Category Archives: apple

Steve Jobs.

I think John Perry Barlow sums it up:

I’m still in shock, of course. And it’s a very strange feeling; I haven’t used Apple products for very long. I became an Apple user in June 2006. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked and never looked back.

I never knew Steve Jobs and yet I feel incredibly saddened by his death. And honestly, I find this perplexing.

This relationship I had (have?) with Steve is difficult to explain, and I’m sure other Mac users can share this sentiment; I feel so close to him, and yet he’s a stranger. At the end of the day, we will never meet – he will never know my name.

But this reminds me of what’s probably the closest connection I’ll have to Steve Jobs: in 2007, I my laptop died. It was a first generation Macbook I received as a graduation present. I used this laptop for everything – my classes, my illustrations – it was my life. The day my hard drive failed was also the same day the warranty expired. As a college student, I couldn’t afford the AppleCare renewal, so I thought all was for naught, and that I had lost all my work for good (I couldn’t afford an external hard drive then, so none of my work had been saved elsewhere).

So I wrote a desperate email to sjobs [at] apple [dot] com, a much-too-long letter explaining all the issues I had with my Macbook (affectionately named Sam – I don’t know, I was young?), detailing all the problems I had with it over the course of a year, including cracking palmrests, a faulty CD drive, battery failures, and frayed power adapter cords. I couldn’t imagine repurchasing a laptop after a mere year of using one. I wrote,

I know you probably have thousands of other emails to sift through and answer, but I sincerely hope you consider mine to be an honest message. I have nowhere else to turn to, and I believe that you can help me.

He somehow answered mine, indirectly. The next day I received an email from Nicholas Applewhite (not kidding about the name), a member of Apple’s Corporate Executive Relations, with the following message:

Dear Ms. Iris A. Febres,
Thank you for your email to the executive offices of Apple. Your correspondence concerns an issue that we believe would be better handled in a phone conversation.
Unfortunately, no telephone number was provided in your email below. I have summarized the contents of your letter in case number [XYZ]. If you have not yet resolved the issue, please contact me at [number] Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time, and reference the above case number.
You can also find service and support options to fit your individual needs at the AppleCare Support web site,www.apple.com/support.
Thank you for taking the time to email us.

Long story short, this happened:

New laptop replacement, after this happened:

I think about that exchange now, and seeing “forwarded message” again after a good four years since opening that email that now sits in an ignored mailbox, and I’m left speechless. He obviously cared enough about my user experience – the one belonging to a college student without a dime – to forward the email to the right party, who in turn took care of my problem.

I still feel so perplexed. Using the products Steve Jobs created and spearheaded have been essentially second nature to me. I don’t think about my iPhone or my Macbook like I do my other devices; they’re just there. They are so integral to my day-to-day work, my interactions with my friends and family, my [future] career – essentially, and this may sound dramatic, the fibers of my being – that I can’t help but feel sad about Jobs’ passing.

He was the face of a technology that has helped me develop as an individual – academically, professionally, personally. I owe him a lot. And now he’s gone.

Thank you, Steve. Thank you for forwarding that email to Mr. Applewhite. Thank you for making my college experience richer. Thank you for helping me discover I want to make ebooks, as well as my love of tech. Thank you for changing the world.

Thank you, Steve.

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The Waste Land for iPad – a waste?

When I got wind of this beautiful, beautiful thing, I knew I was destined to get an iPad. Not anytime soon, of course, but that was what made the deal. Until now, I’ve always sworn off the iPad – much like the Macbook Air – because it didn’t deliver enough power for what I would want (i.e. Adobe Anything). There was also the $500-price tag.

Now I’m second-guessing myself because, my goodness, if you were a huge techie geek person with a love for T.S. Eliot, wouldn’t you want that on your iPad?

I didn’t need to watch the entire demo video to fall in love with this app. The videos, the annotation, the poems read by Ted Hughes and T.S. Eliot himself – what more could a girl want besides being able to load EPUB files on a Kindle?

I shared the above link via Facebook and a friend of mine raised a concern: “It’s silly [such an app/experience] is only available on an iPad.” The interactivity, she said, could be had through a computer. Why isn’t there, pardon the expression, an app for that?

The only way I see such a product packaged for computers and laptops is through a specialized HTML5 site. I don’t think the demand is there for packaged software, unless it’s bundled with a physical book; and even then, would it be worth all those hours of designing and programming to create an experience meant as a mere supplement for the printed text? That doesn’t make sense.

I also said,

I don’t think I would buy this app if it was available for my MacBook. The app’s appeal directly stems from the fact that it’s specifically an iPad experience. And I can see why that would be unfair – only those with an iPad or access to one can experience the text in such a profoundly innovative way. But the medium for the poetry is just as important as the poetry itself, as well as the market [in this case].

So what are you paying for? Certainly not the text, as it’s in the public domain. T.S. Eliot’s voice? No, not that either. Honestly, I see it as a matter of convenience; I won’t need to pull out my hard copy of Eliot’s original manuscript while his booming voice plays in my earbuds – though I could. I always could.

But why would I? For the smell of the paper? To handwrite my notes? I question those tangible aspects of reading and annotating for pleasure.

The answer to that question, for me, would be to save $513.99.

Apple doesn’t fall far from fortune

TechCrunch reports that Apple is worth “roughly $301 billion.”

What does that equal? Well, aside from three hundred and one billion dollars USD, it’s the combined (approximate) values of

Dell ($29.3 billion)
Hewlett Packard ($72.8 billion), and
Microsoft ($200.3 billion)

Jeezus. According to TechCrunch, the difference between Apple and Microsoft – you know, that $100 billion – equals Nokia, Netflix, eBay and Research In Motion.

Again: Jeezus. I wish I could picture all that money somewhere. Like in my closet. Or under my bed. Or as my bed.

Eyeing the Cloud

The New York Review of Books had an interesting piece about Apple’s newly announced iCloud service, which I’m still mildly skeptical about – or trying to be, because at the end of the day, it’s coming from Apple and the glorious palm of Steve Jobs, and I, like many other iUsers, am stricken with fascinated interest. [Full disclosure: I own a Macbook and an iPhone 4.]

While I have used cloud services for most of my life (granted, before I really knew what “cloud computing” even was), the idea of sending all of my data to online servers terrifies me. Despite my extended experience with cloudwork, I now bite my lip whenever I look at my 500 GB LaCie external hard drive. Should I consider such a leap?

As Halpern notes, storage in The Cloud is not a novel idea – after all, Gmail, Netflix, and other services have been around for quite a while. But I wonder if my comfort with these services stems from the fact that they merely fill a particular niche: e-mail, movies, documents. Never macro-tiered storage, so to speak. The possibility of sending all of my data, my work, my life – delivering it into the hands of X company, whether it be Apple or Google or anyone, leaves me rather disconcerted.

So why does cloud reading sound like a better deal for me? Not as an alternative, just another option. 24Symbols looks like a neat bet, but again: solely another niche.

Am I safer because I have separate nooks for my digital life? I certainly feel safer, but the more I think about it, I wonder if I’m being counterintuitive. It’s more difficult to track my digital media circles when they’re in separate places. Putting all my eggs in a single basket does make sense – for Google, it makes sense – but my skepticism for something so fluid and seamless bothers me. Even if the masterminds behind the tech are Google, Apple; geniuses.

The psychology of attachment to the digital as well as an individual’s “digital identity” definitely comes into play here. So perplexing, and in constant flux.