The Switch

Warning: What follows could be considered extremely “geeky”. If you feel above it, or you simply do not have an interest in it, you might as well skip this lengthy entry. You’ve been warned.


Instead of being a good student, this weekend, I watched keynotes given by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I know it’s a bit late, as they both occurred in early January, 2005, but I can’t resist commenting on them. I’ve provided links to streaming video of both of them, below:

The contrast between the public speaking abilities of each is like black and white. Steve Jobs has a couple segments where he gets guests to come in to do their own bits, or help out with a section – like having a band come in to play music which is recorded onto the mac to later demo editing capabilities. Other than that, Steve Jobs holds up a two hour plus presentation extremely well; he’s a great public speaker. Bill Gates, on the other hand, has to go out of his way to hire Conan O’Brian to host him on his own keynote. Obviously, a desperate attempt at making his presentation more interesting. While some of Conan’s commentary was funny, it ended up just adding a lot of fluff to the keynote. Add to that, the nature of a late-night show, and the sheer size of Conan next to Bill Gates, and Conan appears to dominate Bill Gates’ own keynote.

That brings up another issue: actual content. According to Microsoft, everybody wants to watch TV and watch recorded shows on portable devices. Most of Bill Gates’ presentation talked about integrating next-gen TVs with home networks, phones, and portable media players – nothing about their bread and butter: Windows. Steve Jobs introduced new products and updates to existing products, providing demos on each. Bill talked a lot. In a chair. Without much visual aid or demos. In a chair, talking.

Let’s not forget that Bill encountered TWO bugs in the course of the event. One was resolved at a later point in the show, and the other was simply ignored. Steve Jobs encountered ONE bug, and he simply segued to a backup system stating, “This is why we have backup systems.” People clapped. Not so much clapping for the Microsoft side of things.

So I wasn’t that interested in what Microsoft had to sell. I could be biased, though: I don’t watch much TV, and I don’t see the point of hard-disk recorders. Nothing shown at the Microsoft keynote made me go “Woah, that’s cool….” However, after watching all 2+ hours of the Apple keynote, I would seriously consider a couple Apple products: Apple Mini and iPod Shuffle. The only thing I didn’t like about Steve Jobs’ presentation was that I had to watch it on my Windows computer – I still haven’t figured out how to get streaming Quicktime working on my linux box. Go figure. Every time I have to use my Windows PC, I cringe. I should really spend some time cleaning it up… something Windows requires every now and then. 🙂

Watching both of these keynotes reminded me of one of my favourite movies: Pirates of the Silicon Valley. I must buy that DVD. If you’re interested, you should check out this video (~21MB) of Steve Jobs introducing the world to the Macintosh computer in 1984. Excellent video. So will I make the switch? Well, I’ve already stopped using Windows, so it’s not that big of a jump for me. We’ll see.


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4 Comments on “The Switch”

  1. ShyaaRii Says:

    Everytime I use a mac at work, it reminds me of all the stuff we learned in 444. It’s a lot more than just aesthetics.

  2. Jonbu Says:

    wow, sounds like you’re on the edge of getting a mac.
    all those videos are great, for different reasons. (Conan is great in MS) (Mac ppl like to clap at Steve J.) You missed one tho. There was a TV Ad floating around the net showing Steve Ballmer selling the first Windows, shopping channel style. (i still have it)
    Pirates of SV is a great movie.

  3. Steve Says:

    Shirley, I couldn’t agree more. I’m so tempted to get a Mac Mini and a KVM switch, just to have access to some of the really sweet software only available on Macs. OS X and iLife, mainly. And since it’s based on Unix, you got the power of the command line. In fact, I’m not sure what I’d use my windows desktop for… it’s too old for games, it just gets viruses, malware, adware, etc bogging it down over and over again. Not too happy w/my windows box, at the moment.

    John, Steve Balmer has, is, and always will be a car salesman. And yeah, I know Steve Jobs has a lot of fanboys – but that’s for a reason! You watched the videos. 🙂 (Oh damn, am I becoming a fanboy too? 😮 )

  4. Alex Says:

    I remember at around this time last year, I also watched a keynote by Steve Jobs talking about their GarageBand, iLife, iPhotos and such. I can’t remember what I was supposed to be doing, but it sure wasn’t watching keynote. No, I didn’t watch at work. But yeah, it made me really want to get a Mac too. My new computer would probably be a mac… if it’s relatively cheap. It’s just so hard to beat those barebone PCs in price.

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