Coffee heat rising

MacHeadache

Well, I’m off the air.

Apple has decided to decommission Mac.com, a service for which I was “automatically” charged another $100 a month ago, and migrate all the data on those servers to a new service, adorably called “MobileMe.

Yech! Steve: spare us the cutesiness.

And spare us the hassle. The reason I bought a Mac specifically was to get around the endless updates and security panics and virus-checker gum-ups and ever-shifting anti-malware programs served up to us daily by Microsoft. For naught: the Mac has been downloading software updates-to Safari, iTunes, and Intel security-for almost two hours and still has a ways to go.

But today’s supreme annoyance is this elaborate migration, which has taken down my Website and may have brought an end to my blog. Turns out you must have the Leopard operating system to operate the new Mac.com, and I only have the Panther system. (ohhh aren’t those names cu-u-u-u-u-t-e?) So how do I get access to the $100 service I just paid for? Shell out some more cash for a new OS.

When I expressed my rage about this to one of Apple’s service folks, she arranged to get me a free upgrade to Leopard (something that thrills me not, since I’m told it gums up the works just as surely as will loading an upgrade from XP to Vista into a PC). She also arranged an appointment with an “Apple Genius” to get the upgrade done and to try to get my blog back online.

That will be next Sunday. I’m told this process will take upwards of an hour and a half. Remains to be seen whether it works.

Not that I don’t appreciate the “free” upgrade, you understand. But today is Thursday. Sunday is the 13th, three days hence. On the 15th—a workday!—I’ve committed to do the Carnival of Money Stories. How, really, am I gunna do that in two days, both of which I’m supposed to spend at a paying job?
Well, if I can access the submissions, I obviously can write them in Word, do some but not all of the formatting in Word, paste into iWeb, and then finish the job after the weekend. We are talking hassle here, major hassle.

This may be even more infuriating than the BS I’ve been through with Microsoft over the years. Maybe. Possibly not, but it’s very, very close. I will say the newer versions of Office are enough to inspire plots of terrorist attacks on Microsoft HQ. But Mac’s versions of Word and Quicken are already so aggravating that if you haven’t blown up MS or Intuit over those, you probably never will.

And how can I describe the love-hate relationship with iWeb?

It is, in short, software for tyros. Blogware for hobbyists. Playware, not real software. It’s fine for displaying a few photos to your extended family, but very weak for daily blogging. SEO? What is that? “Senior Executive Officer”? The iWeb program is hopeless for search-engine optimizing, because unless you are techie to the extreme, you can’t break into the code to add the HTML snippets needed to get yourself registered with outfits like Technorati and Google.

The program does allow you to enter snippets to make buttons, but about 90% of the time they don’t work. I can’t, for example, create a StumbleUpon button. Well, I can, but it looks pretty bizarre, and “functional” is not a term I’d grope for to describe the result. I can’t move the PF Buzz button to a place on the page next to the list of tags—if I do, it stops working. I can’t put an RSS feed button on every page-it resides on the index page and only on the index page. But if you select one of iWeb’s photo templates, on those there’s an RSS feed on every page. Gee, thanks, Steve. And I dare not-oh, I do mean dare not!-subscribe to Feedburner. God only knows what that would do.

I am so angry at being made to jump through these hoops—and with such perfect timing!—I could bite! This is stupid, unnecessary, and a GD nuisance. And I’m disappointed to the stage of fury at the cheesiness of programs billed to be superior to Microsoft programs. They’re not. Not by a long shot.

The next computer is gunna be an $800 PC.

1 Comment left on iWeb site
Pete

It does seem supremely lame that Apple migrated you to MobileMe without being sure you had a system that was compatible. I don’t know if .Mac is (was) technically aware on an ongoing basis what version of Mac OS you use, but it stands to reason, and they could have been smart enough not to migrate anyone who would break without warning. I’m not sure what the alternative would be, but they could at least have given you a chance to migrate elsewhere if you needed to.

But the rest of this stuff? Having a computer is just about the opposite of simplicity and frugality. In fact, to achieve anything resembling computing peace of mind, simplicity and frugality need to go right out the window. Here are a couple of examples:

Broadband would make those system updates download in a reasonable amount of time. Windows wouldn’t be any better in this respect. For that matter, neither would Linux. All the major operating systems are pushing big updates out to the installed base on a regular basis.

Panther is two major versions of the operating system behind. I realize you’re not the sort who gets jollies from a computer for its own sake, and that’s fine, but in general you would experience fewer crises of this magnitude if you were to keep up with the Joneses. Running Panther today is like running Windows 2000.

As far as iWeb goes, well, given that you’re aware of its limitations, I’m not sure why you torture yourself with it when there are so many free blog publishing solutions out there on the web

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 – 12:49 AM

Handy li’l Quicken hack

By accident, I discovered that if you right-click on an entry in Quicken for Mac, you bring up a menu with several options. One is “report on [name of payee]” and one is “report on [category].” So you can create an instant report on a single category.

If you’re curious about how much you’ve spent in one category or how much you’ve been forking over to a single payee, this is very convenient. You can customize the dates to give you a view over a specific period, allowing you to see what’s been going on over a few weeks, months, or years.