Stop already

Lately I hear a lot of podcasts in which a guest or cohost is angry because they think people are slighting their beloved iPads. In the most recent instance I’m aware of, someone became upset when John Siracusa mentioned on the last episode of ATP that he likes Terminal and the command line.

Yes, how dare he like computer things and understand them? As if the iPad isn’t a computer too and is in its own separate precious little category, untainted by 1’s and 0’s and registers and Unix commands and Cocoa frameworks.

I do agree with iPad lovers who get frustrated when Mac people try to do something on iOS the same way they do on the Mac, find out they can’t, and proclaim it can’t be done at all on iOS. Yes, that is ignorance. Yes, it is annoying. It’s an inability to adapt and learn.

But it goes both ways: Mac owners who can’t adapt – stupid. iPad owners who also can’t adapt and can’t accept that experience and Apple history can be useful – also stupid.

There are a lot of people with strong opinions on “both sides” about things they don’t actually understand at all. The fact that any Apple users would try to create a divide and proclaim that there are sides to begin with is itself a serious attitude problem.

Stop already.

I work in semiconductor test. Exactly 0% of the hardware and software in my job is the same as when I started, but I’ve learned and adapted and moved on. The principles are always the same — we stick needles into silicon to facilitate the introduction of voltage and current into tiny devices to perform functional and logical testing. All of the many complicated details surrounding it exist in service of that solitary purpose. Understand how THAT works, and you’ll understand anything new that comes along in the semiconductor test universe.

The mechanics of die planarity and the concepts behind test programs don’t change much. Some of the methods of, say, thermal control or parallel testing might, but it’s never an entirely new thing people have to wrap their heads around. It’s all just details. Sometimes very complicated details, but details nonetheless.

It’s no different with computing platforms. They are computers underneath, and the less you’re able to see beneath the icons, the weaker you are in terms of flexibility and adaptability. If you can’t understand what’s really going on functionally, you’re stuck with your particular hardware and software combo, and that makes you ineffective outside of your specific tiny time/space window. Heaven forbid anything change if all you understand is procedures instead of concepts.

My 11 year old daughter definitely gravitates towards iOS devices in terms of mastery, but she uses her Mac daily and learns and tries things. She doesn’t put up an artificial mental barrier or look down her nose at one or the other. She will frequently run from iPad to Mac or vice versa if she has something that’s easier on one versus the other.

So I have to ask: why can’t so many self-proclaimed adult tech nerds be this flexible? It’s like they’re ok with being button pushers, as long as the buttons are pretty ones that they approve of.

I have more respect for people who aren’t super technical but don’t put up arbitrary mental barriers and just figure out how to get their work done on WHATEVER they have than I do for masters of one type of hardware and software who quake in their boots when confronted with a different type of computer and resort to pretending like it’s inferior because they don’t understand it.

Sure, it’s perfectly ok and normal to have personal preferences and to be more skilled in a particular environment than others, but the fundamentals of how all this stuff works is unchanging. Don’t pretend like your golden calf isn’t connected to something larger somehow.

For DECADES Apple enthusiasts put up with people calling the Mac a toy, heard how stupid and useless it was, and endured all kinds of mind-boggling ignorance. I remember being asked as late as 2005 by a co-worker if the Mac supported ethernet and TCP/IP. All I can say is I know some current iPad owners who would never have survived the 80’s and 90’s without some pretty massive therapy bills given their excessive sensitivity and desperate need to be the center of the computing universe.

Personally, I didn’t and still don’t care what other people thought or think about Apple. I don’t think it fazed most of us at all back then, honestly. I certainly don’t remember the kinds of persecution complexes currently on full exhibit today.

It’s also a bit odd to me that people who are completely unaware of this history want to alienate others who might actually understand best how they feel when people diss their beloved things. Stop creating ridiculous and unnecessary fights with people who started using Apple products before 2010, maybe.

Guys (and it is always guys, by the way) – who cares? Get over it already. Are you that unsure of yourselves?

There is no divide except in the minds of people who are stuck, mentally and emotionally. Get away from them. Get to work and stop dissing other Apple people.

It’s OKAY to know something about computers of ALL kinds and not just be surface deep nerds. Stop limiting yourselves and make great things.