Holiday Gift Review

For starters, this is a private blog – not some corporate shell of a blog masquerading as a real person’s blog. I am not affiliated with any corporate interests, nor am I employed by any corporation or entity responsible for the creation or commercial availability of any products mentioned in this post.

What I am is stubborn. I try to flow with change, and sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes these corporate sculptors of society just seem determined to move in directions somewhat cliffward if you ask me; somewhat in a direction not parallel to correct; the wrong damn way! is where I’m trying to say they?/we? are headed.

I have just returned from a trip to the (famed) Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan [linked to only to see if I can get anyone from Apple to pay attention to my grievances – not actually encouraging anyone to shop Apple – you shop where ever you want or not at all, for all I care. FAO Schwarz is nearby if Apple isn’t your cup of tea]. Synchronously, (meaning with synchronicity, just to be clear in case I’m making up words here or using existing ones incorrectly) the main entrance was closed for some kind of maintenance (it was 2 in the morning – they have to do these things sometime!) and we had to use a bowel-like back entrance past the smelly toilets to enter the shop. I used to love visiting Apple stores. I’d head straight for the latest laptops and download Firefox. Then I’d tool around to my heart’s content and eventually convince myself I couldn’t live without it. Prime example of Apple’s genius, if you ask me. But that was in the past. This evening (morning, technically) I discovered that along with this newfangled Mountain Lion crap they’re pushing, all the computers are locked down. No more Firefox installs for me. [Although I did have fun setting several precisely timed (and aptly named) alarms with the new Clock feature on all the iPad minis in the store – more on that later.]

Now, here’s the actually semi-relevant part: I actually did want to acquire knowledge about the new operating system – I don’t want to Luddite my way through life, and I figured I’d open my mind with knowledge so that I could eventually open my heart to this new-yet-strangely-inferior operating system. One of my (admittedly minor) annoyances when playing with friend’s laptops is the loss of the comfortable three-finger swipe to go back when browsing online. I’ve read here and there about work-arounds, and, not wanting to be embarrassingly obstinate, figured maybe I’ll even learn to live with some new gestures… But I can’t even download Firefox in the store to have the otherwise helpful employees show me the ins and outs of the new system. The psychology experts Apple (formerly?) employed knew about letting grown children play in the stores – no better way to make the toy an indispensable part of one’s life. This trip felt like a trip to fascistLand – total lock-down, like Mommy and Daddy weren’t letting me have any fun at all. Not a great way to sell your toys. I left the store feeling completely frustrated and not at all like parting with several thousand dollars for a laptop that may very well end up giving me grief at every step. [I’ve left out a lot of grievances I have with Mountain Lion – just take my word for it: if Mountain Lion is fine for you, so would be iOS. If you truly utilize the Mac’s capabilities and power, Snow Leopard is almost a thousand times better. No hyperbole;) ]

I asked about the no-Firefox thing and got some nonsense about competitor browsers blah yadda blah. No one in the history of Apple ever bought a Mac for Safari and Firefox is a free, open source browser unaffiliated with any particular platform, so where competition comes in is beyond me. Then something else was mentioned about Firefox add-ons being security hazards… Yeah right. Threats to corporate interests, maybe. Anyway, I can sort of see why you might not want members of the public randomly downloading and installing software on demo computers, but realistically speaking, the freedom and joy of unlimited access to the computers is what has always sold those computers to the otherwise unsure. They are only demo computers after all… and supposedly secure ones – what are you so afraid of, Apple? Set up the demos with permissions to download and install software like before – let us enjoy our computers!

The only bright spot was having my first hands on experience with the new iPad mini. It truly is impressive to behold. Perfect weight and size. Just a true joy.

Now, those of you who read my blog regularly know better than to actually expect any holiday gift review from me. Go buy your loved ones whatever the hell they want and don’t be stingy! It’s not about you – make them happy! Merry Happy Holidays and be well 🙂

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