A Magically Magical Product that’s Full of Magical Magic!

Apple’s a funny entity, somewhere between a corporation and a religion. I’m not a “Mac” person per se, but concede their products are among the few that actual make the news. Other companies would kill to such have constant free publicity. Can you imagine if Chrysler’s latest attempt to build a car actually made headlines? It’ll be a cold day at the North Pole before that happens.

I also appreciate the beauty, elegance, and extreme usability of their products. My first computer, in fact, was an Apple – an Apple IIc laptop, way back in 1985 – I don’t think they even had cars back then.

What a dog the IIc was. It came with a small 9″ ugly puke green monochrome screen and had no hard drive – just a built-in 5 1/4 floppy drive. You had to load the software from the floppy each time. The size of the documents was limited to about 9 pages. Still, it was miles ahead of my old typewriter, and did get me through college.

How times have changed. Apple’s more recent devices are impressive, from the all-in-one desktops, to their phones, and most recently, the iPad.

I’ve played around a bit with the iPad and have to admit it’s pretty cool. However, I don’t like the fact that, unlike a notebook (or smaller netbook), it lays flat; that is, the virtual keyboard is embedded into the screen in one piece, meaning you can’t fold it. It’s just not ergonomic for me – I like to have the keyboard separate from the monitor and at a right angle to it. But that’s just me; millions of other users don’t care, as they have actually bought the thing.

Two of the new owners are my parents, who are Mac people. They recently bought an iPad, and asked their techie son to help set it up. I slowly undid the wrapping and beheld its awesome beauty and simplicity. I turn it on, expecting to see the standard desktop I had seen in the store, but instead a most unusual thing appeared – an image of a USB plug and then the word “iTunes”.


I quickly deduced that the setup procedure involved connecting iPad to the computer, and then opening iTunes. What a waste of good monitor space. Instead of displaying an image and just one word, the iPad startup screen should have given clear instructions:

  1. Connect your iPad to your Apple computer.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. Follow the setup instructions from the iPad menu in iTunes.

I’m not exactly sure why the iPad doesn’t have a separate setup and configuration application, but I guess it’s because since iTunes and iPad start with the same letter, Apple felt they should live together.

I proceeded to run an update program to ensure I had the latest version of the “magic”. It failed. I tried it again and again it failed. I was taken to a troubleshooting page which listed various solutions, some simple and some about as simple as Japanese mathematics. I thought Apple devices were supposed to make things easier; I certainly wasn’t feeling the magic.

Anyway, by a miracle, I was able to restore the iPad to its factory state. I set up a WiFi connection; it worked, but it was so s-l-o-w.

I told my folks to call their “Mac” guy to figure it out.

Apple lovers – I hate those guys….