Mac Lab Report

No Yang Without Yin

- 2003.02.13

As I have previously written, there seems to be at work a cosmic force which accompanies Apple Computer's every move. Like some mysterious Force, the Dark Side surfaces every time the Light Side starts to gain the upper hand.

The Yang

Apple announced that Jaguar was available for free for educators. Excited educators signed up as fast as possible. There is a verification process to ensure you are in fact a teacher/educator; registration is required and the school district where you work must be on the list - most are, so in most cases teachers should have no problem placing your order for Mac OS X 10.2.

I have given Apple grief on a number of topics in the past - the upgrade policy for 10.2 among them - and now I have the great pleasure to say that in this case, Apple has done the smart and wise thing. Getting 10.2 into the classroom and IT departments of schools where it can be extensively tested in the school environment is a fantastic development.

Old-timers may remember when Apple set a goal of putting an Apple II in every school. This is not quite at that level, but it's close. Get yours now and install it before policy says you can't.

I've been testing Jaguar for a while now, and my teacher computer has not had any significant problems for several weeks. I shut it off at night to save power, so I can't say it runs for weeks without restarting. The only problem I have had is that SASI does not work quite right, so occasionally I have had to restart Classic. Otherwise, everything works without a hitch.

Despite losing a few million dollars last quarter, Apple has been on a roll: Safari, the aluminum PowerBooks, AirPort Extreme, faster Power Macs and iMacs and Xserves. Lots of yang. Little yin.

The Yin

On the other hand, Apple's bizarre decision to abandon Macworld New York because it will move to Boston in 2004 is just odd. That's like not going to a hotel because they don't have your favorite brand of frozen shrimp as an appetizer any longer.

I've been to New York, and I've been to Boston. Boston's no New York - but it's no Podunk City, either. Surely this sort of move was done by IDG having some sort of communication with Apple, Inc. - if not, then someone wasn't doing their job.

That point aside, what exactly does Apple have against Boston? Against saving money? Is this a 9-11-related issue?

What it feels like is that someone high up at Apple decided he didn't like Boston, so forget the whole deal. If you read the newsies, you see quotes like the following.

"Apple disagrees with this decision, and will not be participating in Macworld Boston. Since IDG is no longer investing in New York, we now need to reevaluate our participation in Macworld New York 2003."

There isn't any real reason cited here, so it sounds like the cancellation - especially for this summer's Expo - is just sour grapes. This is bad PR; rude to the point of arrogance in terms of the impression Apple leaves in Boston. Maybe there are other factors involved, but if there is a message Apple is trying to send, it's not being sent by these quotations.

There is no yang without yin. I predict the mild positive glow generated by the Jaguar for educators program will be completely absorbed by this MWNY fiasco. Once again, there is no good without bad; light without dark; yang without yin.

In this particular case, I personally benefit, because I live near San Francisco and I'm an educator. But I wonder if the greater good is being served by these decisions. In short: "Jaguar in schools: Yay! No more east coast Apple booths at Macworld: Huh?"

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is a longtime Mac user. He was using digital sensors on Apple II computers in the 1980's and has networked computers in his classroom since before the internet existed. In 2006 he was selected at the California Computer Using Educator's teacher of the year. His students have used NASA space probes and regularly participate in piloting new materials for NASA. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and scientific papers. He currently teaches astronomy and physics in California, where he lives with his twin sons, Jony and Ben.< And there's still a Mac G3 in his classroom which finds occasional use.

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