Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke


Give me back my index cards and my typewriter, please! Granted, the Mac is better than the PC. That does seem to be so. But it’s still a computer and it still is designed to inject as many headaches and hassles into your life as possible.

I have to say, at least Apple has some customer service. With a PC, you’re on your own. Still…yesterday, two of the three CSRs who tried to solve the problem had no idea what they were talking about; a third figured it out — or rather, the two of us did, together — but only by sheer persistence. And during the course of that marathon hassle, I learned that if I update my OS to the latest Scenic Wonder, “El Capitan,” it probably will disable my Office for Mac programs.

Holy sh!t.

It sucked FIVE HOURS out of a day burdened with a huge editorial project (with two others in the wings) to learn that the reason my e-mail program was crashing random incoming mails is that MacMail was not deleting messages consigned to “Trash,” as it was supposedly programmed to do.

A few years ago, I set MacMail to delete items in the “Trash” folder once a month. Then, as they came in, I flagged spam messages and Twaddle, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest notifications to go direct to “Trash.” In theory, all of these attention-distracters were being disappeared automatically.

In reality? Not so much.

After an interminable exchange over the phone with one of Apple’s factotums, we discovered that something over three thousand messages had accrued somewhere in the accursed Cloud. And because all Apple computers now function to some degree in the Cloud even if you haven’t bought into the idea that you should store all your data there, all this stuff was building up like dental plaque somewhere in the Cloud.

Fixing this entailed a trip to the Apple store, explaining to a “Genius” what was going on, listening to his theory, discovering that it was wrong, being told it was something on the Cloud that he wasn’t allowed to mess with, making an appointment to talk by phone with someone somewhere in the bowels of Apple Corp, (is that Core?), jawing with her for quite a while, thinking she’d figured out how to fix it, discovering she hadn’t; calling back, hassling to get another person on the phone, explaining the whole mess over AGAIN, and then hanging on the phone for two hours while we tried to figure out the problem.

Ultimately we figured out that something over THREE THOUSAND junk messages were hiding in Computer Hell.

They could not be killed off by highlighting all and deleting all. It looked like I was going to have to delete them one at a time, guaranteeing a permanent case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Finally we figured out that I could highlight & delete about a dozen at a time. So it took all afternoon to clean all these out. This was after I’d sunk god only knows how much time, a few days earlier, disabling and deleting all my “Rules.” At one point, the Cloud was cloning deleted messages and re-saving 21 iterations of each. It took FOREVER to get rid of them.

It looks like MacMail is probably working again. You can tell by the volume of spam and junk pouring into the inbox… Lovely.

The guy on the phone suggested waiting two or three days to be sure all messages are getting through before trying to reinstate anti-spam “Rules.” So now my Inbox is filling up with junk faster than I can kill it off.

What. a. NIGHTMARE. hassle.

Meanwhile, the gigantic task of indexing 350 pages of Anglo-Saxon art history got put on hold.

Yesterday I intended to enter another marked-up chapter’s worth of index entries in Wyrd. Instead, I carried an unread article to the Apple store so I could start marking it up. Despite making an appointment with their “Geniuses,”  you still end up sitting around a noisy, crowded store for quite a while before you get service. Conveniently, though, they let you sit at a table while you wait, making it possible to cram in some work. In between episodes, I continued to mark up page proofs.

And these are some page proofs. This particular author finds himself fascinated with a specific Old English word-suffix combination, from which he believes he can deduce any number of enlightenments about monastic culture and theo-political thinking during the Benedictine Reform. At one point, the guy surveyed existing literature and counted 137 occurrences of this linguistic combination.

Holy sh!t. Can you even imagine how OCD you’d have to be to do that?

On my end, speaking of OCD, I have have found Word for Mac’s keyboard commands for the letter eth (ð) and the letter thorne (þ) to be somewhat wanting. For the eth, Wyrd’s keyboard command creates a thing that looks like an italic version without the crossbar; for the thorne, it creates…nothing. It does, however, do a nice job with Æ and æ. That’s something. I guess.

Fortunately, WordPress has these characters, which can be copied and pasted into a Wyrd file, thereby making it possible to do the job without begging the client to replace substitute symbols out of his specialized software.

And speaking of Wyrd…the guy who was helping me on the phone remarked that my system needs to be updated to the latest operating system, cutely named El Capitan. I said that I had not updated to the newer Big Cats or to the latest Scenic Delight because I had lost the use of a key program in an earlier update and I do not wish to lose the use of any more programs. He allowed as to how El Capitan could disable Wyrd 2008 for Mac. This would require me to update to Wyrd 2013 (or, more simply, to close down my business altogether…). I hate, hate, HATE  the fucking “Ribbon,” and I have exactly zero desire to work with my own and my clients’ files in Microsoft’s “Cloud,” nor am I going to end up paying far, far more than the program’s real value by being forced to buy a monthly subscription.

When you look it up, you find that issues with Wyrd 2008 are mixed: some people say the program still works, others say it’s broken. There’s not much you can do about this, since Microsoft stopped supporting 2008 some time back, partly by way of herding its sheep customers into the Cloud Corral. Eventually you learn that the program will work if it was already resident on the upgraded machine, but you can’t install it anew under El Capitan:

Users report that they cannot install Microsoft Office 2008 (out of date) on El Capitan. If Office 2008 was already installed on Yosemite and you upgrade to El Capitan, it will work.

And in the unholy hassle department, here’s what we’re told you have to waste time doing to “get ready” for El Capitan:

  • Use Software Update to keep all Apple software up to date, including the OS.
  • Apply all free updates to other software you use.
  • Set up an external hard drive and use Time Machine.
  • Add more RAM if you can.
  • Fix damaged and duplicate fonts.
  • Use Disk Utility to repair permissions on your hard drive. (This is safe to do, and quick.)
  • If you are running a version of Mac OS X earlier than Snow Leopard, you will have to install Snow Leopard first. You can buy an installer disc for Snow Leopard from Apple’s web site for $20.

Read on, and you learn the thing disables any number of programs, including anything that’s called a “Power PC” program (whatever that is). And of course, it assassinates yet another expensive Adobe program.

Mac is hardly alone in blithely robbing consumers of programs they need through “recommended” or “required” upgrades of its operating systems. Microsoft’s 2010 Office upgrade, for example, would delete all of an upgrading user’s Access and Outlook files, without asking permission to do so.

Y’know…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! What the frack is the point of these endless time-consuming upgrades that don’t do much except complicate people’s lives?

Truly. This is the sort of thing that makes me crave — more and more often! — to go back to my IBM Selectric and my Smith-Corona. At least they couldn’t be “upgraded” by some arrogant corporation.

Trust no one.

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Author: funny

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One Comment

  1. This sounds crazy….and IMHO the key words are “customer service”. At least Apple provides some help. As you pointed out when you buy a PC, you are pretty much on your own as soon as the check clears…. I had a VERY similar situation happen to me not with a computer BUT with my faithful John Deere tractor. I brought the tractor out to service and get ready for mowing season. The tractor is 13 years old and has served me well but I take care of it. Anyway the tractor won’t “disengage” when you turn the key and try to start it. So even though you turn the key off the motor is still cranking until the battery dies or you burn the $200 starter up. So I trouble shoot it and decide I need the keyed switch on the dash. Go to the dealership, drop $20, take the switch home, open the box …wrong switch…I need a “7-lead 4 position”…this is a “5 lead 3 position”. Drive back to the dealer…parts guy says that is what it calls for…I explain it’s wrong and he reluctantly agrees to order ANOTHER of the same part number from the MAIN store. I do some research and find the REAL part# on line and go to the JD dealer the next day…wrong part again. I ask the guy to “humor me” and look up the new part number I found. Sure enough the number comes up and the “mother store” has ONE….We call the mother-store and have it placed on “will call” for me. I drive 20 miles to the “mother-store” which is basically like going to Disney World but for John Deere stuff….seriously … it’s wonderful… I share my story with the clerk there and he opens the bag containing the switch….makes a face…then goes to the computer and discovers there are actually 2 part numbers referenced, neither of which is the part number the first guy gave me. My “new best friend” goes in the back and comes out with the EXACT correct part and yes it was the last one. Take it home, install it, turn the key….starts right up perfect….Cut grass for about an hour…Sooo after about 100 miles of driving, 4 days of hair-pulling and $16….that’s right the correct part was $4 cheaper than the “imposter”….we’re back in “bidness”….I share your pain…