I’m quite familiar with Microsoft’s rush-to-market philosophy. I had long suspected that they threw software, especially operating systems, at the public. After we plunked down the dollars, we got to do their beta testing on our nickel. After Windows XP brought down everything in the house, I vowed never to buy another Windows machine. When we were Peru a couple years ago, this was confirmed by a Microsoft engineer sitting across from me on the train to Machu Pichu.
I went back to the dark side and bought another Apple. My MacBook worked just fine. It came with whatever came before Leopard (Panther? Tiger? Pussycat? Some feline thing anyway.) But, I finally outgrew it. Or rather my business did. Besides, laptops are meant to roam free and mine did not like being stuck in a hole in my desk, running a large screen monitor (can you say presbyopia?) and a Microsoft keyboard/mouse setup. Have to admit, I don’t like Apple keyboards and mice.
Last week, after a scary moment when my laptop announced it would no longer charge, I took the plunge and bought another Mac. This time, a Mac mini because I didn’t need any peripherals. (BTW, my laptop problem was solved by a late night trip to Cold Stone. I don’t think Apple support will mention that, though),
So I hooked it up, got my laptop sharing files with it, went back to work. All was good. Except, did I mention I got a free iPod touch with it? Having ties to education gets you cool deals this time of year. Being an iPod junkie (teenager in a middle-aged body, need I say more) I hooked it up. Worked fine for a few days, then iTunes started crashing. Shortly thereafter, the Touch started freezing and showing the Apple screen, Apple’s equivalent of Microsoft’s blue-screen-of-death.
Then, to make matters worse, my WORK files disappeared. No problem. I’ve had good luck with Apple support up there in Seattle. But I got India. Now that’s a whole other story, my feelings about outsourcing and living wages for Americans, and all that. I won’t go there. Right now, anyway. So, I’m talking to India, to someone who keeps giving me the “please hold for two minutes while I check on something” routine which is a large East Indian word for “I have no idea what you are talking about. Let me call Seattle.” Her troubleshooting skills were next to nil and I know because I used to do troubleshooting. I gave her all the information she would have needed to solve the problem but SHE KNOWS NOTHING. But she does make a living wage by India standards although she is paid crap by our standards.
Eventually she makes me an appointment with the Genius Bar at a local mall. I say local only in the sense that it’s on the same side of the continent. We live in BFE. (If you have to ask, you don’t want to know.) The nearest mall is an hour away. Thank God/dess. That’s part of the reason we live in BFE, to get away from things like malls.
So I jump in the van, being the only freaking car available although I’m reasonably sure the Prius is parked at the carpool pickup site but that’s at ANOTHER mall that does not have an Apple store and is in the other direction. I waste most of velocaraptor driving to the mall, can’t find parking, and then have to walk about a mile to the store which is in the very bowels of Washington Square, my least favorite mall on earth and I hate ALL malls.
The Genius takes one look at my Mac mini and solves the problem immediately. So far so good. Then I drag out the iPod Touch. He takes one look at it and says, “Well, the software 2.0 is for the iPhone and this is an iTouch. It doesn’t really work well with the iTouch. But there will be a new release soon.” So I start with the questions: Why did you release software for the iTouch that doesn’t work with the iTouch? Why, if I bought my iTouch last week, did I have to pay $10 for the software, which doesn’t work, and was released before I bought the iTouch? Why does iTunes keep crashing? Are you guys being taken over by Microsoft?
The guy gave me bogus answers along the lines of well, it would work if you had the new release (which I loaded on last night, BEFORE I went to Apple). And, well, let me make it work for you. He got it to work, it took an hour to restore and sync, and was frozen again by the time I left the store.
The only good news is that my work files are safe, and I’ll get the book done on schedule. However, I bought a new external hard drive to use with Apple’s Time Machine feature, and it is currently spending several hours backing up. Since I REALLY don’t want to mess with anything that might remotely lose those dang files (which hopefully are now on both computers AND the external drive AND iDisk (which is another whole story in the Apple Goes Microsoft saga), I am not going to play with those files until Time Machine finishes its job in, oh, about 3 more hours.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple products. For the most part, they are stable, they are stable, they are stable and they NEVER give you the blue-screen-of-death. But I think the whole iPhone thing has their greedy little fingers twitching and they rushed to market without making the software compatible with the iTouch (although their website says it is). In fact, the iTouch is supposed to be just the iPhone lite (as in no phone but everything else). (Don’t get me started on why they made an exclusive deal with the WORST cell phone company on earth. Wait, I take that back. Nextel/Sprint is worse.) I will not get an iPhone until T-mobile gets them.
Oh, and support? Worst dang online support ever. Apple doesn’t want to admit to REAL problems. So if you look up, oh say, “ipod touch freezes at apple screen” you get a bunch of crap about how to fix other problems but no mention that it EVER freezes at the apple screen. And just try to find how to reboot or restore your ipod. No documents come with them. In fact, no documents come with Apple products at all, and finding things in the help files is ridiculous. Thank God/dess for Google and all the Mac and iPod forums out there.