Friday, October 1, 2010

The iFolly

Before descending to wreak havoc upon the enemy the Barbarian Hordes were said to let loose with a chilling array of vocal sounds meant to terrify the enemy and Confederate soldiers whooped out the Rebel Yell during the American Civil War as their battle cry. Neither group has anything on the average Apple store in terms of an unholy din.

It started last February, my trusty Sony Vaio felt decidedly unwell. It wasn't actually belching out clouds of smoke and requesting the last rites, but to say it was sluggish would be to imply that it still moved and that's not accurate either. It was six-years-old but that turned out to be the extent of its lifetime. Even launching Firefox caused it to crash, and lie motionless in a fit of machine malaise the likes of which I had never seen.

So I decide to buy a Mac, my first mistake, really. It's just that everyone who has one of those things swears up and down, and down up that they are the answer to prayers. I don't think any item has quite the brand loyalty that Apple does but I'm here to tell you I'm in the dark as to why.

I decided not to take the offered tutoring classes, which was a mistake, in retrospect. It's just that since dinosaurs roamed the earth with 14400 baud modems strapped to their backs I've been using PCs and I get by just fine.

"We'll teach you how to do anything you like!" The young man said with a smile.

That should have been my first indication that I was iScrewed. . Three times I'd been shooed off of a stool since entering the store, "I'm sorry, but those are for a class that's about to start." I'm actually not blaming Apple for that. They must get a lot of looky-loos and their classes are for customers that have already purchased their products.

I heard the offer of classes, looked around at the babbling insanity that was the Park Meadows Mall Apple store and thought that only if attending classes there was a condition of the ransom for my favorite nephew (it would have to be my favorite) would I ever volunteer to hang out in the joint, trying to learn.

"You tutor people here?" I asked, and the young man cheerfully assured me they did. I couldn't figure out a polite way to say I'd rather transport directly to a Medieval Rendering of the Bowels of Hell than try to do anything there, so instead I said, "I'll be fine. If I get stumped, I'll get a book."


That was nine months ago. Nine months of searching for drop down menus that don't exist. Doing the old trial and error, but having it only end in error. I'm pretty tenacious so I kept at it, consulting the web for answers and finding helpful passages that began with things like, "Macs are very intuitive..." which I can only assume means "keep guessing" because good lord, I couldn't even save and use an image on this computer. Right clicking? There is no right click menu. Or options to delete, or really anything other than fevered prayer, as far as I can tell.

So I bought a book for Dummies, because it was clear that I qualified when it came to Macs. The first thing I did was to look up "Save Image" and that went nowhere fast. I'm an iIdiot. Do they make books for me?

For nine months whenever I wanted to use an image, or really, a computer I scurried to my trusty HP laptop. Vista, the most dreaded operating system in the world, was still the preferable option for me. Finally I decided I'd had enough and this entire week I've been beating my brains out on my Mac. One of us is going down, and I fear it is going to be me. Half the time when I touch this mouse, it immediately goes flipping back. I've lost enough text in these past nine months to crush a small nation with the sheer volume of words.

iTried. iFailed. iSwore. iTried again, and again. Finally I had some marginal success.

After a week of trying I have three things to show for my efforts. Are you ready? Here is the picture I wanted to share with you. The one that started my week long battle. I need a member of the Barbarian Hordes to scare the wits out of my Mac long enough for me to accomplish anything, but we're going to try.

If that didn't work there's going to be some iDrinking in my future.

Then I wanted to change my profile picture so I used Photo Booth to take some picture, straight from my home office to you, and I settle on this one because I look appropriately baffled in it:

However, I took photos like this:

Which was clearly a mistake. And this:

As I tried to figure out the timing on the iCamera. I think I look best in over-exposed light, by the way. That can't be a good sign.

That's when I realized something. I can't even figure out how to delete the blasted things!



At least for now.


The Bug said...

OK, I'm convinced. I'll stay in PC land. I'm probably no more intuitive than you are (actually I'm pretty sure I'm LESS intuitive than you!).

The Bug said...

By the way your pictures look great!

Saz said...

LOL..this made me laugh..l am contemplating same...will make a note to take classes..thanks...

then will probably buy another toshiba!

luv saz x

Anonymous said...

I'm a Mac fan! Once you get used to the system, you'll never go back. I promise.

Great shots!

christopher said...

You have outstanding wit and humor.

And you seem able to take nearly any task and write the perfect picture.

Good luck with your new system and photo taking.

Don said...

iLike this Land of Shrimp. Very informative.

Shrinky said...

I love your new profile pic, and don't worry, EVERYONE looks better over-exposed! You look gorgeous, so slim, young and pretty. Is that Puddles on the other one? Cu-ute, or what? As for the rest.. gahhhhhh, you have far more patience than me - I think I would have slung the heap of new technology down a chasm by now (wink). Good luck hon, seems you are winning the fight, one small victory at a time.

Tabor said...

It IS computers. I got a Windows 7 about 7 months ago and hated the fact that it would not allow any of my older software to work! It would lock up every once in a while...although brand new. Now if I turn it off and boot up it want to run chkdsk....there is a process to stop this on the net...but it is too scary geeky for me. I did use an Apple for a few months while in seclusion, but only for email and surfing the net.

ellen abbott said...

I have never had anything but Macs. Too bad you are not here, I'd have you going in no time. PCs, now, they mystify me. Oh and your pictures with IPhoto came out way better than any of mine. Maybe you're just better looking.

slommler said...

iLaugh with you!! I too will stay with my PC!! I would have thrown the thing out the window by now. You are tenacious!!
Good luck!!

Hilary said...

Oh Alane, why didn't you ask me? You'd have it figured out in no time flat. The right click thing is the only Mac feature which I hate. Its solution is simply get a better mouse.. not the standard Mac mouse.. and you're back in right click heaven again.

I owe you an email.. and a phone call. We can figure out a good time for the latter and your Mac woes will be behind you. iPromise.

And ... you're absolutely beautiful, my friend! :)

Jo said...

You look wonderful in all of those pictures...!

I have never been able to work with a MAC, so please let me know if you have any luck. In the meantime, you seem to be doing something right. :-)

Cricket said...

Heh, heh. iHave to say, I'm no tech fan, I worked with PCs forever, and have a Mac at home... iThink they're about the same, in terms of headaches.

When my wife bought the Mac, it used to drive me nuts, mostly because nothing was where I expected it to be, and the Mac definitely has its own little quirks.

iDunno. You'll probably get used to it soon enough. Honestly, iStill use my old dinosaur and it works. If there's one thing iHate, it's going for anything new when what iHave is working.

Technology is a necessary evil to me.

Funny post (of course). iShould have known you'd milk many laughs out of your hassle.

Amy said...

Alane, That is about the funniest story I ever read, EVER! So what was the outcome - are you going back to PC - did I miss something?

When I upgraded a few years ago I installed Windows XP so I wouldn't have software compatibility issues. Both of my daughters are big Apple fans, as am I - we just never went that way with the business, and, now, my needs are pretty basic. Personally, I'd love to have an IPad - note to Santa!

Puddles is beautiful as are you - oops, I should have said you FIRST! But you know what I mean - he looks a little like my Jack - but smaller.

Nice to see you back blogging - are more photos coming our way?

Pauline said...

iNever heard of anyone who's had as much difficulty with a MAC as you have! I learned on a MAC, had to switch to PCs when the school where I was working switched and ha! I had the same difficulties you're describing, only on a PC! I even owned two of them and when the time came to replace my ailing DELL, I headed for the MAC store, money in hand, and have never looked back. You couldn't give me a PC! So, what does all this mean? You were probably doing what I did - trying to operate your new computer like you did your old one. Come to my house. I'll give you lessons :)

Kraxpelax said...

The Moon
on a cat


As a native Swede, I am particularly proud of my love poetry suite Sonnets for Katie.

My Poems

My wallpaper art Babes!)


- Peter Ingestad, Sweden

Gary's third pottery blog said...

your top kinda matches the wall nicely :)

TechnoBabe said...

I used PC for years and then about five years ago switched to iMac and in about two weeks wondered why it took me so long to get the iMac. I plug something in and it is hooked up. So many steps are saved. It will take getting used to and you do need someone to walk you through the short cuts. Your pictures look great, what I mean to say is you look great in the pictures.

Land of shimp said...

Hey Bug! Thank you, by the way.

I think Macs are great if you have a lot of things you like to do with media. Not, mind you, that I've figured out how to do pretty much any of those things, but theoretically, they rock!

There are neat things about it, and I think if I just commit I'll learn to at least like the darned thing. Sooner, rather than later, my laptop is going to need to be replaced, and evidently Windows 7 baffles the heck out of people, too.

Saz, if you ever do switch? Take.The.Classes. To this day I could call up Apple and say, "I've changed my mind, I want the classes." but I'm not kidding about the atmosphere of that Apple store. I passed by it on Friday morning and even that involves walking through a veritable wall of sound.

ladyfi, I've been assured of that and I do believe you. It's just been hilarious, more than anything. For years I couldn't really, in good conscience, pay so much more for a Mac, and I yearned for one. Then I got one and ...well, I like that the little icons hop when they need to be updated.

Not precisely a ringing endorsement as of yet, "The hopping icons are really cute!"

Thank you :-)

Christopher, what a kind thing to say, and I really appreciate it. Life is a lot easier if you can laugh at yourself, you know?

Thank you, Don. Hey, I had a dream about your cloud picture, by the way. A very nice one, nothing nightmarish.

Shrinky, I think I likely would have just had a fit and fallen in it had it not been for having access to other machines. Whenever the Mac stumped me, I didn't have to continue on to the point of madness, I just made a face at it, and got my laptop.

That is Puddles! She defies all known terrier traits by seeking out the highest spot she can find everywhere. In the house, she clambers to the back of chairs (she frequently perches on the one seen behind me in the photos).

Thank you on the compliment :-) I'm far plumper than I was in previous years, but seeing as that's not going to change unless I give up eating, I'm a rounder version of the younger me.

So when I say I'm more rounded as an individual now? I'm being literal ;-)

Welcome back from seclusion, Tabor! You have so much company in the *shakes fist at Windows 7*. In fact, that was what made me decide that I was going to learn this Mac or give myself a migraine trying. My husband switched over to Windows 7 at work, and can't do a bloody thing on it. Well, he can now but when he first installed it he had a maniacal glint in his eye whenever he would detail its detractions.

Good luck with it, you can conquer!!

Hi Ellen, thank you, but I doubt I'm any cuter, and I certainly don't have fun, big pink birds for companions! I love the big flamingo.

Macs are alleged to be wonderful if you do much in media, which you, don't you? I do a ton of word processing (and by the way, figured out iWork with no problem).

That mouse thing? Wow. I think I invented an entire languages worth of new swear words. I touch it, it does the "back" action and there went my freaking text. Argh. Turns me into a salty sailor ever darned time.

Hehe, well at least I have wonderful company, SueAnn. The day I actually couldn't figure out what to do when I had a book, for Dummies, no less was the day I contemplated a little arson, I'm telling you.

Land of shimp said...

Hilary, I'm completely not kidding -- for the love of all things merciful, tell me what mouse to buy! It happened to me again yesterday. I write a fair amount and each time I that back action happens, I'm afraid I'm going to discover some deeply buried predisposition to extreme violence.

Thank you so much for your offer of help, and I'm really likely to take you up on it. For real, how the bloody hell do you delete anything on this? I tried dragging pictures to the trashcan and they pop right back into the folder. By the way, you don't even want to know how long it took me to figure out "to transfer a file, drag!"

That's intuitive? Really? Because it was a move born of sheer desperation, and a BIG, strong screwdriver (and I'm totally not talking about a Philip's head).

Thank you for the compliment :-)

Oh Jo! Thank goodness I have company! I really thought I must have some special form of learning disability because people adore these things. If I ever do have much success, I will indeed trumpet the news as nothing short of a miracle.

Star in the East "Hey, what's up with that sea just dividing like that?" "Yikes! Get a fire extinguisher! The shrubs are on fire...and now they're TALKING!"

That kind of miracle.

Cricket, I'm not kidding here, I have a friend who routinely emails me hoping that minor misfortune will befall me.

You know, someday maybe I'll be to the point of saying, "About the same" and be able to travel back and forth. However, the back action on that mouse is going to kill me dead before that, in all likelihood.

I mean, you've seen how much I can write at a sitting. Now imagine the moment I'm done, reach for the mouse...and it all disappears into the ether.

Kind of impressed that I haven't actually taken an axe to the darned thing, aren't you? Well, at least I am. Admittedly, a contributing factor may be that I don't own an axe.

Land of shimp said...

Amy, thank you :-) Although I hope you've read funnier things and had better laughs, that was still a really nice thing to read from my perspective.

Thank you on both counts, and hey, I'd rank Puddles above me, too! She's so cute, it's like a weapon. Weapon's grade cuteness. We love her and have a lot of fun with her. Do you remember pictures of the slide on the pool at all? That big, rocky thing? She hops up and down that all the time.

Sincerely, my biggest gripe (oft repeated just in replying to comments) is that *insert string of shocking profanity, said with great conviction* mouse issue.

I think I'm descended from a Berserker or a Crusader, or some exceptionally bloody-thirsty rabble-rouser because every time it happens, I have to leave the room, lest I just start gibbering and laying waste to the joint.

I am trying on photos, and I have some cute ones. I'm still kind of surprised I actually figured out how to upload them from here.

I hope Santa is good to you :-)

Hehehe! Well I'm...errr....special, Pauline. I know, I know, Mac owners all look at me like I've lost my mind on this issue. I'm really very good at PCs. One of those "Give it to me, I'll figure it out." because I'm not afraid of trying to do things. I figured that would work in my favor on a Mac, but no. Instead I appear to have discovered some latent learning disability.

Plus, have I mentioned the mouse I want to destroy with a Sledgehammer? Now, to own the fact that it is more me than the computer, let me just say, until Hilary mentioned getting a different one, it never occurred to me.

I actually had to pay extra for a full size keyboard (I need the 10 key setup) and was told that this was the ONLY kind of mouse Apple produced. No kidding. I stupidly believed that.

You know the funny thing though? When you say, "I can't figure out how to do anything on a PC." I can completely understand how that would be. You really do have to search like crazy on the darned things.

Like the day I had to figure out how to apply a watermark in Word when converting a Word Perfect document. I'll spare you the actual language I used but it might actually have put the average clergy into a deep coma.

Kraxeplax, I realize you're a spammer, but the poem is still cracking me up, so I'll leave your comment. It's going to be a replying Woof the next time though.

Heh, yeah, I didn't plan that Gary but let's just say I'm not afraid of color, shall we? Remember your Seuss vase? It's on a bookshelf to my right (as I face the camera). It gets along quite nicely in here.

Although it is alarmingly prone to singing sea shanties ;-)

Thank you, Techno Babe. I will admit that is a nice feature. Actually, it was a nice feature just taking it out of the box, plugging two things in and that was it. Ready to go. No endless hunts for drivers on the printer, etc.

We'll see. Although I still reserve the right to go all Colonel Mustard in the Office with a Candlestick on this thing if things don't improve :-)

Nick said...

Maybe you shoudl change you blog title to iShrimp.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write a long and insightful comment on my latest post.


Suldog said...

Since I'm utterly unable to comment in any reasonable way concerning the computer stuff (I'm as unknowing concerning it as some folks are who drop by and read my posts about fast-pitch softball) I'll say that your photos are wonderful. And I mean all of them. A good-looker like you can't really be complaining about bad photos of yourself, right?

DISCLAIMER: Very Happily Married. Can't Hurt To Look.

Frank Baron said...

Well, you write well, and you're cute as a bug, but you can't be overly bright if you bought a Mac.


Ow!! Stop it Hilary!! Hitting is Not allowed on the Internet! Everybody knows that!! Now cut it out!!

Note to self: Comment after she's gone to bed....

Clowncar said...

for ice cream?

"14400 baud modem." funny. that brings back some memories. those cute little baby modems.

Nancy said...

I have the same problem. I have a Mac, but I know I only use a very small portion of what it does. However, sitting in a class is not for me - they simply don't speak slowly enough, and they always look like you're an idiot when they have to repeat something a million times. Arghhh

Great pics of you, though, and the dog one is beautiful with the sky.

Land of shimp said...

I'll take that under advisement, Nick :-) Thank you for stopping by!

You're welcome, ladyfi. Sorry about the typos, by the way.

Thanks, Jim :-) No offense taken, and I do know you are very happily married, as am I. Eh, you know, to me I look odd/old/fat in all pictures...but I never go a full day without my husband telling me he thinks highly of my appearance...I don't think we have a fair view of ourselves, you know?

Thank you for the compliment, by the way. It was very kind of you.

Hehehe! Get 'im Hilary!! Hi Frank, lord of the fishing, feared in the guppy schools, legend of lake :-)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm a really dunderhead ;-) Cute as a bug? Well, normally I'd say, "But how do you feel about bugs?"

In your case, I already know, so I thank you.

Clown car, and the noise!! Don't forget the connection noise :-)

I always want ice cream, by the way. Ice cream. Ice cream. Where was I?

Thank you on so many fronts, Nancy! I could just cheer for sheer joy that someone else has had this problem. Uh, not that I wish problems on anyone get my point.

Hurray, I'm not an idiot!

Thank you and isn't that just a gorgeous shot of Puddles...and by that I mean...holy smokes, look how pretty it where Pud is! Rob took it, by the way, so I'm not crowing about my photographic ability (because I have none) but rather...isn't it pretty there? I feel really lucky that we get to see things that are so lovely, as a matter of course.

ds said...

Mr. L-S has a Mac, now, and just iLoves it to pieces, figuratively speaking. I remain loyal to my aging PC, which has no camera :D and no Vista, but does have Word 2003. I figure that puts me somewhere in the Devonian period, technologically speaking. It's nice here.

But I have lusted (in my mind) after Macs, and so admire your leap into the 21st century as well as your iWit. So don't iQuit.
Your photos are gorgeous, and so are you. You'll trump those iGeniuses in no time!!

Kerry said...

Three years ago my husband gave me a Mac for Christmas, after our PC went down with viruses too terrible to fix. iWish iHadTaken a class, because there are still things iMisunderstand. It is not intuitive no matter what they all say! I still don't really get iPhoto and I mess with pictures constantly. We just got Adobe Elements b/c it's supposed to be better, but I have a terrible feeling that it won't be all that easy either.

Shrinky's comment is awesome: we all look better over-exposed, yeah!

Carolina said...

Very funny post. Great photos too. So... you are gorgeous, funny and a great writer. I might have to hate you ;-)
Good luck with your iTroubles.

Land of shimp said...

Hi ds :-) That's the thing, the majority of what I do on a PC involves word processing, so a lot of the nifty stuff on a Mac -- even if I could figure out how to use it -- wouldn't necessarily impress me.

Kerry, thank goodness I'm not alone in thinking the "intuitive" thing is just a load of crap. What are we supposed to do? Meditate, repeat a mantra, and hope the answer descends from on high?

Intuitive? I prefer explained!

Thanks very much, Carolina :-) I know that's actually a high form of compliment, and I do appreciate it.

Carolynn said...

Love your writing. I'm a pc'er all the way. Although, I've heard the same incredible testimonials about Mac, too. I'm wondering if it's not just a ruse to get more people to join them in their iMistake.

Carolynn said...

BTW, great photos, even the blown out ones. :o)

laughingwolf said...

all ya hadda do was ask!,+the+little+mac&source=bl&ots=Rv1VVfX5HL&sig=NFSa3Xy0SLdxrFNUE6fN-wEcmhg&hl=en&ei=aQ6-TJejKYaKlwfehNXoBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&sqi=2&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

she gives you the ins/outs of macs of all kinds...

i own 5 macs, 2 windbloze machines... love macs more

Kerry said...

I came back to share my disastrous event with iPhoto. This past week I deleted (irrevocably) ALL of my picture files because I did not understand that they were saved in Pictures, and that iPhoto doesn't save them within itself. Lazy as I am, I hadn't backed most of them up in other places. I feel like an idiot.

Land of shimp said...

Oh Kerry! Oh No!!!!

I'm so sorry, that must have been an "Expletive Deleted" moment times ten. Ay yi yi.

Don't feel foolish, seriously. For all that people rave about how marvelous macs are, this whole "intuitive" business actually seems to mean that nothing is explained in concrete terms very well.

Oh lord. I'm sorry that happened.

Thank you, Laughing Wolf!

I'm sorry I sometimes miss comments, by the way, but if I don't reply to you here, I'll absolutely get over to your blog and say things there :-)

laughingwolf said...

most welcome... robin williams, the computer expert, has written about macs for years, she knows more'n most folk about what makes it a great platform/machine

just don't think a mac is a win[dows] computer... all computing systems are NOT the same... similar, but only to a point

a different thought process is in order, then you'll see why we rave about macs....

afterthoughtcomposer said...

How come you are so funny! Dang. I am officially sucked in.

Ruth said...

igoogle works when I'm trying to navigate the world of my Mac.

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