A CNET Follow-up

by Alan Graham

In a recent blog entry, I rightly took CNET to task for a commentary piece that I found biased and disrespectful, with no basis in fact. Since that piece, I've received countless emails and there have been hundreds of postings in support of my stance. In addition, a number of publications and blogs have also linked to the entry. And while I'm pleased with the reception of the piece, in some cases I feel my message was clouded, so I wanted to take a moment to clarify a few things so that I'm not misunderstood.

The Message

Some folks have wrongly hijacked my message as one of a CNET bashing, Mac vs. PC standpoint. While I love my Macs and many Apple products, that couldn't be further from my intention. I have no personal malice towards CNET and I do in fact read them daily. I would have taken the same stance against anyone who published a similar piece. While I prefer to work on the Mac platform (I still work with Windows regularly), I stopped caring about the Mac/Windows debate years ago. The whole topic is as contentious as religion or politics, and you simply cannot win any argument based on personal preference, which is the crux of the entire argument. The Mac faithful (who some wrongly call fanatics), are no better or worse than some of the Linux, Windows, or even Amiga supporters I've met over the years.

Apple makes good products, but they don't just sell products, they sell a lifestyle. When you criticize Apple unfairly, you're criticizing another person's way of life, which is why some Mac users get very angry. And yes, Microsoft gets a lot of criticism as well, some deservedly so, some not. While I'm often critical about Microsoft, I've also been critical of Apple. But to take Apple to task for promoting something that was not only a remarkable project (the Virginia Tech supercomputer cluster), but a project where 90% of the sweat and brilliance came from Virginia Tech, is just poor taste. Their critique, while directed towards Apple, really was an insult to Virginia Tech, which I found disrespectful.

However, while my intention was not to start an anger fest towards another publication (I'd prefer to have a constructive discussion), I absolutely understand the emotions expressed by some in the ORN Talk Back, since I have had similar feelings.

So, Is CNET Biased?

One of the repeating themes in many of the responses I read had to do with the agreement of CNET being biased against Apple computer. Although some of the comparisons and opinions expressed about CNET were not entirely deserved, some of it was. I mean comparing CNET to Fox News, folks that's just mean! However, my remark that CNET was biased obviously tapped a vein which sparked some deep seeded vitriol from Apple fans. When I took CNET to task for their commentary, and made the statement that they had a biased anti-Mac stance, some people rightly asked that I back that statement up. So I will.

First of all, in the piece I took issue with, there was no byline. In such cases, it typically means that it is the view of the editorial staff of a publication, which I don't really believe to be the case here. It could be an oversight I could easily forgive, but then again, in a recent commentary by Charles Cooper entitled "Forget Macworld. Think Macsnore," the contempt in the piece is so obvious, that when you see it comes from the Executive Editor of CNET news, what conclusion can you draw other than they have a particular slant against Apple? This isn't the guy who mops the floors folks, this is the Executive Editor.

I want to be fair to Mr. Cooper and I don't want to twist his message, so let's take a look at some key elements from his commentary in his own words and please read the entire piece yourself:

"Of course, the bore-athon was of little consequence to the worshipful audience of Macheads who gathered in San Francisco this week. They were there to ooh and ahh and issue sneering contempt for the uninitiated baboons inhabiting the wider world of "Win-doze"--and that's what they did. With Jobs whipping the crowd into a revivalist froth, it was all very good fun for one and all.

Just one problem: This turned out to be the most forgettable Apple love-in it's been my agony to endure."

So Mr. Cooper, how is it I can take you or your publication seriously when you berate me and millions of Mac users in the world with your particular disdain? I mean really, whose the elitist here? What was the last computing innovation you created? I can hardly bear to read on with any objectivity to your message since your slant is so poisoned with disgust for Macheads (a moniker I have never used). While I personally wouldn't sully my desk with a Windows machine (if I didn't require one for my work), I have no contempt or disrespect for Windows users. Most Windows users I know I hold in high regard and respect, even though their personal computing tastes would not be my own choice. And heck, all of my clients use thousands of Windows machines and I certainly respect them.

But you're not done with us Macheads yet...no sir...

"The headliner of the show was a runt version of its popular iPod."

Runt? Of all the words you could use in the vernacular (smaller, scaled down), you chose runt?

And while us Macheads are already frothing at the mouth, here's the part of his commentary where my jaw literally drops:

"That and a Castro-like peroration that dragged on forever."

Try to get past the unbelievably showy use of "peroration," and focus on the words just before that. Castro-like? Let me get this straight...you're actually comparing Steve Jobs, a man I highly respect, to the ruthless dictator, terrorist, and killer in Cuba, Fidel Castro? That's like comparing Steve Ballmer's monkey dance and other unusual performances to Adolph Hitler. I mean yeah, it scared me and it was a little strange, but I would never EVER compare his gait to that of a murderous tyrant. I mean I'm shocked. Is it possible that I am misinterpreting this as the wrong Castro? Maybe Billy Bob Castro, or Cindy Lou Castro, or the Castro district of San Francisco? Please tell me I got this wrong (I really want to be wrong), otherwise, for that statement alone, you should personally apologize to Steve Jobs.

But we're not done yet, no sir...

"In the absence of any truly big product announcements or hardware updates, the audience was instead treated to vintage spin. Jobs is so good at this that they should reserve a special spot for him in the Marketing Hall of Fame."


"No G5 PowerBooks. No improvements in processor speeds. No updates to the iBook. Nada. Just an overpriced iPod Mini with 4 gigabytes of storage that compares poorly with the 15GB digital jukebox Dell is offering for $224."

First of all, the iBook was just updated in late October of 2003, just two months prior to Macworld, so an update was very unlikely. Secondly, if I remember correctly (and I do), Steve Jobs announced that updated G5 processors (around 3Ghz) could be expected by Summer of 2004, and he made that announcement when he revealed the G5 last year. So we knew not to expect any announcement on this front either.

Apple does not reserve Macworld for every major product release. If you were to draw the inference from Mr. Cooper, you would be led to believe that Apple only makes major product announcements during Macworld.

Let's see if Mr. Cooper is correct in his assessment by looking at some Apple product announcements throughout all of 2003:

Apple Introduces 20-inch iMac

Apple Introduces New Dual Processor 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5

Apple Unveils New Generation G4 iBooks Starting at Just $1,099

Apple Launches iTunes for Windows

Apple and Pepsi to Give Away 100 Million Free Songs

Apple Announces Mac OS X “Panther”

Apple Announces Mac OS X Server “Panther”

Apple Introduces New 15-inch PowerBook

Apple Introduces Wireless Keyboard & Mouse

Apple Introduces New 20GB and 40GB iPods

Apple Announces Faster iMacs

Apple Releases DVD Studio Pro 2

Apple Introduces Soundtrack as Standalone Product

Apple Unleashes the Power Mac G5

Apple Introduces iChat AV and iSight

Apple Releases Safari 1.0

Apple Introduces Xcode, the Fastest Way to Create Mac OS X Applications

Apple Announces QuickTime 6.3 with Support for 3GPP

Apple Unveils New eMac Family

Apple Launches the iTunes Music Store

Apple Introduces New iPods

Apple Announces Final Cut Pro 4

Apple Announces DVD Studio Pro 2

Apple Announces Shake 3

Apple Introduces Xserve RAID Storage System With Breakthrough Performance and Pricing

Apple Unveils World's First 17-inch Notebook

Apple Introduces Its Smallest Notebook Ever

Apple Unveils Safari

Apple Unveils Keynote

Apple Introduces iLife

Apple Delivers AirPort Extreme 802.11g Wireless Networking

Apple Unveils Final Cut Express

Apple Introduces X11 for Mac OS X

Apple Releases iCal 1.0.1 and iSync 1.0

Goodness, what a dull year that was. I assume we have nothing more to look forward to until the 2005 Macworld. Whatever shall I write about?

And finally...since I just can't take it anymore, we end with this gem:

"That leaves Apple's future still riding on the Mac. If there's going to be a Macworld in 2024 worth attending, Jobs needs to come up with something a lot better.

Are you serious? I mean really? Do you see the extinction of personal computing in the next 5 years? 10? 20? This is like saying if Dell doesn't come up with something better than the PC in a few years, the company is doomed.

Of course the future of Apple relies on the Mac. Let me clue you in on something you may not be aware of, Mr. Cooper...Apple makes computers. That's why they are called Apple Computer. The computer they make happens to be the Macintosh. And of course Apple will continue to innovate and release new products that are tied to their computing platform for many years to come. So, I certainly hope to see more Macs in my future. The moment I see an iFridge, I'm selling my stock.

So What Is My Message?

If there is anything I want people to take from these two blog entries, it is that this type of journalism is not only irresponsible, it is worthless. Sure, I respect the right for a commentator to voice his opinions, but please write something that has some actual insight into the topic it covers. Otherwise it has zero credibility, and it is biased and not balanced.

While I don't want to be the poster boy for the Mac/Windows debate, I do understand the feelings of Mac users, because I am one. And when you imply that we are mindless, sneering imbeciles, quickly bemused by the spin of our master, Steve Jobs, you not only insult Macheads, you insult your publication. I do not enjoy writing pieces like this one, and I absolutely do not enjoy raking another writer over the coals, but be sure that in the future, if you write garbage, I'm gonna take it to the curb.

*On a Personal Note: I want to thank Dan Farber, VP of Editorial, at CNET for writing a very nice unsolicited email to me expressing that they received a number of comments referencing the initial piece I wrote and telling me he was forwarding it to those who wrote it. We had a very nice conversation and he educated me to the fact that he has written some well balanced pieces regarding Apple, and indeed I found this to be true. Thanks Dan!

And BTW, if you're looking for another piece that was a well written alternative to the one Charles Cooper penned, look no further.

Let's please be constructive...


2004-01-19 06:29:29
Someone's hero is someone else's villain
Is it OK to call Mr Castro all kinds of things? I am sure you do not think him pleasant. I also understand that it is C-net that starts this off, but plenty people think the USA only keeps the boycot on because of the Miami vote.

O'reilly is read internationally, such vitriolic statements have nothing to do with O'reilly and are a distraction at best. Who is without sin throw the first stone..

2004-01-19 07:04:21
Someone's hero is someone else's villain
Whoa...while I don't think Cubans should be punished for the sins of a tyrant, Castro's new found "makeover" and PR push doesn't change the fact that he is considered by many a tyrant. In the early 90's, the Soviet evening press had all but labelled Castro as a Stalinist. Moscow News even mocked him. Why not go to Miami and talk to the Cuban exiles and former political prisoners of the Castro regime.

But more importantly...this is not a discussion about Fidel Castro...this isn't a political debate...and I didn't make the original comparison. This is about comparing Steve Jobs to a man who is considered by many to be a horrible dictator. No matter what your political view, the comparison is inappropriate. Let's keep this from turning into a debate over politics and stick with technology.
2004-01-19 07:32:02
Ignoring politics for a moment, Castro is famous for his long speeches - he's listed in the Guinness book of records for the longest speech to the UN (4 hours 29 mins) and has reportedly given speeches that are regularly over 3 hours and sometimes over 7 hours. Although the author is clearly not paying Jobs a complement, I think that you're reading too much into this.

2004-01-19 07:33:25
Let's keep this above the board...
I really don't want this to degrade into bashing CNET...because what I'm really tired of is the constant coverage where journalists inject their personal prejudice into pieces that aren't really discussing the technology, but actually insulting the users. When you are in a position, like Mr. Cooper, you should keep your comments respectful of the users...even if you dislike the offerings of the vendor.
2004-01-19 07:35:11
Agreed on te second paragraph
* It is distasteful to compare Mr Jobs to Mr Castro.
* Please keep politics out.

The first paragraph does not help, I do not go to Miami (that is politics) I do not judge Mr Castro (that is politics). If I HAVE to judge Mr Castro then it would also be necessary to look into how American politics aggravates things (that is politics). I do not feel a need but that brings politics to O'Reilly.

2004-01-19 07:38:59
I'm not reading into the idea that the writer is comparing Steve Jobs as a person to Castro as a person, but I am saying that the use of Castro as a reference to taking a long time to speak is poor taste. There are others you could draw the same comparison to...and while we all get that he is not paying Jobs a compliment...if a political figure in the United States had compared another political figure to Castro...I think there would be a huge uproar.
2004-01-19 08:15:02
No product announcements?
What about the G5 XServer and improved XServe RAID? I thought that was pretty important!
2004-01-19 08:38:49
CNET and Mac-bashing
If I remember correctly, isn't INTEL a large investor in CNET? They used to mention that in their pieces. Either this Mr. Cooper did this to inflame the passions of Macheads (like me) or he is an arrogant three letter abbreviation pertaining to descendancy from a female, non-human animal species. (My apologies to canines all across America.) Macworld is no longer the sole conduit for the release of new Apple product. Cooper knows this. Besides, he's wrong on all counts. Steve Jobs is one of the sharpest, most intelligent CEOs on the planet. He actually KNOWS his products, and he has the talent to present them in an intersting and appealing way. Mr. Cooper, on the other hand. is, in all likelihood, almost completely devoid of anything resembling talent...of any kind. Apple is not perfect. It isn't...for me...a religion. It's just a company that makes an amazing array of unique, wonderful products that I love passionately. Microsoft is a corporation bent on destroying competition and choice, and making hideous amounts of money doing it. For me, it is clear that most of what Apple does benefits me, and most of what Microsoft does benefits Microsoft. If Mr. Cooper had any integrity, he'd be directing his disdain at an entity infinitely more deserving of his contempt. As it is, his deficiencies bring only discredit upon himself and his publication.
2004-01-19 10:11:35
No product announcements?
I will say this... this is the first Macworld where those in the *REAL* IT industry stood up and took notice over the new xServes and the Storage. We are a ~500 image *NIX shop (no Apple) and upper management is actually asking for feedback on more information on the new datacenter products from Apple.

Macsnore indeed.. the industry isn't just about mp3 players and hobbyists.

2004-01-19 10:12:17
Taking it to the curb
Alan might not want to be the poster boy of c|Net bashing, but I do hope he's willing to carry the mantle of Fighting Outrageously Stupid Anti-Mac Articles(tm). Because there's already enough bullstuff on the internet without uninformed writers adding to the pile, and Alan has IMO proven himself highly capable of knocking down the naysayers with facts and eloquence.

You go, Alan!

2004-01-19 12:02:03
Go Get Em!
I think what happens is that these commentators desperately want people to read their columns, so they "stoke the coals" with inflammatory comments.

I like the way you (Alan) took them to task.

And I predict that if Apple continues to bring out good enterprise products, prices and support, they'll be a leading player.


2004-01-19 13:06:39
From a 9 Yr Mac User
I've read CNET ever since they first came to life. And, I've always sensed a negative slant about Apple. On the other hand, when something about Dell or MS appears, the article minimizes any negative and accentuates the positive.

I've always been disappointed by CNET's bias as it's hard enough to bear in the political media, let alone the technology meida where one would think objective reporting would prevail.

Anyway, I'm glad CNET was taken to task. Cheers.

2004-01-19 13:30:57
Cnet Bias
I suspect that Cnet's bias resides in a bad case of penis envy, they are resentful of the fact that most of the wintel world doesn't have the balls to try new things and thats Apples middle name, also the fact that they get so carried away with Apple bashing that they frequently step on their own cranks and the extreme pain causes them to blame Apple. Life's a B when you have to use windows. Elect Steve and the Woz.

Thomas Carley former Mac mechanic for Apple.

2004-01-19 13:52:07
Murderous Tyrants??
Nice rebuttal overall, but...Castro, "a murderous tyrant"? Canada has maintained good relations with Cuba for many years; we, like most of the world, don't buy into American hysteria over this tiny island-nation. If you're going to refute crazy CNET propaganda, there's no point in damaging your argument with propaganda of your own.

BTW...have you noticed what your president is doing in your good name?? The sooner you get rid of him, the sooner you can make claims about other murderous tyrants.

2004-01-19 14:09:28
Apple Bias
Bashing Apple by the media is likenened to the media bashing Republicans. They can do no good and if they do its never enough, since Apple or the Republican party is not their choice. Bias?? Of course not.....
2004-01-19 14:35:54
Loved your Message
And I am really happy that you have written such a fine peace of work.

However, as a fellow Canadian has pointed out, the comments about Castro go a little far.

1. If as you say, he is a terrorist why have you not gone after him? I mean he is the longest world leader and 90 miles from the US does not seem like such a distance, so best to call him a revolutionary and not a terrorist, cause if the US is doing a war on terrorism and NOT going after Castro they are doing a lousy job at it.

2. Doing the Castro, Hitler dance is indeed very belittling and actually archaic. Stick to the modern day terrorists, like Saddam, Bin Laddin and Bush. These are easily identifiable terrorists which have become apparent in recent times.

3. For all the terrorist activities that Castro does (love to see the list by the way) he provides one service that is hard to find anywhere else on the planet. As a Canadian, I can go to Cuba and enjoy a holiday with people from around the world and NO US citizens. Having someone do terrorist activities is such a small price to pay for such incredible freedom from the suffocation of US tourist (which from an uninformed source ranks them as the # 1 most hated tourist of the world).

See where I am leading to? You wrote an excellent article on defending the VT supercomputer. You did a good job on pulling apart another CNET piece that does show bias.

Terrorism can be a subjective thing. A leader who presents misinformation to the world, walks away from the democratic process of the UN, shows total disrespect for the Geneva convention by filming and distributing dead people is considered by myself and many others a terrorist act.

So tread carefully on terrorism, cause right now the free world is very very unimpressed with a certain terrorist called George W. Bush.

Just my opinion of course, this could all be lies.

Have a great day, drop by sometime I will buy you a box of Cuban cigars.

2004-01-19 15:19:59
Murderous Tyrants??
First of all....NEVER draw a comparison between our president and ALL americans. The president is NOT doing anything in my good name, and while I know Castro is a terrible man, you did NOT hear me blanket all Cubans with the stain of Castro's crimes against humanity.

Second...my claims against Castro can be documented with a simple visit to Amnesty International, the Library of Congress, etc. etc. There are thousands of documented cases of his atrocities and thousands of refugees who come to this country to escape his regime.

I'm very happy that you've had great relations with Cuba. Kudos. I'm sure you would be insulted if I said that your relations with Cuba only helped to prop up a dictator who is harmful to millions of people. I don't believe that...but based on your argument...I could pose it.

2004-01-19 15:49:17
Thanks for writing this follow-up and being specific in the process. It's easy for people or organizations like CNET to make bitchy blanket criticisms and shoddy journalistic metaphors.


Ron Severdia

2004-01-19 16:08:18
CNET is getting tiresome
I used to get a substantial amount of my news from CNET, particularly news.com. From 98 through 2002, it was a daily read. However, their stuff now is stale and uninsightful. I bet news.com is gone before the Mac is!
2004-01-19 16:08:36
Loved your Message
However, as a fellow Canadian has pointed out, the comments about Castro go a little far.

Do they? Let's look at your argument a little shall we?

1. If as you say, he is a terrorist why have you not gone after him? I mean he is the longest world leader and 90 miles from the US does not seem like such a distance, so best to call him a revolutionary and not a terrorist, cause if the US is doing a war on terrorism and NOT going after Castro they are doing a lousy job at it.

I see...a revolutionary. I love how people like to romanticize his leadership. He imprisons, tortures, and kills people that don't agree with him...all documented with many non-biased organizations around the world. Viva la revolucion!

He's a tough ol' bird I'll give him that. After the Bay of Pigs incident, which was a total humiliation for the United States, most Americans had no desire to go back. Most people believed that Castro would never survive the trade embargo imposed on Cuba. It would be very easy to eliminate Castro, but I believe the policy of the United States is to wait him out. By the way...don't say "why have you not gone after him," as if I had anything I could actually do about it, other than what I am doing.

2. Doing the Castro, Hitler dance is indeed very belittling and actually archaic. Stick to the modern day terrorists, like Saddam, Bin Laddin and Bush. These are easily identifiable terrorists which have become apparent in recent times.

Are you serious? Are you telling me that the greatest mass murdered in the last hundred years...is archaic? I mean really...are you making that point? I think your statement is ridiculous and intended so that you can slip the clever insult against Bush. I don't support Bush...didn't vote for him...disagree with ALL of his policies...but I would NEVER put him in the same category as Saddam. The analogy is waaay off the boards. Hitler will never be archaic.

3. For all the terrorist activities that Castro does (love to see the list by the way) he provides one service that is hard to find anywhere else on the planet. As a Canadian, I can go to Cuba and enjoy a holiday with people from around the world and NO US citizens. Having someone do terrorist activities is such a small price to pay for such incredible freedom from the suffocation of US tourist (which from an uninformed source ranks them as the # 1 most hated tourist of the world).

Wow...hate Americans that much do you? Let me get past your anti-American arrogance for a second so I can answer you. You wanna have a political debate, you came to the wrong forum. This is about technology. Point me to a blog and I'll debate it with you. But since we're here. You want to see a list of Castro's crimes? Head on over to Amnesty International. I mean the list of crimes against humanity are very, very long.

Whoopeee...you can go to Cuba and I can't. Well good for you. Not sure that sufficiently taunts me., but whatever you gotta use. You also express quite a bit of arrogance towards Americans in your comments so far...but I will once again point out...I NEVER made ONE comment about Cubans. And his terrorist activities are apparently a small price to pay for you to enjoy Havana...but a large price to pay for the thousands of political prisoners. I'm happy you enjoy yourself there. Others aren't as lucky as you.

So tread carefully on terrorism, cause right now the free world is very very unimpressed with a certain terrorist called George W. Bush.

Um...you do realize that we have a political process where some people may support Bush and some may not. You may say what you will about our president. You are entitled to your opinion. And there is some validity to much of what the world feels about Bush...but regardless of that...what I wrote has basis in fact and is supported by many Cubans who have felt the brunt of Castro's anger. However...don't generalize or lump me in with a particular political view. You don't know me...and you don't know my political views...so don't associate me with every policy of this administration. I will afford you the same courtesy.

Have a great day, drop by sometime I will buy you a box of Cuban cigars.

I'm sure that Cubans are wonderful people...and I'll point out to you that just because their leader IS a tyrant, it doesn't reflect onto the entire population (which is the mistake you are making - as if my Castro statement somehow reflects badly on Cubans). The argument you are making would say that because Bush is a "bad" man...all Americans are bad.

So while you are feeling very pleased with yourself and your lightly disguised American bashing...I will point out to you that many here dislike the Bush Administration. But just because a Canadian leader may do something distasteful...I would not presume that all Canadians are bad.

You keep your cigars. They are tinged with the taste of human suffering.

2004-01-19 17:23:08
Loved your Message
This is only one Amnesty Internationl report; there are many, many more. Yup, sumpthin' ta look up ta, the great ol' USA.


A total of 45 prisoners were executed in 19 states. One state carried out its first execution for more than 30 years. More than 3,150 prisoners were under sentence of death in 34 states and under federal law. There were reports of deaths in custody, police shootings in disputed circumstances, and torture and ill-treatment of prisoners. Chain-gangs, which constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, continued to be used and were introduced for women for the first time. There were legal developments in the cases of prisoners who had alleged that their prosecutions were politically motivated.

2004-01-19 17:52:47
Apple Bias
"Bashing Apple by the media is likenened to the media bashing Republicans. They can do no good and if they do its never enough, since Apple or the Republican party is not their choice. Bias?? Of course not....."

This is an extremely poor comparison. The media actually rarely bashes the Republicans in excess of the Democrats. This is a myth the Republicans propagate to garner sympathy.

Most media organizations are owned and run (at least at the executive levels) by Republicans. Why would they stomach such abuse? Because there really isn't much. I guess you don't watch Fox News, CNN or MSNBC. They seem to love Republicans.

I wouldn't usually stray off topic like this, but the whole Castro thing gives me cover... ;-)

- Maclectic

2004-01-19 17:54:59
Taking it to the curb
I agree completely.

You go Alan!

- Maclectic

2004-01-19 17:59:56
CNET and Mac-bashing
I wouldn't say Mr. Cooper has no talent, but he clearly has an integrity and credibility deficit.

Also, Microsoft isn't bent on destroying choice. They just want to reduce it severely in their favor. Also, Microsoft sometimes screws up at their own game. If you really want to piss off Microsoft, cancel your digital cable and buy/use a satellite dish. Trust me, it will be a long time before Microsoft makes anything choice reducing for satellite TV. The kicked themselves out of that market. Heh heh.

- Maclectic

2004-01-19 19:12:40
Thank you
WELL SAID. I agree with it all. Especially about poor taste. I think it's a sign of moral cowardice when a journalist uses their control of a media outlet to vent their spleen. Just plain sad. And, for what it's worth, as a member of the Macintosh community, who's stood fast for years against ignorance, bias and flat-out lies, this gets old. Mr. Cooper, I honestly hope we don't meet, you won't enjoy it.
2004-01-19 19:21:01
Loved your Message
Again...Mr. Anonymous, whoever you are...this argument is weak. The United States is made up of states. Some states have no death penalty...and others have suspended it...and I'm sure that all the "civilized nations" (of which we apparently are not) have citizens who support the death penalty, even if it isn't in use. As far as our federal law is concerned...while some people support the death penalty, some do not. Currently the "yea's" outnumber the "nea's." I do not support the death penalty, but I guess since I live here I must suffer the same distain you attribute to the entire country.

I'd just like to point out a few tiny, tiny details that you may have forgotten. Millions and millions of Americans are peaceful people who always stand up for what is right and decent in the world. We've come to the aid of many nations and we've paid for that with our blood. I'd also like to point out that the evil Americans are the most generous people in the world, contributing more financial and other types of aid to the world, than any other country. Period.

Comparing the federal "death penalty" which is imposed on criminals who have been convicted of the most heinous acts, is not the same as comparing one single dictator who is personally responsible for the human rights violations of his nation. Shame on you.

No matter how you wish to sully the United States, you will never change the facts about Fidel Castro, or make anything he has done acceptable or palatable to millions of people. Again...this is not the forum for a political debate...we can do that somewhere else if you like.

2004-01-19 20:18:50
C/NET a shadow of it's former self
I remember when C/NET was a regular TV show that was always interesting to watch when it came to new things in the technology field. The TV show has long since ceased production and now all they have on air are little news shorts. I now look to TechTV and Arstechnica for all my technology news. They are much more informative and don't have a chip on their shoulder when it comes to reporting Mac news.
2004-01-19 23:22:10
Loved your Message
First of all, I am a Ugandan living in the US. I have visited Canada and have relatives there. What I don't understand is why Canadians, who more than any other country in the world, depend on USA for their lifeline are so anti American. When I take relatives visting from overseas to Canada, they think it's still USA. EVERYTHING is either American or American origin.

If USA withdrew everything American from Uganda, the country would survive. God forbid if they did this to Canada, then they would qualify as terrorists for starving Canada. In the Detroit area, the largest number of illegal aliens are Canadians!!! Yes check with the INS Detroit.

So no "US CITIZENS"? Well the Casinos in Windsor accross from Detroit are already laying off people because "US CITIZENS" can now go to the new casinos in Detroit. (Now this is not my kind of recreation, just an example). Can you imagine Canada without , Microsoft, Apple, IBM, HP, Xerox, K-Mart, Merck, GM, Chrysler, Ford, Adobe,.

I think this guy is a writer for cNet. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones, they may just boomerung back at them. Anyone who knows a little bit about the history of modern computing, ought be glad there is an Apple computer. I bet you they are using a computer with a mouse and drop down windows etc. Hello is anyone home, please turn the lights on.
Love my Mac and my host country USA (by choice, I did not choose Canada, not out of animosity though)
Sam Kawesa

2004-01-19 23:33:38
"...my remark that CNET was biased obviously tapped a vein which sparked some deep seeded vitriol from Apple fans."

Did you mean, "deep-seated"?

2004-01-20 06:19:19
Agreed on te second paragraph
My balls itch from all this.
2004-01-20 06:41:49
CNET piece
The text of the CNET article is so blatantly opinionated and vitriolic that the author undoubtedly didn't expect anyone to treat it as though it were even remotely balanced and/or fair.
The piece would have been a great deal more offensive had the author not overtly paraded his anti-Apple bias.
If he takes Apple and Jobs to task for not having any substantial hardware to unveil, to go with all the PR razzle dazzle, blame Apple and Jobs. It's Jobs, afterall, who, through past behaviour, has implied that he would be delivering major hardware advances every time he make one of these public presentations.
By the way, I enjoy Jobs' over-the-top presentations. I have no intention of replacing my G4 for atleast another three years but I enjoy the presentations just the same, though, like the CNET author, I felt that this time around, there wasn't much substance to go with all the hype.
As Jobs did his routine to promote GarageBand, you got the feeling that he was desperately trying to make something out of nothing. For what it's worth, if any pitchman could pull it if, Jobs would be it. But even Jobs couldn't make this one work.
Maybe next time.

2004-01-20 06:48:22
There is one good reason not to bring Castro in this: mention Castro and you *have* to mention the US foreign policy. And that's a can of worms you really really don't want to open in a tech column.

Many educated people from all over the world (and of course the US) and all polictical colors will tell you the US should really stop bashing Cuba and first clean up its act, pay hommage to the horrors they've done or supported in other countries, offer mea culpa's to countries where they installed or supported dictators and then, maybe then look back at Cuba.

This is not US bashing, this is taking a historical perspective.

While I enjoyed this article and don't even bother anymore to read c|net's mac "news" I'd never read anything more into the Castro remark than the duration of the speach.

Going on a rant on how horrible it is to compare Steve Jobs with this vile dictator is really a bit over the top.

Disclaimer: all this doesn't disturb me, I only mention it to get your blood pressure down when the next Canadian calls in to ridicule you. Just so you understand why, and why specifically Canadiens: they feel insulted by this whole Castro thing, you see. Most educated Canadians are acutely aware of the US foreign policy, mostly because Canada is so extremely active in foreign aid and has so many citizens abroad working for various organizations.

Working in that field myself, I can easily understand the low tolerance level people have toward US opinion and the "if you're not for us, you're against us" mentality. Not that this is fair to US citizens, mind...

2004-01-20 06:48:34
Murderous Tyrants??
Well, if you'll recall from about 4 years ago, during that circus of a Presidential election that "you Canadians" so lovingly mocked, just slightly over half of the U.S. population didn't even want Bush in office. That's right: half this country can't stand him either, and come this November (is that "soon" enough for us to "get rid of him" for ya?), hopefully he'll be rightly ousted from his position. So please spare us the "in our good name" tripe, hmm?
2004-01-20 07:37:21
From a 9 Yr Mac User
2004-01-20 08:08:09
Sent my email
Emailed Mr. Cooper in a very calm and professional manner letting him know how I feel about his "Macsnore" piece. I hope others will do the same. Thanks Alan.
2004-01-20 08:14:16
A couple of points
#1. While I cannot document this, I believe China's Mao qualifies as the premier mass-murderer ever. I'm not certain Hitler even outranks Stalin.
#2. Mac Fanatics are arrogant, abusive, ill-informed spewers of anti-WIntel vitriol. They exist and they are known for their intemperate responses to pieces seen to favor other platforms. While I prefer to characterize myself as a "Mac Advocate", I recognize that these trolls are out there. The WIntel world has a like breed, some of whom edit technology outlets. Denying their existance does not excuse them or render them extinct.
#3. The Canadians may have a point regarding the terms applied to Castro. He may not qualify as a terrorist in the strict sense.
#4. All those non-USA types with critical comments about Americans need to step back for a second and consider that our 200 million+ sentient citizens do not all agree on nearly anything. The vast majority of us disagree with most of our government's policies. Most of us realize that our leaders are essentially flawed and most are more interested in their own well being and that of their associates than that of the majority of American citizens. We try to elect the lesser of many evils but often fail. This is not a call for love, just some understanding. Many Americans AGREE WITH YOU.
2004-01-20 08:24:50
A couple of points
I believe Stalin outranks Hitler...but to answer #3:

terrorist: One who governs by terrorism or intimidation

terrorism: The act of terrorizing, or state of being terrorized; a mode of government by terror or intimidation

Castro certainly qualifies. I did not use my words loosely, which is why I found the reference (while not as awful as a comparison to Hitler or Stalin) in poor taste.

Once again I would agree that there are extremists on all sides of technology (as in politics and religion), but when making commentary on a news site (as in the CNET piece), it should at least take into consideration that a blanket condemnation of the user base (who no doubt enjoy the Macworld experience) and technology, without the basis of fact...is pure trash.

I call em as I see em.

2004-01-20 08:27:33
Good move Alan!
I am Singaporean.I just want to let Alan knows this side of the world can see for ourselves the blatant abuse of the press. Shame on CNET-it has violated every ethos of journalism.

The 'commentary' from CNET warrents an immediate response from the Mac community. Such provincial, illogical indictment must not, and [b]will not[/b] be tolerated.

Is CNET losing much of its readers that it has to resort to lopsided controversies in its allegedly pathetic attempt at inciting interest?

2004-01-20 09:17:11
iPod mini overpriced??
If Mr. Cooper thinks the iPod mini is over priced, he should see the ultra compact that Sony introduced at CES (which is actually a rebrand of an Aiwa product). 2GB and starts at $329!. And the version that is smaller than the iPod mini doesn't even have controls on the player itself, you must use the remote or spring for it's bigger brother that does.

Yea, iPod mini is just sooo overpriced :P

2004-01-20 09:37:22
missing the real point!
Kudos Alan, I too responed immediately to Mr. Cooper (and cc'd the EIC) Maturly looking beyond his childish comments regarding the Mac I see the true problem as one of ineptitude. Mr. Cooper is an editor for a technology magazine, whether this cluster ran Apple's software or Linux it would still outperform ANY of the Intel or other processor based machines in a per processor shootout. Even though IBM Power chips have never reached much over 55% efficiency while others range in the 80s and more, look at the Rmax for this unit. This cost effective machine that can run INDUSTRY STANDARD software represents a wonderful stop in the right direction for super computing. Any technology magazine would have to admit that but Mr. Cooper has allowed his petty bias to color his perception to the point of myopia. He disputes the cost although even adding in professional services would still barely make a dent in the price differential for ANY of the other systems in the top500 list. My contention is that Mr. Cooper is not much of a technologist, in fact he can't be very bright to make such silly irrelevant accusations and innuendos. Hopefully his superiors will find someone more qualified to write about "serious" computing. If they back him in this they are demonstating their own stupidity and I'm afraid the only summation that would result would be cnet = luddites.
Ed Crelin
2004-01-20 09:51:06
Goes both ways
"So Mr. Cooper, how is it I can take you or your publication seriously when you berate me and millions of Mac users in the world with your particular disdain?"

If you are serious, you should also let the more fanatical Mac users know that using words like M$ (so 1999, by the way), Windoze, PeeCee, Dull, etc also do not endear Mac users to the the billions on PC users out there which further cause them to treat Mac users with disdain.

Who cares, the Mac zealot might ask? Well, the Windows world could care less that 2% of the market is unhappy at them. It is clear that Apple need to win over the PC world as much as it can (i.e Switch ads, iPod, iTunes for Window, etc). Steve certainly thinks so.

It is my interest that Apple flourish. I am a Mac user, too.

2004-01-20 10:48:59
c|net's mission
you're all missing the point:

c|net is not a journalistic enterprise.

it was created for the sole purpose of selling ad-space padded with content they have little interest in. this became painfully clear when c|net bought out zdnet and dismantled it- they couldn't compete with real journalism, so they assimilated it and disposed of the people behind it.

as a vendor of advertising, who are c|net's biggest clients? hmm, MS, Dell, Intel. so what's the shock in c|net's editorial... scratch that, advertorial ... policies being pro Wintel and anti Apple?

and as i said before, there is no bigger shill/whore on the c|net staff than the Coopster. he used to be a journalist, way back in the days of print. sad, really.

2004-01-20 11:30:41
The thing C/NET editors have to ask themselves...
Is C/NET an entertainment publication or a news publication?

If the former, virulent jabs at a niche platform might seem humorous, in which case bring it on. but don't expect to be taken seriously about anything you say. Everything you write becomes nothing more then a joke. If thats what you want to do--please be my guest.

If not, then take your medicine like a man and publish a public apology. Not only did it put your publication and its advertisers in a bad light, it also bordered on slander. What you wrote I'd expect to find on a BBS somewhere. There was no indication of an editorial opinion. Furthermore, your staff compounded its mistake by allowing the author anonymity from which to launch this attack. Every article (wether controversial or not) in a serious publication needs to be properly attributed in order to maintain accountability. The only possible exception to this rule might be that of industry rumors, were anonymity is required in order to prevent ones sources from being fired. Of course anyone with insider knowledge has likely signed to secrecy and any risk in leaking information should expect to be fired, if not jailed.

To sum up, you can't have it both ways, either your a serious technical publication, or your a running joke (Wired?) in which technology is the punch line. Straddling the fence leaves you open to public ridicule like you've found on this blog. The choice, as always, is yours.


2004-01-20 11:47:39
I think it's worse than a case of bad taste. It's a downright inflammatory comparison, not unlike labeling linux people as communists. (For that matter, I don't think that C/NET's coverage of SCO v. IBM has been much more than rewriting Darl McBride's press releases).

Whether or not you consider Castro to be a terrorist (and arguing about that is really getting off the subject - methinks you've been trolled, Graham), it is obviously a comparison designed to stir controversy, not dissimilar to Ann Coulter's labeling liberals as traitors or comparing Bush to Hitler. (Comparing John Ashcroft to Stalin, however, might be more apt. )

2004-01-20 11:51:55
Loved your Message
Hello, I am the anonymous character that wrote “Loved your message”

1. I still hold to the idea you went too far Castro. You do not seem to see that the comment about Castro had nothing to do with him smoking cigars, being a revolutionary or terrorist or whatever but rather on a singular quality of his renowned capacity for making long speeches of which he holds the world’s record of a UN speech (4 hr. 29 min. on Sept. 26 1960). You seem to miss the QUALITATIVE point that was being alluded to and went on about this terrorist thing.

And the US policy is to wait him out? This seems pretty far from the recent policy of the US “War on Terrorism”. Sounds like double talk to me. If you are going to have a war on terrorism and you do “wait out” the terrorist, I can guarantee you that is not going to be an effective policy.

2. I was using the word archaic as “antiquated” not “obsolete”. I think that point should have been clear, especially since I then mentioned several more modern alternatives, some of which are certainly not as severe as Hitler. The QUALITY parameter I was using was time.

I really wasn’t trying to insult Bush anymore than Saddam or Bin Laddin. By unbiased definition of their acts upon the world, these are all terrorists. Perhaps if you review the concept of terrorism and the policies of Bush you will find that indeed he fits the profile of a terrorist. Ignoring the basic tenets of the UN and blatant disregard for the Geneva convention are a couple of good starting points.

3. I never once said I hated Americans. I did make a comment relying on uninformed sources about US tourists, but never once did I say that was my opinion or made a statement about hatred towards any American, North or South. I am a North American myself. I was reemphasizing the point that Castro provides other qualities than that of a revolutionary/terrorist and that one of those qualities was used by the article. I have many Americans friends and some are indeed from the US. My point was and still is, to compliment you on a fine article and to point out that the quality of the Castro peroration statement was indeed to be taken as a whole. Not broken down and focusing on the “terroristic” aspect of Castro, which is as relevant as talking about his beard.

I don’t feel I have expressed any arrogance towards US citizens as a whole. Au contraire one might conclude that when your president refuses to acknowledge the long enduring friendship between Canada and the US during his inaugural speech (something that no president has done for decades) and at the end of his first term has not even made an official visit to our country thus missing meeting with our Prime Minister who has now retired AND criticizes us for sticking to the democratic tenets of the UN is arrogance.

There will always be those who are less fortunate than ourselves.

I made no attempt to lump you or any US citizen into a particular group. I know many US citizens do not support Bush and your election results were somewhat unusual. I mean just because your leader is a terrorist, does not reflect badly on Americans.

Please refrain from trying to stick labels upon a Teflon surface. You stuck a “terrorist” label onto a pedantic analogy. That is all I wanted to point out as a critique, a minor one at that.

You wrote an article, that really shined. I find it interesting that you make no comment to that, and that a gesture of human kindness and sharing was totally discounted for and that you have tried to label me with arrogance and hatred. That to me shows a lot about the QUALITY you focus on. I know you a little better now.

2004-01-20 11:52:27
I know I'm being trolled...and I'm done responding to them...but I wanted to be VERY clear on my stance and use of language. I'm not going to allow them to hijack my message or cloud it. And I'm certainly not going to sit here and be insulted.
2004-01-20 12:01:14
Loved your Message
Wow...you say this:

3. I never once said I hated Americans. I did make a comment relying on uninformed sources about US tourists, but never once did I say that was my opinion or made a statement about hatred towards any American, North or South.

and this:

don’t feel I have expressed any arrogance towards US citizens as a whole.

but you also said this:

3. For all the terrorist activities that Castro does (love to see the list by the way) he provides one service that is hard to find anywhere else on the planet. As a Canadian, I can go to Cuba and enjoy a holiday with people from around the world and NO US citizens. Having someone do terrorist activities is such a small price to pay for such incredible freedom from the suffocation of US tourist

I think that qualifies.

2004-01-20 12:02:00
Loved your Message
"We've come to the aid of many nations and we've paid for that with our blood."

Like Latin America in the '70s? The only aid was for right-wing dictatorships, trained in the US Army "School Of The Americas" (Fort Benning, Georgia). mong the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that include the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Mozote Massacre of 900 civilians.

The "desaparecidos" were who paid with blood the so-called "American aid".

2004-01-20 12:15:33
Loved your Message

Thanks for your post. I am the anonymous person who wrote “Loved Your Message”. Nice to meet, you, I have met some lovely people from Africa and love the vitality of your cultures.

There seems to be a lot of misconception around Canadians depending on the USA for their lifeline. Let me be perfectly clear on this. We depend much more on the sun and plants for our lifeline than the USA. Don’t even try to argue this fact. If every US citizen committed suicide, us Canadians would be going on for a long time. On the other hand, if the sun were to be extinguished, well we would be toast pretty quick. The same goes if all plants were to suddenly disapear. Once the oxygen was used up, well that would be it for us.

I agree with you about your relatives. I can’t tell one American from another myself most of the time. Probably because that most are from elsewhere. But hey, look closely and you will see the differences. For example you will find Cuban cigars on sale at Niagara Falls. I just so happen to have an extra box of them, so come on up.

The US can certainly withdraw everything from Canada, although I would not recommend them to do it, but regardless we would adapt just fine. I think you should look at our history, and our resources a little more closely.

What you say about Detroit is most likely to. I suspect the highest number of illegal immigrants at Windsor are US citizens. We had a bunch of them come up during the 60’s during the Vietnam conflict.

I certainly can imagine Canada without those corporations as our history goes back a little ways prior to those corporations’ existence.

Who is the guy you suspect is a CNET writer? That has me confused.

I sure am glad there is an Apple computer. But look to where they are manufactured. We are living during global times and we are all interconnected.

Thank you for you post and have a lovely day.

2004-01-20 12:17:58
Apple "Computer"
"Apple makes computers. That's why they are called Apple Computer."

Actually, Apple officially changed their name to just plain "Apple" a few years back. But otherwise a stellar piece :-)