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'Think Again' camp opens for wounded Apple iLemmings

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And ninethly I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I refuse to live in other people's houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave.

Religion is a matter of the heart. No physical inconvenience can warrant abandonment of one's own religion - Gandhi

On Sunday you're Thinking Different. On Monday you're a huge tool, paying too much for slow, soon to be neglected hardware and waiting for your chance to Think Like Everyone Else.

How fantastic.

Before the iPod came out, Apple CEO Steve Jobs wasn't looking so smart. Apple's computer market share continued to decline. The company's embarrassing Switcher campaign had no noticeable effect on sales. Many wondered if Apple made sense as a standalone company. Maybe the man in the black turtleneck was better off focusing on animated fish than selling overpriced computers to self-loathing iLemmings.

Any doubt anyone ever had about Jobs' business acumen - and the genius of his oracle, Walt Mossberg - must fade after last week's announcement of the PPCicide. No other chief executive would have the raw guts to sell out such a loyal customer base. And for what? A hundred million or so in Intel co-marketing dollars? Because that's surely all that stopped AMD from winning the gig.

It's like Castro insisting that Russian tractors, machinery and screws were better than gear Made in America just so Cuba could get a few more dollars for every pound of sugar moved.

Go with faster, cheaper processors and save some face? Screw it. We're riding Intel's catchy jingle for all it's worth, and the Apple faithful can suck it down or shove off.

Jobs, however, may have underestimated how many of the iLemmings have already started to Think Wintel instead of sending their dignity off a cliff. My local PC store this week was filled with well groomed, middle income folks in tight jeans. It was the first time I'd seen hairless men with manicures fondle beige boxes. Will Liberace be resurrected as the new Dell Dude?

As I looked out the window of my compound, an answer to this situation popped into mind.

Ever since I digested the last member of a once glorious Emu farm, my corral has sat empty, shuffling dust between the electricity infused fences. What a waste. What a damn waste.

And so I invite, with a most sincere heart, all the affected - all the Apple faithful who have contracted such a vicious case of disillusionment - to my homestead. For $1,699, I will corral you for one month and rid you of the terrible pain.

My Think Again program will have all iLemmings strip down to their hairless best. Then, the iLemmings will face each other for one week, contemplating what brought them to this state, the incredible Nevada heat, their sexual yearnings and what it means to begin again. Over the course of this first week, I will throw raw meat and Dell promotional material into the corral. This will help the iLemmings come to terms with what is truly important to them and the current state of pricing in the Wintel market.

That first week will be the toughest and may break a few of the faithful. It, however, is the necessary precursor for the two week dose of shock therapy that follows.

I will appear on a giant screen placed thirty-feet above the corral. Clad in black turtleneck, I will read Mac OS X reviews from the Wall Street Journal and New York Times and then follow with more readings extolling the virtues of 64-bit computing, binary compatibility and high-margins. As I finish each sentence - with my wondrous voice booming out of a state-of-the-art sound system - a massive electric surge will caress the iLemmings.

In the last week, the faithful will be given myriad boxes of tomatoes. They will then throw these red lovelies at images of Einstein, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Richard Branson, Bono, Thomas Edison, Ted Turner, Alfred Hitchcock, Amelia Earhart, Jim Henson, Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright and John Lennon. Following this exercise, I'll cap off the course with a three day lecture on how to write and disseminate the best viruses for Mac OS X.

I think this plan of action could really do a lot of good. It's also a heck of a bargain, especially for those used to paying $3,000 for a slow, heavy laptop.

Along with a certificate of completion, the iLemmings will receive some of their dignity and a copy of my letter to Mr. Jobs pleading with him to license OS X to other PC makers. Last but not least, I'll use my rack of Xeon-powered IBM blade servers to heat up my branding iron and slap an Intel Inside logo on every iLemming's ass.

Want to come on down? Just click on my name above to reserve your spot. ®

Otto Z. Stern is a director at The Institute of Technological Values - a think tank dedicated to a more moral digital age. He has closely monitored the IT industry's intersection with America's role as a world leader for thirty years. You can find Stern locked and loaded, corralling wounded iLemmings, spitting on Frenchmen with a life-sized cutout of Hilary Rosen at his solar-powered compound somewhere in the Great American Southwest.

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