One Way Ticket

Meanwhile…my life has been made appreciably more difficult this week by own STUPID DECISION to upgrade my Mac to system 10.2 from 10.1. [Corrections to this piece appear in brackets, like this sentence does.]

Little did I realize (or was informed by the accompanying literature) that system 10.2 does not yet work with any laser printers! [correct this to read: The people at the Apple Store in NYC informed me last week that it “does not yet work with any laser printers.” Turns out it does work with some laser printers, but is not “supported” for use with most laser printers.] Everyone is working hard to figure something out, but as yet – no solution to the vexing problem. The only way to print [using many of the laser printers current mac owners own] is to restart in Classic mode (you can’t do it from the classic emulation) or to buy one of the little jet-spray printers. [Since this writing, I have learned that several third party programs have been developed to help mac owners who have upgraded to 10.2 achieve printing. Gimpprint and Print Center Repair may help many users – but they are not free programs, nor are they simple.]

As I see it, that’s a pretty big issue. So is the fact that you can’t downgrade back to 10.1 without erasing your hard drive and starting over. [Microsoft, of all companies, provides a path to reverse most of their system upgrades. To do so on your Mac, be sure to create a separate and new hard drive partition for the new system.]

On my way back down all the way to 9.2 – for my money, a crisper system if you don’t need the Unix – I realized that Apple is creating a whole lot of one-way upgrade paths, in an effort to force ‘switchers’ to stay in the Mac universe, and those already in Mac-land to stay with the latest versions of their Apple-made software.

For example, the Address book has an import function – but no export. [It can export to Vcards – but not to a simple tab or comma dilineated file. I reveal my age, here.] Even Microsoft’s Entourage program has a contacts export (the one you use to get your contacts into Apple’s version)! People who got used to the Mac’s free online “idisk” service, as well as those who adopted brand-loyal email addresses, are now learning that the service (enhanced) will require a subscription fee. Is it too late to go back? No, but you’d’ have to email all your friends to make sure they know. And be sure to take anything off the server before it becomes inaccessible to you. (Too bad, though – idisk was a convenient feature.)

Apple’s new i-calendar – free for OS 10.2 users – also requires a pay-only account in order to make use of its better features, like publishing schedules to the web, or making appointments with other users. [This is changing as web providers adopt the webDAV standard, through which iCalendar can be posted.] Not even Microsoft requires users to subscribe to their MSN service in order to post directly to the web from Entourage. [And you can publish its calendars in plain old html to any web host.]

Sadly, Apple appears to have adopted the sticky, ‘you can check out any time you like but you can never leave’ philosophy of Windows, back in Windows’ worst era. [I still contend that many of mac’s features are designed more for customer retention than customer service.]

We Mac users aren’t supposed to say anything bad about Mac – particularly now that it feels as if our OS is on the rise again. But if this is what it takes for an OS to be commercially successful, I’ll be making another “switch”: to Linux.

[It’s possible I’m wrong – so far, no one has posted to say anything bad at all about the new OS or Apple’s new programs – though someone did admit they are slow. I will be interested to see if anyone, other than some people on Slashdot, agree with my assessment – or if I’m totally off base and this new system and its programs really are just plain great.]