Popsicles vs Fruitsicles

Words trigger emotional responses well before they convey factual information - thus "windoze" is pejorative, and adding transperancy to Windows appeals to people's senseof the rightness of things.

Words trigger emotional responses well before they convey factual information. Our five year old, for example loves Dole's fruit Popsicles but I've had to teach him to ask his mother for them only as fruitsicles - because the pop reference predisposes her to say "No," while a fruit reference has the opposite effect; forcing her to overcome a "Yes" reaction if she wants to say "No."

People who deride the Sun Ray as a return to the green screen days are trying to label it a popsicle - misusing a misunderstood label to create or strengthen an instinctive distrust and "No" reaction colouring all further discussion of the issue.

The worst thing about this is that they fool themselves first: illustrating the fundamental behavioural principle that people gladly accept or invent obviously false information while ignoring contrary evidence in order to maintain or strengthen a belief they already have.

This isn't remotely limited to people who understand that widespread Sun Ray adoption would eliminate much of the social basis for their way of life, you see it anywhere some group's self perception varies dramatically from reality. One of the truly stunning things about the PC community, for example, is their ability to revile innovation from Apple and then praise the same technologies as ground breaking innovations when Microsoft imitates them ten or more years later.

Thus the CE user community's response to today's iPhone almost perfectly parallels the 1984 PC community reaction to the MacXL. Take another look, in this light, at the OS part of last Friday's comparison between the 1986 MacPlus and today's AMD/XP combination, and you'll see that a big part of what makes the functional comparison both unfair and heartbreaking is that the MacPlus was functionally comparable to a PC with Windows 98 - a perfectly viable technology level for most home PC users today that was roundly rejected as a toy for losers by the edlin wielding MS-DOS techies of the day. Now they advise businesses not to adopt the iphone and mutter with vast superiority about the "increasingly depressing gooey bits" in MacOS X - but it's all the same phenomenon: the use of verbal labels to manipulate emotions, deny reality, and inflict personal purpose where rational analysis would yield the "wrong" answer.

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