Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A tale of two Macs

And what a tale it is. The good, the bad... and the ugly.

We have a rare case of genuine good design and service. Some rather less wonderful bits. And perhaps the most annoying... and telling example of corporate greed I can imagine.

The Good

See that picture? That what a very powerful computer came in. I was/am impressed. Not just what didn't need to go into the making of the thing, but also how little required to be packaged.

Also there has been the basic plug and play nature of the handover.

And finally the support. Free (for 90 days, local tel rates) and so far all problems solved

The Bad

The fact that it now won't work some old stuff that was/is still perfectly good.

The Ugly

The attitude of a software company, FileMaker, to this situation. I was going live with it and fester. Luckily, I had a vent source presented:

Guardian - Buy a new Mac running Leopard, or wait?

On a related issue, 'The quick tale of the £30 software that became several hundred', which does not reflect in my view well on the marketing policies of some companies and indeed can often have serious consequences to the environment. A few weeks ago I was mailed by FileMaker about Bento, which looked a nifty little bit of £30 Address Book software to add to my Mac Mini. Trouble was, it only would work with Leopard, and mine was a first model running Tiger. Ok... time for a software upgrade. Now it was an extra £100. Trouble was, Leopard was going to stretch the hardware capabilities of my aging Mini, so for various other reasons (more memory, USB 2.0, etc) I decided to get a new one. Trouble is... having gone through all that, guess what? My new Mac Mini running Leopard will not now run my current version of FileMaker. It would be funny if it were not tragic. Now I have come to accept, if not like, that if one wants to run the latest bloatware version of some software, you often need to upgrade to, and pay for the latest bloatOS taboot, to run it. With all hardware consequences. But this new wrinkle just miffs me. I have perfectly good software running perfectly well and my brand new machine is not backward compatible. And FileMaker's response? 'Tough! It's not supported. No upgrade. Start again. Buy v9... that's £250 please.' I'm sure Apple are probably not innocent in all this, but for what it is worth, and hugging a Redwood Tree as I write, the new machine is a honey, and while I did need the phone support several times to help the migration (bit of fun with the assumption that in going from a Mini to a Mini two monitors would magically exist on my desk), this was truly slick, along with the auto back-up Time Machine, which is awesome. Also, on a small eco note. I am looking at a packaging box about the size of two telephone directories with a bit of foam inside as big as last night's meal tray. I know Mac are not the highest on the green IT list, but to get a wee box tucked away on my desktop doing all I could wish with so little manufacturing and delivery consequences impressed a lot. Anyway, as I don't feel like giving FileMaker my continued custom, as they are stuffing me back to square one can anyone suggest an alternative database software I can put in my new Mac that will grow with me into the far future?

Times - Get a green glow in your home office - Spreading the joy

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