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ATPM 4.01
January 1998



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Segments: Slices From the Macintosh Life

by Barry Ritholtz,

Popular or Best?

I recently had a computer purchase discussion with my sister—She and her husband would like to have a PC so that Jake and Jamie (my niece and nephew—ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2) can learn computers and have some fun. Every time the Js are over, they have a great time on my Quadra, playing kids' games I downloaded off the net.

The bad news is my brother-in-law—an otherwise decent fellow—is considering purchasing a Wintel machine for their home. The reason Sis gave for possibly making this egregious error was curious: "Windows is the most popular" computer option.

The phrase "most popular" not the "best" or "most useful," but most popular—stuck in my craw for a few days.

I was disturbed by the thought of my niece & nephews' first real computer experiences being Wintel; Disturbed enough to do a little research into some of the world's most popular (but not necessarily best, or even 3rd or 8th best) things:

Sources: Top Ten of Everything, by Russel Ash (DIK Publishing); Nielsen Media Research; The Book of Mosts, Aaron Cohl (St. Martin's Press); Guinness Book of World Records, 1997; Issac Asimov's Book of Facts.

My purpose in putting together this assortment of "Best Sellers" is not to mock or humiliate people who are fond of popular things (Okay, maybe I can mock fans of Hootie and the Blowfish and tweak Nixon supporters a little). Rather, it was to gather some ammo to poke holes in the blind argument used by the Wintel crowd: it's the most popular platform, therefore, you should get it.

My apologies in advance if this comes across as too pretentious or condescending; obviously, it is a selective list. There are many fine products and services that sell well—the Beatles, Star Wars, and the Honda Accord are just a few examples. It just seems to me that, for the most part, people have a hard time distinguishing between qualitative and quantitative factors.

I hope my little diatribe provides you with a suitable response the next time you overhear some pinhead using this nonsense to talk someone out of getting a superior product.

If you have something interesting to say about life with your Mac,
Blue Applewrite to us at
<>. We're happy to publish opinions
or stories from our readers in this Segments section.

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