Friday, December 30, 2011

Job's Device

I refuse to call the $800 superfluous iPad thing that Dr Desert Flower bought for "Christmas" an "ipad".  It's a "Job's Device".  It's not MY Christmas present, as I hate the damn thing.  It won't let me log into my Gmail without wanting to LEAVE ME LOGGED IN on the "cloud" eternally, which confuses Gmail when I try to log in on the desktop.  It wont let me type, since I do not have the pre-requisite feminine touch required to type on a touch touch screen.  It will not let me search without auto-completing my entries, leading to wrong, sometimes hilarious, usually annoying mis-directions.

OK, the "voice recognition" works adequately for SIMPLE searches, that do not involve polysyllabic words.  But anything colloquial, or polysyllabic or technical and it freaks out.  I THOUGHT Steve Jobs (peace be upon him, ie Allah) was supposed to create "experiences" that "enhanced" the user's interface, and "differentiated" his products from the rest of the pack.  The 64gig  Job's Device needs to ADAPT to my masculine heavy handed touch, my voice patterns, and my vocabulary.  Otherwise, it was a colossal waste of $800 at the "I store".


  1. That's a shame. I love my iPad.

    Gmail: I'm confused as to what gmail has to do with the device. Apple has nothing to do with gmail's behavior. That complaint should be directed at Google, not apple, and not your ipad.

    Typing: ok, fair enough, you don't like the touch typing.

    Auto-correct: you can simply disable this. Many people do. It's in the setting, I think general->keyboard->autocorrect, or something like that.

  2. Our son turned off the auto-correct last week, so that was a incremental improvement.

    The Job's Devices wants the user to REMAIN logged in, to the "i cloud", perpetually. If I was a bachelor, living alone, not sharing my device with other users, that might be viable, but when I have 3 gmail accounts (one or blog, one for friends and family, and one for ordering things that gets flooded with spam) and in our home (over the holidays) we had 3 facebook accounts present, the Job's Device doesn't like you signing out. It want's to maintain a connection, a consumer data gathering portal. Getting signed in is easy. Signing out, not so much. Argh.

    And take importing pictures, like from long hikes. The Job's mindset is, EVERYTHING is in "iphoto", so I take a memory card out of my Sony or Olympus camera, and connect it to the "too thin to be USB Apple to USB adapter" and the Job's Device doesn't know what to do with it since it's embedded in multiple folders, layered on the memory card, by the camera. This is an "iphoto" issue, not specifically an "ipad" issue, as I saw the same thing happen on the Sony Vio my son has when he inserts the memory card into the slot and iphoto thinks and thinks and thinks as it considers importing EVERYTHING on the card to assimilate into the iphoto collective intelligence, instead of just showing a set of nice little thumbnails likes a normal windows device does.

    I know I am being an old crotchety curmudgeon, but I expected "more", especially with all the worship and grief around Job's finally succumbing to cancer this year, and all the media hype about how Apple doesn't design "products" as much as they design "user experiences" and the "gaps between their product and their competition", and how wonderfully "adaptive" Apple is supposed to be for their user. Well this user will have to significantly lower his expectations if the Job's Device is going to minimally meet them.

    I admit, the voice recognition search navigation is nice, When it Works, on simple searches. The ability to "ZOOM in" is nice, When it Works (many pages and aps will not '2 finger' diagonally zoom).

    Mr Spock used to carry a tablet around 40 years ago. I wanted mine to work as well as his appeared to, 40 years later... but I am still waiting for my flying car, my "Mr Fusion", and the personal teleporter.

  3. OK, I'm still totally confused about the gmail thing. The ghost of Steve Jobs would probably prefer you never used gmail. I'm not sure where your distinction is between being online, being connected to *apple's* cloud, being connected to *google's* cloud, etc, and being connected to app-specific services. Facebook's service is different than google's is different than yahoo's is different than apple's. If it's hard to log out of gmail, again, this has nothing to do with apple, your ipad, iOS, or Steve Jobs.

    E.g. the iphone facebook app: it used to be really easy to log out of facebook using it. In the latest version it is much more obscure. Apple did not write this app, facebook did. Facebook could make it easy to logout, but they don't. I don't see how this is apple's fault if facebook doesn't like me logging out.

    I don't use gmail, so not sure where the problem is. Are you using the gmail app from google?

    I agree the device is not designed to be a multi-person device. That is a drawback and a flaw. Ideally it would have a top-level user login that would allow multiple people to use it independently.

    Photos: I've never used iphoto on my iPad. I very occasionally use iphohto on my Mac, mostly I use Adobe Lightroom on my Mac. If you want to import photos into your iPad, and editing them, take a look at Filterstorm. This app is highly recommended by folks I know who like taking pictures and like their iPads.

  4. It is the gmail app that IS the problem. It refuses to let one log out. So instead, on an ipad, one has to go to the google front page, go to the box for applications, then tap GMAIL, then log in. If you use the gmail app from the istore, then you're permanently logged in. And if I did all of my online work from the ipad, that's be fine. But I do 90% of it from my desktop, and when one is logged in on another device (and another IP address) and one attempts to log in a 2nd time, gmail thinks "he's been hacked! block it! Lock down the account!".

    FB does a similar thing. When I've traveled and tried to log into FB on my Asus netbook in a different domestic or foreign city, FB notes that the IP is radically different, thinks I'm hacking, and puts up a series of test questions to interrupt my log-in process. That's fine if they are questions to which I have planted the answers earlier, but several times last Winter, FB put up pictures of things like Highland Gas Station signs (that Skretny had 'tagged' me in, along with you) and asked me to identify who that "person" was as a security question... or "group" pictures of my son's friends and asked me to identify the "individual".

    So yes, both Gmail and FB are external to the Apple realm, Job's would have preferred I never use them and stay in his cloud all the time, and you (and Zim and RGK and my wife and son and most of the civilized & technically advanced world) are staunch defenders of the realm. But I had over 500 cassette tapes, almost 400 CDs, and much / most of what I had & have is still not available as MP3s... and why should I purchase them AGAIN to get them in MP3 form?

    I get very comfortable in a technology format, and I like sticking to it. 8 tracks sucked. Cassettes were good in a serial listening fashion, but degraded over time. CDs last a life time when properly cared for. The technology evolved to a point where it was optimized. Someday, when solid state (non-rotating) hard drives reach 128G and cost $20 I'll consider putting all of my music on a iTunes enabled device, all of my photos in an Apple or Apple-esque cloud... but the state of the technology is not there yet. So I will reduce my expectations, use Apple devices for very simple searches and queries, and remain comfortably anchored to my Windows XP desktop that works just fine. My music will remain on lifetime lasting disks, and my books will be made out of trees, so I can hand them to my relatives and friends and say "I really enjoyed this, you might too" and they won't have to buy anything from an istore anywhere. The transaction will be private and personal, off the grid, and not tracked by any marketing trend monitors.

    "When I was kid, we had to...." argh.

  5. Again, I think your anger at Apple is misdirected. Google could have made it easy for you to log off, but they didn't. Apple didn't write the gmail app, nor does anything about iOS or the iPad force it to behave the way it does. Ditto with Facebook.

    It's like blaming boeing if I get bad service on a 777.

    The music thing seems like a non sequitur, but even there you're confusing Apple's role. Apple didn't invent the mp3 format nor did they invent mp3 players. Being able to carry several thousand songs on a small device was inevitable, even without apple. They just made a very popular version of that device.

    You certainly don't have to repurchase *anything*. That's a strawman you should dispense with. Nothing's stopping you from copying all of your CD content for use in whatever format and player you want. You can even copy in native AIFF format if you'd like, although there are better formats to use, including Apple's own lossless compression format. Use mp3 if you want. It's a bit lossy but at a reasonable bitrate it will be indistinguishable from CD in most playback situations for most people. Why do you think you need to repurchase music you already own? No one does. That's a total red herring. Keep buying on CDs if you like an archival format. Audiophiles would advise using vinyl as a much better archival format, but whatever. That shouldn't stop you from enjoying the convenience of also having those same songs, for free, available on any number of easy-to-use, portable devices or networks.

  6. My friend, it is the iPhoto, iTunes, ibook, iStore, i-monopoly-to-get-it-to-run-the-best-on-an-i-device that aggravates me, and how everyone I know says how AWESOME it is, but every time I try it it just frustrates me. And if I want to give someone a hard copy (of the book, the CD, or whatever) to share with them the enjoyable experience, I don't need to "make a back-up copy" or make sure it is OK with whatever program I am using to store my data on a spinning hard drive that will eventually fail.

    It is not just the FB and google apps, it's the whole "cult of incredible awesomeness" that 100s of millions of customers have bought into that supposedly surrounds Apple and everything Apple touches. My expectations were far too high. I've scaled them back, with justification.

    As you are a highly experienced IT professional, you understand (much better than I) the constraints of GUIs, hardware limitations, stupid users, unrealistic product / system expectations, and the (sometimes unjustified or misplaced) visceral criticisms that go along with them (like "Walled Gardens"). I'm just an old guy who likes how things used to work... and I'm having significant difficulties adapting to the inevitable future trends that are emerging.

    Once I can put EVERYTHING on an inexpensive solid-state drive that is the size of a match book, then I'll bow down to the constraints of having iUniverse (iTunes, iPhoto, i-everything) manage my data for me. Applying Moore's law, that should be around 2018, if a Republican Executive doesn't launch a pre-emptive strike against the Persians, North Koreans, or Venezuela (or an TBD player, unbeknownst to us at this time, to be named after Peak Oil is reached) that escalates into a nuclear conflagration. But if that happens... reading survival manuals and listening for the hungry approach of cannibals will occupy alot more time than any i-device.

  7. I guess I'm just not understanding how this has anything to do with an iPad or Apple. You would equally hate ANY tablet, right? Or hate Zune, or anyone else's MP3 player, etc.

    Basically, it's like this:
    "I hate my iPad!"
    "Because I hate digital content." (And, yes, it is a digital content consumption device.)

    Ok then.

    I hate boeing!
    Because commercial airline travel in the US completely sucks as an experience!

    Ok then.

    I hate my bicycle!
    Because it's uncomfortable to sleep on!
    Maybe your expectations or use case were off?

  8. I'd heard that iTouch, iPad, and iPhone were SO MUCH BETTER than ALL the Rest. As I had none of these, I pictured a seamless interface that adapted to me, the user, enhancing my "user experience", as I ubiquitously hear in "end of year reviews" about the passing of Steve Jobs. Instead, I get a slow, clumsy, unintuitive, very expensive device that does not want to be compatible with my established content, and my fat clumsy fingers. I am glad you love your iPad. Perhaps someday, with lowered expectations, I will learn to like mine.

    It's not the digital content, it's the way I get to digital content on the device that rubs me the wrong way. I like my digital content (CDs and DVDs are all digital). I just don't want to have to manage them in iTunes. I love my digital photos, but why does the iPad try to assimilate ALL or NONE of them with the built-in software it comes with out of the box (and the software that my wife has no problem using, and waiting for it to load, but she has already had both an iTouch and an iPhone to practice upon)?

    And for the record, I prefer Boeing to Airbus. And the Russian and Chinese Tupelovs, Illuysians, and Chinese State manufactured turboprop aircraft on which I have flown have been MUCH LESS than "confidence inspiring". Boeing gets it right with the 777 and 747 and some versions of the 767. Their 757 is an complete failure from a customer's comfort perspective, but that's because of how the airlines have crammed in too many passengers into a limited space and mis-managed the luggage fees (Southwest has no such baggage problems, but they fly exclusively 737s). The 787 is supposed to "enhance the customer's experience" but I am already ratcheting down my expectations - besides, I know how very hard it is to make and NDT carbon fiber... I hope they don't have any major delaminations on the 787s. Airbus gets the 330 and 340 right, for the most part, but the lack of personal air adjustment (on Air France, Korean Air, and US Air) nozzles makes the flight stifling stuffy. I can deal with badly designed planes if they are flown and managed well by an airline on which I have paid for an expensive ticket.

    My bicycle is the same "Free Spirit" I had in High School, and being in west Phoenix without bike lanes, I don't ride it too often, preferring to bias the odds in my favor with heavy gauge steel and airbags between myself and the distracted & (mostly) un-and-under-insured drivers around me.

  9. Dr. DDF is sad that this evil device did not replace your crappy net book. I find it very easy to use for photos. I really should have spent $200-300 more and got you the macbook air

  10. The device is not "evil". The hype around the device (it's 'experience', it's user interface, it's amazing utility) is over-sold.

    If the hard drive is indeed solid state, and not a rotating mechanical drive, then it has some inherent redeeming qualities and some of the arguments I made to Ron earlier are moot.

  11. It's actually hard wired flash drive:

    ...and not a spinning mechanical drive nor a solid state memory device.


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