Rotten Apple

Pardon the poor Photoshop job. I wasn't using it. Apple's Preview app works fine for basic photo editing, but not for extensive copyright violation in the name of cheap humor.

Pardon the poor Photoshop job. I wasn’t using it. Apple’s Preview app works fine for basic photo editing, but not for extensive copyright violation in the name of cheap humor.

You’ll excuse me if I’m not too excited about the Apple Watch and the latest, greatest MacBook.

The old iMac has been acting up the better part of quite some lately — a function, I believe, of the Mavericks “upgrade” I performed last year — and last week, after yet another spate of inexplicable freezes that I could not resolve via Safe Boot, Apple Hardware Test, Disk Utility, DiskWarrior, disconnecting external drives and/or monitors, and finally the deployment of chicken blood, rattles and incantations, I waved the white flag and dragged the doddering iBeast down to the local Apple Store for a chat with a Genius.

The Genius advised a “nuke and pave,” erasing the drive and installing a fresh copy of the OS. I had my doubts, having done way too much looking around online to believe that a solution would be so simple.

Still, I thought, I’m backed up all to be-damn, from Time Machine to SuperDuper!, two copies of each. Want to try Yosemite? Sure, why not? How much worse could it be? Let ‘er buck, cowboy.

So I dragged the iBeast back home with a nuked and paved HDD and a brand-new copy of Yosemite, and then let it sit overnight, to cure, or rest, or whatever. The next day, I booted it up and set about the onerous chore of configuring what amounted to a brand-new, 6-year-old computer.

Installing a new OS did not include fresh copies of the iWork and iLife suites. I didn’t want to drag over old files and applications from my backups, reasoning that if they had bugs, I’d be giving my New World Order a case of Old World pants rabbits. So I decided I’d use those drives as storage for now — sort of a Waste Isolation Pilot Project of bits and bytes — and downloaded fresh copies of Pages and iMovie for starters, plus a smallish OS update.

Word and Photoshop? Nah. Fuggem, I thought. Let’s keep this thing all Apple for now, see what transpires.

What transpired? Freezes. Just like before. One on Saturday, a second on Sunday and a third today.

Bloody exasperating, that is. Especially when you open Console to see a grinning octupus-dragon-man-thing wearing a “Think Different” T-shirt laughing at you and gibbering, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

So, no, thanks, I don’t need a skinny, $1,299 laptop with a shite camera and one oddball port that will require a backpack full of adapters. And I really don’t need a Dick Tracy watch, especially if it makes me look like a Dick Head.

I already know what time it is. It’s time to retire this iBox. And I’m not buying another one.



Tags: , ,

32 Responses to “Rotten Apple”

  1. Chris Coursey Says:


    Chris Coursey


  2. sharon Says:

    It sounds like you might be ready for evening yoga and meditation.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I like my new iMac, but I think sometimes the software is a beta version. But, the bugs are small. I solved the Flash freeze issue in Safari by allowing websites to use Flash always in the preferences menu.

    I bought an 80 year old pocket watch (Buren) last fall for the watch pocket in jeans. Don’t need another watch.

    What are you going to do now? Wouldn’t switching from Mac, especially with your history, be very traumatic? Might tip you over the edge, and you would end up living in an old van by the river.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Pat, I’ve had another crash since posting this. Gah.

      No, I won’t go to the Dark Side, though I do know a few bloggers who’ve moved to Chromebooks. But I still need some video-making capacity for Adventure Cyclist, and I’m too long in the tooth to learn the ways of Windows.

      I had been contemplating a new Mac, but I’m not interested if they’re gonna keep playing pocket pool out there in Cupertino. Forcing a new OS out of that mob every year for no good reason makes less and less sense with each fresh iteration.

      Happily, being something of a MacHoarder, I still have a couple functional machines I can use. I’ll get by with the old technology and let someone else beta-test the new stuff.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I have been using this new iMac since January with no freezes except in Safari. Those were caused by the never ending feud between Apple and Adobe on Flash player security. I fixed that with preference setting described above. I thought about my old iMac, same vintage as yours, and I did not experience freezes. When I installed Mavericks, I noticed my Mac was on the bottom end of the hardware requirements. Thing was slow; I saw the spinning beach ball way too much.

        The only thing of interest to me in the latest Tim Cook impression of Steve was they dropped the price of Apple TV.

        May the force be with you.

      • Steve O Says:

        Yeah, that’s where I stand as well.

        I had never used a Mac until I met The girl who I would eventually marry, who is a graphic designer of the time. I don’t remember on the machine she had, but I had that hockey puck mouse with a single button. When I asked about the lack of a second button, she smiled and said, yeah, it’s half is easy.

        That’s kind of where I stand on it. They suck, but they suck half as bad as everyone else

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I think the problem is one of presentation over content, just as in my line of work. Folks seem to think that if it looks pretty, that’s enough.

        But function should trump design. Apple used to have both, and in some arenas still does. My iPads and iPhones have all been trouble-free.

        Prior to buying one of the original black-plastic MacBooks (blew the HDD in less than a year of extremely light use) the only serious issues I’d ever had with a Mac involved Cupertino’s ill-fated entry into the clone wars. I tried a Power Computing model, and my buddy Hal tried a Motorola, and we both came to regret the experiment.

        Being a one-man band, I obviously have to be my own IT guy, and it’s a task I don’t relish, mostly because it goes unpaid. Every minute I spend trying to diagnose a problem is a minute I’m not making money writing, editing, shooting or drawing.

      • Steve O Says:

        Are used to be a big fan of Jony Ive’s approach to design. “Used to” meaning until maybe yesterday. Because, from my vantage point, he used “design” to mean the intersection of form and function. Design did did not mean cosmetics, it meant making it so that it worked. Not “design” as in, taking with the engineers made and dressing it up fancy like.
        I still think there’s a lot of that in them. The new batteries in the new MacBook impressive, contoured laminates that let the battery flow into every nook and cranny of the machine. Getting rid of the fan was a combination of engineering and design.
        The other hand, they’re selling a 18 karat gold watch that has 14k worth of gold in it for $17,000. That’s not a typo. Gold watch with a leather band. And there’s a rumor that there is a gold link bracelet option that will push $50k.
        That’s not design. That’s marketing masturbation.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I agree with your assessment of Apple. The things used to be like a refrigerator. Plug ’em and use them, for years. No troubleshooting required. My first mac, a lovely blue translucent model bought at Sears, had an owner’s manual that was strictly pictures. Even Tim Cook, as stupid as he is, could have used it. No more. When you make your living on one, the problem is magnified way beyond my understanding. I just play on mine.

        But really pisses me off is when I went outside just now to check the weather for our ride, all I could see and smell was smoke from yesterday’s controlled burn on the fort. Snot machine immediately went into overdrive and I could barely find the kleenex with my watery eyes.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Sorry, meant Tom Cotton not Tim Cook. Freudian slip maybe?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’ve been thinking about all the Apples that have inhabited my professional orchard since that first SE back in 1990 or thereabouts, and I think my favorites may have been the PowerBooks of the pre-/early G3 era.

        The PowerBook 1400c had a great keyboard and was as modular as a set of Legos. Expansion bay held your choice of CD-ROM, floppy or Zip drives. Add modem and Ethernet via removable PC cards. Turn it into a G3 with the snap of a Sonnet Crescendo card. RAM was limited, so I used RAM Doubler.

        The G3 Wall Street and Pismo models were equally versatile and easy to work on for the home mechanic.

        The iBooks I was never that fond of, though I still have one. Suckers always smelled like pencil erasers left in the sun thanks to a questionable adhesive choice.

  4. Steve O Says:

    Haven’t watched it yet, haven’t read more than 140 characters worth about it, but it seemed like a lame 90 minutes was had by all.

    In the defense of the watch, however, the problem is, it’s inevitable. We’ve gone from Cray and UNIVAC to Apple II to cute all-in-one consoles and now to tablets and phones. What’s next? Smart phones, smart goggles, smart beanies with propellers, smart something. It’s just inevitable.

    Personal prediction: Apple Watch fails. Doesn’t matter. The Newton failed but begot the iPhone and iPad. Either Watch 3.0 wins big, or maybe the iPen, or the iFlySwatter, or something they make in 2018. It’s just inevitable. Things get smaller, and as the device gets more personal, design trumps engineering.

  5. Steve O Says:

    // already know what time it is. It’s time to retire this iBox. And I’m not buying another one. //

    But if you get a new one, you can crash in silver, gold, or Space Gray®

  6. Darwin Says:

    So whiny. It’s six years old which is ancient. Get over it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The G4 AGP Graphics Power Mac I use to color the 'toons.

      The 1999 G4 AGP Graphics Power Mac I use to color the ‘toons using Adobe Photoshop 4.

      Huh. Y’think? I still have a 2000 G3 “Pismo” PowerBook that works flawlessly. It’s still on the original HDD, running Tiger. Ditto the 2003 G3 iBook. And the 2005 G4 PowerBook.

      Hell, I still work regularly on a 1999 G4 AGP Graphics Power Mac (which, it must be said, I have modified heavily since buying it used for $50). It’s the one machine I have left that still runs Classic mode, and I use it to scan and color cartoons.

      So I’m gonna have to call bullshit on your Theory of Technological Decline. Just ’cause it old don’t mean it daid.

  7. Darwin Says:

    Oh and Apple watch will succeed. Obvious to anyone who looks at what it does.

    • Steve O Says:

      The Apple Watch will succeed because nobody else is making anything reasonably good. It will also succeed because Tim Cook is treating China like his number one priority, and India is next. It will also succeed because the Apple and android crowds have been around long enough folks have invested a lot in apps and architecture, and switching is a significant undertaking for most people. The watch is a reason to switch towards Apple, and there aren’t a lot of reasons to switch away, if you’ve invested time and money in setting up your phone a certain way

      But they’ve made a pretty significant mistake. When the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad both came out, their presentation started with a breakdown of what was wrong with everything else on the market. Then explained how their product filled all the voids. They basically made a compelling argument as to why you needed one of these. With the watch, theyve explained neat stuff it does, and that’s about it.

      The watch is about 100 times more powerful than the first iPod, and costs $150 less. But American consumers have short memories and attention spans. $199 seems to be some sort of magic number for consumer electronics.

      (100 times? I’ll bet that if I looked it up and crunched the numbers, I’m being conservative here.)

      Like I said, it will succeed, over the long run, because everything is moving in that direction. And Apple will be $1 trillion company within five years.

  8. Steve O Says:

    You need one of these:

    (Two, actually)

    Presenting, The Appless Watch

    2-for-Tuesday: Obsolete Heart Rate Monitor Watches

    No phone calls
    No Internet
    No email
    No fitness tracking, even
    Just two watches with primitive digital displays and heart rate monitors

  9. john Says:

    Well, there’s always Lee-nooks (the official Scandanavian pronounciation), which you can run on any old cheapo PC hardware, and which is free, as in free beer.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve tried Linux, John, and found it wanted me to spend too much time under the hood. The reason I found Apple appealing in the first place, way back in 1989 or thereabouts, was that you didn’t have to think too much about it.

      I just want to work on ’em, not work on ’em, if you catch my drift.

  10. Larry T. Says:

    All these computer pricks seem rather anti-competitive to me. They use their zillions to play the “Can’t beat ’em? Buy ’em!” game to make sure superior products to Micro or I-crap never see the light of day, roping you into one or the other with all their various…well….stuff you like described.

  11. Kenny Says:

    Hey Patrick, check your RAM. I’ve replaced Ram memory sticks because of the same issues. Ram is relatively cheap.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      RAM checked, Kenny. Also HDD, graphics card and pretty much everything else. No hardware faults found, either through my own tests or through Apple’s down at the Genius Bar.

      Have a look around on the Innertubes. Plenty of people are noting trouble with both Mavericks and Yosemite on a wide range of hardware of various vintages. Doesn’t seem to matter whether you install over an older version of the OS or do a fresh install.

      Some folks are doing just fine with Mavericks and Yosemite. Others aren’t. And it doesn’t seem to be clear just what the problem is. Buggy software? HDDs and/or graphic cards on the verge of failure that go undetected by Apple’s diagnostics? Dead or dying fans? Bum heat sensors (or sensors that have come untaped from their drives)?

      The iMac started crashing daily again right after a clean Yosemite install with no third-party apps on board. It was all Apple in there the first time it froze. I’ve made no modifications to this machine, save adding memory, ’cause cracking it to get to the guts is a pain in the ass (which is another complaint I have about Apple’s modern design philosophy).

      Oh, well. If Apple’s joined the planned-obsolescence party, at least it took ’em a while to get there. Bought a DVD player lately? Jesus wept. I think Sony is making those out of failed SuperDrives.

      • Kenny McCarthy Says:

        Patrick, one more thing. Crazy as it sounds, sometimes if you remove & reinstall RAM it corrects the issue. Had it happen to my Daughter’s machine. Sometimes those sticks become unseated. It only take a few minutes to do, there is a small access door in the back of the iMac that lets you get at it quickly. Good luck.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Thanks, Kenny. I was in there just the other day. The late-2009 iMac 21.5-incher shipped with 4 GB of memory and I upgraded that beaucoup fast to the max of 16.

        I’m pretty sure this is something other than a memory issue. Could be a simple matter of old age — this is my main work computer, and it gets used pretty hard. Hell, there could be a whole cat’s worth of fur inside that case.

        But since it was largely trouble-free until the Mavericks install, I dunno. Some of the iElves in there started throwing hands for reasons beyond me ken.

        I’m taking it back to the Apple Store today for an extended battery of tests. Depending on what they find (if anything) and what fixing it costs (probably too much), I’ll probably just hide it away in the attic like a crazy uncle and do my paying work on the MacBook Pro.

  12. khal spencer Says:

    I like the appless watch. Would be my luck to forget to turn off the video transmitter as I sat down in the Throne Room to take care of business, and do an imitation of that famous Frank Zappa picture promptly posted to the world.

    Just stay off my virtual lawn.

  13. Steve O Says:

    I will say this: Apple might have a lot of problems with the stuff they’re making, but I couldn’t have more respect for Tim Cook. The dude is doing a lot of stuff for the right reasons. And with a personal family history that includes asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, I have no choice but to support this:

  14. Charley Says:

    Not a good idea! A new IMAC YEAH. My 2008 is still fine and runs Yosemite fine. It probably doesn’t get as much use as yours. I don’t remember how to work any more!

  15. Lord Death Frame Says:

    I never bought an apple laptop as I heard they do not work well with the MS stuff. So, I opted to buy a Dell XPS. They gave me a new one when the battery went sad Japan overheat on me.

    I advise you to buy a 1 or 2 year old computer. Wipe the entire operating system and then install your stuff. It will save another creation and maybe their will be pretty pictures on it you will be tempted to keep. It is much cheaper that way- and unlike the sorry fellow who bought my old jumped, crashed and stair up and downed MTB. Your computer should be fine if you wipe down the keys with an antiseptic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: