Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Playing in the Litter Box

Look Ma No Track Pad!

Installing Mt. Lion was a pleasant enough experience and at first everything appear honky dory...until I tried to use the track pad!  Oooops. Nothing happened.  My first visit to the Apple Forum and certainly not my last to this gathering of brave if befuddled Mac users brought a remarkably simple solution: reboot the computer!   This also proved to be the same cure for many future problems: Just turn the Mac off and on and voila, it  just works...now, that is.

Synch Stink

Synchronization generally provides rich opportunities for frustration and more of the magic of rebooting on Mountain Lion.  I suddenly noticed that Reminders (a clumsy new app that is no longer part of Calendar where one would expect to see reminders) was not the same on my MacBook at home and on my iPhone.  Bit of a downer since the idea is to remind you seamlessly wherever you are.

Next came a nasty surprise when I used iMessage to connect with a dear friend about getting together for lunch while I was on their side of town.  My day hung on the answer to the message which I had sent from my MacBook and had been confirmed as "delivered".  What I didn't know was that my iPhone was unaware of that conversation and the three messages sent to me went just to my laptop.  Arrrgh!  This wasn't just a minor inconvenience; a dear friend was in need of some support and was left out in the cold because Apple fumbled on the 10 yard line.  Another visit to the Apple tech Forum and the answer was maddeningly familiar but different: Reboot your iPhone, hook back up to iCloud and all is well.


Here we are on the eve (9/11/12) of the big Apple iPhone 5 launch that some say will net them 10 + million sales.  Certainly good news for Apple fanboys and investors but I see a very dark lining to the iCloud.  Apple's success is its own worst enemy.  Only those of us who have bought the devices and now depend on them "just working" as Steve Jobs once boasted, really understand the dirty truth that they don't just work.  Sure the iOS ecosystem is wonderful and it does a much better job of tying the devices into a common interface and paradigm but along the way some basics are getting lost.  Basics like a track pad that won't work after installing Mt. Lion, Reminders that won't sync without gymnastics and iMessages that aren't delivered to all the devices. Tim Cook, the new CEO of Apple, is a supply chain guy who understands about getting the goods in peoples' hands and the Apple PR machine is enviable ion its ability to make customers salivate on command.  Let's see if the universal love lasts the inevitable bungling that will soon follow. (Do you remember "Antennaegate"?  Apple scolding customers that they must be holding their new iPhone 4 the wrong way to make it drop all those calls?!)

I have invested too much in the orchard to turn back now and as a matter of fact I will be buying a refurbished Apple TV just as soon as I can collect the $85.  Why?  Because with AirPlay on my laptop, I can wirelessly stream everything that appears on my laptop or iPhone directly to my TV; no more switching monitor cables.  In the meantime I will do my best to also share the good and the bad of Mountain Lion with you and pray that the Apple software engineers are allowed to give their customers the kind of service that they overpaid for.