Oh Apple, Why Do You Have To Suck So Much?
This post is not about the iPhone.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way and everyone on the internet has abandoned this blog to look for more iPhone posts in a frantic rush of mice and keys like those people in that It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World movie — the first one, not the remake, which was mostly kind of lame and didn’t have exactly the kind of trampling and stampeding I’m thinking of. The remake was more iToaster-level stampede. Although it did have Seth Green in it. But he doesn’t always make the best movie choices. He went from The Italian Job to Without a Paddle? Really? But I feel as though I’m getting way off track here.
The iPod is this magical device of song and love, with its scroll wheel and portability and proprietary file formats. We all have them. I now have three. But why do we all have them? What is it that makes us compulsively continue to buy these crappy disposable devices that die without warning, use software that crashes our computers, and cause us to spend hours lighting candles to the gods of musical electronic equipment, praying our iPod will one day work again? Does Apple send crack through those hip white headphones?
Other music players exist. Why don’t any of us buy those?
A couple of years ago, I got a 40 gig iPod. One day, it inexplicably stopped working. Big exclamation mark: blue screen of death, apple-style. What the hell was up with that? I can hear you already. It’s several years old. Why am I complaining? Which is proof you’ve soaked in too much of that apple crack. Would you say that if your two-year old washing machine stopped working? Or your TV? (OK, you’d like the excuse to go buy a new TV, since two years of TV time is like the difference between a 12″ black and white with rabbit ears and a technicolor wide screen, but still. You might whine a little.)
Of course, when I did a search, I found lots of articles about what to do about this problem. Anti-Apple sites with crafting instructions on how to turn your useless iPod into a nice paperweight or doorstop? Amazingly, no. All the sites meticulously detail how to restore the iPod, with tips and tricks. Lovingly caress the iPod and talk to it softly! It might just feel taken for granted! Knit it an iPod cozy! I’m surprised it’s not called the “iPod exclamation point of life” or something.
Anyway. I followed all the instructions and everything worked for a while. And then the iPod died again. And again. And I got really tired of knitting cozies. I’m not even that good at knitting. So, I gave up and stopped listening to music. You might find this approach to be extreme, but I was really busy and the music had to pay the price.
And then I was given a shuffle, and I finally could once again listen to Britney at the gym again. All was well with the world. (I suppose how much you agree with that statement depends on your perspective on pop songs sung by barefoot, red bull-drinking, Lindsay Lohan BFFs. But the important thing is that I my workouts now had a soundtrack.)
The shuffle is great, but it’s fairly limited. You can’t keep all your songs on it and if you want to listen to something in particular, you have to keep pressing that skip button again and again and again and… dammit, where’s that song already!
I recently took a long drive in a car with no radio, and blessed the Apple gods when I found that my iPod had miraculously come to life. And then I cursed Apple for turning me from a person who expected consumer goods to work properly into someone who was grateful when they did.
But of course, the iPod joy was shortlived. It got me nearly the whole drive, but eventually decided to try something new. No exclamation point, but it would play a few seconds of a song, then freeze, then eventually skip to the next song, play a few seconds, freeze… Like an evil music preview mode with less preview and more maddening irritation.
Yes, I’m sure if I did a search, I would find an array of sites explaining just the right soothing tone to use when coaxing the iPod back to life. You see, this particular behavior means that it could tell you weren’t using authentic iPod headphones and it was upset by the non-approved, differently colored replacements. Or you know, whatever causes evil skip mode. But I was done. The iPod and I were going our separate ways.
So what did I do? And here’s the very worst part of all.
I bought another iPod.
Apple syndrome. Like Stockholm syndrome but with more gadgetry.
I went into the Apple store. Shuffles, nanos, video iPods… I asked someone where the regular iPods were. The store employees were apalled to find a person who was not fully up-to-date on Apple inventory. Did I live in a cave? There are no more “regular” iPods. There are video iPods. There are nanos. There are shuffles. Which do I want? I said that I wouldn’t need anything if my iPod hadn’t decided to die, but since they are disposable and all, what can you do. The guy looked at me like I was crazy. (And obviously, that I wasn’t buying one of the many other music players available proves that I am.) What was I talking about? No, he had never heard of iPods that stopped working.
Maybe I had Apple syndrome, but that guy had drunk just a little too much of that tasty Apple kool-aid and I’m suspicious that someone snuck in and added a little vodka to the punch bowl when the teachers weren’t looking.
So, I gave in and bought an 80 gig video iPod. It was shiny and bright and would make all my dreams come true. Of course, it came with no software and no charger but I would take my box of incompleteness and like it! Seriously, I would have liked to have downloaded my songs without needing internet access because as it happened, I didn’t have internet access where I was staying (I know! The world has gone mad!) other than from my phone and downloading iTunes with a phone-powered connection isn’t as fun as you might think, especially when it disconnects minutes before finishing and you have to start again. But I soldiered through.
And eventually, I even had music, just in time for the return drive. Oh Apple, I love you again with your musical sweetness and auxiliary connection to my speakers.
BUT THEN THE IPOD FROZE.
It’s two days old. It wasn’t cheap. And already it’s a doorstop. I was driving, but found a place to pull over that had a signal for my phone and I was off searching again. Turns out that if my iPod freezes, all I have to do is hold down the menu button and the center circle button until the Apple logo shows up. Well of course I do! Why didn’t I think of that! I have a better idea, Apple. How about make it so that the iPod doesn’t feeze. Just a thought. You know, toss it around and see what you think.
So now everyone is out buying iPhones and as someone who has just handed over money for more Apple non-functionality, I completely understand. But I do have some advice. It’s the menu and center circle buttons that you hold down. And you should start learning how to knit now. Practice on sleeves for whatever actual working phone you are chucking the iPhone for. I hear the iPhone doesn’t take kindly to poorly knitted covers.