Thursday, May 28, 2009

Off Topic - Life in the CyberSouk

There hasn’t been a real post on “Olfactarama” this week. This is because I’ve been trying to do some New Stuff, and it hasn’t been going well.

A couple of months ago, my good ol’ trusty reconditioned laptop crashed. Fortune intervened, I got a free MacBook with all the bells and whistles, well most of them, through a contest. I became a MAC user.

And oh how sweet it was. Finally, I thought, a computer that works like I always imagined they world. Intuitive. Logical. No need for manuals. You just poke around until you get it to do whatever you need it to do. “I’m in love,” I said to friends. And I was. But, as in love, disillusionment has set in.

It appears that Apple’s software really doesn’t like to talk to anybody else’s. Like the Snide Young Dude in the commercials snickering over the bloated old unhip guy in the suit. They have software for everything, so why step outside the hallowed “campus?”

Except that they don’t.

I needed some really first-rate image editing software, capable of resizing and layering and guess what -- iPhoto doesn’t cut it. So off I went and got Photoshop MAC. That was when the fun began.

Finally, I thought, I can publish my own website featuring images of my art work. (Why not use FB or somebody? Well, because there are issues of intellectual property rights, and right now, this week anyway, the word is that one really should have one’s own domain name.) But -- oh joy -- the MAC didn’t understand the format I had originally shot the photos in. I changed them all, realized they were still too big, fixed and resized them again and finally got them into shape to publish, once I captioned them and...never mind. Finally, I was ready. Finger quivering, I clicked on “publish.”

Guess what -- “publish” takes you to Apple’s “MobileMe” suite, which, if you subscribe, takes over your computer, thus allowing you to sync your Ipod and Iphone and Calendar and Contacts and all this other stuff I don’t have or need to sync. I mean, they don’t even want to hear about any other web hosting service; in the Apple Universe, personfied by the Snide Young Dude, what kind of idiot would venture outside the campus?

Except that I don’t want Total Apple Control. Guess what. Just try to publish your iWeb-designed site somewhere else. (Possible, apparently. I think.) Or retain your own domain name on MobileMe. Or figure out whether a site designed on iWeb can be published anywhere else but MobileMe. Or move images between Photoshop and iPhoto, who don't speak. Or resize them using iPhoto (nope; need Photoshop for that). “Help” is a joke. And on and on and on.

The whole world wants my wallet. I feel like I’m walking through a souk in, say, Fez, all the vendors are screaming come-ons at me, and I know they're all crooks. It’s cybertribalism. It’s a whole lot of software designers, and, yeah, they’re probably more clever than me, and they’ve figured out a way to make us buy and buy and buy because, damn it, we just need to get something done.

They know that not everybody considers arguing with balky proprietary software to be a fun way to spend an afternoon. We just want to work, and record our work and maybe even show it to somebody else. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It can be -- if you’re willing live your life inside those village walls.

Everybody’s in sales now. The guy who comes to service your furnace is really in the business of selling you duct cleaning. The vet insists that your (healthy, young) cat needs a complete (as in $200+) blood workup panel every year. You call to order a shirt and have to listen to endless “specials.”

Remember when only auto mechanics made you feel this way?

So, instead of sniffing, painting and writing, I’m tearing out my hair. I know I’m not the only one. At least I don’t think so. Bloggers, commenters, have you ever been here?

How did you deal with it?

(Back to perfume with the next post, I promise.)

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.


Anonymous said...

I'm soooo glad I'm not the only person who has problems with pictures in Mac. Using the tools provided in my spiffy MacBook - I can create blurry backwards pictures (freshly imported, mind you) and it takes me 3 times longer to edit the dumb things than using my old hoary PC with Adobe Photoshop.

I have been reduced to using the old PC for the stuff I do for work (interactive eLearning tutorials and the resulting graphics work) and my Mac is now a glorified web surfer and World of Warcraft machine. :')

Your friend in perfume and technology
- Sakecat

Perfumeshrine said...

This might herald bad news for my SO who has been through the same infatuation with Mac these days. I am wary of the time when the disillusionment (which I predicted to him) sets in.
Sorry about your plight...

Olfacta said...

Hi Sakecat -- Glad to know you! You sound much more cognizant of all this than me, and to hear that you're having trouble too -- I had to do all the reconfiguring in Photoshop on my ancient (2004) desktop. But The Mac is my laptop now, so gotta do it somehow. Even one of the "geniuses" (yes they actually call them that) at the Apple store admitted to me that, er, Apple doesn't make a graphics program as good as Photoshop. Which is a pain, because it can be beyond confusing too. And "Bridge?" Aaarrrgh!

Olfacta said...

Hi E! Well I've felt foolish before and am sure I will again. Perhaps it's old-fashioned of me but I just don't like being tricked into buying something I don't need. I hope your SO has an easier time of it!

Rappleyea said...

Oh my, I feel your pain! My Mac honeymoon ended when I started having problems exactly 3 days after my one year warranty ended and - stupidly - I hadn't sprung for the extended warranty. AAAARRRRRRGH indeed! And every phone call to them begins with the same "green test" used by hospitals before admittance!

Good luck!
P. S. But if it's any consolation, from what I hear from professional tech consultants, Vista is still a nightmare, so a new PC might not be a whole lot better.

Anonymous said...

Hi darling,

As a died-in-the-wool Mac user, I promise this isn't as hard as it's being for you, AND I use Photoshop and Bridge routinely. One can buy Photoshop for Macs same as PC people buy it for their PCs. Nothing's free except for iPhoto which comes with the Mac and to be honest, I often use iPhoto for my straightforward editing, using CS3 for the tricky stuff. But that's the whole thing about Mac. They ARE easy and I'm a photographer!!

In my experience, ex-PC people have trouble because they over-complicate processes. Haven't time right now but will be in touch re your questions. Oh, and did you get the 3 year extended warranty?? If not, DO IT! It gives you 24/7 phone access to seriously smart people who actually help! And before I hear any more criticisms of that deal, consider what kind of help you get with Microsoft products in the first day, never mind year!! And it's in English!! A x

Anonymous said...

Hi R -- I hear you; it's all about Not Getting Vista. Which is why I still use the old desktop for bookkeeping, etc. It's Not Vista. But I think all these people have us by the short hairs now and it ain't gonna change.