Letters from Readers

Each month I receive a variety of letters from readers with all sorts of questions. Since everybody else is talking about the iMac and I haven’t been able to see it myself I thought I’d do something a Denver Sports columnist occasionally reverts to… answering his readers.

Who do you think you are criticizing Apple?
I’m a loyal Mac fanatic who one year ago was tired of seeing a great company go down the tubes in part due to incompetent marketing. But instead of just whining about it I wanted to offer some fresh ideas.

Do you really think anybody at Apple actually reads your column?
Yes. People can’t help reading about their job and what others think about it. I think some of them have actually agreed at times. And I’m sure thought I had no clue as to what was going on on other occasions.

Do you actually think somebody at Apple was going to use one of your commercials?
Honestly, at first I did. Matter of fact, I had thought up what it was going to cost them. But after the first month I came to my senses. Now I just do it to feed my addiction to be heard.

What kind of Mac do you own?
Currently, (my wife says for a long time) I have a Performa 6360 (160MHz 603e) with 1.2 gig and 48 megs of RAM which I hope to increase to 102 megs very soon. I’ve always liked the looks of the 6360 and the price was a steal. My monitor is an Apple 14″ with the Trinitron tube (I’m very partial to Sony tubes). To round things out a Color Stylewriter 2500, Mustek 600II scanner, Zip Drive, and Altec Lansing speakers.

Where do you get your ideas for commercials?
The first few months were really easy, I had a list in my head and all I did was add things to it. Many of the early ideas came from personal experience. Now, I spend several hours, usually driving to and from work working on each idea. I have a lot more respect for ad people who have to spend years coming up with new ideas for the same company.

What was the funniest comment you ever got?
It was from a teacher in a newly all Wintel school, after explaining his plight he ended with the phrase, “Why me”? But, seriously, he knows what is ahead of him and it isn’t going to be fun. I just don’t understand the reasoning of making things more difficult for classroom teachers.

What is so bad about the Windows platform to you?
It’s an operating system designed for engineers and tinkered with to fool the vast majority into thinking it’s easy. I like to compare Windows to H-P calculators “Reverse Polish Notation” wherein you key in a number, hit enter, key in the other number, then hit the +/-/x key to get your answer. You don’t say six enter, two enter, times. That is what using Windows is like, foolish steps that take time away from productivity.

What do you think of Bill Gates?
Honestly, I’m apathetic. I think he is a very shrewd marketer who understands how to keep the market happy while at the same time guiding it to his own interests. He and Alan Greenspan are very similar because they both turn congressman into blubbering idiots who buy everything they say without truly questioning their motives.

My favorite Gates story was not when he got hit by the pie but what supposedly happened on his first night in his monsterous mansion. As the story goes, the NT operating system that ran everything in the house was having all sorts of problems (surprise surprise). The giant disappearing screen in the master bedroom would not turn off and go down. Supposedly Bill himself tried to force the display down into its recessed cabinet. He ended up having to place a blanket over the screen so he could go to sleep.

Will the iMac save Apple?
No, I think Steve Jobs has already saved it. The goal of the iMac is to get non-Mac people the opportunity get in on the Macintosh experience.After all, isn’t the time spent with the machine what hooked the rest of us? The iMac will increase the base of Mac users once the initial flurry of current Mac owners upgrading ebbs.

What was your favorite Apple commercial you came up with?
It would have to from my first article I called it “Classroom”

Scene: Middle School, technology classroom, Mac and Wintel CPUs.

Students at the Wintel machines, some with hands raised, others trying to read a manual. One student even pulling his hair. The teacher and an assistant hurriedly running from machine to machine. On the other side, students are shown on Macs surfing the Internet, printing reports, developing multimedia with animation, even writing the school newspaper. The camera then focuses on two boys who turn to look at the students on the Wintel machines. “Great idea, Jake. From now on, no showers after gym so we can get a Macintosh”. “Yeah”.

The boys “high-five” as the camera pans to the right showing two cheerleaders, one holding her nose as the other bends forward crinkling her nose, both saying “Eeew”! Screen blackens, famous Apple ad voice speaks:

“At Apple, we understand that technology only educates children when it works”.

Apple and the Mac OS logos appear.

As a classroom teacher it says everything, much like a Norman Rockwell painting. Thanks to all of you for a wonderful first year. Next month I’ll return to writing TV commercials after I have a chance to see the iMac ads.

Mark Marcantonio

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