Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Lovelorn Letter to OSX Lion

For those of you who may not know, I'm a pretty big fan of Apple hard- and software, and I have been for several years, ever since I spent a week working with a Mac because there was nothing else around to get the job done. I'll admit, the first few days were rough, but like any true-forged romance, this love would not be denied. Apple won me over with all the things Windows folk decry--petty prettiness, meaningless aesthetics, etc.--but mostly with the fact that OSX was simply easier to get along with.

In simple terms, I worked with Windows for sixteen years and was moderately good at it. I spent one week with a Mac and I knew it like an old friend.

Since then, I've been a devoted follower. I've tried to be as objective as I can; I have, in fact, even admitted that there is at least one situation in which it's better to have Windows than OSX. (It's if you're a CompSci major. There are two levels of Windows user: novice and expert. There's no stopover in the middle; either you're a genius or a n00b, and there ain't nothing you can do about it.)

All that, however, is mere backstory. The current story has to do with the fact that I've been a member of MobileMe for about a year--ever since I switched from OSX Snow Leopard (my first love) to OSX Lion (her newer, ostensibly more sophisticated sister).

(For those to whom that statement was nonsense, an "OS" is what makes your computer do things like access the internet and play music. It's the brains of the operation. "OSX" is the model that Apple software uses, and they name them after big cats. It's a little silly, as this comic illustrates.)

With MobileMe comes all sorts of benefits. The most obvious is iCloud, which is Dropbox but somewhat more innovative, for reasons that I've heard explained but don't perfectly understand. Basically, iCloud houses all your important data in a magical safe place in the sky. As an aspiring writer, my primary fear is that someday my computer will crash and years' worth of effort will burn away like so much paper, so iCloud and Dropbox (which, remember, save all your important stuff in a safe place that you can access from anywhere, even if your computer is attacked by evil Luddite ninjas who want to destroy all technology everywhere) are basically miracles.


I recently tried to change a few things about my MobileMe account. And you know what happened?

All bad things.

My dearly beloved computer struggled to respond to me. My iPod refused to cooperate with my negotiations. My online data became, temporarily, unreachable.

During that time of trial and tribulation, I wrote this letter.

* * *

Dear OSX Lion,

I think you're great. You know that. We both know that, in my heart of hearts, there will always be room for you; you and your family will always be welcome in my computer. We have shared so much in such a short time.

But, darling, I write this letter to you now because...sometimes...there are days.

Days when you just aren't the software that I fell in love with. Days when you're temperamental, or difficult to work with, or just plain weird. Days I hate.

Days when, frankly, you act like...Windows.

I'm not saying that to harm you. It's just to bring it to your attention, because I know that you don't want to turn into something like that. You're beautiful the way you are. And if you turn into something like Windows, well...we're over.

See, I've been down that road before, OSX. I'm not with Windows anymore for a dozen reasons; she was hard to get along with, and not very nice, and after she contracted Weatherbug, things were just never the same. I stuck with her longer than I should have, and I regret it now. I wasted years that I could have spent with you.

But the longer I know you, the more I worry that I've made a mistake. That I've erred in judgment. That I've traded in an unabashedly moody lover for one who just acts a little classier in public.

Prove me wrong, OSX. Prove to me that you're not just another gussied-up gold digger like the rest.

I want to believe in you, OSX. I really do. If it turns out that I was wrong, all this time, to have believed in you, then there will be no place for me but Linux...and I am not strong enough for Linux.

There is still hope for you, OSX. Be the software I committed to in the days of my wild youth.

Always devoted,

P.S. Please avoid naming any forthcoming iterations "Cougar." That would just make things uncomfortable.

[A post-post-script: I've since figured out the problem. Turns out that I hadn't quite understood the mechanics behind what I was doing, and I failed to do it perfectly. Ordinarily, on a Mac, that wouldn't be a huge problem...this is cause for at least a little concern....]