Apple still fails at cloud computing

I’ve been saying for years now that, for as much as I like most Apple products, they simply don’t seem to get cloud computing. Their poor track record is proof positive but, even now, each time they revise their approach I look at it and think, “Eh. STILL not doing it right.”

d02738085fddc0cf3a6ef5f4cf397c00Case in point: in my ever-ongoing quest to get more of my digital media life in to the amazing Plex media system, I recently signed up for iTunes Match so I could liberate the last of my music collection (namely those CDs that were purchased before Apple finally ditched copy protection) for playback using other, non-Apple software (like Plex).

While that all went fine, I then took a look at my iPhone and saw that, as expected, my entire music collection was now visible via iTunes Match. I thought, “Huh. Maybe they’ve figured it out!” Of, course – I was wrong. Selecting a song from my collection proceeded to DOWNLOAD the song for playback.

Argh! Apple – it’s the 21st century – I don’t WANT to be cluttering up my storage with one-off MP3s – just stream it to me! I thought there might be a setting to change this but, nope – no such luck.

Now, I’ll admit, I still have AT&T unlimited data from my early adoption of the iPhone and I’ve come to realize that some of my philosophy is based around this – I always buy the device with the lowest storage capacity because I want to stream everything I can and don’t care about the bandwidth. I realize that most people don’t have this and loading up the phone is a workaround for that.

But Apple should at least give us the option.

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Restoring Apple Hardware Test

If you find that you’re unable to boot your Mac in to Apple Hardware Test (by holding down the ‘D’ key during startup), you can restore it by downloading the correct version for your system here and then copying the hidden /System/Library/Coreservices/.diagnostics directory to the same location on your system.

Also! Just discovered the Internet Recovery tool, available at boot while holding down Option-D!

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Put your laptop on eBay now (or “How I learned to love the iPad”)

As an IT manager, I’ve been a huge advocate of laptops ever since the early 2000s (when they finally became powerful enough to adequately handle almost any software you threw at them). And why not? Look at the alternative – a big, ol’ box under your desk with a keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, etc. tethered to it? What a mess.

But then, along comes the iPad. Now, I will confess that it’s taken me a solid year to even somewhat “get” the iPad. My office bought one almost as soon as it came out and I and my co-workers have passed it between ourselves, kind of going “Uhh… OK.”

But the device has finally made more sense to me over the past month or two. While it’s certainly no laptop killer in the workplace, it DOES change the home purchase dynamic quite a bit.

Consider this: as we all know, most home users do very basic things with their systems – work with e-mail, browse the web, play some music, do some basic document work. It’s these simple needs that gave rise to the netbook phenomenon just a year or two ago.

My contention has always been “What do I need that for when I have my laptop and my iPhone? The laptop is perfect for home and I can bring it with me when I need computing horsepower out of the house and, for any other time, I’ve got my smart phone!”

But it finally dawned on me about three weeks ago: I almost never use my laptop as a portable device. The reality of it is that it basically sits in my workroom. Stationary. Unmoving. Kind of like my labrador.

Whenever I pack my laptop with me on a trip it always winds up being overkill, just to look up a street address or check mail. Whenever I bring it with me to the couch I wind up aggravated because it takes up the space on my coffee table usually reserved for my feet.

The potential for the need for a home computer to be replaced by personal tablets is actually there – time will tell how it shakes out.

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