Monday, May 17, 2010

JMO - Apple User Forums

Apparently the folks moderating Apple's forums don't have a sense of humor or a sense of decency, at least not when moderating posts to the forum. And granted sometimes I can get rather explicit and cryptic with words about something, and likely should, as I try to practice but don't always do, exercise more diplomacy, and remember everyone's grandmother's advice, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

Except when you encounter buggy software, and yes Apple's applications aren't immune from glitches bugs and quirks, and you should have a right to express your frustation and even anger at the company. But the moderators seem to exercise editorial rights which seems to exceed common sense, not editing sentences or phrases but simple, inoffensive words. And what caused the the words.

I've been working with Number in iWork09 on the snowpack data for Paradise in Mt. Rainier NP (see map of Mt. Rainier weather sites - the site called Paradise is actually a few miles southeast of the visitors area of Paradise). I've been working with the 1984-2010 NRCS data for the site to compare 2010 to the longterm data.

Well, after getting the data into Numbers I started graphing some of it and encountered several small problems and one big irritating problem. I discovered the manual is good at explaining, or sort of anyway, how to do things, but not how to fix things when they don't go as described or you have problems, like labels disappearing and not available no matter how you set the options.

And then I discovered Number is very slow when working with graphs for some datasets, like 366 days of 3-5 years of data. Sometimes you have to wait a few seconds to 10-15 seconds to see any change, and whatever you do, don't click too often or move the mouse too much, it remembers what you did and in a burst will do that, much to your expression of WTF.

Well, on one post I made the parting comment that with respect to some things, Numbers sucks. The moderator replaced the work sucks with astericks (those shift-8 things "*"). He left the sentence but blanked the word. Sucks isn't offensive and when asked I received the terms of service notice about offensive language. So it made me wonder if I had asked, "What does Numbers and a vacuum cleaner have in common?", what would he have done.

But the moderator, in no uncertain terms reminded me of Apple's policy on the forums and if I persist, which I won't, I could be prohibited from posting to the forum. I pay Apple good money for their products, their applications and other stuff, like a mobile me account, and as a customer, I have some rights to speak my mind when, where and how appropriate. But apparently die-hard Apple people only want good things said about their stuff on their forums.

But have you seen and read the forums? They're full of problems. And we're supposed to be happy people we have problems with their products and then smile and nod it's ok, and please can you find an answer to my problem, often created by your own hardware or software? Get real Apple moderators.

I read Steve Job's recent diatribe about Flash, not putting it on the iPad, and in my view, while he had some good points, most of what he said was bullshit. He can speak for Apple as if we want him to speak for us using his products? Well, that too is cow pasture material too. This is off the point in a way, but still relevant to the idea of free speech.

I'm not against being decent, I have rules for my own blogs, but I won't necessarily edit anyone's post for words I feel are offensive but aren't by any measure of decency. Anyway, everything is done and I've moved on. The moderator, right or wrong, made his point, and I learned, not just what not to say but that tolerance on the Apple forum is relative.

And above all things, don't criticize the hardware or software, even if it is deserved or earned on their part.

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