Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Epic Rap Battes of History. Some of my favorite battles include Darth Vader vs. Adolf Hitler (and, of course, the rematch), Mr. T vs. Mr. Rogers (hilarious!), Napoleon vs. Napoleon, Gandalf vs. Dumbledore, and, of course, my favorite of all time, Albert Einstein vs. Stephen Hawking. However, just this morning I got a notification that the boys had finally posted a rap battle we've all been waiting for, one that I'm surprised they didn't do a long time ago. That's right: Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates.

Apple vs. PC vs. Linux. Discuss. Yeah, I know. It's a cheap, lazy, and obvious way to keep my blog active on a day after I was up late working on grants and didn't have time to lay down some proper Insolence. You'll just have to deal with it, I'm afraid. Grant crunch time consumes all, even this blog. Fortunately, I'll have a couple of days now where I can't do much writing as I wait for co-investigators and collaborators to weigh in.

As for my allegiances, all I can say is one word about the new retina display MacBook Pro: Want. Bad. (I know, that's two words.)

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Apple vs. PC vs Linux:

They all stink, each in its own, uniquely fetid way. I say that as someone who has at least one of each within arm's reach at this moment. On the other hand, each one is very good for certain tasks in certain places.

Fanboi-ism in IT really chaps my butt. In my career I've seen so many of these technology "debates" that I just yawn when I hear that something "... is the greatest ever -- it's going to bury the old stuff." Mainframe vs PC? FORTRAN vs. PL/1 vs. C? How 'bout C vs. Objective C vs. C++? Or C++ vs. Java. Or Ruby vs. Perl vs. Python?

Where all of this causes problems is when the fanboi tries to use a tool (platform, language, whatever) because it's the favorite and not because it's the right choice for the job. I see too much where people try to fit the problem to the tool, instead of the tool to the problem.

"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

I generally prefer Windows, but I'm typing on a Mac. I enjoy programming, gaming, and film editing and graphic design. The new one Orac linked to costs less than my current MacBook Pro cost in 2008, and I can't afford to buy another computer, so in another five years when I need another computer I'll probably be able to buy a much better computer for that price.

By Captain Quirk (not verified) on 14 Jun 2012 #permalink

They should have brought Linus Torvalds into it, cuz he'd kick all of their asses

By Brett McCoy (not verified) on 14 Jun 2012 #permalink

I'm a pretty anti-Apple person, but not beholden to it (I searched out Creative mp3 players just to avoid the iPod/Zune stuff). I love my iPad, tho. I've only had it a week and I feel like I would be lost without it.

By LovleAnjel (not verified) on 14 Jun 2012 #permalink

I thought this was going to be an article on how the evil monster Bill Gates is spending his time and fortune saving kids in Africa while the savior Steve Jobs (while he was with us) spent his time crushing open access and choosing magic over medicine to treat his illness.

By gr8googlymoogly (not verified) on 14 Jun 2012 #permalink

All software sucks. All hardware sucks (except vacuum cleaners.)

That said, my feelings on Apple is similar to my feelings about Jesus -- I dont mind either one, its their fan clubs that piss me off.

Bill Gates vs Steve Jobs? Bah, I remember when it was Commodore vs Atari. Seriously though, I'm strictly utilitarian - whatever works, works. I tend to use PCs with Windows, because I'm somewhat of a tinkerer and while you can mod Apples, it's not exactly as simple and cheap like making PC to do exactly what you want it to do. Lately I also found myself using Android more and more, and found it surprisingly malleable.

As for Bill Gates, I have to admit that I wasn't big fan and some of his business practices were off putting, but after all he already did, in my book he's a good guy. And if he provide at least half of what he plan to do, we might have a pretty good shot on eliminating polio. As a lifetime achievement, you can't get much better than that.

In a long career in the computer industry I never used an Apple product. Now, in retirement, I'll be happy if I never have to use anything but my iPad.

By Ivan Ilyich (not verified) on 14 Jun 2012 #permalink

FORTRAN vs. PL/1 vs. C? How ’bout C vs. Objective C vs. C++? Or C++ vs. Java. Or Ruby vs. Perl vs. Python?

I would take APL over any of these choices. It's purty. (I believe the Census Bureau somewhat amazingly used it at least into the mid-'90s, as well.)

Daughter had last final of high school today so I treated her to very late lunch at a favorite spot, and then she reminded me that on the way home we would go by a shopping mall that was having a sale. Le Sigh. At least she did not buy shoes.

I saw the new MacBook Pro at the Apple store, which is right across the parking lot from the Microsoft store. Makes for fun comparisons, but I have not bought anything from either store.

For the record: I have never owned an Apple product so I don't really know anything about them; I perhaps have a bit of loyalty to Gates' company because I inherited investments in it and I support his foundation's work. I use a computer to look things up and for writing: that's it. Nothing fancy.

By pure accident, I learned today that one of my mutuals had *mucho dinaro* successfully invested in Apple: so I guess I should now have divided loyalties. but certainly not 50/50.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 14 Jun 2012 #permalink

My husband has an analogy: Apple is like the rounded-tip scissors you use in preschool, very simple and you can't hurt yourself. PC is a nice, sharp pair of Fiskars. It is the pair you use when you know how to cut things and need more control. Linux is like your mother's pair of 12" fabric shears that she keeps polished in her sewing case. Only in the right and capable hands...

oh well.... I repaired windows PC for a living, made a few Linux server boxes and used Linux extensively over the year and have a few hours of mac experience. They all suck....

now, my main compute box has a kitchen sink mainboard where the cpu is soldered on and the graphic chip is embedded in the cpu (amd zacate 1.6ghz, similar to an intel atom) for which I slapped on two stick of 4 gig of ram and a 20$ pata raid card (sata disks are too expensive and I had old pata drives lying around) and finally, I downloaded windows 8 to throw on that box; it run fine.


p.s. as for myself, I'm changing career, I don't want to f*ck around computers.

By Autistic Lurker (not verified) on 14 Jun 2012 #permalink

NARAD @8:18 PM -- APL!? Talk about a blast from the past!

I met Ken Iverson once. It's a long story.

By palindrom (not verified) on 14 Jun 2012 #permalink

Talk about a blast from the past!

It was grand. However, it left me with a distinct proclivity toward doing unusual things with Lisp 'mapcar'. It's even better than Reiki, as the odd symbols actually do something.

Oh, and...

I met Ken Iverson once. It’s a long story.

I've gotten drunk with Phil Agre. Also a long story. Great guy.

As far as people go, Gates is by far the better human being. That says nothing about his business practices and everything about what he's done since leaving Microsoft.

By Chris Barts (not verified) on 15 Jun 2012 #permalink

Wow, what are the chances of meeting multiple other APL fans...

APL was the first computer language I learned, thanks to an uncle with University computer access back in the mid-70s who was rather fond of the language. He used to bring over an IBM thermal paper terminal with an acoustic modem on the back and teach me how to program. It's warped my view of computing ever since.

In my Numerical Methods course at University, I submitted one assignment of about thirty lines of Fortran code... and followed it up with a one-line version in APL, just because I could.

Never met Iverson, but have been at the Quote-Quad office at U of Waterloo.

By Bryan Feir (not verified) on 15 Jun 2012 #permalink

Yesterday I tried to burn files to DVD that was opened in another application in Windows, and it didn't like that.
Thanks guys.

saying: “… is the greatest ever — it’s going to bury the old stuff.” isn't fanboi-ism.

Get your terms right before you start whining about them, m'kay?

When someone says "Microsoft invented home computing" or "Apple were the first smartphone company", THAT is a fanboi talking.

When someone REFUSES to believe that Linux crashes a computer, when someone refuses to believe Microsoft has a monopoly, when someone refuses to believe that people have a legitimate gripe against Apple, then that's famboi-ism.

"They should have brought Linus Torvalds into it, cuz he’d kick all of their asses"

Nah, he'd get his wife to do that.

My husband has an analogy: Apple is like the rounded-tip scissors you use in preschool, very simple and you can’t hurt yourself. PC is a nice, sharp pair of Fiskars. It is the pair you use when you know how to cut things and need more control. Linux is like your mother’s pair of 12″ fabric shears that she keeps polished in her sewing case. Only in the right and capable hands…

It's not a great analogy. OS X has a fairly normal BSD under the hood; I use it extensively. And really, a lot of the Linux types can't even figure out how to compile from source. What massively disappoints me about OS X is that it's still a step down from NeXTstep. (Yes, I still have one. Speaking of weird coincidences, last summer, I found a NeXT CD-ROM drive in the dumpster. Turns out a guy moving out from the other side of the building had also put out a complete, working mono station that was no doubt snatched by the junk pickers who drive up and down the alley looking for scrap.)

I use Windows, though for some things Apple is often considered the way to go. In music and webdesign Apple seems to be the tool of choice. Alas I don't have the money to switch to Apple and I have some other issues with them. Like they are harder to obtain, though this has changed a bit. Besides switching to Apple means buying a lot of new software and some of it, like Dreamweaver, is pretty expensive.

I have worked with computers for more than 25 years.
My first computer was a ZX Spectrum, though I hardly did anything with it.
My first real computer was a Commodore Amiga
Later I bought an Atari
Than I also started to work with an MS-Dos machine and switched to Windows.

I'm cool with Windows and Mac (though I'm mighty sick of running XP). What's not cool is when you have a technical program that only runs on one platform (say, a scientific analysis software), and the IT department refuses to support your computer because the rest of the company runs on the other platform.

Look, it's not like I picked this software (FloJo) that only runs on Macs because I want to make your life difficult. I picked it because it's the only decent software for what I need to do to do my job. Bah.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 15 Jun 2012 #permalink


By Josh Pritchard (not verified) on 15 Jun 2012 #permalink

MS and Apple aren't even in the same industry. The former sells tools, and the latter sells a lifestyle.

By ThickSantorum (not verified) on 15 Jun 2012 #permalink

a lot of the Linux types can’t even figure out how to compile from source

I used to be a Linux type but I knew early on how to compile softwares despite having no formal training or even much informal training. I was part of the team trying to port debian to the arm based corel netwinder machines.


By Autistic Lurker (not verified) on 15 Jun 2012 #permalink

That rap battle was one of the better ones (just watched Mr T vs Mr Rogers and that was good too).

I have no allegiance. I use whatever works and whatever has the best deals. Have MS laptops and Apple iPad/iPod touch, but only have the latter because there were good deals ($100 off one, and $50 trade in on a hand-me-down model with 30 min of battery life). Probably will eventually jailbreak the iPad just because its limitations are starting to annoy me now (or just because). I'm hoping with Jobs out of the picture, Apple will move away from their control issues.

Btw, read half the Jobs biography at my brother's place. At the halfway point I was sorry I'd bought an iPad. Jobs was just a bully, and if he couldn't bully, he'd take temper tantrums, even cry to get his way. Even now, I sort of wish I'd bought something Android-based just because of how off-putting Jobs was. Maybe he redeemed himself somehow in the latter half of the book but by that time I had no interest in knowing anything more about him.

By Daniel J. Andrews (not verified) on 18 Jun 2012 #permalink

Mac vs PC? Who cares, but I love epic rap battles and think it's awesome you post them! Nice Peter ( the guy who does them) is great and has lots of amusing music. Thanks for posting!

Since I can't sleep, I'll offer another Apple grumble: it appears to be completely impossible to fully and finally take an internal drive offline on a PowerBook (yeah, yeah, I know) without hand tools. You can prune the thing right out of the firmware device tree, and it will randomly pop back in and pretend it ain't heard nuthin' 'bout no other disks on reboot and start ringing for the butler. Give me a break. The battery will tell you its life story and immediately pass out on the floor, but the drive has to be plied for the slightest detail and refuses to just die.