Stephen Fry on Apple's mobile device competitors

So long as the way they crack Apple is to learn from Steve Jobs that style matters, that beauty matters, that joy, simplicity, elegance, harmony, charm, wit and quality matter – well, I don’t care which company has the best stock market capitalisation.

And in one sentence, that really does sum up what's important.

I am not an Apple computer user at present. I have an iPhone and several iPods. My Macbook and Bondi Blue original iMac are relics of the past, but I cannot deny that the philosophy underlying the product line has always, it seems, been firmly pointed at "great product and the hell with everthing else". Success stemmed from that in the end but it could have been oh so different.

Everyone else: stop being so fucking beige.

Quote from here

An open letter to IT departments

Dear IT Guys

I have a problem with you.

Yes, I mean you. You people ostensibly providing information technology services. Especially those of you in government organisations.

What exactly are you playing at?

You've become an impediment to human productivity.

How did this happen? IT was meant to be the shining future of humanity. It was meant to give us offices free of paper, instantaneous communication, systems that would know what we want and when we want it, machines that would do all the crappy stuff and leave us free to innovate and live a little. IT was meant to liberate us so we could achieve our goals without tedious, mind-numbing drudgery.

What went wrong?

Steve Jobs died this week. A man who, every few months, would stand up in front of an audience, hold up a piece of metal and plastic and silicon wafer, and inspire us with how it would make our lives better. And we'd believe him, and those like him, with all our hearts. We would look and we'd know that this was something that would make our lives better. 

And then we'd go back to our jobs and struggle with outdated software, underpowered hardware and lockdown policies that leave us unable to get our jobs done. Because of YOU.

You are what went wrong.

What excuse have you got?

Steve is dead, and you're spending your time crafting group policies and startup scripts that stop your users opening their My Documents folder. That mean they need to log a service request to correct their computer's clock. That pop up an error message every time a program opens a common dialog. Have you no sense of decency?

You actually spend your time putting systems into place to disable the run prompt on my work PC, so that instead of simply hitting Windows+R and quickly typing mstsc I have to hunt through four levels of menu to find a shortcut that reads "Remote Desktop Connection". And I can't merely create a new shortcut on my quicklaunch, because you've disabled that, too, along with the ability to expand my taskbar or rearrange my system tray icons.

Have you no shame? No shred of integrity? That you'd bow to an ill-thought out policy, that you'd gladly implement these absurd restrictions, making the lives of your colleagues that much harder, just because that's your job? You expect us to think you blameless because you're only obeying orders? You quislings. You collaborators. You scum.

Why, why in the name of all that's good in the world, have you got all the powerstrips locked up in a cupboard, so I can't keep my actually well configured laptop next to me all day to do all the little things I can't do on the PC you provided? Why do I have to log a helpdesk ticket to get a powerstrip? And if I bring my own, you ask where I got it from?


Within a week or two, I'll be able to ask my iPhone if I'll need an umbrella today. It seems so trivial, so frivulous a question. But to get a weather report on my work PC, I first have to find a website with a decent local weather report that isn't blocked by your absurd filtering proxy. The same filtering proxy that classifies this blog's image upload facility as "blocked;games" while leaving the rest untouched? It'd be laughable were it not so tragically banal.

The day we get a system on which I can verbally request and receive "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot", you'll be the one removing the tea leaves and turning the water temperature down because that's what you do.

There are visonaries out there creating hardware and software that makes life easier, makes the world better, and you spend your time stripping out all the useful features from that software and leaving it broken, battered, and unusable. For what? Why are you doing this?


No, I'm not angry. I'm just tired. Tired and depressed that nothing has changed. That after all this time, after all the advances we've made as an industry and as a species, after all the product releases and new features and magical digital toys that are offered to us to make our lives better, now, in October 2011, you still think that deploying a broken SOE of Windows XP is a job well done.

 Fuck you. Come the revolution, you're getting it in the throat.


 [Update 31/10/11. Removed a c-bomb by request of a reader]

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