Aug 26, 2005

Making Applesauce (Apple Brand Loyalty 5)

Black Sabbath - Sabotage (Remaster)
Chris Poland - Chasing the Sun
Nevermore - This Godless Endeavor
De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
Bad Brains - I Against I
Dream Theater - Octavarium
Iron Maiden - Live at Am Ring, Germany 2005

I have written extensively (1,2,3,4) about my love-hate relationship with my dual-USB, 12.1 inch iBook G3, purchased about 2 years ago by my partner, which I inherited when she up/down-graded to a peecee-based machine. I am not giving up on my loyalty to Apple, but we'll have to see if this latest incarnation of the hated motherboard issue with this particular model gives rise to a breach in faith.

This is the third time that the video card has freaked out, sending my machine into a frenzy of interrupted video which inevitably leads to a frozen screen, the reluctant forced shut down, and a beautiful white laptop that no longer boots up properly after the cheery power-on chime. I actually didn't have an AppleCare agreement, which entitles you to handling with kid gloves when you call Apple Support. I made the mistake of calling and asking a question before I clearly identified my product, and I got a quick response of "we cannot convey anything 'advice-like' to you until you purchase care for that incident." Lovely. But they have been very responsive about this particular issue, and I have yet another box on its way, into which I will again pack my sad little friend and send off to the service center.

I asked the nice technician on the line what the options were, scared to push my luck lest they say "you don't have a warranty, so forget it - you're done." He said that they usually try to trouble-shoot, replace the bejeezus out of the sucker 3 times for the same problem. If that doesn't work out when they return the machine to me (at which time, conveniently, my 90-day warranty from time of purchase actually renews), I can call to see what my options are. I'm wondering if that means that they'll replace it with a new iBook. That's what I'm hoping for, but it's hard to tell what they mean.

Apple brand loyalty isn't a new thing for me, though I haven't bought a computer of my own since I invested in a bondi blue iMac in 1999. Ultimate scavenger of half-broken machines, I inherited my sister's Grape iMac DV after we were roommates in 2002, which is actually still in good working order and operates well as my jukebox. I even fixed up a Powerbook G3 with bronze keyboard that was left for dead by a few people, and which is actually providing the mechanism for me to type this at the moment. I'm a novice at computer repair, a tinkerer at simple things that people who read DIY websites can do in five minutes.

In other words, I may be decent at math, but I am not a computer fixer-upper by any means.

And I guess that my adoption of the Apple/Mac brands as a badge of my individuality was part of my stepping away from the norm. Maybe I have been a Mac user, in a personal bout of subtle bias, to distinguish myself from the cliche of computer whiz kid from India, since I know that the nuanced observer would recognize that there aren't that many Mac users in India, as the cost of the machines is prohibitive for folks to actually get a hold of one.

Let's face it, even in the United States, save for the recent entry of cheaper Mac products, Apple was a yuppie toy because it was so expensive. Their education presence still astounds me - I remember having nothing but Macs in my high school. But families that were just starting to get their first personal computers were less likely to go for style over savings, and even nowadays, a WinTel laptop with more memory and speed (though the gap is quickly shrinking) is still cheaper than an iBook. It's just not cooler - but the currency of cool doesn't go as far as that of Windows proficiency in a Windows-based world.

So, if all that I hold is correct, and this is completely unresearched at this point, Apple may have lost out on two fronts that concerned immigrant communities: first, less affluencial families in the States were less likely to go for the more expensive alternative. Second, in a world in which computer proficiency meant a first-class ticket to opportunity, Apple's niche of outperforming everyone in graphic design, music, and other artistic endeavors was not enough to entice the super majority of bright young minds entering the field around the world, keeping many of those folks away from the "cool" of Apple, until their iPod brought them in direct contact with it in the last 2-3 years.

The hardcore techies probably don't like it much anyway, as the Graphic User Inferface (pronounced "Gooey") is so omnipresent in the design and Apple is very protective of their core operating system (to the point of recently suing some meta-fans for posting up too much information about what's coming up in the product line). I had a cousin who thought that it was a dead format, but had never actually played with one before.

Anyway... I'm sure there's more to write, but I'll give it a rest for now. Wish me luck with that DHL box, once it gets here.


DesiDancer said...

Dream Theatre AND De La Soul? You are my long lost twin!!

Rage said...

DD - you like DT? We should see what else we're into. I remember a post where you talked about a folk group - just found a crazy folk metal band from Finland - will have to write about it once I listen to it.

someone else said...

i once saw de la soul open for 311. as i learned more in my life, i found out what a profound injustice this was.

this theme seems to repeat itself frequently.

Rage said...

Yeah - De La opening up for 311. That's pretty sobering. My favorite was when George Harrison went out on tour in the early 70s, he had his guru, Ravi Shankar, open up with a 2 hour set of ragas. Tell me THAT'S not ambitious. Wow - you could lose ships out at sea in the clouds over that concert.

DesiDancer said...

ah yes, you're thinking of the new-grass group, Nickel Creek. Good stuff...

I love me some DT, some Rush, the Yes "Union" album...crazy filmi nonsense, Prince... my library is in all directions.

Sometimes I see a tour bill and think, WTF?? Like DLS opening for 311. 311 should bow down and kiss the feet of DLS. The agents on that package should be shot for ignorance...

burnedouteyes said...

I Against I is an amazing album.... was listening to that today!

Rage said...

It really is. Have you heard the Mos Def/Massive Attack cover of the title track? Different. Good, though.

I'm just getting into BB... just got Rise...

someone else said...

mos def/massive attack? that sounds awesome. what song is this? i wish i knew somewhere to get it online that someone could tell me about without getting themselves in trouble :)


Rage said...

Song is I Against I by Bad Brains. I have a copy of it, but my computer has to come back from the shop (see the post above).

burnedouteyes said...

that music blog you fwded me has Bad Brains - Black Dots.... some great raw stuff on that.

I used to like their album Quickness. It was their most "metal" album so some punk kids maybe didn't like.... but as it was my 1st exposure I have a real fondness for it... I have it on tape somewhere.

Rage said...

I haven't heard Quickness. Black Dots, I Against I, and Rise.

Rage said...

Sent out the iBook y'day via DHL (their bill). They sent me an email saying it was received this morning. Let's see what happens next.

This is much better than the cell phone drama that I'm currently embroiled in. Got a great phone, but it doesn't recognize the sim card it came with. Or the one that I got after 45 minutes of being shuffled around by Cingular. I may have to go to therapy just about this experience alone.