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I followed a link today from Google Tech News to this story on a site called Axcess Business News.

I commend this column to you ("Microsoft Sees Worm in Apple") -- not as good information or even as something you should react or respond to, but rather as light entertainment and an exercise in spelling and grammar proofreading.

UPDATE: My e-mail exchange with the author of this column is reproduced below. I have personally apologized for the unkind tone of my post here on ehMac. It was originally entitled "Really, really bad writing" and called the author "a maroon."

SMc

On Thursday, June 19, 2003, at 01:21 AM, Axcess Mail wrote:

Hello Sandy,
 
I'm Alan Fein.  I read what you wrote about me in a public forum on ehmac.ca.  That wasn't very nice of you.  Yes it's true about the grammar, let's see how good you do under a deadline at 2am..   What you say in your blog is one thing, but you had no right to insult me in public, they call that slander.  I had more comments on that story than any I've written, and normally someone does check grammar - but not at 2am.  By the way, there were over 28,000 hits on that story - in one day.  I bet that's more than you get in a month, am I right?
 
We're not paid to write our columns or stories but we do have very good readership.  Your work's not bad by the way.  Our editor's a nice guy, if he knew what you wrote about me he'd take it personally and complain to that forum - a lot.  People have feeling's Sandy.  I wonder what they say about you?   Oh, that's right, you had made a comment on that in your blog, you were wondering that yourself.   By the way, I did have about 15 comments come in telling me about the bad grammar.  I was embarrassed, but I appreciated the helpful attitude they expressed.  I had a lot of comments about Internet Explorer, Apple's Safari and Standardization.  Felt more like they were preaching to me about where the Internet was going and why.  But at least they expressed an opinion and I appreciated that.   You were the only one I found who called me names.  By the way, three different people alerted me to your comment about me - all members of that forum.  You need to be a little careful what you say in public.  Actually, it hurt you not me.  I'm not the one who did that and if three people go out of there way to tell you something, I wonder what they think of the person that said it.   Your blog note's that you are for hire.  You won't get business treating people like that.  I'm not mad at you Sandy, but I am disappointed.
 
Alan Fein
Axcess Business News
[email protected]
My reply, sent this morning:

Hello Alan,

First of all, I do want to sincerely apologize for hurting your feelings and for being unkind. I will adjust my comments in the ehMac.ca forum accordingly.

As for your story -- the 2am deadline is an interesting defense, but the story is still sitting there on the Web, days later, making you look bad. Even if there was a rush to publication at first, the story could have been corrected or deleted by now.

Putting aside the grammar and spelling issues, you make several incorrect statements and assumptions about Microsoft's decision to end development of Internet Explorer for the Macintosh. As you note, you're not a Mac user. It might have been helpful for you to consult some of them to find out what's going on before writing your story.

The implications of the headline you like so much -- "Microsoft Sees Worm In Apple" -- are not developed in your story. As you note, the company continues to sell Microsoft Office for Mac (two versions). They also recently released new MSN software for OS X. What is the "worm" MS has seen in Apple? Do you think the company will discontinue its other Mac products?

(As a small aside, the five-year contract between Apple and Microsoft -- which I believe hinged on the development of Office, not IE -- expired months ago.)

As for Safari, Apple's new Web browsing software has become popular because it performs better than Internet Explorer for Mac. Safari -- still in beta -- is quickly becoming "the browser of choice" for Mac OS X users, despite the availability of several other options including Netscape, Mozilla, Camino and OmniWeb.

Apple has also taken a page from Microsoft/IE with Safari -- the product is tightly integrated with the Mac operating system, so it can do some things very well that competing browsers cannot / do not do. One small example would be its use of the built-in OS X spell-checker to check the user's spelling when filling out forms on Web pages.

Why did Microsoft cancel development of IE for the Mac? I haven't asked anyone there, but I can offer an opinion, as you did. It has nothing to do with the viability of the Mac platform. It is NOT, as you suggest, "all about market share," or Mac Office would be on the chopping block, too.

Microsoft can't make money with IE for Mac. The software is free to the user, yet -- as far as I know -- does not accomplish any business goal for Microsoft. It does not hurt a competitor, as IE for Windows did to Netscape. It does not promote or support the use of another commercial Microsoft product, as Outlook 2001 for Mac does for Exchange Server. I think it just makes good business sense for Microsoft to discontinue IE for Mac.

I believe your sympathy for Web developers, who will now have to deal with another Mac browser, is well intentioned but misplaced. As a Web publisher myself, I can tell you that IE 5 for Mac and IE 6 for Windows are two of the most frustrating browsers to design for, because they do not comply with accepted standards for HTML, XML and style sheets (CSS). Web developers must add "hacks" and workarounds to their pages to accommodate IE's strange behaviour. Only Netscape 4 gives as much trouble.

The very idea that Web publishers currently only have to consider two options (Internet Explorer and Netscape) is very outdated. These days, Web pages must look good on at least three platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux), which means programming (at least!) for Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera and Konqueror. Pages must also "degrade" well for viewing on WebTV, handheld computers and even cell phones. It gets worse: publishers must make their HTML machine-readable for the visually impaired (so the CONTENT appears first in the code, for example, rather than the menus and other junk).

The addition of any new browser that supports accepted Web standards has a POSITIVE impact on Web publishers/designers. Safari was developed by members of the Mozilla development team, and behaves at least as well as Mozilla on most Web pages. In an ideal world, Web publishers would design using accepted standards, software would support those standards. Alas, that's not how Internet Explorer works.

Back in the days of the "browser wars" between Internet Explorer and Netscape, some Web publishers chose to adopt some tricks that only IE could do. These pages ("optimized for Internet Explorer") were/are unfriendly to computers that do not run Windows and to users that do not run Internet Explorer. Any publisher who voluntarily reduced their potential audience in this way may have to adapt to the growing success of alternatives to Internet Explorer (especially Opera and Mozilla on Windows). This can't be laid at the feet of Apple and its new Safari software.

I could go on, but I'm sure you're as tired of reading my note as I am of writing to you.

It is often frustrating to read people who apparently know little about the Mac platform write as if they are experts. Your readership was not well served by your article.

Thank you for the civil tone in your e-mail. I should have done as well in my forum post.

Regards,
Sandy
[ June 19, 2003, 10:41 AM: Message edited by: Sandy McMurray ]
 

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I agree - badly written.

"Its all about market share"

It should be 'it's.' ;)
 

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wow. i'm at a loss for words.
too bad he wasn't.
how does this guy get published???
 

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The guy tried, but yes that writing was horrible, it was like reading a bad essay by a high school student. Run on sentences, horrible grammer, and extra statements tagged on making it sound as if he is rushing and throwing in tidbits at the end of each sentence.
 

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ErnstNF, glad to see another person from St.John's here in the forum. What do you do in this fine city/province of ours??? Personally, I am over at MUN in the Faculty of Education, trying to teach teachers-in-training how to teach students to become strategic and effective readers and writers.
 

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Wow... that was badly written and not all that accurate...

:cool:
 

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Phew!!! When I read the title of the topic "really, really bad writing", I was certain it was going to be a critique of my writing.
:confused: ;)
 

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Well, since we're discussing the article now, there were a few things I'd like to commment on about that article. The first thing that caught my eye, was in the second paragraph, where he says "This was serious business and long-term it has staggering implications for those of us used to useing Macintosh, which I am not one of.". That sentence sorta stuck in my claw. He sorta insinuates that he's one of us and then says he's not. So how does he know what the implications are for Mac users? The other thing that stuck out was his comment "With all the problems web developers have trying to get their pages to look and function the same in either Internet Explorer or Netscape, the last thing they need is a third browser version to contend with.". First, as Sandy stated there are alot more web browsers than IE and Netscape, and second, shouldn't web developers be following a global standard and not the 'standards' set by IE and Netscape?

I think I also agree with Sandy that Microsoft's decision to stop development on IE has more to do with money or business reasons. Among Mac users, IE is becoming the last browser of choice. Mac users are choosing to use Safari, Camino, Omniweb, etc. first. Why should Microsoft but money into developing something when Mac users have lots of other preferable options.

MS-Office for the Mac, on the other hand I think is going to be staying for the long-term. It is THE business office suite of choice and that's not going to change any time soon, even if some agreement made 5 years ago is over. Microsoft is making money off of it and it's not disappearing.

As for grammar, I probably have just as bad grammar.
 

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Well said, Sandy.

His article wasn't well done, but the civilized manner in which this was kept in is commendable on both sides.

Your rebuttal email fills in all the gaps. I can only hope he takes the advice to heart in future articles.

And goes back to fix errors and grammar if it is warranted.



:cool:
 

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i'm a little surprised that he'd go out of his way like that to rebut what you said.

i didn't think you were too out of line, sandy. it wasn't the nicest thing to do, but we don't live in a candy coated world. also, saying that article had poor grammar and spelling isn't slander, because it's true. and how this forum is more public than your blog is beyond me. it's all just out there on the internet.

which is worse; your criticizing his writing, or his condescending tone in his email?
 

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Sandy,

Excellent response. We all tend to forget the appalling lack of context in email writing and the immediacy and persistence of the medium it relies upon. As a person who has lived by deadlines, you have a series of expectations. You also clearly have a deep-seated conscience. You could have kept his reply private but chose not to. I think everyone is a winner by your handling of the authors reply (although I thought your reply to him was a tad on the long side....
).

We should all think carefully about who will read what we write and post, even if we choose to do it at 2 am. It is easy to offend unintentionally and difficult to undo what has been digitally transmitted.

That does not mean we should not express dissenting opinions, quite the reverse - but the most effective argument is one that avoids personal offence. If only politicians realised that fact.
 

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Sandy, good reply.


"What you say in your blog is one thing, but you had no right to insult me in public, they call that slander."

Maybe you should tell the dude that since your comments were posted online, it's not slander but libel. ;)

Cheers,

Sander
 

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"it was like reading a bad essay by a high school student."

Chealion, as a high school student, I am affronted and outraged! The very thought that my peers produce sub-standard literature or undelectable prose is an outrage, and cruel. In fact, it's outright slander.

*wink*

*wink wink*

*wink wink ow i scratched my cornea from winking too much*

:cool:

Cheers,
Podboy
 

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I said a Bad essay by a high school student, and I for one just graduated from high school (unknowingly I did this past January, instead of June like most others).

But you can stop winking and go heal your eye, I get the joke. lol, very nicely done though. I've just become libel for slander? ;)


Badly written, info a little off, I'll give the guy credit for trying to write about the world, but the 2 A.M deadline is a little weird. Surprised it hasn't been edited yet though, it could be a good read, although biased and missing some information that some will correct with preaching, instead of pointing it out.

C'est la vie... Life moves on... Podboy, your eye ok yet? I'd hate to see your avatar deflate and just become a blue line... ;)
 
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