And now… a word on Usage Based Billing.

Let’s get something out of the way first, shall we?

Internet service is NOT like a utility service such as electricity or natural gas – and therefore can not be billed in the same fashion, nor should it be.

When your local utility service provider runs a meter on your electricity consumption or how much natural gas you use to heat your home, they do that for a very specific reason: it’s costs money to generate that electricity via power dams, windmill farms, solar power arrays, etcetera… and it costs money to develop that natural gas from the sources deep in the earth – you have to pay people to run the drills, process the elements, sail the natural gas tankers, or build the pipelines.

Now… I’m not saying that it doesn’t cost money to string wires and buy network switches – but in no way, shape, or form does it cost anything near what it costs to develop utility services.

In Canada, the largest internet service providers are trying to implement a “usage based billing” scheme upon their subscribers in the same way that you’d be billed for leaving your lights on at home all the time – except with the difference being that you’d have a flat rate up to a certain gigabyte level that you’ve agreed to in a package deal… and then, when you’ve passed that level – let’s say 60 gigabytes, you’d have to pay a steep overage charge of between $1 and $5 per GB.

The things that you should keep in mind going forward is that – according to network specialists that don’t represent Bell, Rogers, or Shaw – it costs anywhere between 0.0013 and 1.15 cents to send one gigabyte of data through Canada’s internet infrastructure – which is nowhere near the 100% to 500% markup that the large ISPs are demanding.

These ISPs had hoodwinked the Canadian Radio And Telecommunications Commission (the equivalent of the F.C.C. in the United States Of America) into agreeing to allowing these companies to charge their own customers these exorbitant fees PLUS forcing independent internet service providers (who purchase their internet backbone access wholesale from Bell Canada et al) to pass on UBB charges to their own customers as of the beginning of March 2011.

This would, in effect, remove all of the unlimited internet use packages available to subscribers of the smaller ISPs – which was, and has always been their major advantage in attracting internet customers away from the major ISPs who tend to offer firmly defined data caps (60GB, 125GB, 200GB, etc.).

By forcing the little guys to bill the same way that the big guys do, the CRTC had completely leveled the playing field – save for those few independent ISPs who had their own internet equipment that did not rely on Bell.

In Bell’s own words as they appeared before the government panel investigating UBB on February 10th, 2011: “…it (UBB) prevents them (independent ISPs) from differentiating their offers from our own.”

Gone would be the all you can eat internet buffet for $50… which an independent ISP could offer to attract new customers, which I’m sure pissed Bell Canada and it’s corporate allies off to no end because their corporate culture was based around screwing their customers any way they could through oppressive overage schemes.

In today’s world of ever-growing data bandwidth, a gigabyte doesn’t go as far as it did in days gone by… even in as little as five years ago.

In 2011, internet users have so many choices available to them online that are fairly data intensive: YouTube, Flickr, streaming Quicktime, Steam, and services like Netflix.

Even those people who like to haunt Facebook and Twitter are pulling down large chunks of data when playing Farmville or watching videos of their nephew’s little league game.

Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Shaw Media, and the other large ISPs are entitled to make money… nobody is suggesting that they should give away internet service for free.

What has caused nearly half a million people to sign a petition, and what most people would agree to when asked on the street, is that the large ISPs should collect fees that reflect the actual costs of doing business – to have their billing practices be strongly rooted in reality.

Yes… there are an increasing number of Canadians using more than 200GB a month, but the problem is that Bell Canada and it’s friends don’t want to spend the money necessary to bolster their national infrastructure to accommodate this rising tide – and instead of doing the logical thing (building new and better data transmission networks), they want to stifle those 200GB+ users though harsh tariffs.

This is purely greed – nothing else.

The UBB pressure is aimed at maximizing profit.

Profit is good, yes… but obscene amounts of profit is simply evil – and the Canadian public is beginning to rise up against this unparalleled cash grab that isn’t replicated anywhere else in the world.

In a word, it’s uncompetitive – but that makes it too simple.

There are so many businesses in the Canadian marketplace that depend on a reliable, uninterrupted, and unlimited internet for everyone.

Do you think that places like internet cafes could remain in business if they’re forced to pay for their customer’s overages? I mean… I’m sure that you can’t offer internet to everybody who walks through the door and not blaze past 200GB in a month with little effort.

How about your local municipal library? Quite a few of them offer free internet access to their patrons… but would that concept still be viable when the library is being charged $5 for every gigabyte?

Don’t kid yourself: city hall would put a quick stop to that in very short order.

However, the biggest problem with UBB from an internet business standpoint – at least for those businesses that aren’t Bell & Co. – is that the UBB policy unfairly discriminates against companies like Netflix and YouTube that rely on their customers/visitors to be able to consume all the data they can put in front of their eyeballs.

This comes in direct competition to Bell & Co.’s own Media On Demand services – which generally have less content available than Netflix-type services – and results in lost revenue for the large ISPs.

So, again, instead of spending money to bolster their Media On Demand services, they want to quash those of you out their who would go to Netflix as a superior alternative by raping your wallets and bank accounts – forcing you to consume their paltry wares instead.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen such a clear-cut conflict of interest… such a blatant anti-competitive attack on consumers who dare to use anyone but the large ISPs and their various media holdings (CTV, Global Television, etc.).

Interestingly, the UBB provisions that the CRTC gave the okay to, are now in limbo as the federal government had told the CRTC to reconsider or be overruled point blank at the legislative level.

I say interesting because the Conservative Party Of Canada – the current party in power – is very, very friendly with Big Business.

To take a stand against the Big ISP lobby is contrary to party beliefs, and can only be interpreted as being responsive to public uproar – and a deft move to head off the opposition parties from gaining a political foothold that’s rooted in popular unrest.

Yes… it may be snide electioneering, but for the time being, the Government Of Canada is on the side of their electorate instead of giving away everything to Big Business.

How long this lasts is anyone’s guess… but I’d wager it will last as long as the Conservatives winning the next federal election – which is going to be sooner than later, after which time they won’t feel as threatened by the average Canadian citizen who uses the internet.

So, for now, do your part in trying to prevent Big ISPs from getting away with murder.

How?

Write a letter to your local MP… write a letter to your local newspaper’s editor… make a video about your views and post it on YouTube… call into a local radio show and tell them – and all the listeners – how you feel about the large ISPs trying to sodomize your cash flow.

Or… simply visit www.openmedia.ca and take advantage of their resources.

But, don’t take my word for it.

Go online – while you can afford it – and see what the average Canadian internet user thinks of UBB.

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How The Canadian Population Just Got Raped

…And we’re not even allowed to feel dirty about it.

The Canadian Radio and Television Commission today ruled against the tax paying public in favor of the Canada’s two privately-held national broadcasters.

Assuming that the Federal Court of Appeals doesn’t rule against the CRTC in the coming  months, each and every Canadian citizen that has to subscribe to a cable or satellite television service will now have to pay the long discussed ‘TV Tax’ come 2011.

Why does that matter?

$10 may not seem like a lot of money when it’s going to support Canadian networks – but it really is when you consider most Canadians already pay approx. $80 a month for their service – meaning they’ll be paying $90 come January.

In Ontario, this is doubly worrisome.

Come July 2010, all of Ontario’s cable/satellite subscribers will have  to pay an additional 8% on their subscription bills due to the blended HST kicking in – bringing that bill closer to $97 in January.

Getting back to the ‘TV Tax’, some of you are saying it’s okay because that $10 per person is going to go towards more local and Canadian content.

Nope.

On the same day as announcing the TV Tax, the CRTC also dropped the minimum requirement for Canadian Content hours to zero and mandating that the total CanCon percentage drop from 60% to 55% – meaning your local TV station can carry 5% more episodes of C.S.I.

The only good thing – and I say ‘good’ loosely – is that the CRTC declared that CanWest Global and CTVGlobemedia (CTV) must spend 30% of the money they take in on Canadian produced material such as news programs, public interest programming, etcetera.

An additional 5% of the network revenue must be spent on programs of ‘national interest’ – which translates to Canadian-based dramas, telefilms, and documentaries.

So in some ways, Canadians have made gains in the things they watch, but are being penalized for that privilege.

The glaring issue here is that the CRTC has once again sided with Big Canadian Media without at all listening to Little Canadian Taxpayer – which is a hallmark of the party currently controlling the CRTC’s strings: the Stephen Harper Conservatives (and I made that distinction on purpose).

Steve Harper and the assorted cronies that he’s put in charge of the plethora of Canadian governmental institutions have all come from business backgrounds and are more than happy to sell the country out to private interests.

Never in the history of Canada has Big Business had such an advantage over Small Taxpayer – especially in the media sector.

From the signing on to ACTA behind closed blast doors, to letting the networks rape our pocketbooks – there is no company or industry’s ‘special interest’ lobbyist that Harper won’t invite into the Prime Minister’s Office in that most vaunted of buildings in Ottawa.

With Harper seeing that the Liberals are polling neck and neck with the Conservatives, Steve has to know that the next election – which is going to be sooner than later – is probably not gonna work out for him and his associates.

Which means that now is the time that he needs to sell out the country before it’s too late

It’s a FIRE SALE, folks!

Everything must go!

…Must go to the country’s billionaires, that is.

What can you do, John Q. Public – other than vote the bastards out of office next election?

Nothing, really.

You know… other than bend over, grab your ankles, and let Big Canadian Media sodomize you without the courtesy of lubricating first.

Did you really expect anything else from this guy?

Dear Bell Canada: We Hate You

All of us across Canada have been taking part in a mass experiment for the past 17 days or so.

This experiment was called The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Why is that an experiment and what does it have to do with Bell Canada?

Dear reader, I will tell you ‘cuz that’s just what kind of blogger I am – always looking out for those who don’t know.

For those of you out there who live in countries that are not named Canada, a little background is needed here.

The official Canadian network of the 2010 Olympic Games was CTV – one of only 3 national Canadian networks – and was the only Canadian source of Olympics broadcast over it’s hydra-esque collection of stations: CTV, TSN (The Sports Network), MuchMusic (the Canadian alternative to MTV), and MTV Canada (the Canadianized MTV).

CTV was formerly owned wholly by Bell Canada (now about 20%), and now you’re up to speed.

(UPDATE: Bell Canada has repurchased the entirety of CTV as of September 10th, 2010)

On the whole, the CTV broadcast of the Olympics was completely and totally shit – I’m not gonna mince words here.

The fact that the Canadian-origin Olympic broadcasts were shit is endemic of Bell Canada’s general attitude towards the Canadian public and none of us should have been really surprised at the epic failure of the endeavor.

The technologies employed for the Olympics broadcasts were seriously lacking when compared to the station most Canadians turned to when comparable programming was on offer: NBC.

Why is that?

The answer – to put it simply – is competition.

In the United States of America, NBC had the sole rights for broadcasting the Olympic games to the entire country – but they had to deal with new shows or counter programming from their two rivals, namely ABC and CBS.

NBC was in a position where they had to use absolute top notch video, audio, and graphical technology to make the Olympics palatable to the average American to ensure good Nielsen ratings performance against shows like CSI and LOST.

I give a tip of my metaphorical hat to Mr. Zucker, the president of NBC, for making these strong decisions and reaping the benefits.

However, the corporate masters at CTV didn’t really see the need to go all out on the technical standards because they had the Canadian viewers by the balls – so to speak.

Why?

Two things.

Patriotism and lack of choices.

If a Canadian wanted to watch the games, they (at least in the heads of CTV masters) would have no other option than to watch the CTV family coverage.

And what Canadian DIDN’T want to watch the Olympics hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia – which happens to be in CANADA?

What Canadian citizen didn’t want to watch our Canadian Olympians win more gold medals than any other country in the history of the Games?

There was simply no choice for a lot of Canadians out there across our great land (2nd largest country in the world, by the way) who only got two or three channels on their televisions due to lack of cable or satellite service.

You see, CTV’s corporate masters give it lots of money to spend on licensing of the lion’s share of top rated American shows – meaning that even if you wanted to watch American Idol or other supershows instead of the Olympics, and you didn’t have cable, you were stuck watching the Olympics because your feeble rabbit ear & coat hanger setup can’t pull in an American network.

These are the facts of the previously mentioned experiment.

I’m not really aware of the total ratings breakdown of the CTV broadcasts, but from what I gather, it was a resounding success for the big wigs at Bell Canada’s broadcast division.

Which only serves to reinforce the way that Bell Canada operates throughout our vast country.

You see, Bell Canada used to be a complete and total monopoly of the Canadian telephone system – that is up until the past fifteen years or so where the CRTC (the Canadian telecommunications authority) opened up the phone market to other companies.

Bell had to deal with outside companies all of a sudden competing with them for the Canadian telecom dollar.

American companies came in and tried to run services for a while – specifically Sprint and AT&T (both of which eventually folded their Canuck operations into the Canadian telecom company Rogers).

With the fear of losing massive monopoly sized profits, Bell Canada decided to buy CTV and it’s associated networks to shore up it’s bottom line through the often mystical art of television tradecraft.

For the average Canadian, nothing really changed on television – save for the inclusion of Bell’s corporate logo at the bottom of CTV’s original local programming credits.

And in the years since the CTV takeover, nothing has really changed either – aside from some graphical makeup applied to the CTV brand.

Why?

Bell Canada loathes Canadians – or, at the very least, holds Canadians in total and utter contempt.

For all the water that has passed under the bridge since the monopoly breakup, Bell Canada still operates as a monopoly.

An alarmingly large amount of Canada’s telecom assets are still owned and operated by Bell Canada – including (and the most troubling of all) the entire Canadian internet backbone system.

Bell Canada owns the Canadian internet – despite not having a monopoly on how people subscribe to internet services.

Independent internet service providers have to buy their backbone access through Bell’s infrastructure wholesale.

A Canadian citizen might get their internet through a local company, but that internet is ultimately controlled by Bell.

To borrow something from the Matrix movies, Bell Canada guards all the doors and they hold all the keys – at least as far as the internet is concerned.

That local ISP may not have restrictive content filters that would slow down internet applications like BitTorrent or other P2P programs – but your data traffic cultivated by those apps will still suffer speed delays because Bell Canada does filter.

So in the end, no matter who you’re signed up with, Bell Canada still controls what you do on the internet.

Also, your internet is going to suck when compared to other developed nations.

According to a recent study by eggheads at Harvard University, Canada is 18th on a list of internet service quality.

Why eighteenth?

Because Bell still operates as if it’s a monopoly – and it is the one true  internet God in the realm of Canada’s cyberspaces.

In countries like Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Sweden, or the United States (among many other countries ahead of Canada on the afore-mentioned list), internet services improve over time due to market forces in a wide open internet marketplace.

Let’s use the United States as a working example, shall we?

In the U.S. there is a plethora of companies offering internet access via their own, wholly owned data networks that are in direct competition which each other for American customer dollars.

In hopes of attracting new customers, American networks are constantly upgrading themselves to offer bigger and better products.

Case in point, Verizon has wired large portions of America with a fiber optic transmission network so they can offer blazing data speeds when compared to their competition (AT&T, Sprint, etc.) who are still relying on century-old metal wire network technology.

Competition is the heart of progress in all systems on the planet – both technological and biological.

For something to become better, it has to have incentive to do so – and as it is, Bell Canada has ZERO incentive to improve itself.

I’m sure that somewhere in Bell Canada’s executive building(s), there’s a large brass plaque that reads in bold letters WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?

Until the CRTC grows some balls and forces Bell to divest itself of the Canadian internet backbone, Bell Canada will not invest one measly dime in network upgrades than it has to – and believe me, it doesn’t spend one penny that it isn’t forced to.

Except…

Except for internet service via cellphone.

The cellphone service sector is wide open in Canada with many competitors vying for 34 million Canadian’s hard earned cash.

Rogers, Telus, Koodo, Virgin, Wind Mobile – all nipping at Bell’s subscriber base, which forced the company to innovate and try to offer a technological edge to it’s customers that wouldn’t be available to other services.

If there weren’t other cellphone service providers in the Canadian market, Canadians would not have access to 3G or the oncoming 4G.

Bell users now have the opportunity to use the vaunted iPhone (gag me with a spoon) because Bell was forced to upgrade it’s network to compete with Rogers who was already offering iPhones.

That’s the process of competitive evolution in action.

The dinosaurs went through this hundreds of millions of years ago in our planet’s distant past, but the dinosaur that is Bell Canada simply refuses to evolve because there isn’t another corporate beastie big enough to take a bite out of it’s gnarled hide.

For this, we Canadians are in the technological third-world – which really, really sucks.

As much as we love to brag to our quarrelsome American neighbors about how we have superior, free healthcare and how we mopped the floor with them in the 2010 Olympic gold medal count, we must continuously hide our shame in regards to how friggin’ slow our internet speeds are.

I sit here in envy of whichever American cities get selected for Google’s internet service experiments that promises speeds of 1GB per second: yes, one gigabyte per second compared to my 300 kilobytes per second as I write this blog.

No, 300kbps isn’t a national average in Canada.

The average data speed in high-speed enabled communities throughout Canada is 10 megabytes per second via DSL service, 12Mbps via cable internet service – and I’ve enjoyed connection speeds of up to 5Mbps via DSL in the past, but those were anomalous and based on living in the right areas where Bell spent some extra money on their wiring .

Yes… I could subscribe to my cable company’s (Cogeco) internet service and get that 12Mbps, but there’s a gigantic catch to that blissful speed: a solid 60 gigabyte data cap – which is fairly standard amongst North American cable companies.

60GB isn’t enough by far for my demanding usage as I regularly move 200GB or so a month via gaming, uploading to social media sites like YouTube and Flickr, and downloading music/TV shows/movies.

So I’m stuck on this crappy Bell-supplied architecture.

And we, as Canadians, were stuck with the crappy, Bell-managed CTV Olympics coverage when we couldn’t turn to NBC for the same event – which was sporadic at best since NBC’s coverage was very focused on American Olympians and would skip events where the U.S. wasn’t competing, and completely blanked the Canadian cultural portion of the Closing Ceremonies.

AARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH! @$#%&!

Seriously, Bell Canada… what the hell?

The next time I stop to use a pay-phone, I hope you choke to death on the two quarters.

.

.

.

.

Oh… and that experiment and it’s purpose?

To figure out how much shit we as Canadians are willing to put up with.

And by the looks of it, Bell Canada will continue to use the Canadian market as it’s own personal outhouse.

Apple Sucks. I’m Sorry If You’re Offended.

Ask any Apple product user out there in the wilds of the internet or – gasp! – in the real world what made them buy their Mac/iPod/iPhone, and you’ll almost invariably get the same answer: they’re innovative.

I suppose this could be held out to be true if you were a technological neophyte who knew little about the technology that’s inside their purchase.

The problem with that is this: there is a very large number of people in this world who actually know what the parts and software that comprises an Apple product does – thusly knowing the inherent limitations of the device.

This creates a problem for Steve Jobs, and it’s the number one reason why he moves heaven and earth in attempts to make Apple products look cool – to make them fashionable status symbols.

If it’s white & shiny, or black & shiny, people are more likely to gloss over (hahahah… so punny!) the nagging problems that they encounter over the lifetime of the product – which isn’t going to be more than 2 years in reality due to Apple releasing a newer version of the flashy technojewelery that they paid a ridiculously large sum of money for.

What’s that? The product was worth all the extra cash?

Again: technojewelry.

You buy these things to look fashionable, and not based on technological superiority.

Want to know something interesting? The average uncut diamond is worth about $10 when you factor in rarity and the processing of rock to extract it.

$10.

Now, yes, that’s in its uncut state and cutting is where the art is – and where most jewelers will justify the 2000% markup.

Does this sound familiar?

Have you ever done comparative shopping between a Mac and a PC?

Technologically, the systems aren’t any different – yet the prices are excessively separate.

Side by side, the two machines might be different in appearances, but they’re essentially the same under the hood.

All the parts involved are mostly made in the same factories by the same manufacturers to roughly the same standards – though the Mac parts might be lower powered when compared to the same PC part.

The internal guts of these two computers might be arranged slightly different – but let’s be honest: a lot of PC makers arrange their parts in different configurations while trying to get a leg up, yet they all run Windows.

However, when we go to look at the price tags on each machine, you have to do a double/triple/quadruple/quintuple look!

The PC will be priced at $799.

The Mac will be priced at $2,799 (or more: see here)

I’m sorry.

Say what?

You want me to pay $2,000 dollars extra for what is essentially the same machine?

Are you out of your freakin’ mind?

What’s that, Mr. Jobs? You want to make the same kind of money that HP, Dell, and Acer do in their PC divisions?

But you only have 5% of the world’s personal computer market! That’s madness!

Oh… wait… I see what you’re doing!

Jack up the price on every computer so that it LOOKS like you’re selling 3.5 units every time a single computer is purchased!

Genius!

Your accountants must love you!

When Apple is making 3.5 times the money per computer, it really looks like they command 17.5% of the computer market when you boil it down to dollars and cents (cents, not sense)…

…when the truth is nowhere near that.

I have to give Mr. Jobs credit, though.

It takes huge, gigantic brass balls to make a money play like that.

The fact that he gets $5 for every $100 spent on personal computing is really an accomplishment – but it’s nowhere enough for a publicly traded company that has shareholders looking for money to put in their pockets.

What was Mr. Jobs to do? How could he make more money for the people who had invested their hard-earned dollars in Apple stock?

Why… take the technojewelry concept to the next level!

Jewelry isn’t very practical if you can’t wear it on your body, is it?

Thus came the Apple iPod.

Contrary to what Apple would want you to believe, the iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player on the market, despite it’s current cultural ubiquitousness.

All Mr. Jobs did was pair together function (which was being done already by other companies) with form – which was something relatively revolutionary at the time.

People could walk around enjoying their music while feeling good about how swell the iPod looked and accessorized their lifestyle.

Apple even cared enough about their customers to make a web store to sell music directly to iPod users – because, honestly, buying a CD in a physical/real world music store was just too hard with all the track ripping and what not.

They’re even generous enough to only keep 35 cents of every 99 cents (the rest goes to the music industry), only leaving them $475,000 a day in profits!

But… that wasn’t enough money.

Shareholders screamed MOAR!

They money hungry stock owners saw that the MP3 player market was saturated with products that did everything the iPod did and more!

The Microsoft Zune plays HD video and the current generation iPod doesn’t.

Sansa players have voice recorders.

So on and so on.

Apple needed to up their game to find new revenue streams.

Steve Jobs said add a phone to the iPod and give it a touchscreen.

And behold, it was good.

Let’s add downloadable applications, he said.

And the Apple devotees rejoiced – spending $2.4 billion dollars a year on apps.

And things were good for a month or so – before competitors released phones that did everything an iPhone did plus a lot more.

Hell… the only thing the iPhone really brought to the cellphone market was the touchscreen – and that was very easily duplicated.

The iPhone was seriously lacking in certain areas as well, missing functions that other cell owners took for granted.

But… it was black & shiny! OMFG! More technojewelry!

Shareholders screamed MOAR!

They money hungry stock owners saw that the smartphone market was saturated with products that did everything the iPhone did and more!

So here we are now in the era of the iPad – and I won’t make a stale joke about feminine hygiene products.

In it’s most basic sense, the iPad is just a jumbo iPhone/iPod Touch – which as usual isn’t upgradeable, and the early adopters will curse it’s lack of Flash and/or Silverlight, among it’s dozen or so shortcomings.

It doesn’t bring anything new to the market, and I’m sure the stock owners are a bit puzzled since it will be VERY easy for a competitor to top the iPad with very little to no research & development costs.

Sure, there’s the App Store and another potential for $2.4 billion dollars in revenue a year – and maybe that’s enough for stock owners.

However, they really have to be glancing over in Google’s direction with a little bit of nervousness – and not just because of the price difference in stocks (at the time of my writing this blog, Apple was at $200 USD a share vs. Google’s $543), but because Google seems to be hell-bent on taking on both Microsoft AND Apple.

Have you ever seen a Google phone? One that either runs on Google software or is marketed directly to the masses by Google themselves?

Prime example is the Nexus One cellphone.

It does everything the iPhone does and more – and usually for less!

Wow. Do you have any idea how tedious it’s getting to write statements like that? Do you?

Anyway…

In the end, as hopefully you can see by now, is that Apple doesn’t offer the world anything that’s better than the competitors.

So why oh why do the Apple fanboy/fangirls of the world continue to scream at the tops of the lungs that ‘Apple is the best EVAR!’?

What is it that inspires such blind and almost unequivocal (see Linux fanboys) devotion?

Have I mentioned the white/black & shiny?

The technojewelry?

Oh… I have?

That’s the sum of it.

If that’s so, why is Justin Long still on TV poking fun of John Hodgman’s PC after what seems like 20 years?

Apple still feels insecure, that’s why.

And it’s a justified insecurity because someone in the Apple hierarchy has a level head on their shoulders and sees the truth of the matter i.e. that ultimately, Apple products are inferior.

Why that person hasn’t been fired personally by Steve Jobs is an incredulous miracle, but I think it has a lot to do with those stock holders.

Apple Computer nearly died a long slow death not very long ago, and shareholders would really rather that not happen again – thus the reality checker at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.

As far as Apple’s computer line is considered, the fans will shout words like the afore-mentioned innovation, as well as words and concepts  like ‘easy to use’, and ‘virus free’.

Easy to use?

I suppose they are when you take into consideration that using OS X and its various iterations is sort of like taking the Windows experience, making it prettier (though Windows 7 is pretty gorgeous) and then dumbing it down so a kindergarten student can use it.

What’s that, Infuriated Mac Fanboy?

Windows Vista/7 ripped off OS X?

Truth of the matter is that Microsoft had been working on a visual update for Windows long before OS X hit the market, and there is reams of data to back that up readily available from the U.S. Justice Department if you know where to ask (data related to investigations into Microsoft’s anti-competitiveness).

However, I’ll let David Pogue deal with the Vista vs. OS X battle over here.

Finally, let’s address the ‘virus free’ banner that Mac fanboys/fangirls like to wrap themselves up in before facing the world.

Yes, there are very few viruses out on the interwebs that are specifically coded for Macintosh computers.

Is it because Apple computers are inherently bulletproof when it comes to malware written in someone’s basement by their no-good, Cheetos-eating, Red Bull-drinking miscreant of an offspring?

No.

Is it because it’s easier to write anti-virus code for a Mac?

Nope.

Is it because Steve Jobs flies around the internet and eats all the potential Mac virus bombs before they can be delivered!

Yes!

Oh wait… no… that’s not it at all.

The reason Mac users go their entire Apple product using lives without encountering a nasty virus that wants to corrupt their data or hijack their internet connections is this: 5%.

Five measly percentage points.

Why would virus writers – who depend on vast numbers of computers to distribute their ill-meaning wares to other vast numbers of computers – bother writing a virus that would only effect 5% of the computer ecosystem?

There’s no money or no glory in 5% of the world.

If you were walking down an alley and you saw a dollar with 5 pennies on top of it, which would you pick up? The dollar or the pennies?

I dunno about you, but I’m sure as hell taking the dollar – and that’s exactly the way virus writers see the internet…

…and that’s the exact reason why Macs are virus free.

They’re not popular enough.

If you’re a Mac user and reading this blog, take great comfort in your binary isolation.

But beware, Mac User: if Microsoft, Google, and Linux all suddenly disappear like you wish every night before falling asleep, guess who’s gonna be the most disease-ridden girl at the Internet Prom?

It sure as hell ain’t gonna be Sun Mircrosystems.