Archive for the ‘Ranting’ Category

Two Minutes Hate for Apple

Friday, September 9th, 2011

I remember my first interactions with Apple. Aaron would bring his 1st gen iPod to math team meets and we would listen to music on the bus ride. Little did I know that in a few short years, I would be refurbishing them in a non-descript beige building.

One of those dreary days, I had had to consult the Apple website in order to access an operation manual for outmoded model MB523LLA. Up came the page, with its Javascript and Flash jumping out at me. This model being several months old by this time, it was conspicuously absent from the front page. And all of the back pages. All I could find pointed to the inescapable assertion: Apple had always sold the MB633LLA and the MB633LLA alone.

I had to google before I could find what I was looking for. I was frustrating and also a bit scary. Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the new became the only one there ever was. I felt like I was the only person alive who knew this model existed. If Apple can thrust its hand into my head and cause me to doubt my own reality- is that less terrifying than anything else?

Look, I know what Apple’s whole modus operandi was/is with the website. To simplify as much as possible, right? A vision of the future? To point the visitor toward the pretty pictures and have them get their PayPal ready? Motives weren’t entirely ungood, no?

Then you all know what happened next. iPods flooded into schools and campuses and all of a sudden, teenagers, in their ears, those little seashells, tamped tight, walked along oblivious to external stimuli and subjecting themselves to the electronics sounds of music and talk and movies. before, however, they were unceremoniously run over by other teenagers who were driving while simultaneously changing songs with those eye-demanding scroll wheels.

It was unavoidable. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you. As Christmas budgets bloated to compensate for the devices, they showed up on more and more wish lists. I stayed without one and I was somehow immune to them convincing me to get one. If I was, I was the last one on campus.

Meanwhile I clung to my old V195 phone. It make calls and texts. It didn’t take pictures and that’s the way I liked it. Secretly, I loathed those who found the need to shut themselves up in their own soundtrack; just like everybody else, immune to the reality around them.

When contract upgrade time rolled around, I again picked the cheapest flip phone AT&T had to offer. I was surprised, then, to realize the Nokia was a smart phone. Able to multi-task, handle several media formats and with VGA video recording ability. I grew to love my 6650. It was different. A gold and blue color theme. The headset jack and the microSD card slot. Brushed aluminum face and black matte finish. It was so different. Other smart phones like the Backflip were not allowed on AT&T’s network without a data plan. (Literally, the network would detect the phone model and force you to pay for data in the next bill.) But 6650 was smarter than all those others. It somehow evaded detection. I unlocked it, liberating it of carrier loyalty. It was its own phone, able to accept SIM cards from any network. And I thought I would be that way forever.

Then my sister gave me her old iPhone 3G when she upgraded to the new iPhone 4. It was beat up, but functional.

A Pharmacy rotation student had told me that the best PDA he could recommend was an iPhone. And with Epocrates and Micromedex and Angry Birds, is he wrong? But, no. I shan’t fall for that. My Nokia could do what I needed it to: scheduling my appointments, alarms and Twitter. Apple represents and closed-source culture of DRM and the most accursed of proprietary software. “Slide to unlock”. Ha! A futile and ironic gesture. Give me my electronics or give me nothing. They belong to me. I will not betray Nokia.

It was raining that day. Or was it? Just overcast, perhaps. I needed to be away. On bicycle no less. I just needed to check the weather. The device was handy. It was right there on the table…

How easy it all was! (Once I had entered my zip code, configured the settings to connect to the network with WPA2, and keyed in the password. It was so intuitive after I Googled for some online guides!) But what, now it wants me to sign up for an Apple ID? How about “No”? This is just an attempt to follow me. To set me up as a wallet with legs so I can be monitored?

No. Of course, I can’t delude myself. Apple is a business. They exist to profit. Everything would be smooth, polished, clean. Aesthetically minimalist and uniform. They do that for us: the technical proletariat. They’re trying to make it easier for us. Well, there are plenty of apps here. Apps that I might be able to find a use for. Stanza? I can read ebooks! And with Opera Mini, I can squint at the Internet whenever I am in range of my apartment’s router. Okay. I’ll just give them a fake email account.

I have not betrayed Nokia.

I navigated to where I needed to go using Google maps. Such elegance. Such utility. How intelligent, I thought, how intelligent! It will track me because it needs to track me. To help me find my way. By telling the advertisers what I do, it brings products I don’t yet need to my attention so that I can find a need for them.

I have not betrayed Nokia.

Sometimes, you see something new. Something you can’t seem to stop thinking about. You tell yourself it’s just a marketing trick and that it doesn’t affect you but that isn’t true. You know it when you see it. That you’ll always want the newest. You don’t give a damn what it costs. All you care about is getting the newest one. And after that, you don’t feel the same toward the old version any longer.

I remember my old phone, a V188. Black plastic and silver trim. Or… No, this was my old phone. It doesn’t matter anymore. It is a moot recollection. Useless now. I have an iPhone.

O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! It’s all right. Everything is alright. The struggle is finished. I have won. I love Apple.

There is only the Force.

Monday, August 10th, 2009

The iPod touch is a descendant of the iPod Classic with a anodized aluminum frame surrounding the plastic touch screen and polished steel back cabinet. The attachment system is the same. Inaccessible little bastard aluminum clips. Same idea as opening a Classic; the back cabinet comes off, exposing the goodies underneath.

The iPod touch 2G is a whole new ball game. Departing completely from the Classic and nano framework. It resembles an anorexic iPhone.

The front is now completely plastic. The back is familiar stainless steel, only now, instead of meeting the front panel neatly, it is contoured and curved to fit over the plastic’s thin delicate rubber border. Think of it like holding a softball in one hand as opposed to a baseball. In one, the fingers bend up to the curve of the ball and point in parallel lines. In the other, the fingers point in paths that cross, much how the forces of Apple will move to encircle the globe to hunt down the last of the Resistance while Steve Jobs smirks serenely in his giant white polycarbonate castle which will be shortly upgraded to an anodized aluminum castle for security reasons.

If you want to open your $200-$400 iPod (which you may want to if yours is among the 3-5% that fail), you’ll need the following tools.

  • Exacto knife
  • Bench grinder
  • non-conducive Lubricant
  • small Phillip’s head screwdriver
  • Plastic spudger

ipod tools

The bench grinder is used to grind the edge off of the Exacto knife till it is sort of shaped like the end of a falchion. The point is sharp enough to cut paper, but the rest of the edge has between a 300 and 500 µm thickness.

The first step is to lube the crack with some specialized lubricant. Next, the tool tip is gently inserted into the crack and worked back and forth without breaking the rubber liner. The intention here is to separate the rubber from the steel casing. Next the plastic front is slowly worked up one corner at a time, by attacking the seam at the places where the clips lay. The greatest threat comes from the metal blade itself on the soft rubber. Pinching of the softer-as-silicone rubber is usually not an issue with sufficient lubricant.

Ultimately, this ends with the top left corner where the flex cable for the touch data resides and allows for a half inch of travel before it must be levered out with the spudger. Now we can unscrew things.

What I’ve learned from all this is that.

I’d make a terrible surgeon.

Maybe it’s the caffeine or lack of sleep. But I seem to lack dopamine in the morning. Maneuvering a millimeter-wide screw into a similarly-sized hole seems to be much harder the first or second thousandth time. If I miss, I’m at risk of scratching the LCD or ripping wire traces in the PCB boards. (Yes, there is more than one.)

I’d make a terrible Jedi.

Much anger I possess.

Apple engineers are bastards.

angry asian ipod