After over 7 years of loyal service, our home computer has finally failed this weekend, which means it's time to buy a new one. I was long expecting this, but was hoping the computer would make it 'till October when the new Windows 7 operating system is due to come out. I don't want to buy a much maligned Windows Vista based computer when a new operating systems is less than 2 months away from release. Don't talk to me about Apple, it's not an option (if you ask I'll tell you why, but this is a good overview of the answer). In the mean time, we'll try to make do with an OLD laptop computer we had lying around the house, and my own work laptop.
Switching computers is a major hassle. Never mind the fact that you have to re-install all your old software and set-up your preferences. The real problem is dealing with intentionally crippled technology. Case in point, my iPhone. I love that phone. It's the best I ever had, but it has been intentionally crippled by Apple - probably to comply with insane copyright owners.
So here's my dilemma. My contacts and calendar are safe, because those sync directly to my company's exchange server. The problem is with all my legitimately purchased and paid for content. My 1000 songs. My dozens of applications. These are all stuck on my old (now dead) computer. No, they are not lost. I have multiple, redundant back-ups. The problem is that when trying to sync my phone to the newly downloaded copy of iTunes on my work machine, Apple wants to delete all the content that's already on my iPhone. I now have to go through an annoying and time consuming process to try to get my honestly purchased content, ONTO MY OWN GODDAMN PHONE, just because my computer died.
How insane is that??? It's like your car died and all the CDs you kept in your vehicle stopped functioning in all other CD players.
The technology and content industries have been abusing consumers for decades. This problem is not unique to iPhone. DVD players are intentionally crippled so that they can only play content purchased in certain parts of the world. When someone in Israel gives me a gift DVD, a normally purchased, un-cracked DVD player in the US cannot play it. All so that the film studios can price discriminate between different regions of the world (BTW, how is this not an anti-trust issue?). Ever tried to skip the stupid copyright warnings at the beginning of a movie? You can't. You're a hostage to the content companies. When my work computer died last year, and I tried to re-install some of my business software, some of it wouldn't function until I called the company (Business Objects) and they "allowed" me to operate my $1,000 piece of software on a new machine. And it's getting worse - just last month Amazon remotely deleted validly purchased content from their customers' Kindle readers. Someone compared this to Barnes&Noble sneaking into your living room to steal back a book they weren't supposed to sell you.
These people are treating us all like criminals. It is insane and it has to stop.
I am tired of having to fight my gadgets to do what they are supposed to do in the first place. I paid good money for these things, and I demand that they function the way the should.
Enjoyed this post? Please consider subscribing to Money and Such by free RSS Feed or by email. You can also follow me on Twitter.