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January 14, 2015

It (Used to) Just Works

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am


Decades ago, Apple Computer made computers you wanted. I lusted after my Macintosh SE 30.I couldn’t wait to get my next Mac Pro upgrade. It’s all sexy hardware, and that’s what Apple does well, but the software also counts for something.

The old Apple motto was “It just works.” That was true for the most part. Unlike Windows, which was designed to run on any old mish-mash PC, Apple had the luxury of hosting its software on a specific hardware platform. It just worked because Apple never had to mess with multiple drivers, CONFIG.SYS, IRQs, or any of the other problems that routinely plagued PC owners.

Can that motto still be used today?

Blogger Marco Arment of doesn’t believe so.

In a recent post, Marco comments on how Apple’s insistence upon releasing a new, feature-laden version of OS X every year is taxing the ability for Apple software to just work. In fact, he writes:

Just a few years ago, we would have relentlessly made fun of Windows users for these same bugs on their inferior OS, but we can’t talk anymore.

Hear, hear!

The OS X Mavericks (10.9) update was free. I passed.

The OS X Yosemite (10.10) update is free. I’m passing.

I was angry when I had to update my Mac to OS X Mountain Lion (10.8), the version currently installed. I had Snow Leopard (10.6) and I was very pleased. Even though Mountain Lion offers a few more features, I’ve disabled most of them.

Steve Jobs, I think you’re great, but I don’t believe in bringing iOS “back to the Mac.” I don’t want a mobile operating system on my desktop computer. I believe Microsoft learned that lesson with Windows 8. By being forced to keep an annual update path, Apple is making OS X more like iOS every turn. It’s starting to make OS X suck.

That brings me to Linux as a potential alternative to OS X.

Right away, I can promise I would never simply retire my Mac and use Windows. I tried that once and I was disappointed. The key software I use on my Macintosh is the Adobe Creative Suite. It’s available for the PC, but not for Linux. So I’m in a quandary.

For now, I’m going to hang on to my vintage 2010 iMac. It probably has another couple of years left in it. If I have to upgrade, then I’m really going to look at OS X 10.12 or whatever to see whether or not I’m wasting my time, or ready to just make the switch to Linux.

Before you comment, I’m aware that similar programs to the Adobe Creative Suite are available. I’ve used the GIMP. I know that I could tolerate being creative with alternatives. My comfort zone remains with Adobe — even though they’re overpriced and all that. I’m just not ready to give up on them yet.


  1. Thing I have always wondered about Apple is they do tell you all the important info (the manual seem to have all the data in, even down to case screw sizes) the Apple ][ had lots of third party stuff for it, have Apple not released the driver info. Fire Wire was going to rule (I had an old PC with a Fire Wire card in it so they can’t have kept too secret…)but the driver process was too involved which is why USB with the ‘thats that issue solved, lets get a little more speed attitude’ won??

    Comment by glennp — January 15, 2015 @ 3:25 pm

  2. IBM copied the Apple II’s open architecture. They did the same thing: Listed all the hardware diagrams and specifications, documented all the software. The key word here is “open,” which is what motivated a lot of the geeks to create their own wonderful stuff for the Apple II — and the original IBM PC. The closed architecture of the Mac allowed for more control by Apple. The benefit was that “it just works.” Even today, the systems are mostly closed and Apple wants you to play in their walled garden with the App Store and all the other restrictions.

    Then again, we have a different breed of user today. They want it to work and they’re not into hacking.

    Comment by admin — January 16, 2015 @ 9:09 am

  3. ? thats what the fun was…then I got a proper job and after that the attraction of developing spots playing with computer night & now day seemed less attractive…

    Comment by glennp — January 18, 2015 @ 2:59 pm

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