Apple Ecosystem

Apple gets a lot of flack for being seen as the epitome of wealthy consumerist culture.  I suppose being at the top attracts al the haters on the planet. I used to be in that bandwagon and regularly gagged when I heard the prices of their computers, laptops, and phones. Used to wonder what kinda morons would spend their money on a brand name when you could get a machine with higher specs for a fraction of the price.

I was soon to eat my words when I got myself a Macbook Pro. The build quality, stability and support from the mothership was amazing. It helps when there are limited versions of a product from a company thus allowing a critical mass of users for them to be able to iron out any flaws. It also allows for a better design.

Anyhoo, last week my harddrive finally died after warning me for many months. I tried doing what Apple suggests and walked into one of their resellers or service centers and asked them what a replacement would cost. The figures quoted were beyond ridiculous. They even wanted to charge me for installing the OS. A whole 6,000 bob.  Please note that every Macbook comes with OSX and so it follows if I show up with a macbook, then at some point OSX was installed on it. To charge me to return it to that state is rather ridiculous and actually illustrates why people see Apple as a money hungry beast.

I decided to just buy a harddisk of the shelf and I managed to get a 1TB disk from Bestell in town and bought the T3 screwdriver set long Luthuli Avenue and replaced the harddisk myself using the iFixit guides.

Am not rich so paying some guy to pop a DVD into my drive and clicking Next didn’t sound like a plan. Attempts at cloning my drive were fruitless as the thing was barely spinning up.

I was frustrated and just went home, connected to ethernet and switched it on. Didn’t know what to expect but after a minute or two it asked me if I want to start internet recovery. I had few options and so said yes. Long story short, it downloaded a bunch of files and installed  a recovery partition after which I was asked if want to install OSX Mountain Lion. It downloaded the files and installed with very little intervention from me.

I doubt there are any other software platforms that offer such a service from a fresh harddisk with no software on it. Ofcourse this means that there is some rudimentary or maybe not so rudimentary OS that runs above whatever is running on the harddisk and that connect to the internet and send or receive whatever it wants. This is clearly a nightmare to security conscious people but this is a non issue for me. I am not running a govt agency from my laptop, yet.

I am liking this also throwing in the free software upgrades and maturing ecosystem I am slowly getting sucked into the Apple Universe. I hate the locked up nature though and this may be what will prevent me from getting an iPhone. Its too limiting and they have no twin SIM configurations. Thats a deal breaker.

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Mac OS X vs Windows 7 Usability

I use a Macbook Pro running Mac OSX 10.7.5 and its safe to say its a tough sale for anyone with a linux and windows background. The OS is restrictive, very few customizations that I can use and though beautiful, wants you to buy all the apps. It also doesn’t help that the proprietary format of the apps and the immense cost of owning one of these machines greatly reduces its mass market appeal.


Recently the need for a windows environment necessitated the installation of windows on the macbook and nowadays the only way to go is 64 bit so as to utilize the full RAM. The process was painless enough what with the help from the mac based Boot Camp app that does the hard disk partitioning for you and downloads the latest windows drivers for the apple hardware.

I find the mac environment to be more stable(as compared to Windows 7), tends to consume less resources of the machine doing the same task and feels more fluid in carrying out transitions between windows, minimizing , maximizing and related actions on the interface. Application interactions with the OS are however much more restricted leading to some frustrations if you are a previous windows or linux user. For instance, I have not found a way to configure a bittorrent client to initiate a system shut down when it finishes    downloading a torrent. I do not like wasting resources and keeping the Macbook on all night with most of those hours spent doing nothing sounds unattractive to me. Also no USB tethering of your smartphone for internet access. I did not understand this one.

Also moving files back and forth between an external hard disk and the macbook is a pain for no particularly apparent reason. A multitude of other nuances that are taken for granted in the other environments are just not doable here. I suppose these are meant to make the OS very limited in terms of what an unknowing user can mistakenly change by installing a rogue app.

I still find myself mostly booting into the Mac environment more when I want to have some fun be it writing this blog post, playing music or watching a movie. The windows side is for the boring stuff, project work, report writing, document editing etc.

The Mac is made for the wealthy as is evidenced by its price, content and usability quirks. That being said I do not find its interface advantages big enough to warrant investment by a regular laptop/computer user.


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