Does Chris get it?

If you read my previous post and bothered to go out to the Robert Scoble's post which prompted it, you will see me kind of going toe-to-toe with Robert. In my own opinion, I think Robert just doesn't like being confronted much less being wrong which is why we have been going back and forth. I also think he has become such an Apple fanboy that he can't see past his Mac to understand that there are excellent products and features being delivered by lots of companies besides Apple.

But that is just my opinion.

I would like for you, the 12 regular readers I have - 🙂 - to correct me if I am wrong.

If you want the short version, go read Scoble's post. Then read comments #5(me), #7(Scoble), #24(me), #28(Scoble), #32(Scoble), #39(me), #41(Scoble), #44(Me).

I would like to know if, in your opinion, it is me or Robert that does or does not get it.



Comments (16)

  1. I think you’re right in what you’re saying and perhaps if Microsoft was a hardware company, they would have something similar in style and form to the Mac Mini. But that’s the problem – Apple have a much better *complete* experience in that you don’t have to go to eBay, or build your own box on Dell; you just browse to the Apple Store, buy a Mini, plug it in, and it all works well out of the box. You saying that Microsoft have been doing this for five years, is like saying that the iPhone isn’t revolutionary because Windows CE had web browsing on mobile devices five years ago.

  2. JVILLAGA says:

    You should know better than to argue with a mac head…it will inevitably lead to things like "…but the Mac looks better" or more likely "…but the Mac looks freakin’ awsome" and eventually will degenerate into "… but I don’t care about <insert feature spec>. I just love my Mac".

  3. DavidZie says:

    Good post(s) Chris! Typical of these types of discussions. The PC meets or beats on all technical points mentioned in Scoble’s original post. When presented with that, discussion degrades into the subjective aestetic argument. Even here, infinite choices of PC size and form factor vs. the MacMini you get only what Steve J. lets you have.

    I read (and like) Scoble’s blog, but the content is always flavor of the month type stuff. The 1001st new social networking fad,  a change of the color at the Apple store that will change the world, etc.

  4. Andrew Burton says:

    I’m not a regular reader.  I found your blog after Scoble’s blog, after reading Dave Winer’s blog.  My opinion: I don’t think you get Robert Scoble.  Search through his blog for Second Life posts.  The pattern goes something like this:

    1. Second Life is pretty cool.

    2. Second Life is an operating system!

    3. Second Life kicked me out, but that’s cool because the XBox 360 is the most awesome thing ever!

    You’re trying to debate rational technology with a "technology evangelist" (a term I dislike, given that "evangelists" are typically associated with getting people excited into an irrational fervor).  You might as well try debating biology with a real, church-style evangelist.

  5. Blake Handler says:

    Dear Chris — Have you not learned?

    Your sound arguement does not matter — Scoble is simply not happy if he does not have the last word.

    Blake Handler

    Microsoft MVP

  6. Chris E. Avis says:

    @stuart – Apple has been a combined software/hardware company since day one and has never varied from that path. Microsoft has been a software company since day one. Yeah we have keyboards and mice, XBox and a few other things, but we are a software company.

    I can’t see us producing our own PC’s ever. Not that it isn’t a possibility, but….why?  Lot’s of companies doing a fine job already. But why aren’t they producing cool, pretty cases? I blame the motherboard manufacturers. The small boards  have fewer options for expansion and those smaller boards are the ones that offer the best options for aesthetically pleasing cases that people want in their living rooms. Your standard motherboards are still too large to fit into "pretty" cases. So we are kind of stuck with larger, less appealing options. Or you pay a LOT of money for some of the custom Media Center PC’s out there. Not something MS has any control over.

    There is also the issue of storing the growing amounts of digital content people are consuming and storing. This meeans more local drives which also keeps the case sizes larger. Good News – terabyte level drives will fix that problem in the next couple of years.

    iPhone – what makes the iPhone anything close to revolutionary is the multi-touch interface though I do give credit to the web browsing. The multi-touch opens new doors for interacting with the device but you are still accomplishing the same things that Windows Mobile and many other phones and mobile devices have again been doing for years. The Web browsing experience is interesting, but is what anyone who has a laptop or desktop has been able to do for the last decade just more mobile. I imagine you will see other devices doing the exact same thing a lot cheaper real soon.


  7. Chris E. Avis says:

    @kizzer – I am hoping he doesn’t take it that direction….  đź™‚

  8. Chris E. Avis says:

    @Andrew – I get Scoble enough to know that I needed to respond to his blog post. He wields an amazing amount of influence and sometimes his narrowmindedness gets the best of him. I just wanted to make sure the readers of his blog were educated to what is really available out there and not just what Scoble says is out there.


  9. Andrew Burton says:

    Chris, fair enough.  For the record (sarcasm in my blog aside), I agree with about what he’s talking about having been available for a while.  Aside from the Media Server, I’ve seen MythTV systems and XBox hacks that do the same things.

  10. sferris says:

    To answer a question posited by the author of this blog, the primary reason I am not interested in Windows running in my living room is simple. Security. Until Microsoft delivers an OS that doesn’t require virus/spyware programs, that use a sizeable chunk of my computer’s resources I don’t want it.  If unbelievable to me that Microsoft has maintained its monopoly given the sad state of security with its software.  Fortunately, Apple has come back from near oblivion and is offering a compelling platform for me to switch to.  I’ve been in software for 15 years and I’ve simply have had it with Microsoft’s products.  

    I agree that Scoble’s post doesn’t break any new ground in adding a Mac Mini to his television that wasn’t available earlier with Windows Media Center.  Scoble is simply discovering the benefits of adding pc to his television.  The major shift I’ve experienced is the availability of content on the peer networks and the growth of IP TV. These two factors more than anything else have changed where I think my content will be coming from in the future. It also greatly simplifies the hardware requirements for viewing content on my television – I don’t need a cable card or PVR.  The primary reasons I am looking at purchasing the Mac Mini are its form factor, silent operation, audio section, support for open source software, and security. What’s missing, a HD DVD drive. But I can get around this shortcoming by ripping my HD content.  Some of the software/hardware I’ve been looking at for the Mac Mini include: Equinox’s Media Central; Elgato’s EyeTV; Google’s Telekenisis; IsoSpirit’s Remote Buddy; and AlloySoft’s Signal.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to MacWorld. It’s great place to be if your Mac or PC user.

  11. Chris E. Avis says:

    @sferris – sigh…. I did not posit any question regarding why someone would or would not run Windows in the living room. I requested feedback from my audience regarding the thread Scoble and I had. That thread dealt primarily with the capabilities of one platform vs another and whether the MacMini was revolutionary in it’s capabilities vs what Windows had been doing for many years.

    I believe I have sufficiently made my case that a Windows Media Center can do anything the MacMini can do and better with more extensibility and be just as pleasing to the eye in the living room.

    To follow the tangent you wish to take us down…..Security – Windows Defender and the Forefront Client consume very little resources. We (MS) make those products. Computer Associates eTrust antivirus is practically invisible. That is a 3rd party product. SpyBot Search and Destroy is also very unobtrusive. That is a 3rd party product. It just so happens that I use all of those on every Windows machine I have and I have never had any performance issues resulting from any of them. It is not difficult to find a sutiable solution if one simply does a little research and puts a little effort into it.

    Macs are not immune to security issues and while we could go back and forth all day long over who has the most secure platform, I see no benefit is doing so. Security is not what this discussion was about. The word security never popped until your comment. I have made a solid case while staying on topic. Those that don’t agree, including Scoble, hit a wall then take it in different direction to try to save face.

    I agree with virtually everything in your second paragraph. I am waffling right now between completley cancelling my cable service and consuming all of my content through P2P services or diving into the fray with a cablecard system. I believe the future of content delivery is through the Internet, not through the cable/satellite comanies. But that future isn’t quite here yet.

    I would simply point out that again, everything in your second paragraph is possible on the Windows platform as well. There are many software and hardware vendors extending the functionality of Windows Media Center machines. I provided a link to an enthusiast site in my original comment to Scoble as an excellent source of information on this.


  12. Joseph C. Giron says:

    Hi Chris,

    I came across your blog at work and was reading the comments of the MacMini as an entertainment unit. His argument against you is primary the look  of the computer rather that it’s functionality. If  scobilizer’s blog about revolution was based on computer looks, then yes Apple would win. But his blog is based on Media Center revolution in the home entertainment area which is something that is not new. Base the revolution on the facts on the looks. For instance, the Prius (IMO) is an ugly car but it had a revolutionary idea which many cars are starting to use today.

  13. <a href=:"">sferris</a> says:

    I did stray off topic by bringing up the issue of security because I’ve was on and off the phone for last night and this morning with a friend who’s XP machine got infected with spyware by clicking on image on Craig’s List.  I agree that OS X isn’t immune to security breaches, however in my experience the security problems are far less severe in OS X then Windows. In order run Windows safely you must have a virus/spyware program installed, and it needs to be up to date. FYI, I  did use Windows Live One Care for approximately two years, including the Beta rollout.  After my machine got infected on a second occasion I replaced One Care with Norton 360 in combination with SpyBot Search & Destroy. I haven’t had any problems with this setup but my computer is running slower. It’s price you pay for security with Windows.

    Regarding Vista, which was my original comment on Scoble’s blog. My wife is using it in her architecture office and it is driving her mad with its slow response time. The machine she’s running it on is a brand new Dell workstation with; high-end CAD graphics card; 3 Gigs of memory; latest versions of AutoCAD, MS Office, and Norton Security; and Vista’s desktop search has been disabled.  Given her experience in her office and other friends of mine, I have no plans to upgrade to Vista.

    Regarding hooking up a computer to a television, I have ruled out CableCard because of technical and compatibility issues. CableCards only apply to cable, not satellite service. So, if you decide to ditch your cable service, or switch to satellite, the premium you paid for that CableCard PC is lost. I haven’t upgraded to digital cable television yet, I’m still looking into my options. If I am able to receive OTA HDTV signal in my area then I may go ahead and cut my cable television service and get my content from the peer networks, NetFlix, library, and IP TV. The peer networks give you access far more content then cable or satellite.  As example, I get French programming for my son who attend a French school in Marin off the peer networks. The French are huge file sharers. The French government is trying to clamp down on file sharing, but once it becomes popular, as in Sweden, it’s hard to shut down.

    You can build a home media center using, Windows, Linux, or OS X. As I said, I like the Mini primarily for its form factor, audio section, silent operation, support for open source, and security. You can build a similar system using Windows or Linux, but the Mini has the features I want and comes with a more secure operating system. It’s that simple. If security has improved with Vista, as Microsoft claims, then why do you still need virus/spyware software with Vista and not OSX?

    I am looking forward to MacWorld especially this year. It’s a great place to talk with other engineers and see what’s going on. By the way, the iPhone is a great device. My wife bought one and loves it. It’s not just the multi-touch interface. It’s Visual mail, a usable browser, large screen, intuitive interface, and a beautiful design. Sure, there are things that are missing from it. An SDK will go a long way toward unleashing iPhone/iTouch’s potential. I look forward to the day Microsoft builds an exciting device as the iPhone. They have the resources and talent. Get busy…

  14. Keith Combs says:

    What is the advantage to buying a Mac Mini and purchasing your video via iTunes?  I don’t get that.

    For the price of the cheapest Mac Mini which is $600 plus tax and shipping (not $500), I can buy a Tivo Series 3 and an extra 750GB external eSATA drive.  Of course I would need a cablecard install and pay the subscription fees for the video service and TiVo guide but that would be a much preferred solution over a web browsing Mini.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the Mini form factor but it doesn’t meet my HD needs.  Let me know when it does.  Maybe we’ll know what Apple has next in a couple of weeks at MacWorld.

  15. sferris says:

    MacWorld is going to be good indicator where Apple is headed in the entertainment area. According to to reports in the news Apple has signed rental deals with Fox and likely other studios. Apple has also applied for a patent on Xmas for <a href=",313,809.PN.&OS=PN/7,313,809&RS=PN/7,313,809">DVD
    web interface patent</a>. Intriguing.  With iTouch /iPhone’s safari you have built-in remote.

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