Monday, November 21, 2011


I joined the Apple fan club a couple of days ago. It went like this - 

my Mother gave me a bright pink 1GB ipod shuffle she won in a competition
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I didn't mind the colour but I had to download some clunky software called iTunes that tried to take over my old laptop. I didn't like it as I had already been made unhappy by running a proprietary Sony program called Sonicstage (be glad you never had to) and iTunes seemed to be the same but worse since it connects to the internet and sleeps with your sister.

Not in love with Apple.

Then - saw my friend's iPhone and conceded that it was pretty. But it didn't do any thing better than my nokia except look nice, and I had a fancy N95 (replaced with an N85 when I washed the 95, but that's another story). And it couldn't run Racechrono or take such nice pictures. And nokia = symbian = good (since I had years of owning Psions, this made sense. Don't ask.)

Not in love with Apple.

Then I bought an iPad 2 for no easily discernible reason except that I am a gullible fool and every 6 months or so I need to buy a new shiny toy. I may have been hoping to impress a girl, but as I am married that is not of course either true or relevant. iPad 2 wouldn't turn on without connecting to a computer connected to iTunes. Work blocks iTunes. Shiny paperweight can't do a thing until I get it home.

Not in love with Apple.

Got the ipad home and got it working. It wanted to use the iTunes on my laptop and suddenly my pristine new toy was being violated by this software, with all kinds of hideous things going on and I had no idea what it was doing or why. And the next thing I knew there were gigabytes of Amy Winehouse songs in my ipad that I neither paid for nor asked for. (And, in case anyone asks, all that dodgy stuff too).

Not in love with Apple.

Then I took it back to work and plugged it into the work pc. I got a message asking whether I wanted to sync the ipad to the work copy of iTunes (the program - not connected to the internet though) and if so, was I prepared to agree to it wiping all my programs, reformatting the Institute's network, set the controls for the heart of the sun, and by the way, it wanted to go out with my sister again. I told it no, so now I'm not at all sure about it and refuse to plug the ipad into the work computer at all, and charge it by rubbing it with amber rods and my catfur glove (again, don't ask).

Definitely not in love with Apple. Thinking of going out with its sister.

So - I finally worked out that iPads are pointless without two things - a fast wifi connection and some clever apps (which, not entirely coincidentally, one has to buy from Apple's App store. Through the devil's own software, iTunes.). However, having done this, some of the apps are stunning and well worth the price of some dollars and one's soul.

Starting to warm to Apple. Willing to give it a fling but not prepared to commit.

As my old HP laptop is on the way out, I've been looking to replace it. Specs haven't changed much for a while so a new HP with, say, an i5 core and decent graphics and lots of memory and so on is pretty cheap - about a third of what I paid 6 years ago for the HP. I need it less for computing that for browsing, and the wife has an XP based castoff from work and all she does is shopping online (the iPad was partly to let me get on the forums etc while she was hogging Trademe). But the desktop freezes up for no apparent reason, there are cables everywhere, the screen is a 15"CRT and is larger than a labarador. HP laptop goes to wife's browsing duties. I swap 4 bottles of port for an XP based machine to build a media centre with - planning to run MediaPortal which I think someone here recommended, and get the DVDs and VHSs out of the house. It was either that or arrange them in a rainbow pattern on the shelf, and I haven't the time for that sort of thing...

Lost interest in Apple, looking at Toshibas.

A friend, Harry, runs a business from home refurbishing Apple gear. I mention my HTPC idea. He swaps me a 2007 Macbook for two cases of GewurztraminerPosted Image and $350 - so about a Trillon DrachmasPosted Image. I take it home and play with it.

Pretty screen, bouncing dock. Running OS X Lion. There is a stirring in my loins.

Right click does nothing. There are unfamiliar buttons. The keyboard is horrible. The power adapter is pretty funky though. Stuff opens and shuts at random. It's slower than my 4 year older HP on a never-defragged never updated copy of XP SP2.

This isn't going to work out with Apple. Wondering how much Gewurz Harry has drunk.

I decide to try the mediacentre idea anyway. I buy a usb powered fan
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as the Macbook seems to get awfully hot. It's kind of fun too. I buy a 1TB external hard drive. Told you I'm a gullible fool who's easily parted from his money...and download HandbrakePosted Image and, instead of MediaPortal, I read about PlexPosted Image

I go and see Harry. He gives me more RAM so I am up to 2GB. He explains that the red x button on the top left of each window, which in Windows closes the program, is actually on a Mac for decoration only, and each time you click it someone in Korea orders another shipment of RAM. I learn about the squiggle+Q button, which quits programs. Macbook goes much faster.

Am starting to like Apple and wouldn't mind being seen with it. 

Macbook gets dirty easily and I realise I need to buy lots of Apple themed accessories to keep it clean and safe. I think about riding my Vespa to work. I wonder whether and where I could get a bag that would hold all my accessories.Posted Image

A friend gives me a loan of his hard drive full of movies. I now have 600 dvds and tv shows saved to the external drive. I have never turned the HTPC computer on. I had to buy a special Apple cable to connect to the TV. I have an Apple remote so I no longer have to shout at the children to get up and push buttons on it. We are watching Loony Tunes cartoons for free.

I like my Macs quite a lot. I might buy an iPhone. And a black turtle neck. I am learning play the ukulele. I may be the most tragic hipster ever. Posted Image

Who cares, I have nearly a terabyte of movies to watch...

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