Apple is changing…

There are many things I hate about Apple, but don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of their products. But one of the things that have really annoyed me is when they change their terms and conditions. I have created a post about this before, but it seems now, they have listened to the complaints of many (or maybe just me!) and have modified one of their practices…

Apple now itemises the changes in their terms and conditions without you having to read them all… At least this is what I discovered today… At the top of the page (while logged in using a MBP) I saw a list of changes to the T&C… Better than reading 100+ pages of same!

Why do I get a warning…

The AppStore is improving all the time. It has it’s shortcomings (poor searching and sorting to name but two of them), but I have become tired about being warned when I am NOT spending money with them. I would much prefer a warning about when I AM spending money with them.

For example, and as has recently happened to me, I went searching for an app I had previously bought, to reinstall because frankly I got tired of it and I wanting to give it another go. I went to reinstall it. Now I wasn’t at home, so resyncing wasn’t an option.

I found the app, and there is no ‘reinstall’ button, you have no choice but to re-‘buy’ it. I don’t want to buy it, I’ve already bought it. I just want to reinstall it. But to do so, I have to go through the motions of buying it again.

I click INSTALL and then BUY and AppStore quits (I hate this too, let me queue things and buy/install/update multiple items), and moments later I get a message box telling me I won’t be billed for this. I am being warned about NOT being charged… Cool… NOT

But on this occasion, I WAS charged and I don’t have the option to back-out, because (after all) I had selected to BUY IT.

After some research I discovered I actually had TWO iTunes accounts, one being my email address and the other simply my username (sans ‘@myemail.com’). How this occurred I will never know, but when I wrote to apple about this they just maintained I had bought it via two accounts and had no recourse. If I was presented with a last minute ‘You’re about to be charged for this’ message box, I would have kindly not purchased it and found out about the 2 accounts. Instead, I just get billed twice.

Now I know not everyone would want this, and some people would find it annoying, but there can be an option to turn this off (or on, as the case might be).

Feedback to apple submitted this date

C’mon Apple, get your act together

The iTunes terms and conditions have changed again! This is beyond a joke!

What ticks me off about this:

  • the amount of times I have to do this, and the only time I get prompted for this is when installing new apps. When you have multiple devices this is a PITA
  • Instead of telling me bout what’s changed, they hit me with 101 pages of material to read! Hang on, I just wanted to download a free app!
  • The only way I can tell what’s changed is to make sure I download each one and do a compare on them, but…
  • I have just entered in 4 different email addresses and I’m getting an error ‘could not send email, try again.’ I have tried four! how many do you want me to try, and yes, one of them WAS the address I registered the account with. (This leads me to believe they are hiding something in this agreement they don’t want to share with me)
  • Why can’t I just use the old agreement? It’s worked fine for so long now

Imagine if you bought a car and once a week or at some random time, you got into the car and turned on the ignition and your car speaks to you, “sorry, the terms and conditions of you using this vehicle have changed, please accept this new 101 page agreement before I let you start it!” But to make matters worse, you’d have to go back inside your house to accept them! (after all it does throw me out of the app store and I have to restart what it is I was doing)

Seriously, take it for granted I accepted your old terms and conditions, just show me what’s changed! Don’t make me read EVERYTHING, because as we all know, that’s not going to happen.

I’m sorry, I do love grApple, but I seriously hate them too!

Dave and his iPad

So, I bought the iPad a few days ago and doing my first post using the WordPress application designed specifically for the iPad. There is also an iPhone version which I have used before and it is pretty good too.

This app seems to have it all, I’ll look more closely at it over the next few days.

What do I like about the iPad?

Well for starters it has made me remember some features of the phone that I had forgotten about. There is the nice addition of 4 punctuation symbols accessed through two keys on the bottom right. The feature I had forgotten about is tap/dragging where you tap the modifier key and then drag to the desired key and release. Works great on the ‘?’ and the ‘!’. But it also works great on other punctuation when you only want one followed by an alpha character. Such as when you type an open bracket (such as this).

Surprisingly the keyboard’s lack of tactile-ness doesn’t REALLY seem to be an issue. There is the quickest of learning curves, but it doesn’t seem to last long. The iOS error correction seems to pickup some (or most as the case may be) mistakes and it’s pretty good – in landscape mode. The portrait keyboard is simply too small and I often opt for the landscape one. But you get use to it. If you persist with the portrait keyboard, then going back to landscape the keyboard is massive and takes almost half the screen.

Moving on from the keyboard, when you get an app that’s specifically designed for the iPad, it is very sweet. Just about everything apple has a new and welcomed interface. Some could be better, but overall, pretty good. The speed over the iPhone is pretty good too.

Youtube has a great interface, which really I wish youtube would bring to their website. Some of the games for the device are simply awesome, and the apps are great too. I did purchase Numbers and Pages for the iPad and their flexibility is great.  Numbers even brings a minor addition over the OS-X version in that it auto freezes the first column and row in the table. Something you just cant do in the desktop version.

Anyway, I think this device is really a whole new paradigm in computing and interfaces. Now if only I just didn’t have to touch the screen at all!

NEVER trust your mother!

Today saw me spend some quality time with my mother down from the bush. Now I really enjoy spending time with her when she comes to Sydney, but sometimes she does push the boundary a bit… Like today…

Today was one of those days.

We often like to do things, catch a movie, go to the art gallery or a museum. We’ve done quite a few things together, and we usually like the same sort of movies… (well, to a degree anyway)

BUT TODAY WAS AN EXCEPTION

She is BANNED from picking another movie for 3 (yes that’s THREE) years!

When she initially said she wanted to see “Enchanted” or “Enchantment” or some other such silly sounding name, I got her to describe it. I read the review online and recognised it to be a “kiddie” movie. But was reassured (by her) that it’s for adults too! Right!

It started off with (what felt like) a 3 hour BAD cartoon… Poor story line, bad characters, general run-of-the-mill 5 year old stuff. She tells me, “But it will be a movie soon, it just starts as a cartoon…”EVENTUALLY! But she didn’t mention the fact that it would flash back to the cartoon or END with the cartoon as well!

And the Acting (if you could call it that!) was atrocious.

The point at which I REALLY knew I was in the wrong place, was towards the end when (in the style of sleeping beauty and other crappy fairy tales) I was watching the hap hazard Prince Charming give the princess-to-be a “True Love First Kiss” to wake her up…

But she didn’t. An evil twist would have been to have him keel over and die, but that’s just me. And it was the “REALITY” world lead actor who was the one who needed to kiss her. Anyway, as I was saying, the point at which I just wanted to lunge at the screen and start attacking it a knife was when her “True Love” leans over to kiss her… He stalls… His girlfriend looks up at him… sad… puppy dog eyes… and she tells him to kiss her…

And then so do all the kids in the cinema! 5 and 6 year olds screaming at the screen: “KISS HER!! KISS HER!!!”

I wanted to die. But realising I have much to live for, I wanted to kill my mother.

The only good thing about the whole experience was the fact that (being for kids) it was short!!! YAY!!!

Online booking fees

Some time ago, I went to book some movie tickets online for a movie that I was planning. I am going through the process and when it comes time to process it, I see there is a one dollar per ticket booking fee.

Why?

By doing this online, I am saving the cinema the hassle of serving me. I progress through the doors and into the cinema with little fuss (since all I have to do is go to the kiosk and print my ticket out) and waste very little time. My time, and the time of the cinema as well.

It saves them having to employ someone to sell me the ticket yet I have to pay for this privilege. I don’t understand it.

It’s just another way for them to make another quick buck.

What is it with Telstra?

Helstra have to be kidding me… Are they really as stupid as they make out? In fact, how can anyone BE that stupid?

Ok, Many years ago, when Telstra first started their online services I was encouraged to register. I did so, and immediately found I couldn’t log in. And since it was so long ago, I can’t remember what the problem was. Anyway, I let it go, thinking, it’s not worth the hassle. A few months later I received an email “Since you have been registered for online services/billing for more than (I think it was) 3 months, you will no longer receive a paper bill. Please log into your account to change this setting.”

I once again tried logging into the account and it still didn’t work. I rang Telstra and they fixed it over the phone (the paper billing that is, they couldn’t fix the web site problem)…

Enter 2005-2006:

I was “re-encouraged” to try and use the online billing again. I raised my concerns and they told me they had fixed a lot of the problems. So I agreed and gave it a go. I remember in the setup process there was a secret Q/A and I do recall making it something so cryptic, that noone would ever get it (NEVER did I think that I wouldn’t get it!).

Anyway, stopped using it, didn’t really see the point/value…

I thought today that i would give it another go. I tried to login, and low and behold I forgot my password (Yes, I KNOW I should use a password manager, but that seems to defeat the whole idea of a password in the first place – and my other problem is, I don’t trust two sites with the same password – I don’t know how they are stored in there database, they won’t let me have a look? LOL)…

I had to enter my username… That appeared to work as I managed to progress to the next screen

I had to enter my postcode… I got that right because again, I progressed.

I get prompted for a secret question… I looked at is and straight away laughed. I recognised the question, but have NFI what the answer to it was.

I look around for the “just email it to my trusted email account” link, but that is not an option.

I gave it a few goes and sure enough, I get locked out of the account and advised that if I can’t remember the password, I will have to create a new account…

A NEW ACCOUNT????

Are they kidding? What about giving me someone to call??? What about sending me an email saying someone is trying to find my password? What about calling me? Why don’t they ask for my “registered” secret password? (You know, the password you use when you speak with your carriers? OLkay, security risk – maybe – but it is HTTPS).

I get stroppy and send a nasty email (I know, I know, I know… but I couldn’t help it)

But I wanted to log in NOW and change the email address of where the emails get sent (I am closing the old email off).

So I give it another go (in a different browser) and it let’s me try again. Eventually I arrive at the secret question, gave it a few more attempts and WHAMOO! “… create a new account”

Bugger this… I GIVE UP!!!!

Let’s just create a new account.

So I went to do that. Enter my account number, some other personal information…

“This account is already registered for Telstra online services. You can use your existing username and password, or digital certificate to log in.”

ARRRGH – ‘ark ’em! I’m outta here

rm -rf telstra

( and on a side-note: rm -rf bigpond )

edit: Unfortunately I was still with Helstra for a while to come yet, but when I got my own place in December 2008 I opted for a naked DSL connection and kissed Telstra goodbye… and good riddance!

’twas the night before xmas

…and my BIOS was quieter than a mouse!

I thought Xmas was spose to be fun? It’s no fun when your whole system goes down without any explanation.

The system had locked up…

Nothing too unusual about that. A reboot and away I went again. Continued on my way.

I came back a while later and found my computer locked in a disk boot error just after POST…<!–break–>

But why?

I dunno.

And this is where the fun started. Several boots and bios settings checks soon revealed what most people often fear: A dead hard drive. Now that in itself is a little disconcerting, but I soon got over it. I don’t often run back-ups of my C Drive, but I’m not adverse to reinstalling often anyway. I can do it rather quickly. And anyway, I don’t keep much on C Drive. It only contains my operating system and applications. All my data files, music, movies, and whatever else are stored over many other hard drives in the system. So I wasn’t too concerned. Just peeved at the timing.

So I pull out an old 17Gb HDD and decide to settle that one into the system. Reboot and get the “No operating system error”. No probs. Windows XP Pro CD into the DVD drive and reboot…

…and again, no operating system. A check of the BIOS confirmed the DVD drive had priority over the HDD, but for some reason, it was the HDD that was getting the priority!

After tweaking the BIOS, trying many different settings, trying a NEW 80GB HDD, and a NEW DVD-Rom drive, and new IDE cables, BIOS upgrades and downgrades, and many other odd combinations of anything I could think of; I finally decided to call it a night once my blood pressure reached about 180/120!

Day 2: I spoke to a few friends who are just as computer savvy as I, without success. They only suggested things I had already tried. They were no help. The essential problem I was having, is that no matter what I did, the BIOS was giving priority to the Floppy, then HDD01 and finally the CDROM. As the HDD had the higher priority, the CDROM would never boot! The ODD part of all this, is that I could disable all three boot order preferences, and the BIOS would still only process it in that order. To make it worse, if I unplugged the HDD’s, it wouldn’t boot the CD anyway! I couldn’t win.

I’m gonna cut this short here… but in short, knowing it was the BIOS, and not being able to upgrade the BIOS (another long part of this story), I decided to clear it. Now, if I had of made this decision about 36 hours earlier, I would have been a happy camper. Once cleared, and restarted…

It all went well!

NOW, I’m a happy camper.