Saturday, September 28, 2013

OK New post.
I had tried to create a blog called Rotten Apples on GoDaddy, but could never figure out how to make it work. I called tech support, nice fellow sold me another $200 worth of stuff that still didn't work. Called him back. Left a message. No response.

Apple makes terrific stuff, but they have a few problems. Being better than Microsoft is no longer enough, Apple now has to be better than Apple. New Widgets are terrific, but they need to fix the old chronic headaches.
1. iTunes--Once you have a few thousand tracks, iTunes becomes a mess. I had all these ratings, lyrics, notes, custom lists, etc, etc... all the wonderful possibilities, then iTunes melted down a couple of years ago. AppleCare told me to reset or reinstall and I lost all that customization. So customizing iTunes is temporary.
2. Managing tracks. Through the mysterious workings of having multiple Macs, ipods and ipad, etc... I wound up with two iTunes accounts. I wasn't aware of this, until I discovered multiple tracks, the first ones I purchased from the iTunes Store--all those lifelong favorite tunes, began cutting out halfway through the song.
Dan Ariely did a study demonstrating that how an experience ends is more important than how it started, or how long it lasted. If it ends badly---it's bad no matter how good it was just before the end. He even cited the case of a Mozart symphony (I think) on vinyl that played almost all the way through, beautiful, uplifting, brilliant--but a scratch neat the end of the last movement caused the whole experience to be ruined.
Somehow Apple has engineered this into iTunes. AppleCare suggested deleting the tracks, then going back in Time Machine and reload the song from an uncorrupted original.
There's no way to find and pull out all the bad tracks. They lie in wait ready to smack you down. There's nothing  that sticks out. Then, how long ago were the good tracks? no way of knowing. Are these tracks all associated with the oldest iTunes account? I think so, but I'm not sure.
3. Syncing with my iPod and iPad. This has become almost random. The iPad never synced photos very well. Just the other day I wanted to show students some images I'd made. I dragged 3 jpegs into one of the files that is on my iPad. Then I sync'd, re-sync'd and re-sync'd.... it took about 4-5 attempts before it worked, instead of a few minutes, class was long ended when it finally worked.
I have a lot of Audible Books, periodically iTunes simply refuses to load them, then once they are loaded, it refuses to sync them to my iPod. It did this the other morning. So I did a reset hour later I had to drive to work without an audio book. The first 20 minutes were lost because of the Screwed you! dialogue window that popped up long enough after I'd selected Reset.
4. Now my iPod won't scroll up and down. It could be caused by the cracked glass touch screen, but it scrolled just fine until I did the Reset, so I'm left wondering, and paranoid. (Are these problems engineered by Apple because they want everyone to immediately jump to IOS7? My son asked me if I was using iTunes 11. I said, I think so. He laughed.

Have you seen the South Park episode where Cartman is turned into a human centipede because he blythly selected 'accept terms' on an iTunes upgrade. Everyone, including his mom, is incredulous that he would agree to anything he hadn't read.  Are my hassles somehow connected to the cryptic box that appeared the other day announcing 'iTunes conditions (or something) have changed.'
How can these Agreements be legally binding? Does anyone ever read them? Is it possible to read, understand and alter them? I can't see these things being held up in a court. You have a product, the company tells you it needs to be upgraded, we trust them, then after they start the process (by downloading the file) up pops an agreement and nothing more will happen until you agree to it. It's not a business agreement, it's a shakedown.

So here's what I think (otherwise this is just a beef from someone who doesn't amount to a blip on the concerns of the manager of the Apple Care phone center guy in Bangalore....)
The day will come when people do most of their writing, designing, image and video editing on machines that are not connected to the internet, that use out of date software. Smartphones and pads will be how people will connect. Files from our Isolated Computers will be transferred to phones and then over the internet.
The dates on these Isolated Computers (Quarantined? I have an opportunity for a terrific neologism here.... don't blow it) will be 2009 or 2007, and just keep being set back every year.

I have the sneaking suspicion that most commercial software have time bombs written in, I suspect that many of these may be introduced with the last upgrades before a new version is offered for sale. How many times has an application started to act wonky and you think, 'Oh, well, I may as well pay a few bucks and upgrade....' Once computer code is compiled there is no way to find this stuff. I'm willing to bet that if I'm right that these bombs have cost us more money, and caused more hassle than all the spammers and virus makers combined.

There are two ways to uncover if this is happening. First, a whistle blower.  But hey, Silicon Valley is no NSA. Not likely. Second, scientific method. Techs with large numbers of computers can upgrade some but not all prior to a new version and then document what happens.  An alternative method would be if users all over the globe began sending bug reports to non-industry connected sites that can compile, sort and analyze the data.
Has anyone else suddenly experienced a scrolling problem on their 5 year old iPod after they updated to iTunes 11, but not yet to IOS7?  A lot of these might just be bugs, code is 10% writing 90% debugging, which means I'm probably just paranoid, but ah-ha! it makes it easy to dismiss Time Bombs as just another bug.

With the Adobe monthly rental fee, I asked myself, do I need to upgrade? I use Illustrator a lot, Photoshop some, Lightroom a lot, but not as much as Illustrator. Lightroom seems to continue to make improvements, but Illustrator and Photoshop (CS5) can do everything I can think of, no version in the past few years has really made that much of a difference--so I can see using these until I die or go blind. At some point however, all the system upgrades, HTML upgrades, etc will jam them up. (When I lost Rosetta I lost a lot of software I occasionally used, and had to upgrade a few others, like Nisus Writer. Microsoft Office that I had stopped working. The newer version of Office on my school computer was no different, and had the same dumb multi-step garbage MS is famous for, so there was no way I was going to pay for more of the same. Instead I found OpenOffice.)
So at some point, in the near future, I will need a 2012 computer running an old date, with the Network disconnected.

Oh last thing (I'm rambling, but no one's reading any of this so, ah so what, eh?)
The reason my iPod glass touch screen is cracked is there is no practical way to carry the thing. It either goes in a pants pocket, with keys, or when I lift a kayak instead of my leg I now have 75 pounds pressing in the middle of the glass. In a back pocket, you sit down on it. In a shirt pocket, it slides right out, or bounces out if you leap (I guess I leap more than most people.)
Every time it bounces off the floor I think two thoughts, 'That's amazing tough, and Steve Jobs must think that the way we are supposed to use his dingus is holding it in one hand while we sit on the floor in our living room (where there is no couch, but maybe ten bowls of strawberries and untreated pancreatic cancer) and do nothing else. I'm sure if he was asked, 'What are you supposed to do with it when you're doing something else?' he would've responded, 'You're not supposed to do something else.' with a few expletives.
A protective case? I've bought more than a few of these. They are bulky, an inch thick and seem designed for rugby players. The Apple Store always amazes me, 50 choices of iPod and iPhone holders, an amazing range of colors and patterns, and not one belt loop, not even a neck lanyard.
So far the best carrying option I have found and use is a DryCase (no case just a tough vinyl bag) and wider lanyard, but the lanyard not hanging on my neck, but hooked on to some gear on the back of my life jacket(PFD). The DryCase doesn't hang, it's tucked into the front of my life jacket. When it just hangs around my neck, it swings around and it's not very comfortable on my neck. 
The new iPods have the tiniest little wire connector. Sorry. That's not much of an improvement.
When the iTime, iWatch, comes out, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was a wrist watch without a watch band, or if it does have a band, it won't have a clasp.

I went on line to make the tentative steps of buying another iPod. Asked about engraving, I copied and pasted some Chinese characters. I know the thing will be engraved in Shenzhen, and I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that in China Chinese purchasers can get Chinese characters, but apparently not yet here.

I'll try another iPod restore. And I'll write my next journal entry into a composition book. Funny how I still have 20 year old journals, but all the things I've written on a computer in the 90s are long gone.

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