Saturday, January 05, 2013

Steve Jobs Finally Ropes Me In

I'm happy to say that I made it to Jan. 2013 without ever having owned a single Apple product.  Because if you ask me, Apple stuff is a huge incredible rip off.  Don't even start to tell me about the wonderful design, blah blah blah.  I don't buy it, I think it's one of the biggest, most cleverest advertising/scam rip off schemes ever.  When I was shopping for laptops for my business I found a PC laptop for $400 that was plenty powerful and did everything I needed it to do and more.  The equivalent Apple laptop was around $1600.  Now unless that thing cleans my toilets and scoops the dog poop out of my yard there's no way it's worth an extra $1200 or 4 times the amount of the PC.  And what the hell do I need an ipad for?  I already have too many gizmos in my life and I don't need more of the bastards sucking up time and electricity and frying my brain and my eyeballs.  Yes, I know I sound like a crotchety old fart.

I don't have many requirements for my cell phone but I do use it for my business and it's important that it performs a few simple yet critical functions.  Like ringing when I have a call.   Or leaving a voice mail when I can't answer the phone and then telling me about said voice mail.  Telling me if I've missed a call.  Letting me check my email.  I don't think the phone needs to be all that smart to do those few simple things.  But aside from the email, which is sketchy anyway even on a good day, it ceased to do any of those things reliably.  According to Sprint this was because I cancelled my free trial of voice to text voice mail which turned out to be completely useless, sending me text messages that were sometimes amusing but mostly gibberish that resembled nothing close to the original message.  And they wanted me to start paying for the privilege. 

Sprint was unable to fix this over the phone so I had to go into the Sprint store this morning which involved me clearing my entire morning because things never go smoothly when I have to go in there.  I'm surprised Starbucks hasn't set up shop in there.  The guy listens to my tale of woe and looks at my phone with a sad expression.  He's not a fan of android and in May I'm entitled to a new phone for free but if I take it early I can get a new $450 i-phone for only $45.  This is my cheapest option for a new phone, the androids will cost more somehow.  They're going to have to wipe my old phone clean to re-set it so I'll have to set the whole thing up again and then do it again in May when I get a new phone.  And I'll probably continue to have problems because, well, I don't quite understand why but the guy is sure the android will continue to disappoint and why don't I just cross over to the dark side and be done with it.

I'm appalled at the idea of a phone costing $450 but I'm only paying $45 so I guess I'm o.k. with it.  I feel a bit dirty but I agree to it.  Then he informs me that I'm going to have to buy a $35 plastic box to house this thing because the screen is made of glass and if I drop it it will shatter.  Unlike my android which is made of plastic and had no such problem.  Because Apple is such a genius with design and all.  On the plus side, the plastic box is a blinding shade of hot pink so I won't lose it in my black bag.  At least somebody was thinking about design even if it wasn't Apple.  Oh yes, and this stupid smart phone does not allow you to talk into it to search for things in Google or create a text from voice like my old phone did.  It was one of the few cool things it did reliably and super trendy cool awesome design i-phone does not do this.  Unless I want to pay an extra $100 for the creepy lady talking phone.  And I don't want to.

Somehow this simple transaction takes 30-40 minutes because they're having some problem with their computers and printers and software and hardware and I'm not even twitchy about all the waiting because I totally knew it would happen and I cleared my morning so what the heck.  On the plus side, after the salesman is finally capable of running my credit card, he takes a good long time to help me with the phone.  Sets up stuff for me, shows me how to navigate, even calls my phone to assure me it works.  Except at first it doesn't.  Phone doesn't ring or even twitch.  Apparently smart phones are too smart to actually answer the phone.  Way too busy doing more important things like checking the stock market and making incendiary political posts on Facebook.  Eventually he gives it a good kick in the ass and gets it to work.  And 2 hours later I'm finally out of there.  I try to call Jonny from the parking lot and realize I don't know how to make a phone call.  I push loads and loads of buttons but nothing seems to work.  Because Apple products are so intuitive and all.  Finally I manage to push the right combination of buttons and miracle of miracles, I get Jonny on the other end.  He calls me back and the phone rings.  Hallelujah.  Now if only this thing was smart enough to get Strummer to stop going off his head and trying to bite the phone whenever it rings.  But I guess that's a whole 'nuther issue.

Who needs smart gizmos?  Plastic watering cans are where it's at.

And because Apple is so awesome I still can't load any apps onto it.  I click on the app store button and the little loading wheel spins and spins and has been doing so for the past 2 hours.  Can't record a voice mail greeting either because voice mail is unavailable.  I suppose I'd better clear tomorrow morning's schedule.


  1. Oh jeez. I thought all would have been resolved by the end of the post, but alas...

    I don't get what all the fuss is about Apple either.

    Well, I hope your new phone smartens up once and for all, sooner than later.

  2. Some of what makes apple special is not such a big deal forever--almost everything they've come up with, others have soon followed with their own similar ideas. On the other hand, apple OS is so much better than windows. I'm an Apple devotee but do lament their high prices. And I can't do a danged thing on an iphone unless someone else does it for me--maybe if I got one of my own, i'd eventually figure it out. Of course, I can barely to anything on my very basic cell phone that just has a few physical buttons. There don't seem to be any truly intuitive cell phone interfaces.

  3. I still don't understand why Apple's OS is so much better. I'll grant you, Windows ME was a nightmare but that was 10 years ago and Windows 7 works pretty well for me, has some nice features. It crashes every once in a while but anecdotally it seems anytime someone has tried to show me something on their Apple laptop they either have a problem getting it to boot up or do whatever they're trying to do. A friend was going to give me some files and after giving me a spiel about how awesome his Apple laptop is he couldn't even get it to boot up. I sat there waiting for him to get it working for about 10 minutes with my $400 PC laptop booted up and ready to go. Plus none of the engineering programs I needed to use on a daily basis worked on an Apple unless I bought extra software and even then not all of it would work.

    Took me 20-30 minutes of Googling and random button pushing to figure out how to stop an app from running on the i-phone. Seems like a 'cancel' button would be simple enough but no, it takes 5 button pushes just to cancel an app.

  4. Configuring just about anything in windows is a nightmare; so is trying to remove anything. Jeez, I work on both Mac & PC for many hours at a time on each, you'd think I could be more explicit than that. I just know that I constantly run into things that are more difficult than they should be.

    Not saying apple is perfect--things are not so simple there any more, either, much to my annoyance.

  5. I know, you would think with all the years we've had computers and all the 'improvements' that things would be getting easier rather than more complicated.

    I don't think I do much configuring, I'm not even sure what configuring is. I do wish it was easier to burn a disk and it's impossible to figure out how to get files into certain places in Windows Music Player, I'll grant you that. I burn disks for most clients after their sessions and it takes way too many clicks to do such a simple thing. But otherwise my cheapo PC laptop serves my business no problem.