Apple Macs

Back in May …

… St Paul’s held an open day to celebrate its 500th anniversary. For our part, we put together a small show in our main ICT room. My thanks to the four pupils who helped me set this up and who looked after our visitors so well for the whole of what was a fun but long afternoon.

Open Day  Open Day  Open Day  Open Day

Making use of the bank of desktop machines in the room, we gathered together a number of videos under this umbrella:

A brief introduction to the modern web: an overview of how computers shrank, became mobile and ever more powerful, an insight into how we teach about all this and a glimpse of the world we’re all soon going to be living in.

It may be that some of what follows in this longish post (a lot of video) is of interest beyond the immediate occasion of the day. I put the videos in playable form here as you may want to scan quickly and then dip in when something catches your eye. On the day, visitors could go round a number of videos/slideshows (mostly paired and in the sequence below) but of course, and as we expected, people dipped in and out: it was that or giving over a lot of the afternoon to this one room. (For me, in these very general talks or events, there’s quite a bit of churn, but it seems always to be the case that there’s plenty of new hooks for anyone whose life isn’t spent immersed in this stuff.)

Incidentally, one of the successes of the afternoon was the discovery of what you can do with the simplest of devices. Spotted in the field the previous week at Manchester’s Urbis, Staples’ slanted clear acrylic sign holders are a brilliant way of signing an exhibition with the minimum of fuss and a lot of clarity:

 The internet of things 

The only nod towards a more formal, display-board style of presentation was this:
 Moore's Law

(Sources: see the first slideshow below, Gizmodo for the smiling boy with the make-believe mobile and Intel’s Moore’s Law 40th Anniversary Press Kit for the two charts on the right.)

Finally, alternating on the overhead projector throughout the afternoon were these videos:



Slideshow 1 (credits as per the links and also: original Apple iPhone ads — see 6/ below; stills from Did You Know; the Flickr slide — from here).

A short history of how computers have grown in power, how their size has got smaller and smaller … and how they’ve gone mobile. Also (and very swiftly), an overview of developments in technology and the web, the advent of both cloud-computing and ubiquitous computing … and the emergence of astonishingly rich social sites and practices.

Steve Jobs (1991?) talks about what computers mean to him: ‘Computers are like a bicycle for our minds’.


2/  Apple, 1984

In January 1984, a youthful Steve Jobs demonstrated the first Apple Mac. This film still has the power to impress, such was the reception this innovative machine received. And then there’s also Jobs’ own reaction …

This advert, directed by Ridley Scott, was shown on US TV in 1984 and introduced the Mac personal computer. As they said in a later campaign,
Think Different.


3/  California dreaming

‘Knowledge Navigator’: another Apple film, from 1987, imagining a personal computer that would be like a PA, memex machine, scholastic aid, visual display — oh, and phone. (Sound familiar?)

‘Time Capsule’: an Apple film made in 1987 and imagining the future of 1997. “No question about it, the 1990s have really been the Apple decade.”


4/ Google and Cloud-Computing

It’s hard to believe that Google is just ten years old. In January this year, the company released this film looking back at what they’d done in that time. All 4th Formers get a thorough grounding in using Google’s tools and in managing their personal identity and privacy.

Cloud-computing: more and more of the data we create and use and store is not on our devices but “in the cloud” — in data centres such as this one. Google makes energy efficiency a priority.


5/  Google Earth

Everyone knows Google Earth and Google Street View. We explore in our 4th Form course the implications of these technologies for the visualisation of information. We also discuss the emergence of location-based social software and its implications for privacy.

Here’s a beautiful example of the educational value of Google Earth: Ancient Rome (a layer in Google Earth) as it looked in 320AD.


6/  iPhone

A game-changing device. The original advertising campaign from June 2007 summarises brilliantly what had been achieved.

The iPhone brought touchscreens into the lives of many. Will it be a key player in bringing ubiquitous computing into our lives, too?
4th Formers are taught that “computers” are much more, and much more present in our lives, than the single desktop this film is playing on.


7/  Living in a digital world

Slideshow 2:

An idea of how our students use web-based tools and a panoramic view of our course for 4th Formers.

(I used much of this material in my talk at C4’s recent What Comes Next? The Channel 4 Education Summer Conference.)

Editing Wikipedia: a time-lapse film of the edits made to the page about the London 7 July, 2005, bombings. The article was created, that morning, at 9.15am. In its first four hours, it was edited over a thousand times. All 4th Formers are taught how to understand, evaluate, use and edit Wikipedia.


8/  The near future

CGI: no water was harmed in this film. Or even used. Programmers from St Paul’s can look forward to working on enhancing such techniques even further, in film and videogames.

Big Dog, a robot built by Boston Dynamics, walks on rough terrain and ice whilst carrying heavy loads (340lbs). Control Technology works in areas that prepare students for fields like this.



9/  Games

A contentious area for some, the development of a substantial body of critical literature and the wise words of respected reports such as last year’s Byron Review, along with research and better knowledge generally, are leading to a more considered reception of computer games. This slideshow outlines some important research from last year and highlights a talk given here in November 2008.

Old Paulines created Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto, etc). In school today, we are creating an intelligent ethos for the discussion and understanding of games.

In designing videogames, something called The Uncanny Valley needs to be avoided. An entertainingly presented talk.


10/  The internet of things

Many of us have grown up thinking the internet is mainly the web — a web of pages. But the machines are coming: embedded devices of all kinds … Machines … talking … to us.

Gartner think that, “By year end 2012, physical sensors will create 20 percent of non-video internet traffic. … The extent and diversity of real-time environmental sensing is growing rapidly as our ability to act on and interpret the growing volumes of data to capture valuable information increases.”

Sensors to monitor energy consumption will become very common. Simon Hay, OP, has been working on this concept (see this poster and site) and three current pupils in the school will be using AMEE to record and monitor our energy usage.

This final Apple video shows the iPhone 3.0 and its use with medical devices — for example, in the monitoring of diabetes.


(And for further food for thought, Matt Jones’ iPhone 3.0: everyware-ready?.)


11/  Getting it wrong

So many of the things we imagine about the future are wildly wrong. This trip round the recent past and the fast-developing present has tried to avoid such wild predictions, preferring to look instead at some things that are coming true already (a near-future becoming the present) or that are already here.

Cue Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900). And then:

Here, in two parts, is the GM Futurama 1939 World’s Fair looking ahead to the imagined 1960s, a techno-utopian vision we still haven’t achieved.

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Being that much better

From the immemorial to the ephemeral. I’ve been moving steadily Mac-wards in the last couple of months. If nothing else, it’s liberating to learn to think with different tools. (The desire to have tools that are ready-to-hand, but the value that lies in appreciating constraints — then we have a fighting chance when the picture might otherwise hold us captive.)

The operating system I should really be using is Linux, for the reasons John Gruber summed up so well in a footnote to his recent blog post about Google Chrome OS/vapourware. What he had to say about Linux is so good it’s worth quoting it all:

“Linux” means different things to different people. At a precise technical level, Linux is not an operating system. It is a kernel that can serve as the core for an operating system. What most people mean by “Linux”, though, is an operating system built around the Linux kernel. For use as a desktop PC operating system, all the various “Linux distributions” are basically the same thing: variations of Gnome or KDE sitting atop the ancient X Window System.

Ubuntu is almost certainly the pinnacle of these distributions, but they’re all conceptually the same thing, and the only significant difference is the choice between Gnome and KDE, and even there you’re just choosing between two different environments that are conceptually modeled after Microsoft Windows. The entire X Windows/Gnome/KDE “desktop Linux” racket has never caught any traction with real people. Almost no one wanted it, wants it, or will want it.

My theory on this is rather simple. Early versions of Gnome and KDE were pretty much just clones of the Microsoft Windows UI. They’ve diverged since then, and I’d say Ubuntu’s default Gnome desktop is in most ways better from a design and usability standpoint than Windows Vista. But it’s still fundamentally a clone of Windows — menu bars within the window, minimize/maximize/close buttons at the top right of the window, the ugly single-character underlines in menu and button names. At a glance it looks like Windows with a different theme. The idea being that if you want Windows users to switch to Gnome or KDE, you’ve got to make it feel familiar. But that’s not how you get people to switch to a new product. People won’t switch to something that’s just a little bit better than what they’re used to. People switch when they see something that is way better, holy shit better, wow, this is like ten times better.²

So I think Gnome and KDE are stuck with a problem similar to the uncanny valley. By establishing a conceptual framework that mimicks Windows, they can never really be that much different than Windows, and if they’re not that much different, they can never be that much better. If you want to make something a lot better, you’ve got to make something a lot different. …

² The group that’s the most enthusiastic about Gnome and KDE desktop Linux systems consists of those who care the most about the political and licensing aspects. With regard to the freedoms that stem from the software being open source, something like Ubuntu isn’t just, say, ten times better than Windows or Mac OS X, it is infinitely better.

In amidst fruit-picking, I’m playing with a better camera and I think I’m moving on a little, inspired by time spent alongside Jonathan, engaged by how he works, and, interesting-to-me, by computer games. To start with, that familiar sense of panic that, years ago, poetry once gave me (“I’ll never get this”) and then, at first slowly then more and more quickly, the coming of understanding and pleasure. Games absolutely encourage a try-and-fail-and-try-again approach. I used to be paralysed by the seeming unpredictability in learning anything much at all about digital photography, but treating it like play (which is certainly how I see Jonathan set about things) makes it all right — and fun.

Hammersmith Bridge

Tools for thought: this post was semi-made on a Mac — I could have made this in a pure-Mac way (following a path no doubt excellent but seemingly laborious), but LiveWriter remains the best tool I know for blogging (a lot of the time it gets out of the way). And VirtualBox is free — and works.

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Re-echoing that Mac/DOS piece

When I read Stephen Fry's first Saturday Guardian column (previous post), I took in the cross-reference to Umberto Eco's piece about the Mac/DOS:Catholic/Protestant parallelism but didn't follow it as I recalled having read it before. Then I saw friends bookmarking it and something made me check it out. What I recall reading (in October, 2005, it turns out — see Labyrinths and Internet) was something fuller — short of a full-length newspaper column but more than a clip.

I found it on the web in The Modern World and I see from the same site's page of Eco's writings that it says of this, the Mac/DOS piece: 'This ubiquitous work has, by now, found its way all across the Internet'. So there we are. And here it is, again.

The Holy War: Mac vs. DOS
by Umberto Eco

The following excerpts are from an English translation of Umberto Eco's back-page column, La bustina di Minerva, in the Italian news weekly Espresso, September 30, 1994.

A French translation may be seen here.

Friends, Italians, countrymen, I ask that a Committee for Public Health be set up, whose task would be to censor (by violent means, if necessary) discussion of the following topics in the Italian press. Each censored topic is followed by an alternative in brackets which is just as futile, but rich with the potential for polemic. Whether Joyce is boring (whether reading Thomas Mann gives one erections). Whether Heidegger is responsible for the crisis of the Left (whether Ariosto provoked the revocation of the Edict of Nantes). Whether semiotics has blurred the difference between Walt Disney and Dante (whether De Agostini does the right thing in putting Vimercate and the Sahara in the same atlas). Whether Italy boycotted quantum physics (whether France plots against the subjunctive). Whether new technologies kill books and cinemas (whether zeppelins made bicycles redundant). Whether computers kill inspiration (whether fountain pens are Protestant).

One can continue with: whether Moses was anti-semitic; whether Leon Bloy liked Calasso; whether Rousseau was responsible for the atomic bomb; whether Homer approved of investments in Treasury stocks; whether the Sacred Heart is monarchist or republican.

I asked above whether fountain pens were Protestant. Insufficient consideration has been given to the new underground religious war which is modifying the modern world. It's an old idea of mine, but I find that whenever I tell people about it they immediately agree with me.

The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach -- if not the kingdom of Heaven -- the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: The essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can achieve salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: Far away from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.

You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counter-reformist tolerance of the Macintosh. It's true: Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions: When it comes down to it, you can decide to ordain women and gays if you want to.

Naturally, the Catholicism and Protestantism of the two systems have nothing to do with the cultural and religious positions of their users. One may wonder whether, as time goes by, the use of one system rather than another leads to profound inner changes. Can you use DOS and be a Vande supporter? And more: Would Celine have written using Word, WordPerfect, or Wordstar? Would Descartes have programmed in Pascal?

And machine code, which lies beneath and decides the destiny of both systems (or environments, if you prefer)? Ah, that belongs to the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic. The Jewish lobby, as always. ...

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Why not to buy a Mac

An email from Apple just appeared in my Outlook inbox:

'No' to all of those.

I'm drawn to Macs (there are many reasons for considering the Intel Mac as an excellent choice), but adverts like this one just put me off.

Dave Winer:

Every time my Mac crashes in the middle of the night I think of the stupid Apple commercial where they claim that Macs don't do that. It happens about once a week, sometimes every other day.

Apple: "Your toaster doesn't crash. Your kitchen sink doesn't crash. Why should your computer?" 

Good question. The answer is that computers crash, even Macs. In my experience, they crash more than Windows machines. Giving Apple the benefit of the doubt, their marketing people don't understand computers. Better to promise to help users when the computer you sold them crashes, than to promise they don't crash.

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BPI gets go-ahead to sue AllofMP3

BBC report here:

The British recording industry has been given permission to sue Russian music website in the High Court. Members of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) want to prove the site, which offers downloads for as little as five pence, is illegal. They were given the go-ahead to sue the company last week, and say proceedings will be issued in Russia this week. The operators of deny the recording industry's claims that their site is not licensed to sell music.

Slashdot doubts the likelihood of this action sticking. WiredFire has an interview with with Matt Phillips, Communications Manager of the BPI. (These links all via ORG-discuss, the discussion list of ORG.) AllofMP3's press statement about recent developments (statement dated 6 June, 2006) is currently here. Earlier (also 6 June) BBC report about the BPI and AllofMP3 here.

I've posted about AllofMP3 before: bursting the mould? (4 January, 2006); Best on-line music site? (25 March, 2004).

Some thoughts from the WiredFire interview:

Whether the BPI action is likely to be that successful is open to widespread conjecture. On the surface they would appear to have quite a solid case under UK civil law, given that their site appears to be targeting English consumers. But enforcing any judgement overseas is going to be an altogether different issue – especially if can demonstrate that they have been complying with the laws of their own country and that their export market is incidental to their primary business model.

Perhaps the biggest clue as to their future intentions is detailed within their press release:

“On September 1, 2006 the changes to the Russian copyright legislation will come into force. Since January 2006 the site has been making direct agreements with rightholders and authors at the same time increasing the price of the music compositions and transferring the royalties directly to the artists and record companies. The aim of is to agree with all rightholders on the prices and royalties amounts by September 1, 2006.

We believe in the long term and civilized business based on respecting the law, considering the customers' demands as well as the interests of both national and international rightholders”.

Whatever the outcome, we feel that it is about time that the true cost of digital music is properly reflected in the retail price. Ridiculous statements such as those made by Mark Richardson that “the cost of distribution for downloads is actually higher than for CDs” do nothing to attract any sympathy from those of us who have spent not inconsiderable fortunes in amassing our modest CD and DVD collections. Whilst the BPI are to be commended for their more realistic approach to digital file transfers than their US counterparts, the RIAA, their curious choice of allies in the form of Mark Richardson of Independiente Records is certainly doing them no favours.

Also in the WiredFire interview:

Jamieson went on to criticise iTunes for their use of non interoperable DRM, calling on Apple to open up its software in order that it is compatible with other players. "We would advocate that Apple opts for interoperability."

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Dual-booting Apples

I've been away in Paris and missed the official announcement from Apple about Boot Camp:

More and more people are buying and loving Macs. To make this choice simply irresistible, Apple will include technology in the next major release of Mac OS X, Leopard, that lets you install and run the Windows XP operating system on your Mac. Called Boot Camp (for now), you can download a public beta today.

Over at Daring Fireball, an excellent essay on Boot Camp by John Gruber:

Right now, it’s a dual-boot situation, which is obviously less than ideal. It’s not hard to imagine, though, that the version of Boot Camp Apple is building into the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 (a.k.a. Leopard) will be a concurrent virtualization tool — i.e. that Windows (and perhaps any other PC OS) could be hosted within a running Mac OS X session, obviating the rather annoying need to reboot to switch between OSes.

Do I know this? No. But it certainly seems like the obvious direction for Boot Camp to take, and it’s certainly technically possible. E.g. earlier today, their hand presumably forced by Apple’s release of Boot Camp yesterday, Parallels released a public beta of their $50 Workstation virtualization system for Intel-based Macs. It’s like Virtual PC except, because there’s no need to translate between the PowerPC and x86 instruction sets, it executes the hosted virtual system at native speed. I think it’s a safe bet that Apple plans to include something like this with Mac OS X 10.5, for free.

And this points to the rather delicious conclusion that Apple is casting Windows, including Vista, as the new Classic. Boot Camp portends Apple’s intention to become a Windows-only PC manufacturer no more than Classic served as a hedge against Apple’s commitment to Mac OS X — that is, not at all. … This is a move of supreme confidence — Apple relishes the comparison between Mac OS X and Windows XP, and Microsoft has shown enough of Vista via its widely-available beta seeds that Apple quite obviously isn’t afraid of that comparison, either.

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Little boxes

John Naughton's column in today's Observer has an entertaining couple of final paragraphs about Apple's new TV ad and Intel's gobsmacked reaction:

'The Intel chip', it burbles. 'For years, it's been trapped inside PCs, inside dull little boxes …'

These preceding paragraphs are the meat, though:

The move to Intel processors takes Apple into uncharted territory. For the first time it will be possible - with a little bit of tweaking - to run Windows natively (without going through a software emulator) on a Mac. The prospect of so-called 'dual-boot' Apple computers - ones that can run both Microsoft and Apple operating systems - now seems real. This could be good news for people who run PCs, not because they love them but because an application essential for their business only runs under Windows.

It's more difficult to see what the upside of this would be for Apple. It might mean that it sells more computers and finally penetrates the corporate marketplace - hitherto a Windows-only zone. But the impact on Microsoft would be negligible, because people will still need Windows licences if they wish to run a dual-boot machine.

More troubling for Apple is the prospect that its operating system and applications software can now run natively on (much cheaper) PC hardware. The company is set against this, but already programmers have hacked it and it is difficult to see how Apple could stop the practice. If it catches on, Apple might see sales of its computers decline as those who admire Apple software but dislike its hardware prices get the best of both worlds.

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More on the iPod: design

From Mobile Community Design:

We all know Apple didn’t do an ethnographic study of how people listen to music before they started. They had a “visionary” come in with the idea to make a mp3 walkman with a hard drive in it - that had already been on the market for years (see Nomad Jukebox). If they had taken the time to do their research first they would have found that people use Walkmans in complex social settings. Users are often distracted. They often use the devices to shield themselves from unwanted attention. They use it while doing other things (e.g. shopping, entering the bus, talking to people). They hold it primarily in a pocket or purse. They struggle with headphone wires. They make subtle changes to their music rapidly and then drop it back in their pocket. The IPod is not designed to support or improve on these things.

Music is a shared resource. Bands record their own music and then trade it. People lend CDs to other people to listen to for a while. People recommend music to other people. People make bootlegs and then buy the original if they like it. How does the IPod support this? It doesn’t. It puts barriers in the way of it. Ever try finding a song on your IPod using a standard Windows interface? All the music is obfuscated into meaningless numbered folders. Copying music between IPods via a cable (much less wirelessly) isn’t supported. You might say that this is because of copyright issues. Then what about the IPod Photo? I take my own pictures, save them, and then want to share them. I can’t even connect the IPod to a friend’s computer and easily give them a copy of my latest travel photos. It is completely unusable due to the folder structure being used. This isn’t about copyright, it’s about the designers not understanding the social nature of handheld devices that hold personal data. These devices are about social networks and sharing. While we're on the topic of legal music sharing: why can’t I send a snippet of a song to a friend, or a bookmark to purchase the song on the online music store, or download the song direct and wirelessly to the IPod? That would be visionary. …

The IPod is a pretty music player that has an annoying circular interface and comes in small package. Apple created it long after other companies had been producing similar (albeit uglier) products. Other personal media players already offer superior interfaces and battery life than the IPod. So why does the IPod do so well? Firstly, usability isn’t the only factor that makes products a success. Secondly, the innovation at Apple appears to happen in the marketing and sales departments and not in the mobile design department. It’s a shame, because the marketing and brand power of Apple could enable the IPod designers to deliver truly liberating music players into our pockets - if only they would design them.

There’s another factor in Apple’s favor, which has to do with memes, or the spread of product concepts if you will. Apple’s main markets are musicians, students and designers. If you were going to copy someone else to try and look cool, who better to mimic – particularly when the product looks fashionable from a distance. Thus, buying an IPod is a statement of social status which spreads further each time a fashionable person uses them in public.

Mobile phones are starting to introduce music player functionality. Apple is likely to be overtaken by these mobile phone companies because they have the wireless networking infrastructure to facilitate media sharing and they already own our other pocket. Will we carry two devices when we could carry one? Only if the IPod can deliver a sufficiently superior social media experience. Think different Apple.

I'm reminded of Christian Lindholm at Reboot 7.0 asking how many of us had an iPod.  A sea of hands.  'And how many of you have your iPod on you?' If I recall accurately, two hands went up. 'There you are,' he said, 'the iPod is not a truly mobile device.' He also expressed surprise that Apple has not given a text-based search facility to the iPod.   

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The Apple honeymoon

Surely it's got to end?

I'm thinking seriously of buying a PowerBook once the new ones are out — I'm following Jeremy Zawodny's line of thought. BUT meanwhile, and for other reasons, I can't believe what Apple is getting away with. My sons' iPods have broken down not once now, but twice in their first year of use (and I hear similar stories from other users). Twice my sons have had to go through the 40 minute phone call to Apple UK, clearing the various hurdles before their iPods get sent back to base for repair. Once these warranties are finished, that's it: when they break down for a third time, buy a new one … Or not. Apple have lost two future customers here, so disillusioned are they with the gap between the hype and the reality.

Dave Winer's just posted this:

The user interface on iTunes is awful. It's the worst piece of crap I've ever used. People would tell me when I was a Windows user that it was because the Windows version of iTunes is crap but the Mac version is easy. Well, both programs are head-up-butt impossible to figure out. The user model makes no sense. When is something on the iPod? How many copies of the music do I have? Where the fcuk are they? How do you delete something? Is it really gone? Why does it wipe out the contents of the iPod when I don't say it's okay to?

I don't understand how they get people to buy so much music on their store, I wouldn't give them a dime. I buy the CDs and scan em in. Someone bought me a copy of Alice's Restaurant as a present when I got the new iPod. Well that was gone in less than a week, never got to play it once. What did I do wrong? I swear, I have no idea, and I'm a professional software designer. What about the poor schnook who is just a user?

I'm reminded of Douglas Adams:

… ‘technology’, as the computer scientist Bran Ferren memorably defined it, is ‘stuff that doesn’t work yet.’

Merry Xmas to one and all.

Satisfaction not (yet) guaranteed

Dave Winer:

Jeremy Zawodny had a bad experience with iTunes yesterday too. You know, reading his story actually makes me feel better. The bad part about it is that I was looking forward to watching a movie on this little hand-held marvel. Watching a movie on the subway in NY and seeing what people think. Apple is very seductive. But also flaky. The joy of it will wear off, for sure. And when the initial experience is so disappointing, you gotta wonder if the whole thing is worth the trouble. The same thing happened with the Apple laptop and the desktop I bought. But then it also happened with the Sony Vaio. But it didn't happen with my new Toyota earlier this year, or my Lexus, which I bought in 1999. Both worked flawlessly. It seems the computer industry hasn't gotten to the stage yet where it can really deliver delight to users.

Jeremy Zawodny's post caught my eye earlier today:

In summary, do not upgrade from iTunes 4.9 to iTunes 6.0 if you value your time, music, and sanity.

Steve Jobs, you owe me an apology.

For a company that's built a reputation on stuff that "just works", this is unbelievable. You're lucky I can't use anyone else's software to put music on my iPod. I don't look forward to spending the next 3-4 weeks re-importing 500 CDs into your buggy software.