Why I won’t buy Apple

This is the only guest post, by John.

My only Apple purchase was a MessagePad 2000, which I bought in late 1997. A bit after buying it, I had occasion to send the following email to Apple (webmaster@newton.apple.com):

Hi Folks,

I bought my MessagePad 2000 in September. You can imagine
that I was dismayed to see it become superceded in October,
then delighted to find the offer of an upgrade. I understand
that the demand for upgrades has been high -- it took me
weeks before I was able to get through to an operator.

Then I was told that the upgrade kits are out of stock, and
will not be available until February, but that you would be
happy to take my order and bill my card now.

The idea of billing me now for a technology item which may
or may not become available in February is outrageous, but
that’s up to you. What I really would appreciate is if you
could try to put accurate information on your web page,
though. Currently, it has statements like:

* The upgrade can be ordered starting after November 10,
  1997.  The upgrade program ends April 30, 1998 or until
  supplies last, so be sure to order early.
* ...you may hear a recording stating that the system is
  busy and to try your call later. You may also experience a
  long holding period for an available operator to take your
  order. We do not anticipate this to be an ongoing problem
  as the program progresses. If you have encountered any of
  the above problems, we encourage you to please try calling
  at a later date when the call volume will be lower.

which do not describe the situation properly, and are
eroding my satisfaction. There’s not much point in holding
for fifteen minutes to be told that you can’t get something
until February.

On the positive side, thanks for a great product in the
MessagePad 2000.  I only hope that the demand seen for this
upgrade indicates that the Newton line is very much alive
and well, and that we can look forward to many more years of
great products in it.


John Hurst

They didn’t even answer my note, nor (I think) did they correct their misleading web site. Instead, they dumped the whole Newton line in early 1998. Great move for customer loyalty.

I got a couple of years of partly-satisfactory use out of the gadget, but ended up putting it in the closet, since it could not be made ot interoperate with anything else. A fate which should be of concern to any potential customer of theirs.

Keyboard Heaven

Wow! Does Launchbar let keyboard junkies rock or what!!. This utility is like a combination of the VSlick alias facility, the Windows run command and the Mac OS X dock all rolled into one.

The VSlick alias facility lets you get at files or directories quickly using your specified aliases. The run command lets you quickly start applications, open directories or files. The dock shows you what’s running and acts as a sort of a repository for favourite applications.

Launchbar lets you get at files, folders, urls and applications with the keyboard using easy to remember aliases or mnemonics. Now, using the keyboard I can quickly get to the application I want without having to watch how I get there.