Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Has ’1984’ come to Apple’s Macintosh?

The first Macintosh ad was for the 1984 SuperBowl.  You can find many copies on YouTube such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UZV7PDt8Lw.  The final line was “why 1984 won’t be like ’1984’.

The whole idea of the original Macintosh was that you didn’t need to type in complex instructions to get anything done.  You selected your choices from a menu and you got a window.  In the window you got pictures to look at and icons for any warnings.  Whether disparagingly by PC users or lovingly by Mac users, it was called WIMP.

Several years later, Apple produced the “I’m a Mac; I’m a PC” ads.  These stressed the multitude of fun things that could be done on a Mac right out of the box and implied it was difficult to do these things on a PC without add-ons.  You can see some of these at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCL5UgxtoLs.

To me, as an almost 30 year user of Macs (September 1984), the Mac was a delight to use and program for.  Then the new whiz kids decided that it should be programmed in C rather than Pascal.  To me, C stood for complex, and I had programmed mainframes with line-at-a-time assemblers.

It is mind-boggling how much more I can do now than thirty years ago, but with OS X things seem to have gone downhill.  Or rather it is an uphill job to figure out what is going wrong.  The response time seems to get worse with every new operating system.

I’m not alone with this judgment.  Apple’s “Community” seems filled with complaints about things that don’t work correctly.

Advice to correct the problem includes:

Enter the following command in the Terminal window in the same way as before (triple-click, copy, and paste):
{ sudo chflags -R nouchg,nouappnd ~ $TMPDIR..; sudo chown -R $UID:staff ~ $_; sudo chmod -R

In the 1980s it was said that Mac users didn’t read manuals.  I often found that the only reason I needed a manual was for how to type letters with diacritical marks, such as å, é, î, and ö.  Now I find I am going to the “Community” at least once a month for some problem.

These kind of problems may be happening to users with two or more year-old computers; Apple’s programmers are likely to be using computers that are less than a year old, and they probably don’t have the time to test the new software on older computers than those on their desks.

I may be on to something here.  My wife’s iMac is a year newer than my MacBook Pro.  Other than updates within a major level, she is still using the same operating system that came with her computer.  Meanwhile, I’ve updated two levels since I bought mine, skipped one level because of the problem I mentioned in the last paragraph, and then fell for the enticements to move to the latest OS, Mavericks.  This had many benefits, but I keep wondering if they do outweigh the problems.