Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Dear Steve,

I adore you. I've been a fan of yours since I got my first iBook four years ago -- it was only a couple of months until I got my first iPod.
I've told my boss that if I ever call in sick in mid-January, its a safe bet that I'm actually playing hookey to go to Mac World in SF. I really want to see your keynote speech someday.
I like your casual jeans and mock turtle neck.
I thought that walking out in front of the Mark Twain quote, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated", at the launch of the latest generation of iPods was quite clever.
To sum it up - I am a huge fan of you and your empire and am sure that I will be for life. Its because of this that I have to ask you one very direct, and rather difficult, question:

Why do you hate me so?

I got my first iBook, a G4, in July of 2004 as a gift from my eldest aunt. I LOVED IT! Finally I had a computer that didn't continuously crash on me, that I didn't have to "defragment" (whatever the hell that means, I never really understood and don't particularly care to) all the time. I didn't have to consistently run virus sweeps. The best part? It was EASY to use! Intuitive! Plus it was pretty and stylish! I love the white casing - so much prettier than the clunky black of your competitors. Yes, I know that some other computer companies offer laptops in a wide rainbow of colors now, but I still love the pristine white Mac.
The iBook served me very well up until this past spring. Then it started behaving very... weirdly.
Of course, I had been spouting off the wonders of Mac, how much I love you, how I'd had this iBook for four years with absolutely NO problems whatsoever, how EVERYONE should have a Mac.
Within a week, I started having problems. Naturally.
I used it to watch DVDs and to catch up on my favorite TV shows online. All of a sudden, I would be in the middle of watching something, and the screen would go black and the sound would cut out. Almost as if I had turned the iBook off, except I could still hear the hard drive (or at least what I think is the hard drive) running. It woulldn't respond to anything on the keyboard or touchpad, but I could turn it off via the power button. Then, when I turned it back on via the power button it would usually turn back on (with the hard drive running loudly) and start up okay, but other times when I turned it on via the power button, and only the hard drive would run. Then sometimes when I would restart the iBook, the date would be set for something crazy, like 1981 or something like that. NUTTY!
I spoke with a friend who used to work for you and he told me that there was a known problem with the cold solder graphics on that years machines and that he thought it sounded like that was the issue. The problem? I was well beyond any warranty. Sucked to be me. He did offer me the suggestion of resetting the power manager by OPTION+SHIFT+CTRL+POWER or by starting up in safe mode. These solutions worked a couple of times only, then all of a sudden the iBook wouldn't power up at all. No way, no how. REALLY REALLY REALLY sucked to be me. I only lost a few casual photos. Thankfully I had everything else backed up to an external hard drive.
I was without a computer for a couple of months.
Then something miraculous happened. I cried my tale of iBook woe to my wonderfully generous aunt, and she bequeathed to me an old PowerBook G4 that she had upgraded from. We installed the latest OS and hallelujah, I was back in business.
Then things got a little sticky again. The USB ports won't recognize anything I plug in. Not my external hard drive, not my ipod, nothing. All I get is some odd message saying something about an unrecognizable device. WEIRD. Then I go to watch one of my favorite shows online and theres no sound. Same thing with DVDs. Evidently something is a little wonky with the sound card I assume.
But, I can email, blog, and photoshop to my hearts content.
That is my tragic story with the iBook/PowerBook.

Now, for the iPod. Not all of these are technical issues. They're not all your fault, Steve. Some of them are my own clumsiness. I understand this.
My first iPod fell victim to a cup of coffee. Yes, a cup of coffee. I'm driving to work, not paying attention to the road while I scroll through my playlists thinking "Do I want some George Michael to pep me up this morning or am I wanting something a little more current? Maybe some Beyonce?" When I look up and see that I have to slam on the brakes. As I slam on the brakes, my iPod slips out of my hand and into my cup of coffee. I cursed. Profusely.
At the time I was a little short on cash flow, as I usually am, so I found an iPod nano on ebay to hold me over until I could get a real one (the nano won't hold my entire music collection - I have something along the lines of 18GB of music and the nano was only 8GB). That one lasted a while, although it was a little frustrating to have only half of my music collection on there. Then, I let the battery go completely dead one day. It would never power back on. I'm thinking that it may make a rather cool fish tank ornament, dontcha think?
I did eventually get another iPod. Then my car got broken into. Buh-bye iPod.
I got another iPod, a refurb (again - low cash flow), and have been loving it for nearly two years. It has been fantastic. I've been grooving along on my commute, blocking out annoying seatmates on flights, its been great. I even downloaded podcasts for some recent trips I took that provided me with guided tours of attractions and helped me to learn other languages! I LOVE THE IPOD!
Then, tragedy struck.
Last week, my iPod suddenly froze up on me. No big deal, right? I can just reset it. So, I did. Everything seemed fine, until I went to play the iPod in my car the next morning. I selected a song, the music started, and then the music kept going, but with no lyrics. No lyrics? Thats right, no lyrics. The music is playing, and I can hear the back up singers just fine. What I couldn't hear was the main vocals. It was as if I were listening to a karaoke track. It does this with every song in my iPod. It is very very very frustrating.
So, I would go out and get a new iPod BUT I would have a problem getting my music library on it since my PowerBook won't recognize anything that I plug into any of the USB ports.
I would love to get one of the new MacBooks with 4GB memory and 250 GB Hard Drive (between my music collection and photographs, I need quite a bit of storage space), but those START at $1,600! $1,600? Seriously? I can barely afford to put gas in my car! If I had that kind of money, I'd spend a week or two in Europe!
Then I'd be looking at another $250 for the iPod (or $400 for the iPod touch, which I'll admit, I really would like). And since I'm at it I may as well admit that I am deeply, madly, ravenously in lust with the iPhone (white!) and of course, thats another $300. Plus $150 to break my contract with my current cell phone carrier.
So, what are we up to now? Anywhere between $2,150 to $2,300? Or more if I add on any applications/programs/accessories. Could I just give you some of my eggs? How about a few pints of blood? I am O-/CMV-... a true Universal Donor.
I absolutely love your products. They're beyond fantastic, I just wish they could be more affordable.

who does not want to have to break down and buy a Dell and/or a Zune but is afraid that she may have to considering the current economic situations.


Shauna said...

I bought a Dell about 6 years ago that still runs perfectly. I've never had any problems with it. Not as trendy as a Mac, but whatever.

Jesse Harris said...

This was awesome enough that I submitted it to Comsumerist. Maybe you'll make the front page.

Anonymous said...

I just can't believe that your computer lasted 4 years at all. Our computers (if they ever work correctly in the first place) only last about 2.

Vanessa said...

I do have to point out one thing....

My ipod didn't turn into a kPod (karaoke-pod) until the day before the latest generations of iPods were launched.

Yes, the iBook lasted FOUR YEARS!!!
It's fantastic -- this is why I love Macs so dang much and sing their praises all the time.
My grandmother has an iMac desktop computer that will be five years old next month and its still chugging along beautifully