Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Another bite of the Apple

September 13, 2018

The iPhone 5. Sure, it’s old. So am I.

It’s that time of year again. Another golden delicious has fallen from the tree in Cupertino. Several of them, actually.

There’s the latest iteration of the Apple Watch, of course. Apple is always Watching lately. I have a Timex Ironman that’s so old I don’t recall exactly how or when I acquired it, and we get along fine. It doesn’t inform on me to the State or the Medical-Industrial Complex, and I don’t reset it with a hammer.

The Timex Ironman takes a licking and … yeah, yeah, awright, OK, I toldja I was old.

And then there are the new iPhones. Once the size of a wallet, they’re now as big as a purse, and the rubes will empty both to buy even the cheapest of them.

That would be the iPhone Xr, which goes for the low low price of $749 for the 64GB model. I imagine the 128GB model will be more popular, so tack on another fiddy for the additional selfie storage.

OK, lessee now, what can I get for my 2012 iPhone 5?

Apple GiveBack chirps: “Based on what you’ve told us, you’ve got $25 in trade-in value. We’ll happily turn it into a refund once we verify the condition of your device.” This is mildly insulting — not just the low-ball offer, but the language, which implies I’m trying to screw Apple instead of the other way around. But as a trillion-dollar company Apple doesn’t really need me and this dry peck on the cheek is all the foreplay a mutt like me is gonna get.

Hmm. Based on what I’ve told them, I have an iPhone 5 that turns on, with an enclosure and screen in good shape, and buttons that work. So I think I’ll keep using it until a critical number of those things are no longer true. How d’ye like them apples, Apple?

Office spaced

December 29, 2016
Hemingway sent cables; I just hook 'em up.

Hemingway sent cables; I just hook ’em up.

Now and again I am reminded that shit doesn’t just happen.

I was grumbling the other day that the iCrap-crazed Cloudniks at Apple no longer give a damn about modular, upgradeable desktop systems and the power users who love them, probably because I have spent far too much time staring at a desk that is topped by a veritable clusterfuck of computer hardware — a 15-inch mid-2014 MacBook Pro cabled to an OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock and thence to a Dell 27-inch monitor, a RAID array plus a couple other storage drives, an Apple SuperDrive and a cheap set of Logitech speakers that really need to go because they have all the sonic excellence of a 1965 GE P-1810A transistor radio.

Then I read this, and this, and I think I’m finally starting to get a feel for why Tim Cook is all like: “Fuck those bitches and their desktops. Whatsisname down in the basement is tasked with that project and if we have to we’ll trot him out and show the world what people who give a shit about desktop computers look like. Dude makes the stapler guy from ‘Office Space’ look like Michael Fassbender.”

Cat got your … Mac?

March 16, 2015
It's Yosemite, Sam.

It’s Yosemite, Sam.

So this guy walks into an Apple Store with a busted iMac and — stop me if you’ve heard this one before. …

OK, so you may not have heard this one before.

Long-suffering readers of the DogS(h)ite know that my once-trusty late-2009 iMac went sideways shortly after I “upgraded” it to Mavericks, in the process leapfrogging over Lion and Mountain Lion from Snow Leopard.

Its misbehavior gradually intensified, and unable to diagnose the problem and devise a solution I finally dragged it down to the Duke City Apple Store, where a Genius critical of my OS management advised a nuke-and-pave of the hard disk drive and another “upgrade,” this time a clean install of Yosemite.

Five days and five crashes later I returned to discuss the issue further, and this time they took the doddering old iBeast in for a full brain scan.

“You might want to crack the case and check it for schmutz,” I quipped. “We have a dog and two cats, and there’s probably enough fur in there to build a yeti.” Oh, how we chortled there at the Genius Bar, techs and customers alike. Laugh, I thought I’d die.

A few days later the telephonic discussions commenced. The Geniuses were unable to replicate my issues, and their extended evaluations, like my own basic home-mechanic checks, found no hardware issues. The iMac was running a sparkling new OS and nothing but Apple software — save for Flash, which I needed for video, and SuperDuper!, which I needed to back up the drive before service — and they, like me, were at a loss.

Hard drive? Fine. Video card? OK. Bad memory? Nope. Thermal management issues? I’ve heard about temp problems, sensors detaching from drives, fans failing. Sorry, we don’t find any hardware issues atall atall.

“Did you crack the case and have a look inside? We have pets, you know. …”

Bingo. They finally opened ‘er up and found enough dust and fur clogging the fans to assemble an earth-toned pantsuit for a plus-size crazy cat lady. It actually felt a couple pounds lighter as I carried it out of the store.

This morning the old iBeast is ticking over smoothly, which if it continues will be nice, because the 2010 Mac Mini I’ve been using since Tuesday doesn’t have the oomph to run a couple different versions of the WordPress CMS, edit words, photos and videos, and do all the other things I need to do to keep my share of the lights on here at Rancho Pendejo.

Best of all? No charge for the janitorial work. When was the last time you walked away from a mechanic of any sort with your pants up and your wallet still in its pocket? I call that service and then some.

I’ll have to inform the cats who run the Innertubes. Medals, commendations and promotions may be in order.

Peeling Apple for the CIA

March 11, 2015

Unhappy Mac

Oopsie. I guess this means the Geniuses at the local Apple Store will be taking turns pouring Coca-Cola, honey and kiddie porn into my iMac this morning.

[The Intercept] said it based its story on “top-secret” documents received directly from whistleblower Edward Snowden. It alleges Sandia researchers tried to find security flaws in Apple devices to open “backdoors” for surveillance of any device.

Thanks a lot, fellas. Now instead of a daily crash or three I’m gonna have to listen to this. And Dave’s not even here, man.

• Editor’s note: Hat tip to Steve O’ for flagging this first, in comments.

• Today’s Gratuitous Apple Joke: Early adopters, take note. If you like the Apple Watch, you’re going to love the Apple CockRing. It grabs you by the nuts and squeezes until you sign over your 401(k) & IRA to Cupertino.

Apple, Samsung and Hanes

February 2, 2015
What director Quentin Ferrentino sees just before the iMac hiccups, stutters and croaks.

What director Quentin Ferrentino sees just before the iMac hiccups, stutters and croaks.

Is the Super Bowl finally over? No, I see we’re still second-guessing coaches, lip-syncing sharks and that crucial, botched call — Nationwide’s decision to run that dead-kid ad instead of throwing it into the trash.

We didn’t watch any of it here at Rancho Pendejo, not even the ads. Herself was on a mission from God to clean up the joint, and I was doing a job of work, hammering away at a video review of the Novara Mazama for Adventure Cyclist and trying to troubleshoot ongoing technical glitches with the old iMac.

At 6 years of age, this ‘puter may be nearing the end of its useful existence, though a 15-year-old G3 “Pismo” PowerBook is still ticking right along with all its original equipment. Not so the iMac. Its optical drive croaked a while back, and ever since I “upgraded” to Mavericks I’ve been enjoying occasional and inexplicable freezes that force me into an irksome hard reset that occasionally costs me a bit of work. Kindly old Doc Google tells me I’m not alone in my suffering, and this is one of the reasons I’m dragging my feet on the Yosemite and iOS 8 upgrades.

Last night after a weirdo crash that left both monitors black, but with a moveable cursor, I booted into Safe Mode, which runs a few diagnostics, then said fuck it and booted again, this time into the Recovery HD, and ran Disk Utility.

The hard drive “appears to be OK,” says DU, so I repaired permissions and called it good. This morning nothing was on fire or defunct, which is better.

Now if Samsung will get around to installing a new drain pump in our 5-month-old washing machine, we’ll really have it going on. The goddamn thing has been on the sidelines for a week and I need to upgrade my undies to something a little, um, fresher.

 

The ‘OS’ in ‘OS upgrade’ doesn’t mean ‘Oh, shit!’

May 20, 2014

A while back I mentioned that I was contemplating kicking the old iBox into the future with an OS upgrade to Mavericks. Being both a sluggard and a paranoid, I never quite got around to it, until last night.

It was the perfect time, really. Monday was a rest day in the Giro; I’d wrapped the most recent review and video for Adventure Cyclist; and I didn’t have a BRAIN deadline until Thursday.

There was one evil omen (there always is). The ‘puter’s optical drive went spastic on me, as they apparently do in the iMac. Mine will read and play audio CDs, but spits out movie and software discs like an infant who won’t eat his puréed spinach. So if something went sideways during the install I wouldn’t have access to my original system discs (I was still running Snow Leopard, or OS X 10.6.8).

True, I had a belt-and-suspenders HD-backup system — both Time Machine and SuperDuper! — but being familiar with Murphy’s Law through bitter, painful experience, I decided to score an external optical drive, just in case.

I went Apple, of course, which means expensive — and in this case, inoperative. Seems their $79 disc-spinner won’t work with a pre-2012 iMac, and mine is a 2009 (read those system requirements, kids, and don’t forget to say your prayers). SuperDrive, me arse.

So I barreled over to Best Buy and picked up an LG for less than half that and it worked like a top. Suck it, Cupertino.

Then I reminded myself the worst that could happen was I’d get a chance to swear a lot and buy a new computer, and pulled the trigger. Ka-pow! Three hours later the old iBeast had a new brain. It’s alive! It’s alive! It’s aaaalllliiiiiiiive!

 

Cars don’t play

March 10, 2014
Oh, good. More people playing when they should be driving.

Oh, good. More people playing when they should be driving.

I took my gradually fading cold out for a walk yesterday afternoon, and boy, was it ever a beautiful day. Didn’t need to see that pudgy jogger airing out his man-boobs, but occasionally a fella must take the bitter with the sweet.

We’re looking at another blast of springtime today — 72! — before the rain, snow and wind play a return engagement on Tuesday. So I plan to get out again while the getting out remains good.

Friend of the the DogS(h)ite Weaksides will not be so fortunate, alas. In comments, he advises that he’s enduring in-patient therapy after getting blitzed from behind by a car, and his condition may keep him out of his own damn’ home for a while. So shoot him some good wishes in comments if you have a moment.

Meanwhile, feel free to wax wroth about Apple’s latest brainstorm, CarPlay, a setup intended to make it easier for motorists to jabber on the phone, check their email and not incidentally run us over. Released today as part of iOS 7.1 and soon to be a column coming to a bicycle-industry magazine near you.

Top off your lap, sir?

January 7, 2012
The 13-inch 2011 MacBook Air

All I've ever asked is everything I've ever wanted. Does that make me a bad person?

When Competitor Group Inc. and I parted ways on the first day of the New Year I suggested that Herself should buy me a new MacBook to ramp up my mobility to full rumormongering speed for 2012.

I won’t tell you what she suggested that I do.

Some people hit the pubs or the comfort food as the wolf howls outside the door. Me, I examine the toy box and generally find it lacking a certain something. One wonders why Santa discriminates against the bad kids. There oughta be a law.

It’s not as though I’m lacking for laptops. The main machine is a 13-inch 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook circa 2006, but there are others: a 12-inch 1.5 GHz G4 “Little Al” PowerBook, a 14.1-inch 500 MHz G3 “Pismo” PowerBook and even a 12-inch 800MHz G3 iBook that smells like a pencil eraser when I boot it up because of a poor adhesive selection by someone at Apple HQ.

The problem is that they are all old, slow and heavy, like their owner. And also nearing the end of their useful lives, but let’s not go there, even metaphorically.

All still work, but frankly the G3 ‘books are way off the back — still suitable for checking mail, writing screeds and light photo/cartoon editing, but the equivalent of Nash Metropolitans when navigating the modern Infobahn. The G4 is better, but it’s 7 years old — no biggie for a car (my Forester is also a 2005 model), but senior-citizen country for a computer.

And the MacBook? It’s only a year younger and has already disappointed me once, FUBARing a hard drive after less than three years of light use. I’ve never trusted it since — and never really had to, since the lion’s share of my work for the past few years involved helping edit the VeloNews.com website, which is tough to do on any laptop, unless you have a giant external monitor attached.

I used a 2009 21.5-inch 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with a second monitor, a 22-inch ViewSonic. Charles Pelkey used a PC with three monitors. His office looks like the bridge of the USS Enterprise.

Having abandoned professional web editing, I no longer require that kind of visual real estate. But I’ve gotten used to the speed of the newer computer, and it’s hard to go back in time when I hit the road, something I’d like to do more of in 2012 if only to rub up against some fresh ideas for irritating people.

Let’s see here — a guy can pick up a refurbished 2011 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 MacBook Air for just over a G at the Apple Store. I wonder how much plasma I’d have to sell.

I need to lose a little weight anyway.

Apple to the core

October 6, 2011
Pismo

The elder statesman among computers in the DogHaus: a 500 MHz G3 "Pismo" PowerBook, circa 2000.

Steve Jobs made my life a whole lot easier.

Back in the day, when I was still full-time at The New Mexican and free-lancing cartoons and the occasional race report to VeloNews, it was all about hard copy. I’d FedEx the ’toons and fax the stories.

It was an imperfect system. VN was supposed to return my original art, but often did not, and a whole bunch of original work got lost during an office cleanup that shall forever live in infamy.

Then I got a Mac SE, a Hayes 1200-baud modem and accounts with AOL and CompuServe. Holy Mary, Mother of God — que milagro!

Suddenly we stringers could upload copy directly to the VeloNews BBS. ’Toons and photos still had to take the long way to press, but that would change, too, with the advent of more powerful Macs, faster modems and digital scanners. That little old country lane called the Internet suddenly was the Infobahn, and shipping a 1MB ’toon was no more difficult than sending an e-mail. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the World Wide Web, but he sure made it easy to navigate.

Little Al

The 12-inch 1.5 GHz G4 PowerBook was the ultimate in MacPortability until the MacBook Air came along.

Two decades later I can look around my home office and see multiple examples of Steve Jobs’ vision come to life. I’m posting this on a 21.5-inch 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac. On my drawing board sits an iPhone 3GS, charging. Next to the board squats a hot-rodded G4 AGP Graphics Power Mac that I use to digitize ’toons and store stuff. Behind me is a venerable G3 500 MHz “Pismo” Powerbook, one of my all-time favorite laptops.

In the living room you’ll find a 2.66 GHz Mini delivering streaming video to our TV, along with a 12-inch G4 1.5 GHz Powerbook and two MacBooks — my black 2006 Intel Core Duo and Herself’s white 2007 Intel Core Duo 2. My iPad 2 is in there, too. Herself’s is downstairs. Our iPod Touches are in the bedroom.

Last but not least, somewhere around here is a 12-inch G3 800 MHz iBook — it was my kitchen computer for a while until Herself spirited it away (she despises clutter).

MacBook

My primary road machine is a first-gen' Intel MacBook — like everything else around here, it's a little long in the tooth but still gets the job done.

And you know what? They all work, every last one of them. Burglars could clean me out of everything save the Pismo and I could still earn my little bit of living with that elderly laptop. Hell, the second Mac I ever owned, a Quadra 650, still worked when I finally caved to the anti-clutter lobby and sent it off for recycling last year.

“But Patrick,” you say, “you could have done your business on Windows machines just as easily.” Maybe so, but I doubt it.

Macs were made for people like me, non-geeks who wanted to think about the work, not the tool. The Apple GUI has always been simple and intuitive, and the hardware reliable and fairly simple to work on if you decided that you just had to peek under the hood.

Plus I always found Apple’s industrial design more pleasing to the eye. Windows machines looked cheap, mass-produced and blocky, like Soviet-era apartment buildings. Apple’s devices had graceful, swooping lines, odd color schemes and that cheery “Happy Mac” that once appeared at bootup but preceded its creator in death a while back.

Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time parting with them.

But I notice there are about 15 bikes in the garage and a half-dozen Canon cameras lying around the house, and it wasn’t all that long ago that there were four Toyota trucks parked in my driveway. So maybe I’m just a hoarder.

Tour de meh

October 19, 2010
Blue skies, smiling at me. ...

Blue skies, smiling at me. ...

Oboy, oboy, oboy — the route of the 2011 Tour de France is announced today and there’s an Apple proclamation slated tomorrow. My cup runneth over.

Well, actually, not so much. I don’t give a shit about the TdF, other than as a source of income. Cav’ wins all the sprints, the Schlecks win all the climbs, the Euskaltels hit the deck, there’s no time trialing to speak of and the winner tests positive for something you never heard of. There’s your Tour.

And if Apple announces a leaner, meaner and cheaper MacBook Air, as is widely expected, well, I don’t much care about that either. The old black MacBook seems to be ticking along, and if it croaks again and I need to leave the DogHaus to do a job of work there’s always the 12-inch G4 PowerBook, the 12-inch G3 iBook, the 14.1-inch G3 PowerBook … we got more Apples than the average Washington-state orchard, is what I’m sayin’.

Meanwhile, it’s a beautiful fall morning — 30-something, with a high in the mid-60s forecast. A guy with any brains would be out riding his bike. And if he did, he might see me out there riding mine, too.