Mac Lab Report

Stand for the Mac against Mindless Conformity

- 2004.12.07

Dozens of Mac pundits, myself included, have berated Mr. Rich Brooks for supporting the reverse migration from Macs to Windows PCs in Sarasota, Florida schools.

An interesting point is that he remains uninfluenced by all of the messages sent to him. He, on the other hand, expects us to be influenced by his writing. He declares his position to be a "no-brainer," blithely unaware of the irony his choice of words generates.

Why should you care?

Because it represents one more case where someone who admittedly does not know what they are talking about is interfering with the education of our children. Mr. Brooks has never used a Mac, yet he deigns to claim that PCs are the best choice for the school district. Even though every one of his points is inaccurate and his response to critics demonstrates poor reasoning, his influence over local leaders will be greater than ours because he lives there and we do not.

Some of us are old enough to remember the glory days of the Mac Evangelist - the sneaking of Macs bought with our own funds into the office, stringing cable under the office partitions because IT would not respond to our requests to network our computers.

A monolithic computing culture will spell the very end of our civilization, brought down by a fast-spreading and unpatched exploit yet to be invented.

Some say those days are well and gone, and the remnants of the Mac activists have faded into obscurity. That may well be, but let us not forget that while others hurl stones and invectives, brand us "fanatics" and ignorant of the "real world," that we remember that the very future of computing is at stake. A monolithic computing culture will spell the very end of our civilization, brought down by a fast-spreading and unpatched exploit yet to be invented. Diversity is strength, not weakness.

Let us then write Mr. Brooks (rich.brooks@heraldtribune.com), his publisher, and the members of the Sarasota school board (http://www.sarasota.k12.fl.us/schoolboard/). Let us write to the parents, write to the local news station, and write letters to the editor (http://heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?CATEGORY=OPINION04).

Write in your blogs, your columns, your newsletters. Find an old machine and send it to him to use. Send him an Apple sticker for his office window.

Remember the Dark Times? They are come upon us again! Let us resist with all our might. This moment may be the one that spells the beginning of the end. If that end is inevitable - if we are all doomed in the future to compute alike, suffer alike, vote alike, and think alike - let us declare that even though these things may be fated to come to pass, they will not happen here and they will not happen now.

As you read this, Mac users will join others from around the world. You will be launching the most important Internet flash crowd in the history of computer users.

"Users" - that word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interest.

We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight.

Perhaps it's fate that today is December 7, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom - not from viruses, spyware, or persecution, but from monopolistic business practices and poorly informed punditry. We're fighting for our right to use a Mac, for Macs to exist. And, should we win the day, December 7 will be known as the day when Mac users declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. We're going to live on. We're going to survive.

"Today, we celebrate diversity, we celebrate the survival of personal computing as we know it, we celebrate Choice over Concession. We declare that you will not tell us how to compute, and you will not tell us how to think!"

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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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