In Which I Decide to Become a Luddite


August 5, 2011 by Leah

Dear Apple,

You suck.

I hadn’t synced my iPhone with iTunes in ages, and when I plugged in the phone a few months ago, I discovered I had missed five bazillion updates! (Mind you, I can only buy wireless internet at my house and am therefore locked into a contract that gives us 5GB of bandwidth per month. Your incessant updates for iTunes and iPhone and iWhatever seem to use like half of that.) So, I updated the iPhone software, which had the effect of erasing all the saved data in my apps. ALL of it. With no warning.

Then, I decided that I was getting sick of my phone not ringing and switching its sound off and on several times a day.  I went to my local Apple Store. Boy, was that overwhelming (and the glaring whiteness made me feel like I was in a mental institution). After figuring out the arcane process for getting attention, I talked to a specialist (er, “genius”). After a 30-minute wait. I explained the problem (sound switches itself on and off, mute switch appears to be malfunctioning). The “genius” said, “yep, that’s the mute switch,” and started carrying my phone away while telling me that, since I was just out of warranty, I had the unique opportunity to “upgrade” to an iPhone 4 for $200.

I literally snatched my phone back from the man.

“So you’re telling me you can’t fix this tiny switch,” I said.

“Yes, but blah blah blah upgrade,” said the man.

I took my phone and ran. It still functions. Freaking planned obsolescence and throwaway technology.

Cut to last week (and the next two paragraphs have nothing to do with Apple). We’d just gotten back from three weeks in Europe and downloaded all our photos to my trusty Dell with the extended-life battery that had seen me through two out of two and a half years of graduate school. Trusty Dell imploded into blue screen and startup errors. We decided it was irreparable. I wasn’t too upset because we have two other computers (Aaron’s old desktop which he never uses and the laptop he bought when he moved to Long Beach so we could Skype while I was still in Anchorage). Also, I had set up a regular backup schedule for my computer like six weeks before vacation, and I had a backup from within a week before we left. I was SO smug.

We bought $100 worth of security software for Aaron’s laptop and hooked it up as our main computer. It turned out that when you set up Windows to do your backups, you get these mysterious files called “backup files.” In “backup” formats. Apparently you can’t just go in and select files (like the 16 gigs of audio files I like to have available at all times) to transfer, you must attempt to bring your entire computer back to life again on another machine. Which is not going to happen.

I was already sad to have lost access to a couple of games (you know, the ones where you lost the original installation disc and had been running expansion pack discs for years) and all my music, but was consoled by the fact that I had said music (and the audiobooks I’d painstakingly ripped to my computer) on my iPhone.

Today, I decided to download some more audiobooks from the library. (I’ve been neglecting my knitting lately.) I dutifully downloaded iTunes and Overdrive Media Console to this computer, and then discovered the following:

1. There is yet another iPhone software update.

2. I can’t transfer Overdrive audiobooks to iPhone without ticking a box that says “Manually manage music and videos.” The iPhone is synced to a different (and defunct) iTunes library. I am ONLY allowed to tick the aforementioned box if I agree to “Erase and Sync” the iPhone to the NEW iTunes library. The new iTunes library has 6 gigs of music, 98% of which are my husband’s scary heavy metal albums. (For reference, I like The Decemberists, Scottish folk music, and singer-songwriter types.)

WHY must they make it so hard?! I’ve now used precious bandwidth to download audiobooks to which I can’t even listen unless I sit in front of my computer (and who wants to do that?)! Augh!


3 thoughts on “In Which I Decide to Become a Luddite

  1. Josh R says:

    Relevant (from Serenity, 2005):

    The Operative: I’m sorry. If your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to. You should have taken my offer. Or did you think none of this was your fault?
    Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: I don’t murder children.
    The Operative: I do. If I have to.
    Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Why? Do you even know why they sent you?
    The Operative: It’s not my place to ask. I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin.
    Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: So me and mine gotta lay down and die… so you can live in your better world?
    The Operative: I’m not going to live there. There’s no place for me there… any more than there is for you. Malcolm… I’m a monster.What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.

    My apologies for your troubles. There are better ways, even if they are not the most obvious.

  2. kim_f says:

    UGH. I haven’t had that problem with my (still very new to me) iPhone yet… but I’ve had that problem with other phones. (Them still being essentially functional, but AT&T attempting to force me into buying a brand new phone instead of keeping the phone I like and restoring it to full functionality.) It is SO frustrating! I bet if you google enough, especially living in SoCal, you can find someone who can help repair it for you!

    Two other thoughts which may or may not have already occurred to you:

    1. You might be able to get a computer geek-repair place to get all of your data off of the old hard drive? I’ve had a few computers die that were beyond repair, but AK Computer Geeks was able to save all my data anyway.

    2. I HIHGLY recommend Norton Ghost for backups. It does allow you to select just specific files for restoration and is WONDERFUL. I’ve been able to use that both to restore systems that weren’t beyond repair, and just to save files from systems that were beyond repair, onto new systems…

    Oh, actually, I just thought of one more thought:

    You can authorize multiple itunes accounts one computer… I think doing that will allow you to at least access all of your purchased-through-itunes items and sync them. It’s perhaps not everything, but a lot?

    Good luck! I definitely feel your frustration!

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