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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sour Apples

A year or so ago someone tipped over a coffee cup, soaking my 2009 MacBook Pro. I cleaned it up, but eventually the logic board fried. I had to seek a new Mac immediately. I traveled the two-plus hours to the nearest Mac store and purchased a brand new MacBook Pro, spending approximately $3,500.
Computers are essential to my work, and this, of course is a love/hate issue. While I do enjoy the benefits that computers and the InterWebs bring, I do have that nagging voice in the back of my head that snickers at my infant-to-breast relationship. But I ignore it and continue to do research, create new works of drama, procrastinate like mad, and otherwise enhance my world with music and YouTube.
So there I was with my brand-spankin' new MacBook Pro, almost top of the line, and boy did I have a superconductor woody. I'd used PCs for years because of the price and availability of software. But I switched to Macs (in spite the outrageous price differences) because I believed I was getting a much better machine. Certainly I avoided the multitude of operating system problems that I'd had with PCs. I was thrilled with my first MacBook Pro.
But with the model I purchased just earlier this year, I find there are significant structural problems. To wit:
1 – All the chargers are now of different sizes. It would have been easy to structure the cords and docks of the new MacBook Pros to use the previous models' chargers, but no. Apple has to go and make it so that in the cases of loss, damage, or forgetfulness, you're screwed without the exact model charger. (And yes, this goes for the Lightning connections, too; unnecessary restructuring.) So you have to purchase separate chargers at great cost for each device. If Apple really cared about its customers, it would not take every opportunity it could to crowbar $$$ out of people suffering under the country's flaccid economy.
2 – The loss of the microphone jack is an insipid structural move. Some of us use mics and headphones AT THE SAME TIME. I have a radio show (, I generally use Skype to record far-away guests. Now I have room only to plug in headphones, and I must use the built-in microphone. The built-in is serviceable for ordinary use, I suppose, but I need better quality.
3 – And in another attempt to gouge money out of loyal users who are already paying through the nose for Apple products, they removed the CD player/DVD burner and now force you to spend more $$ on a “Superdrive.” Now we have another piece of equipment to remember to lug around. Did Apple think folks weren't going to need the device as much these days so they should make it optional? Their explanation was that the removal was of benefit in case the device broke down; this allowed owners to not have to submit their Macs for lengthy repair. Replacing a CD/DVD is not a lengthy repair. It's a pop-out, pop-in operation; can you see Apple actually complicating things for its Genius Bar?
4 – And “Genius Bar” is actually kinda lame, Apple. Really.
5 – And for cripes sake, Apple, put in another damn USB port, willya?
Why do we have these issues? Because the new MacBook Pros are what? Lighter? Not enough to justify any of these changes. I'd rather have my old one back in a heartbeat. I never thought to check when I bought the new Mac that the above issues were, in fact, going to be issues.
6 – And the most egregious, personally invasive change: no longer allowing iPhones and iPads to sync solely by cord. Now we are forced to ship our information to the Cloud, essentially putting it out of our own hands and into the hands of anyone who might wish to hack the Cloud. Yes, I know there is no right to privacy in the Bill of Rights, and the NSA and private corporations are laughing themselves sick at our consternation.
That aside, what happens if you're out of range of wifi? What if the connection is not as good as it should be and you can't efficiently transfer your information when and where you want? And what if you simply want the privacy you once had and should still have?

Bad moves, Apple. I've always praised your computers as being so much better than PCs, and up 'til recently I've been right. I've even spent the extra $$$ to own them. In future my money will go elsewhere. Too bad, Apple. It didn't have to be this way.