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❖ The First Thing You’ll Want To Do After Installing Mountain Lion

The Problem: Apple Loves Their iCloud, and Will Shove It Down Your Throat

If you’re considering dropping $20 on the latest iterative update to Apple’s operating system OS X, let me show you the one thing I would have done immediately after installing 10.8 – if only I had known to do it.

Are you already using Apple’s iCloud service for everything you do? Have you already accepted it’s process of only letting you open files with the program you created them in? If so, skip this post. It’s not for you.

Before you go, though, I’ll argue that iCloud is not tested, and neither are Apple’s behind the scenes ways of saving files. At least two of my friends lost all of the text they had saved in the iPhone’s Notes app. Just for this, I’d suggest avoiding saving your – important, and likely valuable – documents in a way that trusts Apple’s iCloud servers too much. I can only assume the technology used for Notes isn’t too different for what they do with iCloud. 

If you don’t save everything to Apple’s iCloud, instead preferring your own folders and Dropbox, this is for you. On your iOS device, you may have had your settings checked so that apps can save data to iCloud. 

1- Click the Apple logo in the upper left hand corner. Click System Preferences.
 

2- Click iCloud.
 

3- Make sure Documents & Data is unchecked.
 

If you want to know more about what’s going on here, here are my thoughts on Apple’s disinterest in the file system.

Sandboxing is a term Apple has been pitching to their designers like a drug dealer pitching a new strain of marijuana to their clients. Sandboxing, if you want to ask before you trust, means that Apps are supposed to not share files with each other. Documents you use in Microsoft Word can’t be used with Text Edit. MP3s that you use in iTunes can’t be used with audio editing clients.

For many, this may not be a problem. But what if a piece of software becomes buggy, or they take away a feature you like. If you’re the kind of user who knows a range of ways that a single file could be opened, the idea of limiting all your files to one application seems weird. Apple’s success in iOS, where this is the default method of file storage, unless you use dropbox in an app, has led them to think that a file system is a detriment to the customer. That the folders we use to store and organize everything get in the way of our usage.

Where Apple saw something they thought needed fixing, many people have the way they work. Merlin Mann, the writer and podcaster, has been talking about the issues inherent here, and indirectly helped me anticipate the problems of All iCloud Everything.

[1]I do that for Instacast, because there is no alternative to iCloud backup offered. 

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Mike Daisey is an idealistic moron who has no idea about how things actually work.

Not that we don’t need those types of people arguing, because I can’t say there will never be anything to be gained by listening to someone who has no perspective, but he shouldn’t have THE NEW YORK FUCKING TIMES as a platform.
Daisey writes:

“Because of its enormous strength in both music sales and mobile devices, Apple has more power than at any time in its history, and it is using that power to make the computing experience of its users less free, more locked down and more tightly regulated than ever before. All of Apple’s iDevices — the iPod, iPhone and iPad — use operating systems that deny the user access to their workings. Users cannot install programs themselves; they are downloaded from Apple’s servers, which Apple controls and curates, choosing at its whim what can and can’t be distributed, and where anything can be censored with little or no explanation.”

Most may not know this, but the above segment is an ode to the shitshow that is called How Google Runs Things On Their Mobile Platform. 

Well, the short of my argument is this: They damn well better have an iron-tight command on what enters their ecosystem. The present day offered alternate[1], is the Android App Market – a god damn shit show, lousy with spam apps pretending to be what you’re trying to find.

Not that Apple’s app store doesn’t have its own share of detritus, but the difference is night and day, and with Apple’s store in its infancy, it is constantly improving it’s definitions about what is allowed into the store. I read a piece recently about some satirical app that didn’t make it? Well, I bet it will eventually, but it’s not in Apple’s best interest to have spent all of the time, the first time, to get that onto their digital shelving.

Apple deals daily with more applications submitted than most companies would be able to process, and it handles things – for the most part – efficiently. Sure, Google Voice got the shit end of the stick from Apple for months, but Apple and Google havn’t been friends ever since Eric Schmidt (of Google) ran from the Apple Board Of Directors with news of the iPhone and got Google to jump start work on their own mobile device platform. So I’m not surprised that Apple doesn’t make the products of their biggest competitor in the mobile market, especially a VOIP product which is likely to enrage telecom carriers, even close to a priority.

There are so many developers submitting because everybody wants their shot at getting at the wallets of every iPhone owner, since those are simply better customers to have. Time has proven that the Android Marketplace isn’t that lucrative comparatively, because Android phone owners will rarely pay for an app, rather sift through ad-supported nonsense (something I appreciate in TV, but not in software).

I can’t begin to believe this is an issue, and pardon the tone I’m about to take here, but after actually reading – as opposed to hearing this argument second hand throughout the day – I’m fucking shocked with the NYT for publishing this. Some half assed nonsense by a fucking unknown performance artist? SERIOUSLY?

“He often told the press that he was as proud of the devices Apple killed — in the parlance of Silicon Valley, he was a master of “knifing the baby,”

Am I wrong in thinking this is Daisey’s really tacky way of trying to say Jobs himself said that to himself, taking pride in being mean, rather than what this means, not worrying about scaring people tied to technology on its way to the grave: the floppy drive, and soon the CD?

More annoyingly about the article is how Mr. Daisey has no evidence regarding anything *but* the already well-reported FoxConn factories, which are not anything close to ideal, but more close to the average for all consumer technology manufacturing than the media wants to let you know. Video game systems, computer monitors, and many other high end devices are made at facilities similar to, or the same as FoxConn. I’ve already ranted about Apple’s poor judgement with FoxConn, so here’s somewhere where Daisey and I see eye to eye. But with just that graf, he has nothing close to an actual article.

In the very end, though, what did Steve Jobs seem to care about more than anything else? That his products worked, and were simple when they did so. iPods were done away with due to too many buttons, and this decision was owed directly to Jobs. The 1-button interface pioneered by the iPhone and iPad (and copied by everyone else, minus Amazon) has so much to do with that groundwork.

And what of the iPhone, which Daisey seems to believe is inferior because of the limits imposed by Apple? Well, ask any iOS (not iDevice you stupid, lazy, piece of shit hack writer) product owner, and they’ll tell you the same thing: the iPads, the iPhones, the iPod Touches, they and they the apps which are available for purchase work really fucking well. You know what didn’t work well? The original iMac, which I owned after winning it in a raffle. Thing died on me once a day. It was Apple en route to the place where they are today, simplifying the computer.

Taking out the tower, taking away the cords. Sure, some edge case nerds who want to change the graphics card in their computer after they bought the damn thing are going to complain, but that’s not who Apple cares about. Apple doesn’t care about the uber-geeks, as much as many uber-geeks seem to care about Jobs and the company he helped resurrect. My iPhone, my most recent Mac computer purchase, in comparison to that iMac, it has similar crashing problems maybe once every two months.

You need to put a gate at the doors, because most software developers out there are shitty at what they do, and really aren’t going to help people have fun, but only cause headaches. Daisey wishes for an iPhone where you could just download apps willy-nilly off of the internet? That’s the pattern that’s led to a tech sector dominated by Anti Virus companies, where viruses run rampant, and the user experience is shit.

The Steve Jobs who founded Apple as an anarchic company promoting the message of freedom, whose first projects with Stephen Wozniak were pirate boxes and computers with open schematics, would be taken aback by the future that Apple is forging. Today there is no tech company that looks more like the Big Brother from Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial than Apple itself, a testament to how quickly power can corrupt.

There must be a vast difference between how Apple operated on day 1 and how they operate today, as the Largest-by-Value company, which it trades back and forth with Exxon-Mobil. If you discouraged rules and let every application into the iPhone, it just wouldn’t work as well.

The iTunes Store is Apple’s store. You don’t just think that a major retailer would let Joe Hydrax walk in and slam his inferior quality shit on a shelf and expect the store to waste retail space, energy, and workers to sell that shit do you? Apple is not interested in running a co-op, and no matter how much Daisey wants to paint some granola picture of the origins of the mac, I’m not buying it.

I hate to say that the customer needs to be protected from their own mistakes, but if you’ve ever tried to fix someone’s computer when they didn’t know shit about how to use it, you know that a tech future that has more fences is a better one.

[1] brought to you by Google, the people who try and tell you how Forward Thinking they are by using you the customer as the product they sell to advertisers