Steve Jobs Lied to Me
Last week, at this time, I was having major problems with my laptop. Sometime around 6pm on Sunday, my MacBook Pro suddenly decided it could not use DHCP anymore. (DHCP, for the uninitiated, is the ability for your computer to just work when you join a network. If you don't have DHCP, you have to know a valid IP address, the gateway IP address, and IP addresses of working DNS servers to connect to the same network. DHCP just asks the router to give this to you automatically.) So, upon realizing it was my computer only, I tried testing it at the neighbor's house (because our Internet connection is crappy, at best). While over there, I had Collin check the router and he said the router was handing me all the usual DHCP information, but apparently my Apple MacBook Pro was just not recognizing it. I went to bed early and hoped we could get it working tomorrow. During lunch on Monday, I checked at work to make sure their network was giving my machine the same problem. It was, so I signed up for a meeting with a "Genius" at the Apple Store. After waiting for 25 minutes for the Genius Bar to get to my turn, I spent a half hour working with the "Genius" to figure it out. Most of the stuff he wanted to do I had already tried, such as booting Mac OS X in safe mode and even resetting the power system. He booted from a FireWire external drive and the networking worked there, so it was a software problem. We tried deleting a number of network-related settings files, which magically recreate themselves with the default settings in case something has gone wrong. But, still, the "Genius" hadn't seen this problem before, and therefore he didn't know of any good solution besides the dreaded "Archive and Install" procedure. Why the "dreaded" Archive and Install? Well, because the process of backing up all your system and user files and then installing Mac OS X anew took two and a half hours! OK, so it only took an hour and a half, but there was another hour of running all those software updates to get my MacBook Pro up to date. That's a long time. Windows doesn't even take that long, I don't think. So what's the problem? I believed the whole Apple hype that the Mac OS X experience was better than Windows Vista. Yes, I got this issue fixed with only a day and a half of my free time taken away, but what would I have been out if I had a Windows problem? With this kind of networking problem on Windows, all I've usually had to do is get a newer version of the hardware's driver or slap the side of the tower and it would kick back into gear. I would've had better ideas of how to fix it on Windows because of years of experience with it, but with Mac OS X I had to go see an "Genius" who really had no insight at all. Is the romance with Apple over? Far from it! I've got an iPhone and everything on my laptop is working again. I like the fact that there is someone I can go to and try to get help for my computer - there's no such person on the PC world because the manufacturer and Microsoft just keep pointing fingers at each other. After getting Mac OS X reinstalled, I only had to move my Applications and User folder back into the live system from the backup and I was up and running with the exact same preferences and settings as I had before. On a Windows machine, most of my data is in my "Documents and Settings" area, but tons of my settings are scattered throughout the rest of the computer as well. People talk about companies that need to be more open and public. Companies should listen to their customers. Apple makes cool products, but they always do it their way. They never listen to their customers until a raging mob starts pounding down the doors at Cupertino. They develop software for Windows but purposely leave out the features that would really make the application useful and keep those for Mac OS X. And, for Windows, there's a Knowledge Base article with five solutions to fix almost every problem - for Apple's support website, they'll just tell you to restart the computer and then go to see the "Genius" if it doesn't work. I'm not too mad at Apple - I just wish Apple would wake up to the world they live in and start acting like a real company. I wish they'd really work to help their customers. But, then again, maybe that's what makes Apple cool and keeps people sleeping on the sidewalk for days in order to be the first to touch their product.