August 17th, 2006 • 8:34 am
So now he’s posted another item insightfully titled “Computers crash.”
Obviously, Dave Winer needs some help. So let’s give him a hand, shall we?
Dave says, “I don’t install experimental stuff on my computer. I’m really conservative.” Apparently, he seems to equate computers crashing with the use of “experimental” software. This is a very outdated conception of the computing experience. There used to be a time when, yes, using beta versions of stuff could cause frequent crashes and bring your whole system down.
These days, however, there are things such as protected memory that tend to guarantee that, when an application misbehaves, it will only crash by itself and will not bring anything else down with it. I use such “experimental” software myself all the time, and it very rarely has any consequences for the stability of my system as a whole. (Of course, I carefully avoid beta versions of things like kernel extensions and hardware drivers. I am talking about experimental stand-alone applications here.)
On the other hand, the sad reality of today’s software industry is that there is a lot of software out there that cannot be said to be “experimental” in any way, and still is very badly written and can cause all kinds of problems. So let’s examine Dave Winer’s list of applications, shall we?
He says, “These days it’s Firefox and OPML, Handbrake, Azureus, The Sims (v 2), Flickr Uploader, VLC, iTunes. I have an HP printer and scanner, iChat, TextEdit. ”
iTunes, VLC, iChat, TextEdit, Firefox, Handbrake… No worries here.
Azureus I have no experience with, being on dial-up myself and everything. The fact that it’s a Java BitTorrent client makes me a bit suspicious. Java applications are not known to be particularly reliable, and BitTorrent involves lots of network traffic. If it’s running all the time, I might have suspicions about it. But I’d have to do more investigating.
The real suspect here is: “I have an HP printer and scanner.” If I understand correctly, Mr. Winer has one of these atrocious “all-in-one” devices. And that makes me very suspicious. My advice to Mac users is to avoid such devices like the plague. They are not only very expensive to maintain (the cartridges are usually expensive), but HP’s software is pretty horrible at the best of times. For stand-alone HP printers, luckily, most of the time the drivers are built into Mac OS X itself and you don’t have to install anything coming from HP. But with all-in-one devices, you have no choice. You have to install the HP software. And it’s rather atrocious. And it’s got components that run all the time in the background, even when the device itself is not in use.
I would not be surprised at all if the HP software was the culprit here.
It’s just an educated guess, of course. I would need to see his machine and run some tests. But if Dave Winer doesn’t know that all-in-one devices tend to be the source of significant problems, and that HP makes very lousy Mac software, it certainly is not Apple’s fault.
Instead of accusing Apple of misleading advertising, he’d be better off doing a bit of research and experimentation himself. Maybe that would lead him to write a scathing post on HP hardware and software instead. And maybe he would end up with a much more stable machine!
But obviously that’s too much to ask of Dave Winer. It’s much easier to avoid doing any research at all and blame Apple instead.