Funny about Money

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

The Disenchanted Apple

A black hole into which to pour time…

UGH!! I dislike Apple’s OSX 11.4 .1 (cutely named “El Capitan”) more and more and MORE every day I have to use it.

They broke the photo editing program, which wasn’t good to start with but now is just shit. That image up there?…well, when you import an image from a camera, you HAVE to rename it to find it, but then when you try to export it to a file where you store those sorts of images, the goddamn system just flat will NOT do it. You have to export it to the desktop, then find it (if you can), then copy it (cut it at your peril!), then PASTE it into the goddamn file where you want it. This now leaves you with not one, not two, but THREE space-gobbling images on your hard drive.

Thank you SO much, Apple, you idiots.

Yesterday I went through the tortures of the damned with the iMac, thanks to an Apple tech who simply would not listen to what I was trying to say and…of course…because I did not know exactly how to tell him that my computer could not be updated to the Sierra operating system software.

Here’s the problem: Word will not run on any version of Mac OS higher than 11.4.1. This is because Apple is trying to force everyone to buy its Pages program, which sort of processes words, sort of lays out documents. It’s a pushmi-pullyu that’s nice for hobbyists but will not do for power users.

Like editors. F’r example.

So for around six hundred bucks, a guy came over a few weeks ago and upgraded the MacBook and the iMac to El Capitan, and did a few other things.

The new program is a nuisance that takes some getting used to, but by and large I was coping. Except…

On the iMac, DropBox would not appear in the “Finder” sidebar. “Finder” is a file-management system…it’s been so long since I’ve used Windows, I forget what the equivalent is called, but there is one: a direct analog.

Your DB files and folders should appear arrayed in Finder just as all the other files on your computers do. The computer should “perceive” DB as another disk drive. And yea verily, they were on the MacBook, but the only way I could access DropBox on the iMac was to click on an icon at the top of the Firefox screen. But this did not really access DB: it did not present DropBox’s files as part of the array of the computer’s contents, and very probably (I figured) it also was not allowing Time Machine to back up DropBox.

And it presented yet another goddamn Mac-Hoop-Jump. To get a file or an image into DropBox, first you had to save it to the desktop, then you had to find it there, then you had to copy it, then you had to access DB through this stupid icon, then you had to paste it into DB, then you had to get into DB, then you had to move it to the folder where you wanted it. This was especially annoying when you needed to make JPEGs of checks to deposit, upload them to the bank, and then save the copies of the JPEGs.

So finally I called Apple and asked why this was the case on one computer but not on the other machine, of the same vintage. He said well, the program must have corrupted in the download and probably simply needed to be reinstalled. He proposed to walk me through that but then said I should install Sierra instead.

I said I was told not to install Sierra because my system wouldn’t run on it. Distracted, I forget to say to him what won’t run on it: any Office programs. He badgers me until I agree, stupidly, to do this.

And herein, my little chickadees, lies the problem of aging. If you have aging parents of my type, you should be alert to this kind of behavior. At my age two bad things happen to you:

a) You don’t remember things clearly, especially if they’re even slightly outside your ken.
b) You’re easily talked into things that you don’t need or even want…as any number of scam artists know.

He guides me through setting up the Sierra OS installation and then gets off the phone.

After about an hour of grinding away, I finally remember why we didn’t want this: Word will not work on the damn thing.

Now I get back on the phone to Apple and get another tech. I explain the problem and say I need to revert to Yosemite.

She now puts on the high pressure, trying to persuade me that I don’t need Word or Excel: that Pages and whateverthef*ck is Apple’s answer to Excel will do just fine.

I explain over and over and over and over again that my clients use Word and that I am NOT going to try to do paying work in Pages, which is — I finally say it explicitly to her — a hobbyist’s program like ALL of Apple’s goddamn software and the reason I am NOT going to move my business over to Pages(!!!!) is that all my clients use Word and LaTex and some of them write in Chinese with Chinese characters and I am not going to open some new can of worms trying to edit copy generated in Word for Asian languages in Apple’s dilettante Pages program and try to convert edited and clean copy back into Wyrd from Pages…and no…

…and no…
…and no…
…and no…
…and NO!!!!!!!

Seriously, it takes this kind of argument to persuade her that no, I am not going to abandon Word for Pages, although I would love to have the Pages program for my own little book publishing hobby because that is what it IS, a hobby, but NO, no WAY am I going to use it in my business goddamn it and if she doesn’t help me get the other program back I’m tossing this 27-inch monster in the trash right this instant and driving down to Costco to buy a PC.

Ugh. What a horrible prospect. But we didn’t tell her that.

Finally she gave up and explained that the way to revert is simply to go into Time Machine and have it overwrite the hard disk with whatever it saved from yesterday.

And amazingly, this not only WORKED, it installed DropBox correctly in Finder.

How and why, I do not know and do not want to know. But it took hours and hours. My whole day was eaten up with this hassle, and by about 4 p.m. I was actually in tears.

In the meantime, I was trying to edit a tangled mess of documentation a lovely woman sent me to convert into Chicago style — eight pages of it, convincing me that I need to stick with academic authors and not take on trying to edit other kinds of copy, no matter how much the author is willing to pay.

Where the amateurs are concerned, I think if it’s not a novel or maybe a memoir, I’m not reading it. If, in the absence of a Ph.D., peer review approval, and a university press contract, IF it has footnotes, endnotes, or a bibliography, I ain’t reading it. You want me to read your plain-vanilla wannabe novel with the endless strings of “he saids” and the descriptions and the characters rooted deeply in the Western tradition of cliché, fine. But do not think I’m going to read your research project.

Argh argh arrrrghhhhhhhhh!

Author: funny

This post may be a paid guest contribution.


  1. Ugh. I hope today is going better for you!

    Another problem that happens when you get older: People, especially young, techie people, assume you don’t know what you’re talking about and WILL NOT LISTEN to you or take what you say seriously. Double ugh.

    • Yeah. The ageism in our culture is now about as offensive and pervasive as sexism used to be.

      The other day, someone posted a couple of publicity photos to a Facebook group and asked members which was better. One of them was distinctly better…and when that was pointed out, several people said OHHH! You’ve got GRAY HAIRS! Go out right away and get those touched up.

      Like gray hair is a BAD thing. Really bad: it must be hidden. Shame on you!

      I posted, possibly unkindly, that I have gray hairs and am proud of them…

  2. I was reading this post on my phone and was determined to check my MacBook Pro to see if I could get to Dropbox through Finder and if my Time Machine backup was including Dropbox. So I switched over to the MacBook to read to the end and saw that you finally got your Dropbox working properly. Thank goodness!

    I have an older MacBook, purchased in early 2011 but manufactured in mid-2010. I’m running Sierra just fine on it, but it is just my personal machine and I don’t use it for paying work or have software specifications like you. Frankly, when I need to use a word processing program I either use Google Docs or Open Office (which I downloaded for free). If for some reason I need to use a Microsoft Office product I use my work-issued Windows laptop.

    What I found as I poked around in my Finder is that Dropbox is so well integrated that it’s hard to tell when a file is actually saved there! When I open a Finder window, Dropbox is not presented in my “Favorites” list on the left at all. The little Dropbox icon at the top of the Finder window doesn’t seem to do anything anymore; when I clicked on it nothing happened, at least. But, I have a Dropbox icon way up at the top of my screen so I clicked on that and viewed Recent Files so I could see what I’d saved there recently. I found a file from January listed there. (Obviously, I’m not a big Dropbox user!) Then I searched in the open Finder window for the file, and there it was. There was nothing to indicate that the file didn’t actually reside on my laptop hard drive, so I can see how it would be confusing. Next I opened up Time Machine and searched the Finder window for the same file name. Sure enough, there it was.

    So, I think the issue is that saving files to Dropbox is so seamless that you don’t really know they are saved in Dropbox anymore, which is why it seems you have to go through so many steps.

    I can’t help you with the photo editing software, though. I haven’t used it. Maybe I’ll play around with and see if I have a similar experience.

    • My MacBook is also mid-2011. For the price, IMHO these things should not be rendered obsolete in six years. That’s ridiculous.

      My clients use Word. I’ve tried Google Docs in the past and found that it doesn’t have the full functionality of Word. Also, as long as I can hang onto Word 2008, it’s a) not a rental that ends up costing significantly more than one’s own copy and b) not in the Cloud. I do not want to work on client work in the Cloud; many of my clients’ projects are proprietary.

      However, I do use Dropbox to back up my own work, which is extensive. I back up to two external hard drives (four, actually, if you count the ones attached to the iMac), and I also keep a lot of data on DB. Time Machine backs up DropBox because it perceives DB as another drive on the computer.

      Wouldn’t it would be nice if it were doing so in an intelligible way? Under the previous OS, it did: in Finder you saw Dropbox along with all the other folders in the machine and devices attached to the machine, and it was obvious that DB was included in the things being backed up. And DB was just as accessible as any folder in Documents or on the Desktop.

      No more!

      The problem with the icon arrangement is that it gives you no control over where a file that you’re trying to save _goes_. I organize my files by folders and sub-folders and sub-sub-folders. When I want an image of a check to go to Dropbox > Checks > 2017, I want it to end up in the 2017 folder…not on the Desktop, not somewhere at large in Dropbox. The way the thing is working on the iMac, I can’t do that.

      I mean it’s very nice that it’s seamless (if in fact that’s what’s happening here), but it’s my computer and my data and I WANT SOME CONTROL over where that data is going and how it gets there.

      And yesterday for reasons I don’t understand it started doing something similar but not the same on the MacBook — is there a REASON two Apple computers manufactured in the same year can’t work the same way????????? Basically I”m being forced to learn two operating systems for two Macs manufactured in 2011 and running on the same OS.

      If I have to learn a new computer operating system every time I sit down to work, it might as well be Windows…