Saturday, August 19, 2006



Janelle asks a good question: "Why did Apple name its email program simply Mail? Why not iMail?"

Maybe they've started to worry (justifiably) that they've painted themselves in a corner with their branding gimmick of the lower case "i" in front of everything; that it's starting to sound like a sort of high-tech pig Latin.

But calling its email program Mail has a hegemonic Microsoft quality about it. They want to brand the word "mail," so that their product becomes the standard word for the genre, like "coke" or "kleenex" or "xerox." Only, the word "mail" is not their creation -- it was our word. They're trying to take over our word.

If Apple wins this particular battle for our hearts and minds, we will all have to use awkward, insulting phrases like "snail mail" or "postal mail" or "traditional paper mail" for the stuff that the letter carriers bring us in their mail sacks. I don't want to be pushed in that direction. Mail (not iMail, dammit!), is still pretty darn useful. And believe it or not, it's less prone to hacking.

This just confirms, again, my suspicion that Apple is basically Microsoft with a smaller market share. They'd try to rule the world if they could.

It is an interesting question, but I wonder if there's a really mundane answer: I'm virtually certain that there's another program out there called imail (or some minor spelling variant thereof) and I wonder if they just beat them to the name? (I'd try to track it down, but only have a sec here.)

As a Mac user (principally, at least -- I've worked with Unix enough and even the dreaded Windows), it irritates me too that they've tried to take the default name, just as it would if 'Ford' became 'Car'. "What kind of car do you have? I have a Car." (So, OK, I'll be playing pond hockey on the frozen surface of hell before I'll be driving a Ford, but you get the point.) And it robs them of the distinct personality that a lot of Mac users are really into. And finally, their browser is Safari, for ex., not iBrowser or iNet or something and they could -- and should -- have done that with this name too. I wonder if there's some story behind these names.

Oh yeah, and while I'm at it: The Mets cannot possibly be dumb enough to pick up Green. It would be a stain on a season that otherwise seems like it's been really smartly handled by the whole organization.
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