I used to like Apple. I actually have an ancient, 2001-vintage iBook. Every now and then, I even turn it on, if only just to see how much more the hard drive has died since the last time I played with it. (In a way it’s quite sad – I have some good memories from that computer!)
Unfortunately, Apple seem to have taken a turn for the worse over the last few years.
In 2006, I re-joined the modern world of computing with my new laptop. This was the first computer I’d bought in several years. It was wonderful, for about a fortnight. Then I installed iTunes.
(Yes, I know, I was asking for it … sadly I didn’t realise this at the time.)
I won’t go into the full saga of woe, but basically iTunes pretty much pooped all over my laptop. It’s never been the same since, sadly. As such, I absolutely will not install iTunes on any other machines. It’s still on my laptop, but only because the damage has already been done.
Now, I was given an iPod for Christmas some time back. A generous and a well-meant gift, certainly, but perhaps also a problematic one in some respects. And I can run it off my already-damaged laptop, so I guess no problem there. However, it periodically needs charging. That’s no problem – just plug it into a convenient computer and let it charge. No need for any special software, no risky installations – or so I thought.
Except it turns out that when you do this, Apple trojan something onto your computer.
I became aware that there was a problem when I started having software conflicts. In particular, I couldn’t get Poser to run at all, although it started turning up elsewhere. I was baffled – at first I thought it was something to do with the new security set-up on my PC. Except that all checked out.
Anyway, the result was much puzzled Googling and much rootling around in msconfig. Eventually, I discovered this thing that had added itself to my computer’s boot list. And lo and behold, it was some sort of process associated with Apple Computer, Inc. And I sure as hell didn’t put it there myself!
So I unchecked that box and deleted it from the boot sequence. And, as if by magic, my software-conflict problems vanished. I can only imagine that this thing installed itself as a side-effect of me plugging in the iPod. Now, certainly, plugging in the iPod was obviously a mistake – but how viral is that behaviour?!
Bad Apple. Bad, bad Apple.
Luckily for me, I’m relatively computer-literate. I certainly don’t know the answer to every problem that crops up, but I do know how to find the answers if I need to. And I can usually muddle my way through to some sort of fix, even if it might take an hour or two. But I do wonder how many people out there are sat around, scratching their heads in frustration at a problem that’s magically appeared from nowhere, has no obvious cause, and won’t go away.
Bad Apple. No biscuit!