Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why Apple fans accept restrictions that other people don't

It has finally happened! No, not the fact that I became a father although that kind of overshadows everything else, but the fact that I have more Apple products in my house than other brand gadgets. I now own an iPad, an iMac, two iPods, an iPhone and am still considering to give my wife a Macbook. Does that make me a braindead "fanboi"? Not really. There are some things that I really don't like about Apple as a company. One such thing is that they put seemingly random restrictions on their products. The iPod can't play FLAC files, the iMac monitor has no connection for my PC except through a very expensive adapter and the latest one; the iPad doesn't play Flash.

It always amazes me how the real Jobites accept these restrictions and even defend them with the arguments Jobs is using. "Flash is "old technology", "Flash doesn't support multi touch screens","Flash is closed technology". Fansites like and are filled with derogative comments about Flash followers and how Adobe should just roll over and play dead for the mighty Apple and it's 'pad.

I'm not saying there is no truth in what Jobs says. Flash has always been a memory and processor hog. But now Apple even wants developers to stop using Adobe tools to port or develop their games. Again, the arguments are deceptive as according to Jobs using Adobe technolgy automatically leads to inferior technolgy. "Amen" is the sound from the church of Apple. So how is it that people like Jobs, Gates and lately Warren Buffet (but that's another story) get away with simplified truths to push their ideas across?

New Scientist seems to have the answer: Brain shuts off in response to healer's prayer - life - 27 April 2010 - New Scientist

"When we fall under the spell of a charismatic figure, areas of the brain responsible for scepticism and vigilance become less active. That's the finding of a study which looked at people's response to prayers spoken by someone purportedly possessing divine healing powers.

To identify the brain processes underlying the influence of charismatic individuals, Uffe Schjødt of Aarhus University in Denmark and colleagues turned to Pentecostal Christians, who believe that some people have divinely inspired powers of healing, wisdom and prophecy. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Schjødt and his colleagues scanned the brains of 20 Pentecostalists and 20 non-believers while playing them recorded prayers. The volunteers were told that six of the prayers were read by a non-Christian, six by an ordinary Christian and six by a healer. In fact, all were read by ordinary Christians. Only in the devout volunteers did the brain activity monitored by the researchers change in response to the prayers. Parts of the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices, which play key roles in vigilance and scepticism when judging the truth and importance of what people say, were deactivated when the subjects listened to a supposed healer. Activity diminished to a lesser extent when the speaker was supposedly a normal Christian (Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsq023).

Schjødt says that this explains why certain individuals can gain influence over others, and concludes that their ability to do so depends heavily on preconceived notions of their authority and trustworthiness. It's not clear whether the results extend beyond religious leaders, but Schjødt speculates that brain regions may be deactivated in a similar way in response to doctors, parents and politicians."

The same is apparently true about Apple fans.

So all I can do is remain critical because even though my gadgets have become dominated by the Great Fruit, I will resist ever getting an iBrain. Having said that, I'm going back to playing Civilisation on my iPad.

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