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IT atrocities

Feb 14, 2013

Several readers are in airport lounges and another is in a coffee shop and have in common the experience of checking with the Apple Store for updates and being told to install Firmware Update 1.7 for their particular build of a MacBook Pro.

The process requires restarting the computer.

When they do this the first thing they see is a screen telling them they need to be connected to the internet to go to the Apple Store, so on reconnecting their mobile broadband link the store (eventually) tells them they need to install firmware update 1.7 and restart their computer, even though they have observed the update run the computer fans at full blast while a ‘progress bar’ shows them they that they have installed the update, which the reconnected Apple Store continues to say they need to install…

Is this cycle of designer futility another brain fade like Apple Maps, or has the shop fallen into the hands of idiots?


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12 thoughts on “Apple idiocy of the day

  1. RossM

    Installing updates whilst not connected to power or internet is a pretty silly thing to do. These things aren’t that urgent you’d want to blow your bandwidth on while waiting for a plane or in a cafe, just wait till you get back to the office. These people must have nothing better to do……..

  2. Ben Sandilands

    Um Ross …. They were, by necessity, connected to the internet.

    It’s wot you do with a portable computer. You connect to the internet. How else do you expect the users to perform an update? Especially when the Apple channel for this is the Apple Store? On the internet!

  3. comet

    Apple’s MacOS is being left to rot, as Apple concentrates all its resources on smaller devices that run Apple’s iOS (iPhone, iPad). Despite the neglect, it’s still better than Microsoft’s Windows.

    The laptop and desktop computer market is collapsing, with sales declining.

    The best selling laptop-like computer in recent times has been Google’s Chromebook, which is basically just a Chrome web browser and nothing else, but costs a fraction of the price of Apple/Microsoft-based products.

  4. Ben Sandilands

    Those of us who publish on-line seem to be mostly Apple users, like myself, and increasingly disillusioned with Mac for neglecting those who make content rather than consume it.

    Trying to blog using an iPad is incredibly frustrating much as there is to like otherwise in tablets. We need the flexibility of something like an Air or Pro, often with very individual customized procedures that suit our server arrangements, support structure and so forth. OS 10.7 was a calamity, and I sure regret going to 10.8.2 from 10.6.8 although hope for better things in coming updates.

  5. RossM

    OK, take your point about being connected, however for an IT Pro, updating system software while in an airport lounge presumably before a days travel (where using the device is going to be kind of important) is a pretty stupid thing to do.

    Much better to do it at home, with power and reliable hardwired or WiFi at a time when you don’t need to use it for a few hours.

    To your second point about blogging using an iPad – I agree, but your choosing the wrong device for the job. Whilst I love my iPad I also acknowledge that typing anything short of a quick email is a best mildly annoying and at worst incredibly frustrating. I wouldn’t dream of trying to write your blog using it.

    Having been a Mac user for > 5 years I still am amazed at how stable it is compared to my Windows counterparts around me in the office with their constant email and other issues.

    Feel free to disagree

  6. Ben Sandilands

    Be assured I only experimented with an iPad as a convenient way to moderate comments while in planes, trains or automobiles, and even ferries! Sourcing and editing graphics or inserting graphics or text formatting is out of the question, at this stage. Agree wholeheartedly about the huge improvement using Macintosh compared to Windows from every major consideration, stability, flexibility, ease of use with peripherals, and reliability. I fled Windows after Windows 98, and every Mac I have owned since then still works as intended off-line, whether Classic or OSX, but only the most recent ones in terms of compatibility with the needs of portable wi-fi of course.

  7. comet

    I made sure that my own Macintosh computers stayed on the earlier OS X version 10.6.8, as I don’t see much benefit to upgrading.

    Google’s Chromebook is an interesting device, because it is basically the electronics of a smartphone, packed into a laptop form factor with keyboard. It does what most people want to do (ie, access the net and email). However, because it does everything in “the cloud” (all its heavy lifting is done by remote servers), it may not be the best device to take on a long haul flight that has no internet access. But because Chromebook doesn’t drain much power, it doesn’t need as much Lithium Ion 🙂

    Inside an aircraft is one of the few places these days that usually has no internet access. So for flying, I will stay with the Mac.

    For most people, though, phones, tablets and Chromebooks will do everything they want and conquer the vast majority of the computer market. Traditional Macs and Windows will become a rarity.

  8. scot mcphee

    I don’t understand, if you were sitting in airport lounge, why did you let the update run? Whenever I get these notifications, I always elect to view the update details. This screen will then tell you if a reboot is required. At which point, if I’m busy, I will decline the update for the moment. And if I’m not connected to power, I will decline the update in any case.

  9. Ben Sandilands


    I wasn’t in the lounge but I was in the coffee shop. The update page details were very straight forward and the download incredibly small and my Telstra mobile broadband link almost 4MBs, in the country, which is a near miracle.

    Like those who had similar frustrations in other cities the update insists on immediately reconnecting to the Apple Store before the update after the progress bar is full, then complains about one not being connected to the Apple Store, which when reconnected to either launched the entire process again from the top with a new download, or tried to re run the existing file, then leading to a brief black screen followed the by message that it couldn’t connect to the Apple Store, which had apparently had no knowledge of the original download.

    I am too much in and out of range now to pursue this further, but I suspect someone not very bright didn’t follow the normal format of upgrades, which is download, apply and then offer a choice of restart now or later.

    We are entitled to better from Apple. I hope.

  10. Achmad Osman

    I have a suggestion for you to consider as your next device. Get a Samsung Galaxy Note with a ultrathin keyboard/cover. I have an iPad4 which I love but agree with you that it does not handle moving photos around copy easily. The Galaxy Note has a stylus which makes the business much easier that the iPad. The bluetooth keyboard with a hinge allows you to use the note as a notebook (hinged monitor and separate keyboard, with all the benefits of low mass and long battery life of a tablet.)

  11. Bill Parker

    Good grief. I sent this to the WA mac Users Group out of interest. Wow! What a nasty response and link an even nastier website showing the country’s worst journalists. An anonymous cowardly page – I am gobsmacked as why anyone does this.

  12. scot mcphee

    Hi Ben,

    Yeah, no matter how small it tells me the update it, I would just never update the MBP if it’s not connected to power (and can be expected to remain so for some hours) and to a wireless network where I don’t have to worry about download limits (not speed – data limits).

    I got that upgrade over the weekend and I had to reboot twice, I’m not sure why. I severely doubt it would be just “someone” who doesn’t “follow the normal format of upgrades”, but there is a technical reason for it. A firmware update always requires quite a hard reboot: it has to, as the firmware lies underneath the operating system (think ‘bios’ on old-style Intel architectures).