Battered Housewife Syndrome

Picture ipodnano_black.jpg Longtime readers of this site may remember that I have in the past voiced certain strong feelings toward that famous fruit-theme brand. Worry not, my mind hasn’t changed, and the fact that my G4’s supposedly brand new screen, already replaced a first time, is starting to show up the familiar white blotches all over again (and this time no warranty), just hasn’t been helping at all.

I had last vowed, stomping on the remains of my prematurely dead iPod’s battery, that I would never purchase Apple hardware ever again in my life.

Sure, Apple can be a sweet and caring lover at times… After all, they still make one of the best operating system out there, despite recent efforts to put an end to this trend (that Tiger? it’s so bloated and overfed: you could probably poke it with a meat stick and walk away safe). But the moment you fall for its sleek looks and shiny baubles and bail out one of them good-looking Powerbooks or bad-boy iPods, then their real side will show through: daily abuse will set in, money will go missing and you will soon start finding suspicious paraphernalia around the house.

Seriously, though: that whole “Superior Quality” myth around Apple products is way long gone. It disappeared around the time they started shipping computers that most proletarians could afford: over ten years ago. The original Mac 512K or that souped up Mac Classic on which I did my first Mac Paint drawings? It still worked 10 years later; hell, for all I know, they still work now. On the other hand: LC3? Performa? Powerbook G4? Give them a year or two and you’ll end up with some of the most technologically-advanced paperweights ever made.

What? You think Steve Jobs goes to Taiwan every morning to personally handpick the components that go into your computer? Your beloved Mac hardware is made from the exact same stuff as that Windows-based piece of junk your neighbour is running. Your extra money doesn’t go into quality components, it essentially goes into financing R&D for new shades of white plastics and buying fresh gazelle snacks for their OS menagerie. Unfortunately for them, Apple’s tight-knit user community is also what allows them to compare and realize that entire series of the stuff they bought are blatantly riddled with factory defects. As a result, no sane well-informed customer would ever consider using the first generation of an Apple-made product, unless receiving a monthly paycheck from their QA department.

So why, oh why, did I buy this damn thing? I know it will break well before reasonable wear sets in – actually, it already has for many. I know it’s still the same maker of shiny but shoddy hardware. I know I’ll be back here to rant about its defects soon enough.

I could try and justify it by saying that the nano is fairly cheap (compared to the rest), so incredibly damn small and I just couldn’t take another week without portable music device (see device stomping incident above).

But at the end of the day, we all know there was no rational justification. The pattern of abusive relationships is just a hard one to break from.

But look at him! He’s so cute and so tiny… How could I resist! I know he didn’t mean what he did to me last time: He changed. Things will be different this time…


  1. My G4 tower is over 4 years old and going strong (except the Superdrive, which needs a little assist pushing open the spring-loaded door when you open ‘er up). Came with OS 9.1, but runs Tiger just fine. The biggest bottleneck I’ve found is that running ClamXav Antivirus slows it down when a scan is run, but that’s only because I’m paranoid. (I’ve never known anybody who got a Mac virus, but *Hey Man, you never know!*)

    My Powerbook also runs quite well, though admittedly I’m very nice to it. After hearing horror stories of permanent marks on the screen from pressing against the keyboard, I was surprised at how well my heavily-marked screen cleaned up. To look at it now you would think I had had the thing replaced.

    Maybe I’m just lucky, but I’ve never had major hardware problems with any Apple product I’ve ever owned (starting with an Apple ][+). The closest I’ve come is the time that I shorted out the video on a Power Computing Mac clone when I was poking around the insides without an anti-static strap.

    On the other hand, I rarely buy the first generation of _anything_ technological, because just about any company has issues right out of the gate. I do however have a nasty habit of installing software whose version number ends in “.0.0”, or even (shudder) “b”.

  2. So if you’re not going to buy Apple hardware ever again, what will you use? I mean, if you love OS X, you’re rather tied to Apple hardware at the moment. I got my first Mac a month or two ago, and I’m already hooked on OS X… I don’t think I could go back to Linux, and definitely couldn’t go back to Windows.

  3. Stephen: well, what can I say… Lucky, maybe?
    Actually, I try not to even take into consideration my own experiences nor any “oh, this brand sucks because here is what happened to me” stories… If only because any rational thinking will prove they are meaningless in regard to smart consumer shopping.

    On the other hand: actual litigation, official recalls, shoddy hardware designs (such as the power jack on my previous PB, which was directly soldered on the sound board, a very stupid thing, even to my highly non-electrical-engineer eye)… all these things do mean something. And it’s hard not to notice an evolution for the worse, over the past 10-15 years.

    As for the OS, you will have noticed I have nothing but love for OS X. Wouldn’t even consider buying Apple hardware if not for it. Tiger, well, is another matter: without being completely horrendous, I most definitely do not consider it an improvement over previous versions… But we’ll keep that topic for another rant.

    Nacken: The first step is admitting you have a problem. Keep strong, my friend! 😛

    Felix: Oh, believe me, I know… and I even knew before I bought the Nano. For which I probably deserve whatever will happen to it in the next few months.

    Mark: Hence the root of my problem.
    Well, for the time being, this PB G4 is gonna last me until the last screw falls off (should be a few more months at this rate)… Then I have some foolish hopes for that whole Intel deal thing, and all the hacks that will no doubt come up to use a regular cheapass clone instead of an apple-branded one. There is indeed little chance that I will leave OS X any day soon.

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