Saturday, December 26, 2015

I'm really beginning to hate Apple and their Mac App Store

I've been an Apple Macintosh user since 1993.  I'd been using various Atari computers and played with a IBM L40SX laptop computer for about two years when the PS/2 mouse port died.  At that point, the US$6000 laptop computer that I bought for roughly $1500 was too expensive to repair and the contract required a solution.  They gave me $1000 and asked me to give them the computer.  I agreed.  Windows 3.1 had been a royal pain and DOS, more of a pain.

I eagerly went to OfficeMax and bought a Mac Performa something or other.  In any case, it's been a long time and several machines.

Before the PowerPC years, they were stuck because Motorola couldn't deliver a more powerful processor than the 68040.  The System 7 operating system because Mac OS 8 after they couldn't figure out what they were doing and scrapped the real Mac OS 8.  Mac OS 8.5 was a substantial difference, as were 9.0, 9.1, and 9.2.  Unfortunately, the MultiFinder architecture for cooperative multi-tasking was ancient.  Steve Jobs' return with NeXTStep made a difference.  Thanks go to Ellen Hancock.

It has been a horribly bumpy road and as Mac OS X hit 10.3.4, it became good enough to forget dual-booting into Mac OS 9.2.2 forever.  Unfortunately, 10.4.10 was probably the last full quality release.  Sadly, Windows of the time wasn't good and Linux was only usable by people who enjoyed frustration.

As of Mac OS X 10.7, Apple started to bring the frustration and Windows 7 started to bring ease-of-use.  The whole Mac App Store and downloading the operating system was messed up and still is.  It's amazing how I can download system software smoothly but the applications from the Mac App Store are usually problematic in downloads.  Apple doesn't test for real life, apparently.  When I had contacted the Mac App Store support, it was a problem with two or three applications, with other applications working fine in the downloads between the problematic ones.  I was told that whatever problems I was having was my problem, not theirs.

My latest mid-2012 MacBook Pro is working on 10.9.5, even though it started on 10.7.  It wasn't easy to get there.  I was going to drop off my machine at the Apple Store to be updated to 10.10.5 but I waited a bit too long and they removed the option.

Unfortunately, all this mess with the Mac App Store has left me in a mess that I found today.  I can't open my spreadsheet files that the current version of Numbers has been updating.  Somehow, the files were somehow upgraded to a newer version than what I have, in a failed download from the Mac App Store just after I updated to 10.9.5.

I was trying to update my spreadsheet with serial numbers.  Now, I only have a .pdf version of it.  As well, my Pages files complained but they worked.

Now, I have a machine I don't trust much.  I'm wondering if anything else has gone wrong.  Thankfully (and hopefully), I'm limited to Apple's applications and their ridiculous application store.

Given that I recently picked up a Windows 10 machine, I'm thinking that Apple could lose my business.  I'm betting that Corel wants my money for office software, as well as, creative software.  Phase One already has Windows versions and besides, the newest version for Mac doesn't run on anything but the latest 10.11.x operating system.  I think my Apple Care plan has been finished, so I don't have any easy way to upgrade the operating system.

I'm not saying that the US$750 machine could replace my US$2300 machine for speed but functionality probably isn't a problem.

I never thought that I would say that any version of Windows was smoother than Mac OS X but it's pretty much the truth.  Windows 7 proved that Microsoft could make Windows get out of the way when you just wanted to work.  It wasn't foolproof but it was much better than all of the previous versions.

Windows 10 seems to greatly improve on that.  The Windows App Store works brilliantly well.  Being able to use touch-enabled displays is interesting and it works but it doesn't seem great yet.  Folding the laptop computer into different shapes works well enough, but it doesn't automatically switch enough automagically.  They'll probably get there.  They want the desktop back.  I might be willing after all these years.

Update 2015.12.30: I was trying to download Evernote several times--at least, 6, from the Purchases pages, since it wouldn't work from the Update page and I noticed a problem with Numbers--from last year after my computer was updated to 10.9.5.  It never completed while inside of the Apple Store on their network.

Having been at the car dealership for service today, I used their network, which isn't any faster than my mobile hotspot to update everything but it worked.  I know that I shouldn't trust open networks, but it worked, rather than my safe mobile hotspot.  I can access my spreadsheets again.  Apple needs to test in real-life situations, not just the best, easiest situations.

There are several versions of the iWork applications since then, and they show up in Incompatible Updates, along with the latest version (4.0.0) of Twitter.  How is it that they could be incompatible when they shouldn't be tied so closely to the operating system?  I'm remembering how Microsoft Office was using hidden APIs to make it faster than the competition and yet, the DoJ under George W Bush ignored this kind of thing and wanted to watch their accounting practices instead.

Apple seems to be just as back-handed some days.  Why should Safari updates require a restart when Chrome and Firefox updates don't.

In any case, the road is smoother but it will become bumpy again, I'm sure.

Update 2016.01.27: Since upgrading to 10.11.3, the Mac App Store seems somewhat better.  I'll wait to see how it handles non-Apple applications before saying that it's running smoothly, but I have hopes.

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