The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

An open love letter to Apple

Seriously, XXXX you, Apple!

Monday, October 05, 2015

About my open love letter to Apple

So … about yesterday

iOS 9.02 hit the airwaves. I've been having an uneasy feeling about iOS 9 and I decided to wait a bit until things settled down. Normally, I'm all “if it ain't broke, don't fix it!” but there was an intriguing feature—the ability to block web ads! Which is an important feature if you're using the cellular network for browsing where each and every byte is accounted and billed for.

So, iOS 9.02 finally hit. What could possibly go wrong?

Twenty hours later, on phone support with Apple

“So what you're telling me is that there is no way Apple is going to let me dump iOS 9.02 on my own iPhone and roll back to iOS 8.4.1? No possible way? Is that what you're telling me?”



Ten hours earlier

Well, that was a disaster. I upgraded to iOS 9.02 and the second the iPhone rebooted, my version of iTunes dutifully informed me that it could not talk to my iPhone in question, and that I should upgrade iTunes if I wanted the ability to transfer data. Only thing is, there are no updates for iTunes I can download! There are no more updates for anything on my Mac computer. Remember “if it ain't broke, don't fix it?” Yeah. There's a reason for that.

I resorted to downloading iOS 8.4.1 off some random website (yes! I'm resorting to downloading possibly questionable software off the Intarwebs!) in an attempt to downgrade (look at what I'm resorting too, Apple! Why hast thou forsaken me?), but I couldn't get iTunes to install that version. It kept deleting the offered iOS 8.4.1 and kept shoving iOS 9.02 onto my phone. By the time I gave up, I had a phone without my music (not that I listen much music, but still), my contacts (which include custom ringtones for various friends and family members) and my apps.

That was totally unacceptable to me.

Had I been warned that iOS 9.02 would not talk to my version of iTunes, I would not have upgraded but alas, no mention was made in the Terms of Service (and yes, I read the whole thing) nor did iTunes give a warning until after it was installed.

On a whim, I downloaded the latest version of iTunes, just on the off chance I could run it. Good thing I checked before installing that, because it required a version of Mac OS X that I am currently not running.

What could possibly go wrong if I were to install that?

Don't answer that question!

Six hours later

If I can't solve it, perhaps the fine people at The Apple Store can help. I pack up everything I need and then some.

[What?  You don't use your iPhone earbuds to wrap around Mac mini power cords?  What do you mean I'm the only one that does that?]

My iPhone.
My Mac mini.
My Mac mini power cord.
My iPad.
My iPad keyboard.
And some miscellaneous cables and adaptors.
All went with us (Bunny tagged along) to Mecca The Apple Store.

We found a very helpful employee who was both amused and sympathetic to my plight. While Apple itself wouldn't downgrade my iPhone (corporate policy it seems) he did help me figure out one issue with my failed attempts to reintroduce iOS 8.4.1 to my iPhone—my use of DoubleCommand.

You see, I use an IBM Model M keyboard. It's the only keyboard I use (I am very picky about my keyboards) but it lacks a “Command” key. So I mapped the “Alt” key to “Command.” Only Apple calls the “Alt” key the “Option” key. And it's the “Option” key you need to hold down when you click the “Restore” button in iTunes to select an iOS version to install. Unfortunately, I had deleted the iOS 8.4.1 images I had downloaded due to sheer frustration and therefore, could not install them at The Apple Store. But with this new information, I felt confident I could carry on back at Chez Boca.

Also, while at The Apple Store, we found a very unhelpful employee who was incredulous that I would dare not upgrade my Mac system every twenty minutes. “Everybody upgrades, dude! What ancient software relic are you running that you can't upgrade?”

“I'm running a special driver that allows my Mac to use my keyboard.”

“Macs don't use device drivers, dude!”


And by the way, I did end up using everything I brought along to The Apple Store. Even the iPad keyboard. The helpful employee felt it was best to try using that keyboard (after disabling DoubleCommand) so I could use a “real Option key” to select the iOS 8.4.1 image.

Four hours later

I finally found the right iOS 8.4.1 image for my iPhone. I was able to select it in iTunes. iTunes dutifully extracted it, contacted some license server at Apple, which nixed the attempt, due, I think, to the fact that Apple knows I've installed iOS 9.02 on the phone, and damn it! That's what I'm going to run! Apple wasn't having any of this iOS 8.4.1 nonsense. It's onward and upward!

Two hours past that

Brings us to the opening, wherein it's made clear by Apple that YOU WILL LIKE iOS 9.02 BEING SHOVED DOWN YOUR XXXXXXX XXXXXXX AND YOU WILL BE HAPPY, CITIZEN!

There is simply no way to downgrade to iOS 8.4.1.

(I would also like to note the very audible sigh I heard from Bob when I told him I refused to use iCloud for backing up my iPhone. I'd rather not have the iNSA view my iData without my iKnowldege. Is that so iWrong?)

I'm willing to conceed that most of this is my fault and that I brought it down upon myself for my refusal to upgrade everything Apple-related every twenty minutes, and that Apple even states they do not guarantee any software they write will actually work (that's actually standard in the software world). BUT it's my iPhone. I should be able to run what I want on it, as long as I take the consequences of said actions. And iOS 8.4.1 was working for me. I just wanted to downgrade to what was working less than twenty-four hours earlier.

But no, I do not, we do not, own our own computing devices any more.

I think it's time I swim out of the Nile and admit to myself that I am not the master of my own digital realm.

And that Apple owns my soul.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Nice job Apple! You narrowly avoided someone drunkenly spending tons of money!

After some discussion with Bunny about the past two days, I figured what the hell! Let me spend vast amounts of money to fix the problem! I repent! I'm sorry Apple! You are right! I am wrong! Let me upgrade everything and maybe, just maybe, I'll get a year or so reprieve from obsolescense!

So Bunny and I head back to The Apple Store so I could spend money like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Top o' the Line Macintosh computer! It's only money!

You know, I didn't think I'd be forced to wait half an hour to spend vast amounts of money, but then again, Apple has more money than God these days …

But wait I did. And while waiting, I looked at various Apple products and came to the conclusion that I really didn't need the Top o' the Line model—I could live with the K2 of Macintosh computers.

Eventually a helpful employee wandered my way, and I pointed to the K2 of Macintosh computers I wanted. “We can certainly sell you that.”

“But I want more memory in it,” I said.

“We certainly can't sell you that here.”


“What you see is what you get. Custom orders have to be ordered on line.”


“Really. You can order it at home, and have it delivered at home, or you can select to have it delivered here at the store.”


“But if you want, you can buy it online here.”


So, why did I go to The Apple Store in the first place?

Yeah, that's right—to buy a computer!


I select the K2 of Macintosh computers and then get to the point where I need to sign in with my Apple ID. Only I don't remember my Apple ID password. Bunny saw the option to reset my password but that doesn't help me as I need to check my email to get a link to click to authenticate the request and yada yada short story I'm not in a position to check my email.

Double sigh.

So not only would I have to wait to get the K2 of Macintosh computers delivered, I couldn't even order it from The Apple Store! How lame is that?

A few hours later and I've come to my senses. I can upgrade the memory in my Mac mini from the paltry 2 gigabytes (Paltry! Ha! I remember the days when two gigabytes was considered gigantic. Sigh) upto 16 gigabytes, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the K2 of Macintosh computers. I can upgrade to the latest and greatest operating system for free (and spend the next six months loathing every minute of it). And I get to keep the built-in DVD player!

I'll get my ring tones back yet!

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