't need a link for that, do I?) I don't know much about Steve Jobs, but I do love the Mac. When I am using a Mac, I feel as if I am driving a car. And when I am using a computer running Windows, I feel as if I am driving a vehicle made up of most of the major components of a car salvaged from a junkyard and bolted together into something approximating a car. (This does raise the question of whether the Mac's advantages are primarily functional or simply psychological.)

Despite all this, if I had to choose between investing in Apple or Microsoft, I would have to pick Microsoft. In order to make money, Apple has to produce a constant stream of innovative products that transform the market. But this can't last forever. Either Apple will run out of ideas, or the public will stop caring. One day the average consumer will decide that he already has an iPhone, an iPod, and an iPad, and doesn't need an iPipe, an iPump, or a drink of iPop. (Steve Jobs is presumably also responsible for the trend of putting the letter "i" in front of words, a trend which has now gotten dangerously out of control, or rather, iControl.) In contrast, Microsoft makes products that are not innovative, and in fact generally considered barely adequate–but it makes money on them. To make another silly comparison, Apple is a four-star gourmet restaurant (or three stars, or five stars, or whatever the maximum starrage is), and Microsoft is McDonald's. In twenty years, the four-star gourmet restaurant will have lost its luster and gone out of business, and McDonald's will still be McDonald's.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Past and the Future and Going Back and Movies

I can't help noticing that a new version of the Eighties movie Footloose is coming out this week. I'm not too interested, because, as far as I can remember, the original Footloose was pretty lametastic. But I am pleasantly reminded of the promise from producers Bob Gale and Bob Zemeckis that there will never be a re-make of a truly great Eighties film, Back to the Future.

Back to the Future is a movie that could have only been made in the Eighties, because it wouldn't have worked without the upbeat optimism of that decade.

If Back to the Future had been made in the Nineties, Marty McFly wouldn't have traveled back to the Fifties. Instead, he would have hung out with his slacker friends, gotten stoned, and talked about traveling back to the Fifties.

And if Back to the Future were to be made today, Marty McFly also wouldn't travel back to the Fifties. Instead, he would stand on the roof of the gull-winged DeLorean with Doc Brown singing duets of Lady Gaga songs while the other characters perform choreographed dance moves in the background.