“It takes years to build a reputation and minutes to destroy it.”

START-5

[this post has updates below, including a tribute to Mohammed Ali]

(Writer’s note: great thanks to Rob “Reenage EKRR” O’Connor for his help in compiling this kvetch-fest.)

5 Things: Apple Has Failed Its Core Audience

My regular readers (“Cranker Darlings”) know that I conscientiously object to a great many things. Comcast’s abysmal customer care. Amazon’s ruthless business practices. Capri pants on men.

But my biggest source of agita lately is what Apple is doing to its core principals. Before I get to that, here’s a brief synopsis of Will’s history with Apple.

• I started using Apple computers way back in the late 70s for programming dumb text commands and simple programs in DOS. My family always had some sort of Apple computer lying around the house, so my loyalty started early.
• When I went away to college, I continued to use the evolving desktop computers—for writing papers mainly, and some games.
• The computers continued to advance throughout the 90s, and I kept on selling my old computers and upgrading to new ones.
• By the time the late 90s rolled around, Apple was knee-deep in the shittiest software they’ve ever produced: OS 9. Nothing worked; all third-party programs wreaked havoc; and the company was lost in the wilderness. I actually considered switching to Windows.
• The UNIX-based OSX was launched in 2001 and, finally, the company had a software architecture that was on-par with its gorgeous hardware. It took a few years for OSX to hit its stride, but it did, and I was a happy camper again.

BONUS: APPLE DITCHING THE AUDIO PORT TO PROTECT DRM

Something else happened in 2001, too: the launch of the iPod. We all know how that turned out. Cut to today, and we’ve got a shit-ton of wrongness happening in the $700B juggernaut.

Steve Jobs brought Apple back from the brink, but now, it’s inching back to a very precarious ledge. Here are five reasons why.

  1. Yosemite OS. I still operate my machine on Mavericks, and have no intention of upgrading. None. Why? All my software went to hell in a handbasket; the OS is a huge memory hog; and I basically am offended that Apple thinks all its users want to see convergence of all mobile devices and the laptop/desktop world. They can take that plan and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
  2. Melding Laptops & Hand-helds. I alluded to this in the first bullet. Apple has a fascination with the operating environment of iOS devices: iPhones, iPads and all the other related stuff. They’ve been successful and they’re good products—I use them all. But if you read this piece from Investor Place, Apple is about to take a huge gamble on the new MacBook Pros by taking away peripheral connections and adding in software-powered OLED features. This is a recipe for disaster, in my opinion.
  3. Idiot-Proofing. Apple always seemed to have ways for the tech-obsessed to dig in the trenches and tinker easily with the things we hate, and make them work to our satisfaction. Take AirPort Utility for example. With earlier versions (5.6), we had full flexibility to manually change channels on which the wifi systems operated. Today, Airport Utility rips all functionality away so that any dingus can manage their wireless networks in the easiest way possible. For us, though, it sucks.
  4. Suck-tastic Safari. Ever since Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, decided to stop supporting Internet Explorer for Mac, we Apple users had to suffer through the dark days of Safari 1.0—where websites wouldn’t render and input fields wouldn’t work correctly. Today, Safari works well enough, but I frequently find sites that don’t render properly (i.e., YouTube) and that bury the needle on my cranky meter. Microsoft has no business NOT supporting a browser for Mac, and Apple has no business continuing to accept the shittiness of Safari. “Honestly, I find safari to be an irredeemable piece of shit,” says Rob O’Connor. And I agree.
  5. iTunes & Missed Opportunities. iTunes, by all accounts, is a hyper-bloated walking-dead software-asshole filled with loosely collected nonsense. Apple had a choice opportunity to make the software rise alongside social media, and get people chatting about the music they’re buying; sharing it across networks; and making the experience so much better than it is. Rumors abound that the Apple’s forthcoming WWDC will feature a full reboot, but we’ve heard that before.

There is much more to this story and I’ll probably do a follow piece about it later, once some of the changes shake out. But for now, I’m a lifelong MacHead in a years-long snit about how horrible things at Apple have become.

Tim Cook may have maintained profitability, but he’s taking the company in a dangerous direction of thoughtless design and even worse strategic decisions.

 

START-2

From the 1988 American Music Awards, this classic gospel number is a rousing reminder of Houston-family greatness. This was early on in Whitney’s career—before the vocal nodes and other, um, extra-curricular stuff that ruined her voice.

The lesson here is this: no matter what your gift is, protect it like a precious gem. Don’t allow yourself to slip in to neglect because you’ll regret it later.

 

START

Carpool Karaoke and James Corden are national treasures. In the above Broadway-fabulous clip, they tackle arguably the most famous song from Rent, “Seasons of Love.” Audra McDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jane Krakowski fill out the backseat along with Lin-Manuel Miranda—creator of the hit musical Hamilton.

Based on my favorate CK so far, with Adele, Corden can cut some mean harmony. Corden will be hosting the 70th Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre. That theater was where I saw the best concert in my life: the late Natalie Cole.

 

START-9

The controversial North Carolina law known as HB2 (or the “Bathroom Bill,” named by idiots who need a kitschy term to rally around) is drawing ire from all corners of society. Companies have pulled out of the state, canceled contracts, scaled down and warned of dire consequences. No peaceful HB2 protest has been fabulous. That is, until now.

Check out the cast of Kinky Boots on Broadway in “Just Pee”—sticking it to the dingus lawmakers who think they have a solution to a problem that’s only a figment of their imagination. Reminder: hysteria is not a conservative value, but it *does produce some uproarious protestations.

 

START-13

Only at a funeral for a broadly beloved international sports figure could a rabbi bring the house down. Have a look at the above clip and watch Rabbi Lerner rip Orange Satan a new one.

Muhammad Ali passed away one week ago today, Friday, and is being laid to rest today in Louisville, Ky. Although I was never a fan of boxing, what I’ve learned about him since is an astonishing profile in bravery and controlled hubris. He was a conscientious Vietnam War objector; he stubbornly stuck to his vision of a peaceful mindset. Even after 9/11:

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, he stated that “Islam is a religion of peace” and “does not promote terrorism or killing people”, and that he is “angry that the world sees a certain group of Islam followers who caused this destruction, but they are not real Muslims. They are racist fanatics who call themselves Muslims”.

The story behind “I Am Ali” orange t-shirts: a group created them for funeral ambassadors so visitors know where to go at what given time. Proceeds go to the Ali Museum.

Let’s have a look at some of Ali’s best quotes, sourced from the Twitters:

 

 

Copy of Copy of START-2

An unsuspecting Thai toilet-goer got the bite of a lifetime this week when a python snaked up through a drain and bit him right on the pecker (YouTube; h/t Stephanie Miller)… Maria Sharapova has been banned from professional tennis for two years after testing positive for meldonium; other questions remain about the future of doping in tennis and other sports (ESPN)… The United States has its first female presumptive nominee of either major political party in Hillary Clinton; she was formally endorsed by President Barack Obama today (YouTube).

 

START-14

“Always choose love.” That’s the message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s daughter, Mpho Tutu van Furth, who recently married her longtime female partner. She felt great pain because she was forced to leave the Anglican priesthood due to her marriage. The story is sad but has a beautiful message about message.

Bishop Tutu once said he’d “rather go to hell than worship a homophobic god.” Amen to that. Have a look at the clip above and your heart will be happy, I promise.

 

That’s it from me this week Cranker Darlings… We’ll see you right back here next Thursday at 2 p.m.


Will Pollock is an Atlanta-based freelance multimedia journalist and author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on TwitterFacebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.

Make sure to comment often—cranky loves company.

 

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