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ATPM 3.06
June 1997




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by Tom Iovino,

Mac-in-Bash Attack

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past decade or so, you have overheard or been the target of a “Mac-in-Bash Attack.”

Don’t be alarmed. It’s happened to many of us. Unfortunately, with the current state of Apple Computer’s financial affairs, it has become a common occurrence. Equally common, however, is that those who launch verbal offensives at our favorite computer platform are often — how can I put this gently — misinformed.

I remember fondly the days of the first Mac-in-Bash Attacks. The main complaint centered around how easy the Macintosh was to use. Those were heady days for the attackers. Armed with their DOS programs and a “C:/” prompt flashing in front of them like a guiding star, they looked at our beloved Mac II’s and spat out with derision:

“Hey, nice toy!”
“What are you gonna do with that Beige Toaster?”
“Havin’ fun yet with your Mac-in-Trash?”

To these DOS foot soldiers, anything easy to understand must be lightweight. I suspect they also enjoyed filling out their 1040 forms at tax time.

But even when Ron Reagan was in the White House and big hair was in vogue, companies like Adobe, Aldus, and Claris were introducing software that was years ahead of its time. PageMaker, Illustrator, and their ilk were making the Mac one seriously powerful toy!

Fast forward to today...Now the Mac-in-Bashers take a new tack. No longer is DOS seen as hip or cool. Now there is Windows. All of the foot soldiers marching in the Microsoft revolution have changed their tunes.

“It looks just like a Mac, so why buy that soon-to-be-defunct computer?”

Of course, this change in reasoning is funny, considering the “DOS is superior, Mac is a toy” hype of only a few years ago. I guess they needed to play, too.

Still, despite the “Windows is it, Mac is history” talk, Macintosh manages to do things far better than Windows ever dreamed possible.

Conventional means of combating the Mac-in-Bash hype have not worked. So, it is time for each dedicated Macintosh user to employ unconventional warfare to drive our point home.

Yes, this is the official Mac Guerrilla Guide. Just call me “Che” Iovino.

Now, I’m not advocating that Macintosh users barricade themselves in a compound in a desolate area of a large western state and prepare for a final standoff with law enforcement. Nor do I recommend using childish retaliation to disrupt the work of Windows users. Their system is handicap enough.

Instead, I urge Mac users everywhere to demonstrate how effectively we can do our everyday work. Let’s show the other side how we get important jobs done without worrying about configuring the .ini and autoexec.bat files, or whether a snazzy new peripheral is truly “plug-and-play.”

First, let’s identify the “enemy.” In the office where I work, there is only one Macintosh. Period. I am vastly outnumbered and must stay alert at all times, else someone may write a replacement system into the budget and standardize the office’s computing base.

I have put together a list of personality profiles that describe the various people who take issue with my choice of computing platform:

The Wheeler-Dealer Stock Broker - This guy’s job is to take the daily pulse of Apple’s stock dealings and report his findings directly to me. A typical day’s banter may include:
“Hey, Apple posted another record loss this quarter.”
Or, “Oracle is ready to make another takeover bid.”

Look out, Charles Schwab. There’s a new stock guru in town!

The Savvy Systems Operator - This gal is full of technical facts and Mac-in-Bash chatter for my listening pleasure:
“Hey, UNIX is a far more capable programming language.”
“Ease of setup? I can configure a Windows system with my eyes closed.”
“If I had my way, I’d pitch that Mac of yours out the window and laugh as it shatters into a million pieces on the street below.”

She likes it difficult, that’s how she keeps her job.

The Nervous Nellie - He wants to buy his first computer, knows little about how to set one up, and has received lots of conflicting information:
“I hear Windows is as easy to use as a Macintosh.”
“I don’t want to buy an Edsel.”
“Haven’t they stopped making software for the Mac?”

Looking for ease of use, but buying into the other platform’s hype is this person’s M.O. They are a scary lot, full of misinformation and unfounded ideas. Sure, you can meet their objections in a head-on fashion. Debate until you’re blue in the face. While we see clearly the logic of our choice, they cannot. They are, after all, armed with reams of articles signaling Apple’s imminent demise and the Rolling Stones playing the opening riffs to “Start Me Up” in their heads.

The most effective form of combat is to show them how we do things in the Mac world. Easy. Elegant. Effective.

One of those Wheeler-Dealer Stock Broker types came to me one day asking if I could lend him a hand. His investment club was meeting in a few days, and he was trying to design a form with which members would gather information about the stocks they were tracking. He was having trouble printing this form on a Windows machine, and was wondering if I could design and print one for him. “No problem,” I said. “Can I get it to you in an hour?”

“An hour?” He seemed amazed. “I tried all last night to put this together and couldn’t get it right.” He was even more amazed when I dropped it on his desk within 20 minutes. Score one for the Mac.

The Savvy Systems Operator was in a funk. Three days of struggling to set up a modem on a PC in our office and she was having no luck. I found her sitting in our lunchroom, cold soda in hand, rubbing her temples. “What’s up?” I asked. She explained her problem and I offered a suggestion: “Why not use my Mac? It came with a modem.”

A few clicks of the mouse and a restart later, she had a functioning modem. She grunted, “Thanks,” got the information she needed, and reluctantly went back to configuring her modem. It only took another day-and-a-half of effort for it to work. Score another.

The Nervous Nellie came into my office for the third time that day. “‘Che,’ I was looking through the catalog and now it says I have to buy both a sound and video card for this computer. They’re nickel and diming me to death!”

“Well,” I said, pensively tapping my pencil eraser against my front teeth, “If you buy a Mac, you won’t have to worry. It’s built in.”

“That’s the third time today you told me to ‘go Mac.’ Are you sure Macs are that easy?”

“Why don’t you call their support line. (800) SOS-APPL”

He shot me a sideways glance. “But they’re gonna bill me as soon as I get on the line.”

“Just give it a try,” I said.

Two weeks later, I asked him how his Mac was working. “Just like you said it would.” That’s a Mac hat trick!

Truth is the most powerful weapon in the Mac Guerrillas arsenal. Armed with a working knowledge of how easy and capable your system is and the ability to show Mac-in-Bashers what can be done, you may find yourself in the midst of a Macintosh revolution.

By taking the high road and not resorting to name-calling (unfortunately, one of the main tactics of the Windows crowd), I was able to convince three devout Mac-in-Bashers that:

“Hey, this system has merit.”
“It works with a minimum of fuss.”
“It does what you want it to.”

If I could only get my car to do that!

[apple graphic] Copyright © 1997 Tom Iovino,

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