Rearranging The Deckchairs

Frank O'Dwyer's blog

Macs Don't "Just Work"

I wonder how long can Apple get away with ads like this one, with their “Just Works” slogan. I’m a Mac fan, but they don’t “Just Work”. The hardware is beautifully engineered, with some lovely touches (that magnetic power cable has saved my laptop from being kicked across the room several times, and Macs are so quiet). Yes, the software looks nice. But it is pretty much as buggy as any other complicated piece of software. Sure, it works better than Windows Vista, but that’s like saying that compared to Zimbabwe or post world war 1 Germany, the economy is in pretty good shape right now. Off the top of my head, here are just some examples of my Macs not “Just Working” that I’ve run into recently: - MobileMe. If this just works, where’s my email? Mr Jobs, your pants

are on fire.
  • Apple wireless keyboard? Looks great. Works great. Apart the constant messages about ‘connection lost’ shortly before it stops working and in order to fix it you have to fetch a USB keyboard or screen share from somewhere else.
  • Got a mighty mouse with one of those nifty scroll balls? It doesn’t work, does it? If it does, you just bought it - wait a while.
  • Is your iTunes library on a network drive over wifi? If so, pull up a seat and admire the spinning beachball. You can also synch your ipod shuffle or iphone if you have a half hour to spare and you don’t need to catch a train.
  • Time Machine and Time Capsule? Great interface. It’ll be nice when it works.
  • Airtunes? That’ll be nice when it works, too.
  • I can share my airport with another computer wired into ethernet? Cool. When will it work though?
  • iPhone remote? If randomly flipping between airtunes speaker settings counts as “Just Works”, then yes.
  • Bought a second Mac? Did you know you can transfer all your settings and software from your old Mac? That works great. Unless of course you weren’t actually planning to throw away your old Mac.
  • Apple TV over wifi? That’s nice when it works. It’d be nicer if it worked all the time.
  • Filevault? Doesn’t work. Breaks time machine.
  • I have a USB Canon Scanner. On a Mac, it doesn’t “Just Work”. It doesn’t even work with a bit of effort. It won’t work at all. It worked with Windows, though.

As for the claims about Macs not suffering from viruses and security issues etc, that won’t last long. There is no particular technical reason why a virus would not affect a Mac, once somebody cares enough to create one. For example the browser is as riddled with security holes as any browser, and those holes are generally easier to exploit than a comparable hole on Windows. It reminds me of Netscape and Oracle years ago and their claims to have “bullet proof” security. No, they didn’t. And nor does your Mac.