Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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771 words

I’ve been across town this afternoon and experienced the following levels of idiocy.

Chapter Ⅰ: Personal

… consisting of myself arriving at the library with a book to return. Just that it wasn’t the book I wanted to return. Darn!

Chapter Ⅱ: Usual

I am now on my fourth(!) portable Mac in this millenium and each of the machines I had came with its share of technical problems and longing for constant care and repairs. It looks that my current MacBook after a few months in my possession wants to be included in that cycle again. The machine died on me four times in the past week. Whenever it ran out of battery power and was supposed to go to deep sleep, it just apparently did so. However, when starting the machine again after connecting it to mains power the unpleasant surprise was that it looked like it was recovering from deep sleep for a few seconds. But then it just restarted normally, losing my saved state.

Not only is this a problem I had with the previous MacBook as well – and taking into account my knowledge from the previous one my guess is that I once again got a wonky battery in this one –  it’s also a rather grave problem. It’s a data loss problem. And it really is something Apple should take seriously.

The repair guy in the local Apple shop (freshly renovated, nice and clean looking!) just went on holidays so it’ll be two weeks before I can get this fixed. Still better than having to deal with AppleCare on the phone, though. I also tried the new keyboard while I was there and it feels much too soft for my taste. Pretty much like the MacBook’s, although I had the impression it might be even more soft than that.

Chapter Ⅲ: Global

Consider the mobile telephony companies. Huge companies. Billions of monetary units wasted there. And some of them are even global players. But do you think they manage to actually offer anything decent? Or even intelligent?

My parents were told that the best way to get internet for some months in South Africa would be using some 3G network. Prices for that aren’t more extortionate down there than they’d be around here and all the other options would probably end up being very expensive, impossible to get for just a short period of time or with too much red tape attached to them. So far so easy. Unfortunately none of us has (had) any clue about wireless phone internet.

My idea was that you’d just buy a UMTS ‘modem’ or whatever, chuck it into the computer and then get one of these mobile phone chip thingies with appropriate mobile contract down there. As far as we could tell from the web, you can get those chips even with monthly contracts that have no minimum duration and some fixed bandwidth allotment. So far so good. But you need the ‘modem’ (yeah wrong word…) for that.

And these things seem to be really hard to get. And very expensive. In particular, mobile phone people around here just don’t seem to be willing to sell one of these to you. Particularly if you want them without a contract or a lock on German networks. WTF? 400 friggin’ Euros for a mobile phone network card that should be nothing but a phone without a screen, a keypad, a battery or software? Morons!

This is of course aggravated by the fact that despite managing to litter all of town with their various little junk stores, the mobile phone companies fail to have a single person working in these who knows his (or her, although the only girl I spoke to was actually the only person to admit that she didn’t know things rather than just pretending that I’m an idiot) butt from a hole in a ground.

And what about globalisation? If a company like Vodafone is global, why can’t they just sell you a global phone contract that works in all their mobile phone networks for the same fees? Yeah, I’m sure the beancounters and lawyers will come up with loads of mumbo-jumbo why that’s difficult. But why do the companies employ these people if they don’t simply solve these problems. Instead they just try to force everybody into contracts with eternal lifespans and try to make the junk hardware you need insuffrably expensive otherwise. (And how is a company global if only their top management and shareholders are but their services aren’t?)

Perhaps I should just teach my parents how to get into other people’s Airport networks…

August 14, 2007, 1:12

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