Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Apple abandons green certification, fans ecstatic

A quick note on Apple's new products is overdue. First, this iconic picture speaks a thousand words:

Attention: Apple has launched a new laptop. Via Shawn's Tumblr.

The fanaticism of the Apple cult surprises me every time. But this time critical voices were raised:
The Retina MacBook is the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart: Unlike the previous model, the display is fused to the glass, which means replacing the LCD requires buying an expensive display assembly. The RAM is now soldered to the logic board — making future memory upgrades impossible. And the battery is glued to the case, requiring customers to mail their laptop to Apple every so often for a $200 replacement. The design may well be comprised of “highly recyclable aluminum and glass” — but my friends in the electronics recycling industry tell me they have no way of recycling aluminum that has glass glued to it like Apple did with both this machine and the recent iPad.
 - Wired / The New MacBook Pro: Unfixable, Unhackable, Untenable (bold added by me)
I haven't noticed Apple defending their products from these environmental common sense concerns, have you? On the contrary, Apple has just given Mother Earth the middle finger by actively withdrawing from the US certification system:
Apple has notified EPEAT that it is withdrawing its products from the EPEAT registry and will no longer be submitting its products to EPEAT for environmental rating.
 - epeat.net / Apple Ceases Registering Products in EPEAT
Apple asked EPEAT, the electronics standards setting group, to pull its 39 certified desktop computers, monitors and laptops, which included past versions of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, off the list of green products late last month, Robert Frisbee, CEO of EPEAT told CIO Journal. EPEAT, created through funding by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and manufacturers, awards products a seal to certify they are recyclable and designed to maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental harm.
 - Wall Street Journal / Apple Removes Green Electronics Certification From Products (bold added by me)
Not good enough, Apple!

Meanwhile, millions of Apple fans don't care and probably don't even know.

Monday, July 9, 2012

iMovie 9.0.6 upgrade conflicts with 3ivx codec

When something doesn't work on the Linux system, it's annoying. But usually, it's fixable, the community will help, there are alternatives to most programs and you can't get that mad since after all the open source is available thanks to thousands of volunteers.

When something doesn't work on Windows, it's annoying. But usually, I shrug at it, find a fix or get someone else to fix it. Because that Microsoft package is something I'm familiar with at work where someone else is paying.

This weekend I got to experience the feeling of Apple failing. It was different.

Needed to unload some footage from the camcorder and ran iMovie '11 for importing it. Just a few seconds after, iMovie crashed. Tried running it a good handful of times each time sending the full error report to Apple. They should know when their software is not optimal, we pay for it. Well, the error didn't fix itself. And I did update iMovie itself recently, since last time I actually used it, so something must have gone wrong from version 9.0.4 to 9.0.6?
  1. Check for upgrades and install any.
    Didn't help.
  2. Google for people with similar issues and their solutions.
    • 1st advise was to move all content out of the iMovie folders (projects and events). Apparently, even unfortunate file names can cause iMovie to crash. Mine had fine names but still I took the decision to wipe the slate clean and simply deleted all files there. Didn't help.
    • 2nd advise was to run Disk Utility and have it find and correct permissions on the hard drive. Sounds silly. Sounds like advise for Windows. Tried it, obviously, and it did fix countless access errors I never suspected. Didn't fix iMovie.
  3. Reinstall iMovie.
    Uninstalled iMove. Reinstalled from App Store. Didn't work.
  4. Read the horribly technical error report.
    In the very top of the crash log file it said blah blah blah 3ivx blah blah. Wait a second... 3ivx? That is some kind of codec that was installed alongside the driver for the Flip camera. Perhaps iMovie 9.0.6 doesn't work with (this version of) 3ivx? Uninstalled 3ivx and iMovie worked right away.
So, what is the lesson in here? Well, uninstall 3ivx if you have it and have trouble with iMovie. But the real lesson is about feelings when software upgrades conflicting with existing systems. For quite some time... years... I have pretty much only had computer problems at work where it isn't an emotional issue as such. Linux has worked wonderfully (although granted: I haven't upgraded to openSUSE 12 yet, knock on wood) and so has the Macbook. Back in the days I'd get increasingly determined to solve a problem as it dodged my attempts. But that kind of motivation is fading along with the stability of Linux increasing.

With this Apple error, however, I found myself almost grinding my teeth in fury. Dear Apple, we pay for your stuff. Work.