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ATPM 10.09
September 2004




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The Candy Apple

by Ellyn Ritterskamp,

Integration Is Kind of Sneaky

I remember when the word first came out that if you bought a computer with Windows on it, there would be embedded ways to encourage you to use other Microsoft products, like Internet Explorer and Excel. We all gasped in horror. How could they think we would let them force us to use particular products, just because they were there? At the time, I misunderstood the nature of the problem. Later it turned out that it wasn’t so hard to remove the stuff you didn’t want, at least for computer users who could follow directions.

Several years later, I find myself in a similar situation, but in my case I’m getting to choose which products I want to use. They are not being forced on me. I’ve finally decided to upgrade to OS X so that I can have a new iPod. Yes, it has come to that. I must change the operating system on my computer so that I can have a new portable digital music player.

I know I could continue with OS 9 for quite a while. It works fairly well. But at some point I’ll have to make the switch, if only to keep up with what I’ll need to learn at work. I’d hesitated about changing here at home because the computer’s other user sometimes does not embrace change. But now he says he’s ready, and that I should not delay because of him.

Dang it. I had a built-in excuse.

My iPod no longer connects properly to the Mac. The FireWire cable plugs in to it OK, but the port is kind of loose. Sometimes it’s plugged in for a while but isn’t charging. The Mac no longer sees it (the iPod doesn’t mount on the desktop), so I can’t make any updates to the playlists from iTunes. I use my first-generation iPod nearly every day at the gym, and I’d been thinking that one of the new mini-iPods would go great for that. They need iTunes 4, which requires OS X. I’d also been wishing I could buy music from the iTunes Music Store, also supported only by iTunes 4. So here we are. I am upgrading an operating system so I can play music on another device.

Funny how bound up together it all is. And funny how I don’t really resent this interlocking the way I would if it were forced upon me. I am doing what I want to do, so that makes it OK.


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Reader Comments (2)

anonymous · September 2, 2004 - 13:13 EST #1
"Commingle" is the term.

In the wrong hands (read: M$), companies that commingle their products can be harmful to consumers' wallets and freedom of choice / cause vendor lock-in and competition lock out.
Lincoln · September 20, 2004 - 22:24 EST #2
Howdy, I only used Macs for a year or two before I bought OS X. I liked OS 9. I dual-booted with BSD because I'm a Unix dork. So OS X almost seems like too much for me, the possibilities seem endless. And there is a learning curve. But the future is ahead, and it's OS X. 64 Bit computers are here too :)

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