Microsoft vs. Apple – is it worth the change?

24 01 2007

For my birthday, my husband bought me an iPod. It’s the first Apple product I’ve used since 1985 when our media center in school got it’s first Mac. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what is going on in that thing. It’s a purely middle of the line lime green Nano with 4 GB of storage. I thought “cool, I can put about 15 of my favorite albums on it and it’s compatible with everything and rock on!”

Let me first back myself up by saying that lately I’ve seen a lot of news and blogs on how badly Microsoft sucks. I know that if you’re a large company or even a mediate sized blog someone is going to think you suck. However, lately it’s been all about Apple and how they’re going to kick MS in it’s microchip ass. Yes, I admit to laughing at the new Apple commercials where the Windows guy gets to look like a dweeb and the Apple guy looks like a smart, funny grup.

After getting this iPod, I don’t know if I’m thoroughly convinced. I’m starting to believe that it’s too easy. Coming from a Millennial who has grown up with computers, I want to be able to modify things to the specs I want them in! Can I go directly onto my iPod and delete music without plugging it into a computer (with the correct USB) with iTunes loaded on it? No. Does it work like my cell phone? No. Does it work like my MP3/CD player? Nope. Nuh uh.

If you want to do anything on an iPod, you have to go through iTunes and put things the way you want them. But you can’t hook up the iPod yet! Don’t forget that part! Fix things first then plug up your iPod and then it will automagically put your iPod the way your iTunes is and charge it all at the same time.

Cool, right? Where was the nifty little instruction manual to tell me this? Oh, don’t have one? I can find it on Apple’s help site right? Nope. Sorry. I can do what I’m used to doing when shit goes wrong? Nope. Nada… this is completely new, amigo. Ok – got it. It took me three hours to figure all this out and now that I do, it’s smooth sailing, right?

Sure, keep on believing that.

Any time I hook up my iPod it throws a disc corruption error at me and asks me to reset all functions to default so that it can be repaired. Ok, reset to default, I tell it. Then it tells me that I must unplug it and replug it up. Ok. Got it. What? Another disc error!? How is this any different from a Microsoft product?

Finally, the stars align, I restart my computer, reset my iTunes library from my sling drive with only the stuff I want on the iPod (because adding any more than that screws it), and plug up the iPod. Holy crap! It works! I praise the computer gods for smiling on me and cease trying to find a priest who works with demonic possessions in mechanical objects.

After a good bit of cussing, I got it all started and it works great. It has a great battery life and the shuffle mixes perfectly. It’s almost like there’s a beat sensor inside it to pick the next song. I can hook it up to my car, to my headset, and to my TV. Sweet! But there’s a problem – I’m scared to death to change my playlist or to plug it back up to iTunes.

I also tried this weekend to download music from iTunes… maybe I’m a retard, but I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe I need to invite my mom over and see if she can – she can only work her email and order from Papa John’s so she should be able to work this, right? I mean I work for a dotcom and I can’t get the number on this thing.

The main problem I see with this is that Microsoft is seeing it as a bar to raise to. Explorer 7 sucked a big nut and it would not let me turn off phishing alerts without bugging the piss out of me and screwing up my computer. I uninstalled it as soon as I could. I hear Vista is the worst thing since that Gigli movie with JLo in it. But I like XP! I love Office 2003! I like being able to customize anything. I like having a chrome colored task bar on the left side of my window instead of on the bottom. I like how every one of my computers runs exactly the same thing and the backup servers don’t cause any problems. I’m not too fond of AutoPlay, but I can turn that off easily enough. How brainless do we need to make computers before we say enough is enough?

Here is my problem with Vista and Explorer 7: I don’t want a company to be up my ass making sure that I don’t screw myself up. If I get a virus – guess what, it’s my own fault. If a product fails, give me the tools to fix it. Don’t send automatic information back to a bigbox conglomerate every time Outlook closes improperly so that your debugging team can look at it and make the future better. I don’t believe that stuff! I don’t want where I go on the internet to be cached and sent back to the originators of my OS. I didn’t sign anything that said “please spy on me, even if you think it’s for my own protection.” I don’t want to be part of any market research data and I don’t want to share my user experience with you in any way except for the way I want to give it.

If I have my Outlook to never send a return receipt on my email even if the sender asks for it, how am I going to let Explorer send my every viewed site back to Microsoft under the guise of stopping phishers? Do I want pre-set controls or a “net nanny” to make sure I don’t see anything NSFW?

No – I’m not happy with the future of Microsoft but as far as buying any more Apple products right now, I’m not up for it. iPhone? Mac? iBook? Sorry, muchacho, if you can’t get a single MP3 player to work for a 26 year old, then I don’t see why you’re any better than what I’m using right now. Maybe everyone a generation older than me and a generation younger than me and even some folks with a lower IQ and folks who would rather accept what the world tells them than learn how to do it on their own.

I want to make my decisions and tell the machine what to do, not for the machine to come with so many factory presets that it decides what I want to do and how I want to do it for me and then return an error any time I try and change those presets. Let me be called a microchip libertarion- but I don’t need any handholding while I’m on the computer. If I screw it up – it’s on me. I don’t need anyone looking over my shoulder and sounding a buzzer if I do something unsafe. Least of all a software company I’m giving my money to.




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