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Interview With "Switcher Girl" Ellen Feiss 351

Posted by kdawson
from the half-of-my-paper-was-gone dept.
Ed over in Accounting writes in with a Macinstein interview with Ellen Feiss, an Internet cult figure of a bygone era. Back in 2002, in the heyday of Apple's "Switcher" ads, the 14-year-old Feiss garnered a bit more than 15 minutes of fame. Her Switcher ad became an instant classic — partly because of the widespread belief that she was stoned while filming it, which she says was not the case. In the interview Feiss, who is now a college student with one movie behind her, talks about pseudo Internet fame, drugs, and acting. She says she's still using the same G4 she had when the ad ran. Nostalgia bonus: the ad is embedded at the end of the interview.
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Interview With "Switcher Girl" Ellen Feiss

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  • Oh dear. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Funkcikle (630170) * on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:15AM (#17824928)
    She actually says "Psych!", as if she is still 14. She may have well as ended a hilariously fallacious statement with "...NOT!".
  • Stoned? (Score:5, Funny)

    by noz (253073) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:19AM (#17824942)
    I wasn't stoned when I saw the ad either!
  • let it be (Score:2, Insightful)

    Ed over in Accounting writes in with a Macinstein interview with Ellen Feiss, an Internet cult figure of a bygone era.

    Well, you know what they say. You should let bygones be bygones.
    • by kfg (145172) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:54AM (#17825062)
      It's not like the kids these days will believe the conditions we lived under back then anyway (both ways), or our strange social customs, or that we really risked prosecution to download that shitty, old fashioned music.

      And Jesus we dressed funny. No, that half decade is an era best left bygone alrighty.

      KFG
  • Apple ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:59AM (#17825074)
    It's been 5 years or so. And still most of the Apple ads represent one or at most two objects (frequently human actors it seems), which are speaking about how much PC-s suck, and occasionally, ONLY occasionally, also mentioning how Mac software never has problems (lie) or how on Mac you can process photos and videos, and on the PC you can't (lie).

    And you suddenly know why most people just don't buy Macs. Mac marketing makes impression of being really really desparate.

    Maybe they should try some of their iPod concepts for advertising the Mac? This could work better. Show people having fun with a Mac, show Mac being used.

    Stop with the "PC sucks" nonsense.
    • by jkrise (535370)
      Stop with the "PC sucks" nonsense.

      Maybe the PC isn't synonymous with IBM, Microsoft or Windows anymore?

      I think Linux has changed the face of the PC, and what we expect out of them... for the better.

      So Apple better say "Windows" or "Office" in their switcher ads, I guess...
      • Re:Apple ads (Score:4, Insightful)

        by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:50AM (#17825494)
        So Apple better say "Windows" or "Office" in their switcher ads, I guess...

        That'd be kinda ironic given in their ads they specifically stress on the fact MS Office is available on Mac and It Is Good.
        They need Office on the Mac and they know that.

        As for Windows.. they'd piss off someone's lawyers to directly flame the Windows brand. So they use a "PC" as a generic name, but of course talking about Windows (not Linux or BSD or anything).

        Which is *again* ironic, and doubly so, as what they sell right now is exactly a PC. No more, no less. The only single difference being the DRM chip they use to lock OSX, and the EFI (versus the classic BIOS). But new PC-s are sold with EFI too, so..

        I remember when they were also flaming the Pentium 2/3/4 chips, talking about how terribly slow they are compared to G4 and G5. Which was again a lie, when they switched to Intels they got away from the situation talking how hugely different Core is, a totally, totally different thing, completely different from the Pentiums we flamed just few months ago!

        Of course, those better informed, know Core 1 is in fact enhanced Pentium 3 with more SIMD commands and extra power-saving features.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          The only single difference being the DRM chip they use to lock OSX, and the EFI (versus the classic BIOS)

          There is no DRM chip. I have a Mac less than 6 months old. I've spent some time looking for the chip, and I used Amit Singh's software to try to find it. It's only on some models, and is inactive. It's basically only present if it happened to be on the motherboard they use. There's not even an OS X driver for it.
    • by LKM (227954) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:27AM (#17825380) Homepage

      Stop with the "PC sucks" nonsense.

      Yeah, I agree, PCs should really stop sucking. However, I wonder why you're telling that to us. Most of us aren't working on Windows.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by suv4x4 (956391)
        Yeah, I agree, PCs should really stop sucking. However, I wonder why you're telling that to us. Most of us aren't working on Windows.

        So you're not working on a PC? What are you working on, Amiga?
        • by LKM (227954)

          I meant "working on Windows" as in "being in a position where we can fix Windows' suckiness, i.e. working on Windows' code," not "sitting in front of a Windows box all day long."

    • Re:Apple ads (Score:5, Insightful)

      by el_womble (779715) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:45AM (#17825472) Homepage
      I worry about this too.

      I'll be suprised if the new UK ads make an impact. We don't react very well to negative advertising over here and we tend to be more diserning consumers. Most people who are using Windows are using XP. XP, for all of its faults is stable, verstaile and familiar; on modern hardware with oodles of ram its fast and it does work with all of those odd USB gadgets that people buy (my missle launcher doesn't work under OS X).

      Its also cheap. You can buy a decent computer from Dell with LCD monitor etc. for under £300.

      I'm a devout Mac user and even I don't relate to adverts. Yes, I have made photo albums, they did look fantastic and I could do it with the software that was provided with the machine but it also cost me £30. Yes, I can watch DVDs out of the box, but if I want to watch anything in fullscreen in Quicktime I need to buy a £20 pro update, or import them into iTunes (not iMovie) and watch them in front row.

      As for the 'no drivers' being a good thing, I'm not sure what they are smoking. There are laser printers that require you to compile open source drivers to get to work, mobile phones that refuse to connect via bluetooth and perhaps my biggest irritation is cameras whose RAW file format isn't supported. Now these arn't necessarily Apples problem: Fujitsu encrypt their RAW, Minolta only support Macs on their more expensive printers and Motorola are the worst phone manufacturer, but they ALL work on Windows with the drivers in the box.

      Telling Brits that they are stupid for buying a PC isn't going to work. Buying a PC is a choice. There is more software (including viruses), they are cheaper and they are as stable. The reason I bought a Mac? UNIX under the hood, a great interface (apart from finder), great hardware and in my experience less goes wrong.
      • Re:Apple ads (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cyclomedia (882859) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:23AM (#17825910) Homepage Journal
        You touched upon an important point there too, Joe Public usually doesnt think in terms of Windows vs OSX vs GNU/Linux vs AmigaOS4 ... They buy a "computer". That computer will most likely come in the form of a Dell a HP or a Mac and may well be from PC World with a free digital camera, oh and have Intel Inside too, because that's what the TV adverts tell them is good.

        While us geeks are sitting around slashdot arguing about Vista's lateness, OSX's niceness and Linux's empire toppling innocence PC World, HP, Dell and Apple are raking in the big bucks and conditioning the public's opinions on what constitutes the latest greatest in computing via advertising.

        The simple fact is that until PC World adertises their latest Red Hat or Suse bundle during the Superbowl GNU/Linux will not be joe-public's-desktop-ready no matter what we collectively shout about it here.

        Obviously, i sincerely hope to be eventually proven wrong, but i suspect my karma's about to plummet rollercoaster style, in which case: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

      • by aussie_a (778472)
        it does work with all of those odd USB gadgets that people buy (my missle launcher doesn't work under OS X).
        Microsoft XP: Favoured by terrorists.
      • by cocotoni (594328)
        If it's the standard USB Missile Launcher, have you tried the USB Missile Launcher NZ [macupdate.com]. It should work with USB Missile Launcher and the DreamCheeky Rocket Launcher.

        You are welcome!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by screeble (664005)

        if I want to watch anything in fullscreen in Quicktime I need to buy a £20 pro update, or import them into iTunes (not iMovie) and watch them in front row.

        Not true... Open up AppleScript Editor, type...

        tell application "QuickTime Player"
        present front movie scale screen
        end tell

        ...and save as application. Drag into user scripts folder.

        The next time you want fullscreen just use the script.

        • by el_womble (779715)
          Thank god for that, I thought it was going to be difficult! ;)

          Whilst your at it... do you have a short folder action that will convert avi to mov and then import to iTunes Movies and delete the original? It doesn't have to re-encode, just repackage.

          Thanks in advance
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gujo-odori (473191)
      I'm a recent first-time Mac owner (except for a brief stint on 7.6.1 on some Motorola-based Mac in the late nineties; that sucked), and do you know what? Windows machines (not PCs; Linx machines are mostly PCs, too) do suck relative to the competition in most respects.

      Honestly, unless you're really into PC games, there aren't many areas where a Mac isn't >= to a Windows machine. Granted, one of those areas is that there is no Exchange client on Mac that is as good as Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007 on Windo
      • by aussie_a (778472)
        I don't like being told I can't use particular hardware, just because a company doesn't feel like it.
    • Re:Apple ads (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:39AM (#17825962) Homepage Journal

      It's been 5 years or so. And still most of the Apple ads represent one or at most two objects (frequently human actors it seems), which are speaking about how much PC-s suck,
      This is known in the trade as "shooting fish in a barrel."

      People are aware that computers are these cool, amazing machines. As is written in the Book of Jobs: "bicycles for the mind The problem is that (Windows) PCs do suck. It's like having to work with a manic depressive coworker who drains your energy by making you deal with his weird issues all the time.

      You can't sell a computer that you want people to love without reminding them that (Windows) PCs suck, because over time people begin to accept that suckiness is the way computers are supposed to be. You can't change the world without first upsetting the unconscious accomodations people have made to the status quo. The world if full of unreasonable things people get accustomed to; it's only when they are reminded they have a choice that they remember how ridiculous things are.

      The reason people "don't buy" Macs is the same reason people "don't buy" BMW cars. There are cheaper alternatives that fill their needs. Yes, the Mac Mini is pretty cheap, but beige boxes are even cheaper. If they could buy the mini at $299, more people would buy them. But cheapness is a game Apple can't win at, and doesn't want to play. BMW could sell more cars if it had an offering to set against the Ford Focus, but that would turn them from BMW into a smaller, less competitive Ford. BMW sells luxury cars, Apple sells luxury computers. And Apple has the luxury of not needing to advertise much if at all to its existing customers; most of them are not going to switch to a PC unless they are forced to be circumstances that no advertising could alter. What Apple needs is to find the people who are disatisfied with their old PC jaloppy and can be interested in trading up.

      • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @09:48AM (#17826688) Homepage Journal
        The reason people "don't buy" Macs is the same reason people "don't buy" BMW cars.

        They don't want others to presume they're obnoxious twats who derive self-esteem from a brand identity?
        • by hey! (33014)

          They don't want others to presume they're obnoxious twats who derive self-esteem from a brand identity?
          Maybe. But there are more obnoxious ways to gain self-esteem. ;-)
      • Your points are more or less what I try to explain to Apple fans. I happen to use Windows and OS X, and OS X is clearly superior, especially on OS/software maintainability, IMO. The people that have never used OS X rarely see or understand why. It's still a hard sell when it's an unfamiliar system and it costs more just to get into one. I'm not totally dumping Windows because I don't want to restrict myself to only the software available on one platform. Both platforms have strong apps that I'd hate to
      • by CDarklock (869868)
        A couple of good points upon which I wanted to expand, in the context of "PCs are not just Windows".

        > people begin to accept that suckiness is
        > the way computers are supposed to be.

        However, using something that sucks is a sign of expertise. Culturally, we associate "ugly and ineffective tool" with "brilliant and experienced user". We actively select for this in tech circles. I get a little flak from people because I don't use Linux on my desktop, but I still run several Linux boxes - I just run them e
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 4iedBandit (133211)

          However, using something that sucks is a sign of expertise. Culturally, we associate "ugly and ineffective tool" with "brilliant and experienced user".

          Would you hire a roofing contractor who uses a rock to drive nails? Would you hire a roofing contractor and then insist that he use a rock instead of a nail gun? After all rocks are "ugly and ineffective" and only "brilliant and experienced" roofers use them.

          You can argue all you want that it's not the same thing, but it is. People accept "ugly and ine

    • I don't remember an Apple ad saying that Mac software never has problems or an Apple ad saying that PCs can't handle photos or videos. Can you please link me to the ad that says this? I get the feeling that your entire rant is about what you are reading too much into the ads, not what the Mac ad is actually saying.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      And you suddenly know why most people just don't buy Macs. Mac marketing makes impression of being really really desparate.

      To be fair, the majority of people who own PCs don't buy Windows either.

      Maybe they should try some of their iPod concepts for advertising the Mac? This could work better. Show people having fun with a Mac, show Mac being used.

      To be fair, I want to vomit and curse violently when I see the Zune commercials with the happy couples using their squirt feature while the dancing hipsters on the
  • Go PowerBook G4! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:04AM (#17825094)
    Interesting to hear she's still using the same G4. I'm using the same PowerBook G4 I bought in 2003, because it still is a surprisingly competent notebook after 3.5 years, even for my daily graphics work. I hear all these Windows people complaining about how a PC only lasts a couple of years before you have to buy a new one; I hear that and think, well, that just about negates the "PCs are cheaper" argument...
    • by Curien (267780)
      Since when do we take computer advice from Windows users?
    • by Tiro (19535) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:41AM (#17825216) Journal
      Well, I'm still using a 2.0 GHz celeron with 256 MB ram, and it runs a stripped down version of XP quite well, not to mention Ubuntu.

      I think the main reason people "have to" upgrade is because Windows gets bloated registries. Even without viruses, things crawl on a poorly maintained machine with a lot of crappy apps like AOL installed.

      • by steelfood (895457)
        I think most of the upgrading talk comes from the hardcore gamers. Games always push the envelope when it comes to hardware requirements, especially so because the hardware specs of a gamer's machine can be a moving target. There isn't much talk about having to upgrade Mac or Linux boxen because most people using those OS's don't game with them, or aren't interested in playing the newest games on the first day of release. They either game on a separate machine (which does require upgrading), or, they stick
    • by fabs64 (657132)
      I haven't upgraded my PC for 4 years now and it does everything you could possibly want it to other than playing the latest games.
      But then, the playstation I bought 4 years ago doesn't do that either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jesus_666 (702802)
      True. Despite me having to resolder a contact on the DC-in board* and replacing the hard drive once my G4 iBook is still going strong (okay, except for the cables of the power adapter finally succumbing to the abuse I put them through**). The only reason I will upgrade to a MBP once Leopard is out is because the notebook has become my main work machine and 1024x768 is a bit too small for that. Oh, and I could use x86 compatibility.

      The iBook (once I have a replacement power adapter) will probably go to my
      • by StarKruzr (74642)
        I just got an MBP two weeks ago and it is one of the best investments I've ever made. The thing is inhumanly fast.
      • Re:Go PowerBook G4! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dreamer-of-rules (794070) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:06AM (#17825848)
        A couple months ago, I upgraded from a 3.5 yr 1.0GHz TiBook to a 2.33GHz C2D MacBook Pro. The speed goes way beyond being able to play H.264 videos without stuttering.

        I gave my brothers a demo, with all of these running simultaneously..
        * iTunes playing music
        * VLC playing a video
        * DVD playing (a ripped folder)
        * iPhoto open with 5,000 photos
        * VPN/VNC to several work systems
        * Parallels running Windows XP
        * ...and that Windows XP running XCOM:UFO Defence
        * A second Parallels window installing Windows 98

        I hit Expose to show all windows-- there was no stutter.

        The CPU load was only at 75% :-D

        / love the MagSafe adapter more than I expected.. it just works
    • by C10H14N2 (640033)
      I still use several ca. 1998 PCs for various tasks. My primary concern in continuing their life has nothing to do with their capacity to fill their useful purposes, but simply their power consumption in relation thereof...which should explain quite a bit about the true lifespan metrics of the hardware...for which no platform is immune. A $500 MacMini has a similar performance vs. power consumption curve compared to its decade-old equivalent, which In 1998 was the iMac at 233Mhz--that's not a damn sight grea
    • by DrYak (748999)
      All the machine I still use at various place are still based on Pentium II mother boards. Some of them dating back from 1998.
      Sure, I upgraded processor a couple of time (Slot1 interface and Slotckets are a wonder ! I just long until similar board with AM2 & DDR2 sockets on them and HTX interface to the main board appear...) maxed out the memory, but it still mostly the same old computers with derelict 3DFX Voodoo AGP video cards... ...and they still do the job I need them done... ...mostly because I run
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      it still is a surprisingly competent notebook after 3.5 years
      Wow. You're surprised to get 3.5 years out of your Mac? I got 6 (I consider anything less then 5 years out of a computer to be less then my money's worth) out of my PC and only replaced it because it broke.
  • by SpzToid (869795) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:11AM (#17825122)

    ...What do you think it was about your ads that made you a stand out?
    Ellen: I don't know? Because people thought I was stoned, because there aren't that many young girls in computer commercials.

    Ellen seems to have figured out where fanboys come from.
    - - - -
    You can't be ahead of the curve if you're stuck in a loop.

    • by jkrise (535370)
      "Ellen seems to have figured out where fanboys come from."

      Not from Slashdot, at any rate.... BTW, she says No Comment, wrt her availability. Any PC users on Slashdot like to switch?
  • by kaan (88626) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:20AM (#17825162)
    I saw her Switch ad when it came out. I didn't get the cult fascination then, and I don't get it now either. So fine, whatever. Fast forward 5 years later and I'm wondering what the hell any of us are doing reading an interview with her.

    I read part of the interview and have concluded that it's just as interesting as most blogs by strangers I'll never meet. Funny thing is, most people are immediately appreciative of how much most blogs suck, yet an interview with Ellen Feiss is somehow above that.

    Please, someone tell me, what the hell am I missing here? Really. I don't get it.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Funny thing is, most people are immediately appreciative of how much most blogs suck, yet an interview with Ellen Feiss is somehow above that.

      Yes, but at least they aren't hypocritical, because what Feiss did wasn't blog related.

      Please, someone tell me, what the hell am I missing here?

      A 14 year old Mac loving stoner chick, to some geeks. :-p
    • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:52AM (#17825262) Homepage
      I think you're missing the fact that she is no longer a stoned-looking 14-year-old, but a very hot redhead 19-year-old college student. :P I mean, my god man! Look at her eyes here!

      http://www.faq-mac.com/mt/archives/img/escaparate/ Ellen%20Feiss.jpg [faq-mac.com]

      Don't fall in! The lips aren't that unattractive, either. Ok, yeah, the rest may not be so hot (I've not seen any of her 'film acumen') but that much, at least, is.
      • I think you're missing the fact that she is no longer a stoned-looking 14-year-old, but a very hot redhead 19-year-old college student. :P I mean, my god man! Look at her eyes here!

        http://www.faq-mac.com/mt/archives/img/escaparate/ Ellen%20Feiss.jpg [faq-mac.com]

        Don't fall in! The lips aren't that unattractive, either. Ok, yeah, the rest may not be so hot (I've not seen any of her 'film acumen') but that much, at least, is.

        I have to wonder if the "don't fall in" eyes have anything to do with pupil dilation becaus

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by StikyPad (445176)
        She looks like a stunt double [wikimedia.org].

        I think you're missing the fact that people tend to attribute characteristics -- attractive people are good and conversely good people are attractive -- based on unrelated factors [wikipedia.org]. Seeing a chick with a computer can be as compelling for a nerd as seeing an old man in a Ferarri might be for a model, where seeing the same people in different circumstances would likely result in indifference.

        Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but people don't always realize everything they're
  • by superdude72 (322167) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:21AM (#17825164)
    2002 is not a bygone era damn it. We haven't even decided what to call this decade yet.
  • by SpzToid (869795) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:25AM (#17825180)
    as quoted by a MacFan magazine...

    Macenstein: What do you think of the newly announced Apple iPhone?

    Ellen: Sounds expensive.

    Macenstein: Ok, we've taken up far too much of your time already.

    - - - -
        You can't be ahead of the curve if you're stuck in a loop.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:28AM (#17825186) Journal
    I was reading the story, and thought I was going to see something interesting, and it was like "beep beep beep". It's kinda... a bummer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by thefirelane (586885)
      It was a really good interview...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jkrise (535370)
      I was reading the story, and thought I was going to see something interesting, and it was like "beep beep beep". It's kinda... a bummer.

      Welcome to Slashdot.... most 'stories' here just go beep beep beep.... or dupe dupe dupe. And the comments are mostly bummers.. like this one!
  • A hero among us? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Annoymous Cowherd (1036734) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @04:29AM (#17825192)
    The internet highlights a rather interesting aspect of human nature - the need to idolise other people.

    The rise to fame of actors and actresses is a bit more straightforward, since their performances are laid bare for all to rewind and review. We needed to see something about a person before we decided that they were worth the worship.

    Now, as we move forward, it seems the time and effort required for someone to bask in the aura of fame is drastically reducing. What we find more often in public forums are people, represented by no more than the text of their name or a default avatar, enjoying heroic receptions.

    I guess anonymity of others allows us to identify one or two things we like, and then our imagination fills in the rest.

    I think this will negatively effect self esteem in the long run.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @05:00AM (#17825278)
    From TFA:

    My image in that commercial belongs to them. The money from Ellen Frisbees and alarm clocks would have to partially go to Apple.
    And the blow-up doll?
  • L Word? No Comment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dissolved (887190) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:13AM (#17825580)
    Seems to me fanboys are bang outta luck. The fanGIRLS though....
  • I saw the ad. It went beepbeepbeepbeepbeep and then I was like, huh?
    It was a bit of. . . a bummer.
    Then I had to watch it again. It was a really weird commercial.

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