A bit childish…

by Ivar Slavenburg

Some time ago, I felt that I had to upgrade my computer. It was at the same time the first tablets were appearing. The iPhone has started its rise to fame. I had an Apple before and I liked it a lot. It made me think of that old Atari 1040ST I owned a long time ago. That was a great machine. Later I upgraded to the Atari Mega ST2. It had a hard drive in it! Awesome.

Officially, I had chosen for the Atari platform because it worked great with digital music. It had midi build in and was able to communicate with my synthesisers out of the box. Everybody into digital music wanted one in those day. When I look over my shoulders I can still see it, the Atari and the legendary Roland D50 synthesiser. And next to it there is the box with the disks with this great software of Steinberg, Pro24. That was revolutionary in those day, as it turned your Atari a recording studio.

Shamefully, I have to admit I never really used it much. The D50 and Pro24 I mean. The Atari however, I used daily. There was this other piece of software that I was completely addicted to: LaTex. I first saw it at university, in the math department. The documents they made with it were incredible, especially if printed on a laser printer. These things were also pretty expensive in those days. It was LaTeX that made me fall in love with typesetting. It worked great on the Atari and even with my 24dot matrix printer the results were stunning.

Though LaTeX really excelled at mathematical documents it also was great for regular texts, as it had all kinds of rules for typesetting in it that made texts so much more readable. Nowadays, every time I work on a HTML5 or CSS3 (SASS) document my memories go back to those days. To be honest, I like software like Indesign or Apple’s Pages. Also Word on Mac is definitely ok. However, I don’t feel the excitement that I felt when I was going through Lesley Lamport’s LaTeX manual and see how text was shaped and sized so it really starts to invite the reader to sit down and read.

It was my Atari background that brought me back to the Macintosh. Ever since, I always buy Apple stuff (or don’t buy anything at all). The days I liked to play around with Unix and Linux on old PC boxes is behind me. No longer the box itself, but the software that runs on it matters to me. How can I do more in less time? The choice for Apple hasn’t let me down so far. Not that I don’t acknowledge that, possibly, individually there are better machines than Apple makes, especially taking the costs into account. Maybe there are better Android phones out there than my iPhone 5 or Microsoft has really build a great all-round machine with the Surface3 (I once got the Surface1 as a present and I really found it terrible). As a whole, the Apple “ecosystem” works fine for me and I have no intention of leaving it.

Then again, there are sometimes things that make you wonder what kind of people are behind all of this technical wizardry and in what kind of naive world they live. Let me give you an example. Last night I was looking for the song “Freedom” of Nicki Minaj on my Apple TV, using the Vevo App. Normally, her type of music isn’t my taste, but this particular song is rather nice. Strangely, I couldn’t find the video on Vevo.

Not being able to find it on Vevo on the Apple TV (it is on Youtube), I turned my attention to iTunes, wondering whether I could buy the song there. As it turned out there are two versions in the store, the “clean” version and the “explicit” version. Latter is the original, so that’s the one I wanted. Then I noticed something that made me feel a bit sad for the folks at Apple.

If you look up the song in the iTunes library, the “clean” version is €0,99 and the “explicit” version €1,29. Yep, that’s Apple for you. Really, I do understand that Apple doesn’t want erotic Apps mingled with other Apps in their store, keeping it family friendly, though I don’t understand why they block them all out. However, selling the explicit version of a song for 30 cents more than the clean version? If you don’t like your brand to be associated with sex, don’t sell it at all. This 30 cents will not make the difference. Sex sells, and the folks in the music industry know that for ages. So if you don’t like that fact why are you trying to revolutionise this business in the first place?

And no, I didn’t buy the song. And that is just sad.