Hello, my name is Ray, and I've never been a Macaholic.
Even though I ooh'd and ahh'd when I saw my first GUI-ee Macintosh in 1984, I was always focused on what was good for Bidness and went with a series of IBM machines and clones based on Microsoft's DOS and Windows platforms. These included hardware manfacturers better suited to phones (remember AT&T PC's? Didn't think so....) or air conditioners (yes, we still have an Emerson clone with a No-Namo Windows-ish graphical interface anchoring a boat in our cellar).
It wasn't until I acquired an iPhone, about four years ago, that I had any hands-on clue about Apple's cleaney-simpley timey-wimey self. On one occasion I needed to have mine diagnosed at the local Genius Bar, I couldn't even figure out how to use any of the dozens of laptops they have to play with while you wait. (Them mouse buttons and touchpad touches is goofy if you've been brought up on Windows-based ones.) But gradually, I've learned to love the touching, sliding, flipping of icons and screens and all that. I also marvel at just how tightly Apple ties its whole iVerse together, with phones and pads and pods and touches all going through the central control unit of the iTunes store. It is very good at providing Tested And Approved Apps, Factory Sealed for Your Protection, all functioning across all iPlatforms without having to worry about them. If they work on an iPhone, they work on an iPad. Relax. Big Jobs-ser is looking out for you.
After a couple of iYears, along came Android. It was open to development, to innovation. No iToll booth in the way of anything! So when the time came for us to select tablets, we went with Android-based ASUS Eeepads. None of the closed-wall limitations of iPads, nor the constant Bezothering of Kindles. We were free!** Terms and Conditions apply.
Here are some examples of those Terms and Conditions, which are suddenly making me long for the walled garden of Jobs more than I've ever longed.
We listen, more than to anything, to a Toronto-based jazz station known as Jazz.FM. It comes in on our indoor stereo, but when we eat outside, we have few options for pulling in an over-air signal. But for going on over a year, the station's had an iPhone app that provides, not only the broadcast material, but three separate streams of more specialized jazz products. We have an amplifier device which cranks out the sound from my phone, and which does it through a Bluetooth connection so no actual wiring is needed. Eleanor has also used the device to boom the sound from the Doubletwist cousin of iTunes on her Android tablet, and we waited for the day when hers, or mine, would have its own version of the Jazz.FM app in the
Google Play Store. At last, we heard, the day had come! The App was now available in Android! It took an email, a link to their website through Chrome, and finally a trip to the Play Store to secure the download, and,....
nothing was secured:( By "Android," they meant "smartphone based on Android technology." Tablets need not apply.
Along with listening, we also read. Since as long as we've been married, the New Yorker
has come into our home in print. As print media has transitioned to electronic, ol' E-Till has limped along with the changes. They first offered a CD tower of their entire back catalog if you cared to drop a couple grand on it; then they came up with a PC-based way to read an entire issue electronically (but in a way that defied copying and pasting of otherwise paywalled content). Tablets, schmablets
was their original motto, as this site didn't do well in the smaller format, but in time they offered an app in Appleland. My eyes couldn't take the text on an iPhone, so I waited for Android Day. And waited. And waited some more. At last it arrived!
And Google rested, and said it was not good:P
Downloading it to my tablet was a sheer joy #sarcasm. The Play Store link was elusive to find at all; once found, it hemmed and hawed and tried to get me to pay extra for it, unless I could prove us worthy by virtue of our actual subscriber status. Did our logins to the PC site work? Of course not. But there was
an alternative based on the subscriber codes on the actual front page of our paper magazine. That
worked- sort of. We were App-proved for download, but first I had to give it my credit card information- to cover the stated $0.00 cost per week of receiving each issue.
I do not like just giving out those 16 digits, especially the combinations tied to debit card accounts, which are essentially a license to steal with little recourse from your bank if you're the stealee. Fortunately, I had a card which expires next month, so I offered up that one- and got the app downloaded....
only to find that, compared to turning actual pages of the magazine, or reading a Kindle book, it rather sucks.
It loads slowly, turns pages clumsily, and requires a lot of mini- and -maxi-ing of icons to get through a section. Plus it fully duplicates all the print ads and makes it slow, if not impossible, to navigate around them. In short, it seems designed by someone determined to make you prefer to read in paper.
In time, most likely, I'll get over these e-quirks on the magazine site, and Jazz.fm will x.pand to Android tablets. Yet there are still some small-a apps that will never be electronically duplicated. As I reported on Facebook sometime this morning:The last vestige of Old Journalism: swatting a fly with a rolled-up newspaper. "Ha. Just try doing THAT with a Kindle."
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