Computering like it’s 1995

I recently made the slightly-upward move from a 5-year-old Android phone to a new Apple 6s.  I had the Android for almost 5 years, and the phone was released 6 years ago (my wallet prefers them slightly aged), so a move to the not-quite-3-year-old Apple phone is a move upward… mostly.

Surprisingly, the transition isn’t that big.  Oh, there are differences, but most of them are just a matter of “they could have chosen X, but chose Y” and I get most of them.  Some of them are even better choices than those made by the Android (or LineageOS) developers.

But the files. Files, man files.

In a sane world, if I get an email attachment, or have one in Evernote, or get a file in a message, I could save it locally if I’d like to come back to it later.  Particularly if, for some reason, Apple or the app developer has not given me the option to “share” the file to a different application.  There’s even a convenient-looking app called “Files” that would seem to give you access to those file thingies.

[Apple folks have started laughing already, I expect.]

Since I had a new phone, one that might actually ring when people tried to call me instead of pretending I was offline, I decided that I should have a new ringtone.  I had recently heard a song (you don’t want to know) that I thought would work.  Naturally I had an MP3 available, and thought I would add it.


Long story slightly longer, and after many wrong turns involving trying to get Files to work (short version of that: you need an app that is “allowed” to access a folder there before you have any folders available.  After that, any stupid other app can put a file there)… marvel at the steps involved to do a simple thing:

  1. Convert file.
  2. Rename and place file in iTunes.
  3. Dump file back to desktop.
  4. Change filename.
  5. Dump back into iTunes.
  6. Sync with iTunes.
  7. Make sure the camera on your PC is on.
  8. Rub your belly, pat your head, and hop on one foot at the same time.
  9. Hope the video of you first swearing at Apple and then doing exactly what they wanted you to do doesn’t go viral.

I mean, I get it, Apple wants you to buy ringtones from them.  In my case, though, that’s never, ever, EVER going to happen.

So I spent probably 2 hours navigating the nonsense that is iTunes1 and getting those files — yeah, mission creep had occurred and I was doing an alarm too — but at the end, I had my freaking ringtones.


And throughout I was flashing back to 1997, when I was a co-op and working with a machine in a semiconductor fab — I bet you never knew I was so cool — that used, of all things, OS2/Warp as its operating system2.

Anyway, Warp kind of looked like an operating system, mostly. But there were tasks, given your past with Windows 3.1 and 95 (oh shush, I’m even older than that) that you would expect it to be able to do, like transfer a file from here to there. With the visual cues all present, it looked like you should be able to do things like that, but because OS2 was still only half-baked, you couldn’t, and there wasn’t much explanation of why not (apart from “you bought OS2, dummy”).

That is what it’s like in Apple-land now, although I suspect for slightly different reasons.  I imagine they’d claim “security,” and they might be right, but handling files is a pretty basic feature of an operating system, and one that I suspect they think they can do securely on a Mac.

So I struggle on with my massively competent computer in my pocket, waiting for the next thing it can’t do as well as an operating system from 30 years ago3.

1 Wow, what a piece…
2 Even then, we knew that was a mistake, but it’s not one of the options they let you pick in the plasma etcher catalog.
3 But really, I am enjoying having a phone with some space and processor power. Now if only I could find a podcast app that makes sense…