Monday, February 13, 2012

Recovering from Mac, Part 2

OK, if you just found this blog and you're seeing this post, you should be aware that this is a part in a series (that's why it's called Part 2 =D ) and it's not, despite the name, flame bate. I'm a former Mac user and I found out that Mac isn't all it's cracked up to be, but what is? All computers are going to frustrate you, it's just a matter of how they frustrate you!

Anyways, Mac is headed in a very specific direction. It started on the path a long time ago but nobody saw it...until it was too late!  Too much drama? OK, but seriously, Mac obviously has a very clear idea of where it is heading. If people are ok with that, then that's great! they should keep using their Mac. Just like if you're a gamer, you should hang onto Windows until games get serious about working on Mac or Linux. Meaning you'll be using Windows forever.

Where Mac is heading, is toward a kiosk-mode that has very specific things you can do on it. If you don't like how it's done on Mac, then don't use a Mac. Sure there will always be lifehacker and machack sites that give you a way around the things you really hate, but then you're forever swimming against the tide and after a little while that gets really tiring and you also start to see a lot of things break that you didn't want to break. I know, I've done it.

One major event that I will probably never forget, probably because I'm still recovering from it today, is when I got an emusic gift card for christmas, and went and spent the entire card in one sitting. So I instantly had all of these great mp3s that I'd wanted for a long time, and I spent all afternoon organizing them exactly the way I wanted to use them. I had them in folders and albums and they were named very specifically. I was happy.

Then I put them into iTunes.

Holy hell, it was the worst idea I've ever had. iTunes moved all of my songs out of the folders I'd so carefully placed them into, renamed them, and basically undid everything I'd just spent three hours working on, being the music nerd I am. I was so angry, I can't even describe it, at least not in terms appropriate for the web.

When I finally got into Linux, I was moving all my data from my Mac to my new computer, so I exported all that music to a data DVD through iTunes, and that was even worse. It numbered every song to match the order they happened to be in when I exported them to the DVD, which was basically completely wrong (I think I had listed them alphabetically by song title or something retarded like that, because I didn't know that iTunes was going to lock that order into my export).

To this day, I still am finding folders of music completely out of order, forcing me to go through their id3 tags and re-order them manually.

The moral of that story is that any computer that overrides your work like that, is not a computer I want to use. I know there's a preference somewhere in iTunes that will give you a little more control, so partly it was my fault for not knowing the software better. But the bottom line is that I was doing what anyone using music on a computer would think to do, and it altered my data, seized control of the stuff that I'd bought and did whatever the hell it wanted.

Not cool.

Unforunately, that's only one example out of all the ways that Macs ensure you're doing everything the Mac way. Increasingly, Mac is removing the concept of Preferences, which is why you see all of those scary "defaults write bool=YES" hacks online, when people just want to do stupid-simple things like enable Quicktime to open without resuming in the middle of a previous movie.

I didn't pay $1000 or $2000 to fight my computer on a daily basis, and I didn't pay $1000 or $2000 to submit to Mac's supreme Will.

Skeptics will point out that instead I'll pay $500 or $900 only to have to learn Linux and all of the weird ways it works, and I'll agree that if you're thinking of moving to Linux then you have to be ready for a major learning curve! Learning curve doesn't even describe it. It's more like the scene in V for Vendetta where Natalie Portman gets basically brainwashed by Guy Fawkes (in the prison).

It is some seriously tough shit but do you know the difference?

On Mac, you're buying into something that you then have to fight against, tooth and nail, to do what you want. 

On Linux, you invest in learning something one time, and after that you get to do whatever the hell you want.


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