There was a time when Apple was my family's world. It went far beyond technology since the company wrote our paycheck. Before Steve came back, Apple was much like a family. I can remember going to a memorial service with our vice president of higher education when the son of my regional manager was killed in a car crash. I can also remember the same vice president showing up at my father in law's funeral.
Our vacations were sometimes even Apple sponsored. If you were good in sales at Apple, you could win a golden Apple sales incentive Apple trip. We took trips like that to Paris, London, Vienna, Ireland, Australia, Munich, and Canada. I once even loaded my family in our Previa van and drove across the country from Virginia so I could attend a higher education conference in Monterey, California. A key customer was going, my manager said Apple could not afford to fly me out so I turned it into a family vacation.
I usally wrote with a Cross pen that had an Apple logo on it. I had a number of Apple watches and of course as any Apple employee will tell you, I had an imposing stack of Apple t-shirts. It would have unusual to come home from an Apple event without five to ten t-shirts. When I wore a suit, it had a gold Apple lapel pen with diamonds in it. It was an Apple life that went well beyond the technology.
Of course the technology was also there. There were Apple modems then Apple Airports and Quicktake digital cameras and even Apple scanners. Of course there were faithful Apple LaserWriters and color Imagewriters. Our home networking started with AppleTalk connectors. We even had an Apple CD player and I once carried the Sony-Erircsson T68i cell phone which Steve Jobs demoed on stage in 2002.
Most impressive of all, I had an Apple Color LaserWriter. As a manager working out of my own house the Color LaserWriter shipped to me not long after it was first introduced. The 110 pound printer was shipped to my house and that same week one caught fire at Penn State which was one of my team's accounts. It was the beginning of the end of the Color LaserWriter. None of the reps wanted to deal with it after the fire so it never left my house until it became surplus. For years it was very popular with neighborhood children who needed color graphs for their science projects.
The Apple technology in house spread to several neighbors. There were programs for Apple employees to let neighbors and family buy computers at a substantial discount. We had many neighbors take advantage of it.
Some of those computers in the days of the Performas and endless model confusion before Steve came back were not that great. I can remember replacing a few. A few of the ones that that had Intel processors on a card were especially flaky. Fortunately laptops were so expensive in those days that I had no close friend buy one of the infamous Apple 5300 laptops.
When Steve came back, pieces of the Apple life and products started disappearing. The Newton which had become a favorite of mine while I was traveling got canned along with printers and everything but a few computers. The new focus was good because some very good computers came out of it, and I bought several of them for the family. I did that even after purchases for the family from Apple became less and less of a good deal with Steve choosing to also make money off of employees. I believe I bought seven or eight iMacs for the family over the years. There still is probably a lamp shade iMac in one of our children's storage areas.
Most people know that Steve was focused on technology but few understand how focused he was on making money. I believe the culture of making lots of money pretty well defines everything Apple does these days.
For me Apple has itself whittled away much of their technology that I counted on at one time. I long ago retired my Airports and went to better, less expensive wireless equipment from other manufacturers. Even before I left Apple, I ended up switching to HP laser printers. Where once printers worked seamlessly on Macs, now it sometimes not the case. From the day I got it over eight years ago my HP Photosmart 6180 has been a challenge on my Macs. The last two OSX upgrades I installed it would work for a week and quit. I recently installed it on my new I7 Lenovo desktop. So far it is working flawlessly which it has done on a number of Windows computers over the years.
However, my LaserJet CP1025nw color printer has worked well on my Macs from the start. I have also had good luck with a number of Epson printers from their Professional 4000 servies on down and with a Canon Pixma printer. Printing is one of those things you never know until you try it. It once was not that way with Apple. An Apple printer would just work because Apple made certain that it did. I like to think printers mostly disappeared because Steve did not like the mess of paper. I think it was 2004 when we got an edict from Steve that we could no longer hand out paper brochures or information in our booths because it made the booths look messy.
Software and services have also disappeared over time but mostly because they have become more problematic or just do not do the job that I need done. I gave up on iPhoto in 2011 and Apple's Mail in 2014. I still have to stiffle a laugh when someone complains that Apple's mail search just does not work. Search in Postbox has never let me down. Probably no one needs to be convinced that while iCloud has improved, it continues the legacy of Apple just not understanding the cloud.
Of course there are some programs that needed to die and iWeb was one of them. Apple has also made changes that made my love of its products a short term affair. Other times they have made me sound almost prophetic. I published this in 2007.
I haven't spent much time with the new iPhoto but my initial impression is that it is much easier to do web albums, but the export panel isn't as efficient or perhaps as quick to use.
I do really like the options that people viewing the albums are given. Apple has done a really nice job there.
This is the link to my .Mac web gallery. Not surprisingly the Picasa favorites are also available at my Picasa Web Albums and a few of the same photos are in a set at my Ocracokewaves Flickr site. You can decide which you like the best.
I think web albums part of iLife is much better than the iWeb way of publishing photos. It's almost as good as the original iPhoto way of doing it. :) Of course I now have published photos in all three versions. I'm not sure how I manage the older ones.
I have one philosophical problem with the way Apple manages the web albums. If you make a mistake like I did and only publish one picture, the only way to get it off the web is to delete it in the web gallery section of iPhoto on my Mac.
It would make a whole lot more sense if you could manage it from the web instead of using an application on your computer.
If you try the links, the only one that does not work after seven and one half years is the one to the .Mac web gallery. Given that who would you trust with your photos? Certainly not Apple. At one time we were surrounded by an Apple life and now we are not. As much as there might be some readers out there ready to comment (and do not waste your time, it will not be published) that I have a grudge against Apple because they showed me the door (which by the way is how almost everyone in Apple sales that I know left), that really is not the case. My Apple career rests on always stellar performance reviews and a wall full of sales awards. Read my book if you want more.
Most tellingly I have spent something over $7,000 just on Apple hardware products since I left the company in 2004. I bought an Aluminum Powerbook G4 within days of leaving. A few months later I bought my dual G5 and Apple monitor which I still have and cherish. I bought a MacBook which I loved in spite of some early faults (and a dead memory slot) and an iMac which has required a lot of love. I now depend on a MacMini which had a tough early life and has no more ports left to give.
That is basically $700 per year on Apple hardware over ten years for five computers. That does not include external hard drives both Firewire and USB, keyboards, mice, cables, and adapters. The G5 is still running but unsupported by Apple. The MacBook is dead. The Powerbook G4 is dead but could be fixed but it would require more money than it is worth. The iMac is retired because I just do not want to spend any more money on upgrading its storage and I am irritated by yet another incompatible version of Pages. Taking the iMac apart is not something I want to do again even if that did increase its storage.
I have spent close to that many dollars on Windows computers in the same ten years. The only one of those nine computers that is dead is a Dell laptop that I bought in 2004. I gave it away and someone sat on it in 2011. So when I said there would be no Apple under the tree, there were plenty of reasons behind that decision.
I look at what could be classed as my Apple addiction in the same light that I do the $2,220 that I spend annually with Time-Warner. It is an expense that I need to manage better. With Netflix, Prime Video, and some of the other options popping up this year, I hope to halve that Time-Warner expense and get the Apple expense down to under $100 per year.
Maybe life would be different if I had not bought an original Droid five years ago. There has never been an iPhone in my life. I recently upgraded to a Droid Turbo and love it for all the same reasons that I loved the first one, ruggedness, great mapping capability and very good phone reception. I am also tremendously impressed with the turbo charging. I only plug the phone in for charging while I am having breakfast in the morning. Of course I have to chuckle at the email I exchanged with an Apple employee recently over an almost unintelligible OSX message.
"...too much focus on iOS and yet my phone still keeps crashing and has a defective battery they will not replace."
With no iPhone (because they had very poor reception initially in our coastal area ), it was easy not to fall under the spell of the iPad especially since my children gave me an original Kindle Fire at Christmas in 2011.
We have come a long way since Apple was at the center of our world. Now on the edge of Apple's world, I am more disappointed in Apple products than anything. I have not given up on Apple products but I am in more of a holding pattern waiting for a product to convince me that there is still genius at Apple that will produce a product worthy of my money.
I will continue to look for software to make my MacMini useful. No software that has caught my attention recently like Coda 2 seems to come from Apple. Pixelmator will stay as my choice for a couple of very specific tasks for awhile. We will see if Pixelmator can survive my new found access to the latest and greatest Photoshop. I also have one website that requires RapidWeaver unless or until I change it. It is not a good sign that I have not upgraded to the most recent version Rapidweaver.
Five years ago I did a post, The handful of programs that keep me using an Apple Macintosh. There are two very interesting things in the post. One is the five reasons that I saw for continuing to use a Mac.
- I can count on my Mac to get the job done no matter what it is.
- My Mac is instantly available to me. There is no waiting for it.
- There is still enough user interface consistency that I can use almost any application.
- Things typically just work, hard drives, cameras, mice, printers, etc.
- Most of the software I need comes with the Mac, and the rest is reasonably priced.
The next is the list of programs that I believed five years ago to be keeping me on a Mac.
"RapidWeaver, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, and Fetch are the programs that keep me using a Mac. I also use Pages for one tri-fold brochure that I publish monthly. I am pretty sure that I could do it in Word, but I have never taken the time to try it. I could live without Pages."
It is funny how things have changed in five years. My Windows computers are the ones I count on now. They boot faster than my Mac and have done so for a long time. The famed Apple user interface consistency is not what it used to be. I would far rather use Techsmith's SnagIt on Windows than on a Mac. The user interface is better. The user interface is also better on Windows Mail 8.1. The iMovie user interface changes with every release and it seems that I have relearn it every time that I open it. We will not even get into the changes on Pages. The incompatible file formats are enough of a headache as Bregalad recently commented. When I am managing a lot of files or devices, I would far rather be using Windows 8.1 than a Mac.
I migrated my tri-fold brochure to Word long ago because the office printer I was using stopped supporting Macs after an upgrade. A few years after that I switched to a two-sided rack card that I now get Staples to print. I did have trouble printing the PDF proof of it last year from Pixelmator on a Mac and switched to Photoshop on Windows. I abandoned iPhoto and now Apple has it on the same chopping block that got iDVD. My sneaking suspicion is that things do not work as well on a Mac as they used to but other than anecdotal information, I have no real proof other than having to regularly reboot a couple of applications on my Mac. That never used to be a problem.
The other real challenge is that Apple is choosing over and over again to make laptops unfixable and even products like the low end iMac and MacMac Mini impossible to upgrade. Unfortunately the trend is catching. The battery in my Droid Turbo cannot be replaced and I suspect my Lenovo Yoga is not very easy to tear open either.
In the end many of those things that made me commit time and money to the Mac have disappeared. I bought my wife a Chromebook for Christmas. Her five year old HP laptop is still working but the battery life is not what she needs in spite of a new battery last winter. She loves her new Chromebook and I actually like it better than either of my tablets. I am amazed by the Chromebook's battery life, good screen, speed, and light weight. However, there is still an Apple IIe in a storage closet to keep the memories alive.
If computers are going to become disposable like Apple seems to hope, they need to be very inexpensive and I am not holding my breath for Apple to catch that wave. That is it from the Crystal Coast where we are on snowflake patrol while others are waiting for a potentially historic blizzard.