Down But Not Out

Macs, New Zealand, and Darwinism

Dirk Pilat - 2002.04.26

G'day everyone!

Yes, after four weeks here in the land of the long white cloud, as the Maori call it (or the Land Bereft of Apple Commercials, as I call it), I start to speak the local lingo: I encourage my patients with colloquialisms like "good on ya," "good as gold," or the unbeatable "good as a box of fluffy kittens."

Yes, New Zealand certainly offers you new experiences for your money, and I can tell you, it's not only funny shaped boulders, funny shaped birds, funny shaped fruits, or funny shaped houses.

As you remember, last weeks column was all about the lack of Macs in my surroundings. Naturally I was inundated by people from Auckland and Wellington (the former the wannabe and the latter the true capital of NZ) who told me that they were surrounded by Macs, doh, but in general the mails reaffirmed my opinion that Macs are rather underrepresented in the country, mostly due to the rather hefty prices and the lack of retail (here we go again, I know).

I got a couple of very nice mails from the various MUGs on the islands (thanks guys!) inviting me to rather sinful sounding nights out, and some bizarre mails asking me for travel tips. It turns out that the area I live in (Otago) is the New Zealand equivalent of Bavaria (a small mountainous little state in Germany, full of people of a resilient little mountain tribe with unpronounceable accents, rather eccentric habits, and funny hats), but without the technology centres. Apparently the concentration of Macs is far higher in the urban areas of NZ, so it's just me who's screwed. Oh well, looks like it's me who'll have to spread the gospel of Steve. I always wanted to be an evangelist.

Which brings us to the next issue:

Slashdot, which seems to be an Apple-only site some days, and the good old Register picked up a story from the rather less exciting MacSlash a couple of days ago: According to a Professor of Theobiology at the Fellowship University (what?), we are all doomed because we are using computers devised by godless hippie Darwinists. (Darwinists because of the name of the OS. Get it? Get it??)

I am sure you have all read the story, so question is: Hoax or not?

Slashdotters, who by nature are rather cynical about these things, were deeply divided about the issue, and even yours truly can't make his mind up about this. I read the texts and the autobiography of the author and his mates ("He has lead successful boycotts against Sears and Piggly-Wiggly and has spearheaded the movement to stop Evolutionism from being forced on the children of Marian County" or even better: "As an accountant, he has to deal daily with the soulless secular world and so he takes great pleasure in putting his knowledge of accountancy to use in the righteous cause of Our Lord," and the unbelievable "Kyle was a troubled boy. However, this all changed when he found Jesus. Since then he has gotten himself cleaned up, has started listening to Christian rock, and is now a respectable looking young lad." Oh puleeeeaase!) and just could not decide whether there really are people out there (even in the US, where so many things are possible) who are so zealous in their belief that they walk around and castigate people using elegantly designed computers with stable OSes. (Would that make Bill Gates more acceptable for them, as he obviously produces the opposite?)

In the tradition of this column, I will keep this question unanswered and rather hope for your input to enlighten me. The solution to the riddle will hopefully be found on this very site next week.

P.S. The Winner of the T-shirt competition (courtesy of myself) is Terry McCune with "Down But Not Under." Thanks for the 40 odd people who wrote me; you were all brilliant! LEM

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