A “Friendly Critic” is only Helpful if the Critic is Informed
According to Oren Sreebny Dr. Gregory Jackson has resigned from Apple’s University Executive Forum, because of remarks he made in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Colloquy.” You can see my original post here and a followup here. I note that Oren’s post and his followup have already been picked up at Paul Thurott’s Internet Nexus. Oren, who describes Dr. Jackson as a “friendly critic” of Apple, writes that Dr. Jackson “notes in an email that he’s been asked to publicly correct inaccuracies in his response, and that ‘I don’t believe there are any inaccuracies, although there are many points in the interchange open to elaboration and debate.’”
There were a number of inaccuracies in Dr. Jackson’s response; I detail some of them here, though not all of them.
When I posed the question to Dr. Jackson in the Chronicle’s “Colloquoy,” I asked because I really wanted an answer, and I expected a genuine response from someone of Dr. Jackson’s caliber. I was less than impressed with his response. He was inaccurate, and somewhat condescending. Moreover, he did not actually answer my question, since his response relies on a series of inaccurate assertions. I really am curious—why don’t more institutions adopt Macs and encourage faculty to use them? I would at least expect to see more Xserve G5 servers, and Xserve RAID whether running Mac OS X or another OS. I would expect to see more Macs used for streaming than I am seeing, and a lot more used for multimedia development and individual use. More often than not, I don’t see Macs even offered as a choice, and they are not considered for server-side implementation by academic IT departments as often as they should be. I am particularly mystified when RealAudio is the automatic choice for streaming, when it strikes me as obscenely expensive, cumbersome to administer, and the agility of the Real protocol pales when compared to the flexibility and potential of QuickTime, with its multiple tracks and annotations. Plus, the QuickTime Streaming Server is free, the open source version Darwin runs on a variety of platforms, and is dead easy to set up and administer— a Medievalist can do it. Even Broadcaster is free. But over and over again, I find I have to point out to IT folk that there are alternatives to Microsoft, that Solaris, and Linux and Unix and Mac OS X are viable options, and worth considering. Particularly when the institution doesn’t have to spend large sums of money on cleaning up after security holes, patching software and purchasing elaborate server-based systems to “push” updates out to end users because there are thousands of viruses and Trojans, taking advantages of numerous design flaws in Windows.