It Is Always 9:41AM in Apple-land

In case you wondered why it is always 9:41AM on Apple devices, now you know.

Apple’s Forced Obsolescence Policy

Had yet another bad experience with Apple last week that has got me shaking my head in disbelief.

My wife re-booted her iMac after installing some updates. I should say she tried to re-boot because it wouldn’t restart fully, just went to a blue screen then eventually just restarts itself. She schedules an appointment with one of the ‘geniuses’ at the Apple store in Kenwood and shows up at the appointed time.

The kid behind the counter looks up the model number of the Mac and proclaims “I can’t help you, this system is too old!” My wife, after recovering from stunned disbelief asks “what are you talking about, the system isn’t that old”. No, he insists, if the system is older than 5 years, they won’t touch it. That is right, Apple refuses to service their own products. Won’t even run a diagnostic on it to determine what the problem is. Nothing. His advice is to buy a new Mac (naturally) or take it to MicroCenter to see if they will work on it. Tremendous customer service.

“Besides”, he goes on to tell her, “that disk drive is so old it probably won’t format – formatting is really stressful to the disk drives”. Wow, now there is some epic ignorance straight from an Apple ‘Genius’.

This weekend, I booted the Mac off an installation CD, attempted to run Disk Utility on it but DU barfed because of ‘invalid node structure’. Fortunately, the system gets backed up with Crashplan so all of the critical files were safe. Reformatted the drive (twice, because it is so stressful to the drives). Clean bill of health and Snow Leopard is installing as I type this.

Makes me think back to when I had PC hardware that ran without issue for over a decade and was always able to get parts and service for them. And now this load of BS from Apple.

So the next time you are thinking about buying one of those overpriced Apple products because they have such wonderful customer service and fantastic build quality, think again. If you hang on to the device for more than 5 years Apple has nothing more for you than an extended middle finger.

The Big Mac ‘Virus’ Scare

For all of the ‘experts’ who piled on this one – as usual, you are wrong. The Mac OS X ‘virus’ is a flaw in Java NOT the Mac.

I love the open remarks from the linked post:

When a computer incident happens on Apple’s Mac OS X, it’s a headline-making event. When it happens on Windows, it’s just another day.

That remains the reality, even after a bunch of media reports on how a vulnerability in Java has led to the creation of a Mac botnet about 600,000 strong.

Oh, and if you found this posting because you have or think you might have the ‘virus’ here is an excellent write up on how to determine if you are impacted and how to fix it.

The Horrible User Experience That Is The Apple App Store On The iPad

My wife was out of town for a few days so I decided to make sure her iPad was up to date for her return. I went into the AppStore (which by the way indicated that there were no updates) and then the updates section. It then indicated that there were 47 updates available. Wow, I guess it has been a while. I then selected Update All – and the fun began. The iPad churned for a bit then spat out the utterly useless popup ‘Application not compatible with your iPad’. Huh? Not which app or which version or how to fix it or find out more, just ‘not compatible’.

I guessed that it was something to do with the recent iOS 5 update so I plugged the iPad into iTunes and away it went with the iOS update. About two hours later it was finally done updating to iOS 5. I go back to the AppStore app and I now have 37 updates to install (what happened to the other 10 is a mystery). I select update all and AppStore obnoxiously throws me out to some random screen while it begins the update. I let it spin for a while then tried to determine what it had installed and what it hadn’t – not an easy task on an iPad.

You see, if you return to the AppStore, it doesn’t tell you what has been installed and what is pending, it just crashes. I guess I am used to Android, where the notification screen tells you exactly what is going on with installs and even shows you the status of the current install, all on one screen. Apple engineers decided that if you wanted to know about installs you had to swipe all over to find which apps still had a hollow bar on them, and then swipe around to find the currently updating app and guess how far along it is. Yep, that is a fantastic user experience, Apple.

Apple And Oranges

Listening to the hastily assembled coverage that emerged after the unfortunate death of Steve Jobs made me think that Google search doesn’t exist or that journalists are too dumb to know how to use it. In no particular order, here is what they got wrong:

“Steve Jobs was the founder of Apple.” I seem to remember there being another guy named Steve who was there at the beginning, one Mister Wozniak.

“Apple invented the MP3 player.” Not by a long shot. MP3 players existed for years before the iPod. None of them were as popular as the iPod.

“Apple invented the tablet computer.” Again, not even close. Tablet computers existed for nearly a decade before the iPad.

“Apple invented the smartphone.” Entirely true if you don’t take into account all of the smartphones that Nokia and Sony Ericsson had on the markets (quite successfully) for years before the iPhone.

Come on guys, it isn’t that tough to get the details right.

Designing for iPad

This is a somewhat detailed (and well illustrated) discussion on what it takes to design applications for the iPad — with an emphasis on design (not just slopping code onto the device). Definitely worth a read, especially if you are concerned about how your content looks and feels on the iPad.

Over the last two months we have been working on several iPad projects: Two news applications, a social network and a word processor. We worked on iPad projects without ever having touched an iPad. One client asked us to “start working on that tablet thing” even before we knew whether the iPad was real. The question Are we designing desktop programs, web sites or something entirely new? has been torturing us until that express package from New York finally crossed our door sill. A quick write up of design insights before and after the appearance of the iPad at our office.

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Snow Leopard Secrets

Learn all about Snow Leopard’s secrets using the Secrets app.

The hidden tweaks are a mix of features that didn’t quite make the final cut or were deemed too slight to deserve their own tick-box, and deep system changes that normally call for terrifying terminal commands. And they don’t stop at Snow Leopard: Secrets, which has been around in one form or another for a while now, has collected a huge library of “gray” settings for other apps too, from Apple’s various software suites to civilian apps like Skype and NetNewsWire. The app is free, and installs as a PrefPane.

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