Sunday, 9 July 2006

M for Mac Junkies

I am a Mac-user. Obviously, or I wouldn't be developing an application in Cocoa for OS X. I like OS X. Actually, I love OS X. OS X is a wonderful operating system. And Apple machines look rather nice. THIS DOES NOT MAKE APPLE COMPUTER INFALLIBLE. It just means they have some good software engineers and designers. Okay. There, I said it. Now go ahead and flame me all you want.

Again and again I am baffled by the fanboy-ism of a certain breed of Mac user. This is, I know, only a sub-species of Mac user which just happens to be the most vocal. They no doubt emerged from the same shallows of the gene pool as did PlayStation and Xbox fanboys who have endless slanging matches about which console is "best". They do Apple no favours. Such fervent and inherently irrational devotion to a computer manufacturing corporation put me off buying a Mac for years. (I still feel queasy if I have to step into the Apple church of Scientology, sorry, I mean Regent Street store.) The quiet majority are a much better advertisement for Apple; I doubt you will ever find Phillip Pullman on a forum accusing anybody of being a Microsoft troll merely for stating that they have a problem with an Apple product, as did one poster to the Apple support forums today:

"Quite honestly I think a majority of the complaints are coming from non-Mac users who have infiltrated these newsgroups. As an OS/2 advocate for many years I was always under attack by Microsoft fanatics masquerading as OS/2 users. Their intent is to scare or drive people away from one OS and to their chosen product. Microsoft was actually found, at one time, to have paid employees to do such work... So don't pay much attention to them."

Paranoia, paranoia, everybody's coming to get me... Whenever I post on that forum, I feel that I have to balance any problems I have with my machine with praise for Apple, lest I am flamed for daring to imply that a single Apple machine out there might not be perfect. I confess that there are times when such users, and Apple's attitude to its users and the press, make me think about returning to a PC just to be away from such ugliness of attitude. Of course, such madness is only momentary: one look at OS X, or at the Cocoa support forums, where Apple software engineers such as Douglas Davidson, John Randolph and Ali Ozer all give support to programmers for free, reminds me that I could never return to Windows. But like I say, such users do Apple no favours.

Meanwhile, the new top case to my MacBook - which was replaced because the old one suffered from the discolouration problem - seems to be, er, suffering from some minor discolouration already. It was only replaced three days ago, and already, if I look at it from an angle, I can see a yellow-ish patch which I cannot clean off. It seems that Apple are aware of the problem and have taken a decision to replace affected top cases but still haven't tracked down the root cause. Great.


  1. Regarding the top case: I strongly suggest you escalate the issue. Insist on talking to second or third level support. Write a letter.
    If all fails, write directly to Steve Jobs. That's how I got my Titanium replaced two weeks before the end of original warranty. Keep it short and briefly document what has been done (and not done) so far.

    We pay big bucks and we demand better, especially when we run our business on a single machine.

    Good luck. These support things suck. I worked as 2nd level, believe me I know.

  2. Thanks. My other half spoke to AppleCare today whilst I was at work - she is much more of a "people person" than I am and always seems to get better results from customer service. They were very sympathetic about all the issues and are sending out another box. They have agreed to replace both the "display bezel" (the part around the screen) and to replace the replacement top-casing too (!). They have also promised that they will ensure that the top-casing is fitted properly this time and will look at the chip in the polycarbonate they caused last time around.

    This is annoying, though, as I rely on this machine, and it's a pain transferring data back and forth between this and my iBook just so that I can work on Scrivener - it's wasted development time.


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