Strange Microsoft Commercials

I wrote recently of the new Microsoft ad featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates having a rambling discussion about everything except actual Microsoft products (including edible computers). After only two weeks of airing the commercial has been pulled however not because of its bewildering nature. Microsoft top dogs say that this was part of the original plan. Now Microsoft has begun running a direct retaliation to Apple’s Mac vs. PC campaign. The commercial begins with an actual Microsoft employee dressed as the “PC” (as portrayed by John Hodgman in the Apple ads) who proclaims “I am a PC and I have been made into a stereotype.” The ad then begins to show different folks, from Microsoft employees to celebrities, who use Windows.

Microsoft has stated that the Seinfeld spot as well as this new advertisement are simply the beginnings of an overall story arc despite the fact that they may seem unrelated. The short-term purpose of the new spot is to state that PC users are nothing like the stereotype that the Apple ads have made them out to be.

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My response to this last statement would be “no, but their computers are.” PC and Mac (portrayed by Hodgman and Justin Long, respectively) are not meant to represent users but products and, by extension, the companies who make them. Indeed there are many different types of personal computer users who come from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of tasks they want to accomplish on their computers. There are business-owners and artists, accountants and designers, marketing execs and musicians. The point of the “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ads is to say “whatever your purpose for your computer, why would you ever use a product that limits what you can achieve? Why would you pay money for a product which is nowhere near diverse enough to meet all of the computing needs you may have?” Their purpose is not to say “if you use a Windows machine then you must wear a beige suit and act dorky.” Or that “you must be a suit-wearing, breifcase-totin’ IBM type.” The ads are using anthropromorphism, not stereotypes.


I Never Win Anything…Sort Of

Have you ever known someone who always has things go his way? More specifically, have you ever known someone who always wins stuff. He may just casually buy a $1 raffle ticket or fill out a contest form on a whim at the fair. And lo and behold the guy always wins! Well I am at the other end of that spectrum because I never win anything. I have entered my fair share of contests, drawings, raffles and such and I have never won. But last week something changed for me. [Read more…]

Strange Song, Cool Video

This is a music video for the song “Again & Again” by The Birds and The Bees (I never heard of them either) that was made completely on a Mac. What I mean is all of the effects and camera shots were created using applications that come natively on a Mac. It obviously took a lot of time to make this. I am impressed (though only with the video; the song just ain’t my style).

Josh H.

Computer TV

As Lyndsay mentioned in a recent post of hers, we have successfully connected our Macbook laptop to our high-definition LCD television. It all started when we found out that our Skyangel satellite service was changing dramatically. So we had to figure out something different. [Read more…]

Using GIMP Image Editing With Leopard

I just love the Open Source community. Not only are there tons of great free applications out there but also there are so many folks who have figured out different tips and tricks for using and customizing those apps.

Here’s a case-in-point from a recent experience of mine. When I was still running Mac OS X Panther on my Mac Mini, I needed to be able to edit and create new images for the different stuff I do here at The Smoak House. My editor of choice (since I could not afford Photoshop) was GIMP. It is an open source (i.e. free) image editor that is very much like Photoshop. It has suited me well. But alas, all good things must come to an end. When I and thousands of other Mac users upgraded to Mac OS X Leopard in 2007 many of us were shocked and dismayed that GIMP does not run on Leopard. And to this day it still does not.

GIMP for Leopard

I began to seek out other Photoshop alternatives but none of the other free ones could touch GIMP much less Photoshop. I had resolved myself to the fact that I would be stuck buying something. I tried out Iris by NoLobe, which is not out yet because it is still in beta. But I could try out the beta version of it and even pre-order the real version for only $39. But after using Iris for a while it is clear that it is not what I am looking for. So I decided to search around on the internet to see if there was any news that GIMP might be soon coming to Leopard. Enter Wilber Loves Apple. WLA is an open source group that has developed a Leopard-compatible build of GIMP. I was so pleased to find out about this website. And not only do they offer their improvements to GIMP but their forums are full of tips and video tutorials that will help folks like me learn GIMP even better (because right now I can only do basic stuff when it comes to image editing).

The open source community has come through for me again and I am eager to get back to creating images to use on my website. My hearty thanks to Wilber Loves Apple.

Josh H.

Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag

As I mentioned before Lyndsay made a bag for my Macbook. She saved about $30-$40 by making it herself by going shopping at Goodwill on various occasions and found all of the materials she needed to do the job. She made it into messenger bag which was the style I wanted. She put three pockets under the flap: a large one on the right to hold my iPod earphones, a middle one that my iPod slides nicely into and a left one for whatever else I may need to carry. Then on the backside she made a great hidden zippable pocket to hold my laptop’s power supply. [Read more…]

Totally Sold Out in the Digital Age (Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Computer)

So I have my new Macbook and I have been in the process of setting up my home network so that my two Macs (Macbook and Mac Mini) can communicate and share files. This has been somewhat tricky since information about setting up the correct sharing accounts is scarce. But for those who may have tried this and are having trouble, I found a great article that explains the different types of accounts you can create on a Mac, including Sharing Accounts, and it is what helped me.

Anyway, today at work I was thinking about what other things I needed to configure in order to get my network to operate the way I wanted. So I decided to make some notes so that I could refer to them when I was at home and actually working on it. So I began and was thinking of the user names and passwords I would need to configure. Then I needed to use the word “privileges”. [Read more…]

No Mac Love on Valentine’s Day

Unfortunately Apple did not come through for me. The Macbook will not arrive until tomorrow at which time I will be out of town and far out of its reach.

But don’t cry for me. Life will go on. It’s only a few days. In a few days I will be back home. Home. I’ll come home, and I’ll think of some way to use my Mac. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Josh H.


Macbook En Route

The day has finally come! Back in August 2007 I decided to start saving for an Apple Macbook laptop. At the time my goal was to purchase a Macbook by April 2008 using only income earned from blogging. I was on track and doing well in obtaining this goal until my blogging income began to slow rapidly (mostly due to writer’s block). So I edited my goal and decided that I would purchase a Macbook by April 2008 using any income that is not a part of my regular income (i.e. paycheck). This was because I did not want it to become any kind of burden on my wife and I or our ability to pay our regular bills, utilities, etc. (in other words, I was trying to be a good steward).

Well, thanks to some great blogging opportunites, some generosity on my father’s part, the selling of a guitar I no longer played, and a wonderfully hefty bonus from my employer, I now have raised the funds necessary for the purchase a little over a month ahead of schedule. At approximately 8:15am on the morning of February 12, my wife Lyndsay placed the order for our new Macbook. And let me tell you, just ordering the thing has been an adventure. [Read more…]

iMac Envy: Cops Make Bad Geeks

The operator and author of the blog Rotten in Denmark reported recently of his dealings with local police who came to his home in order to confiscate his roommate’s computer. You see, the roommate’s machine came under the authorities’ radar while investigating the case of a stolen credit card number that occurred because of an open, unsecured wireless network. The blogger let the cops in and told them help themselves, the computer is on the desk.iMac G3

The cops began searching under the desk and then finally questioned the blogger asking “where’s the computer?” He told them it was there on the desk. “No, that’s the screen. Where’s the computer, where the data goes?”, was the reply. The confusion came about due to the fact that the computer in question was a first generation Apple iMac G3. The iMac is a computer that looks merely like a monitor because all of the computer components on inside the monitor—the hard drive, CD/DVD drive, the memory, everything.

A hilarious interchange took place in which the blogger was trying to explain to the cop that what he was looking at there on the desk was the whole computer. The baffled cop repeatedly responded stating that was only the screen and that he needed the computer. Finally the cops began to understand. The guts of the computer really were all inside that one unit. The officer then concluded with “New technology, huh?” The interesting thing is that particular version of the iMac came out in 1998.

He would have probably never convinced the officer had the iMac been the current version.

Josh H.