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by: Bernard Teo

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Thu 29 Apr 2004

Java-on-Mac Meetup

Category : Commentary/JavaMeetup.txt

These are some of the pictures Timmy Yeo took a couple of nights ago at Burger King (at Novena Square, where there's glorious free wireless surfing and we should use it while it lasts!) when a few of us met up to take a look at Java on OS X. I think I was trying to explain Model-View-Controller, using the iBook, handphone, and what-else as props.

James Gallagher is doing a blog editor tool in Java and Cocoa, using XML-RPC to talk to a MoveableType server. I persuaded Hai Hwee to come along because, being the Java-Cocoa guru (and I'm just the "suit"), she would be of better help.

There's Siva (bottom, left), self-confessed "MacAddict", who's using the version of PHPosxom that I mangled (basically I made changes to it to make it easier to design the look of the web page without tripping over the PHP code), and who has since helped a few other people set up blogs.

Then there's also Hanx (top, left), a long time Mac user and "evangelist", and Seng Aik (top, right), who had set up MacRebels ("Rebel Against Stupidity").

Also, I just remember - we're going to have the usual monthly Mac meet-up next week, Tuesday.

So, the Mac scene is alive and well in Singapore.

I was reading this article about the design of the Apple Store, yesterday, and about how Apple feel the stores may have contributed to Mac sales, ever since they were started. But, the question is : just how many people were pre-sold about the benefits of the Mac in sessions like these, all over the world, before they even walk into an Apple store or an AppleCentre.

If the entity in Apple that oversees the sales figures of our local office is happy with its performance, then the impact of all these non-paid Mac "evangelists" must have been significant.

Because, for years, watching Apple perform in Singapore was like watching a team in smart cool jerseys get walloped 10-nil every time they take the field. And they could still give themselves high-fives when they leave the field.

And there's nothing you can do about it, if you can't bring yourself to work on Windows. Love me, love my dog. So, if you can't help sharing your enthusiasm for the platform, you're probably going to help sell a few Macs, which makes Apple salespeople think they're so smart, since they can sell so much without doing a thing themselves. Which could be the reason why they seem so smug. And the cycle goes on and on.

But it struck me clearly, last week at Sun Tech Day, that Java has given me a way to dis-engage. No more throwing a body in the line of a rabid Windows or Linux user. Be my guest, take a swipe.

You can continue using what is probably the best hardware/software combination. Yet, you don't marginalise yourself out in the fringes.

I would love it if Apple Singapore perform better and get their act together because it would be no more than the long-suffering Mac users deserve. But we should leave this worrying of the (small) size of the Mac market to the guys who're paid to do it (even if they always seem so determined to run the company to the ground, and then return to the safety of their IBMs and HPs). I don't believe we will see any improvement until Apple hires people who really love the platform for their Singapore office.

I was actually astounded to read the last paragraph in the Apple Store article:

"But I think the one thing that sets apart our stores and Apple, is fundamentally two types of people in the world, in my view. There are believers and there are skeptics," Johnson said. "Apple is filled with believers. And believers tend to think of what can be, and they just go do it, and they don't spend time asking why not. They go and make it happen."

"Apple is filled with believers." If this were true, I don't see it in our neighbourhood.

Finally, Apple's success with OS X shows that, some day, some Taiwanese or Chinese company will wake up to the same conclusion - that they can take their skills building computer hardware, and marry that with an ability to integrate all these free, Open Source stuff, the way Apple has done. The Microsoft business model may not be the only model that could succeed and Apple has shown a viable alternative.

So, it may be all geek-talk. But geeks can feel the ground shift before others can. It'll be interesting to see how this works out.

Posted at 10:40AM UTC | permalink

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