Apple Versus AOL

Argh. Sorry in advance, this is a frustration rant about email/usernames. Read if you’re interested in my Apple VS AOL plight.

Today, my ambivalence toward Apple as a company has changed. Usually, I couldn’t care less. I don’t know how to use an Apple computer because I’ve always had a PC. That’s fine I guess. I use my iPad primarily as an eBook reader. It’s pretty cool; I like it. I’ve never had an iPod or iPhone. Because of my husband’s distaste for Apple (though he has an iPod, has had an iPhone, wanted a Macbook, and yes bought me that iPad…I’ll never understand men), I have never actively sought out any Apple products. It’s not that I dislike them; it used to be that I couldn’t afford them. Now, I’m used to PC and Android and that’s fine with me. Or at least it’s usually fine with me.

Though I’ve never bought any Apple electronics, I’ve always used iTunes. I tried Windows Media among other players and just genuinely prefer iTunes. The setup is easy to navigate; the store is good. I’ve had some issues with songs duplicating themselves in my library or the file not being found but that was my own poor organizing skills. Alright, fine.

Well, today I got a cute email from Apple saying that my AppleID needs to be changed because “AOL will no longer support your ability to sign in to the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store.” It also went on to state that if you logged in with your usual AOL email, “You will automatically be taken through a few short steps to complete the process.” I figured this was a minor annoyance that could easily be fixed. Instead of using my email as my username, I’ll just switch it to my typical moniker and have my contact email as my AOL email.

Nope. Apple doesn’t work that way. You see, your AppleID HAS to be a valid email address. For most people, I guess that’s probably not a huge deal. Just switch it over to whatever other email address you use. Here’s the problem. I only use AOL email addresses. Oh sure, I used to have some yahoo account that expired from infrequent use. Yea yea, I have a school email. I would, however, clarify that I use my school email primarily for school business only. This is because school email addresses have a tendency to expire after you graduate. I don’t want to lose access to my Apple account merely because I graduated and moved on with my life.

So, what are my options? Lose my account. Nope, like I said, iTunes is my music player. That’s also how I install apps on my iPad or buy books in iBooks. Make a new email address. With whom? Yahoo? No, I always forget to sign in and then it expires on me. MSN? Same problem. Hotmail? Eh. Oh wait, what is that random email that I get on my smartphone? Gmail. I have a Galaxy, an Android phone, with Google written all over it. That means, somewhere out there, I have a gmail address. Of course, I don’t get emails in my gmail account, except for the ones from gmail telling me the terms and conditions have changed or one of my YouTube subscriptions has uploaded a new video…and I only check those because I literally have to click on a notification and they pop up on my screen.

*Sighs* Well, fine then. I guess I’ll change my AppleID to my gmail address. Thanks Apple. Thanks AOL. You guys are obnoxious.

So, I guess today my ambivalence toward Apple turned into minor frustration at their ridiculous username VS email ID setup. Will it negatively affect my perceptions of Apple (or AOL even) as a company? Probably not. But it was annoying enough to rant about on a public blog.

P.S. When I tried to contact customer support, Apple advertises an email contact. However, when you go through all their contact prompts, they distinctly refuse email contact and force you to call them. No thanks, I really just wanted to send you a whiny email telling you to get your act together and make yourselves compatible with my regular email.

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Apple VS Samsung

Hi all,

I recently (or relatively recently) posted about my minor annoyance with both Apple and AOL. Today, I thought I’d tell you a bit about my newest experiences with Apple and Samsung.

So a couple of weeks ago, I was due for a cell upgrade. I previously had the Samsung Galaxy S3. It was a pretty neat phone, but that could just be my own sentimentality. After all the S3 was my first smartphone. That’s right: I actually waited until 2013 to get a smartphone. After a couple of years, the S3 started running slowly and having battery life issues. The battery thing was probably due to my status as a graduate student in the deep, dark basement. No service kills a phone faster than any app I’ve ever used. (Update BestFiends kills battery worse than No Service!) And the running slow was my own fault, since I had bogged down most of the memory with photos and videos.

Regardless, I went to the Verizon store with every intention of getting a new phone, probably the S5. I had the advantage of seeing it firsthand when a friend upgraded her S3 to the S5. Because of the draining battery and possibly a minor irritation with the awkward-to-navigate settings menu, I knew I would at least check out all the other available phones. I walked through the store and saw another Samsung that looked a whole lot different from the S3. After checking it out for awhile, I noticed it was called the Galaxy S6 Edge. Alright, whatever, so they came out with an S6. I also checked out the S5, a Blackberry, a Windows phone, an HTC etc. I briefly glanced at the iPhones. I’ll admit, I didn’t give them much thought because I’d rather not provoke a divorce.

Eventually, a sales associate came out. I asked questions about the differences between the S5 and S6 what the purpose of the edge screen was on the S6 Edge, and more. He told me that the hardware differences between the S5 and S6 were big (though mysteriously and disappointingly, no specs were quoted). He also said that the edge screen has no purpose. The phone is $100 more and it’s just for looks. Oh and by the way, we have none in stock. We also don’t have the S6 in stock. We have basically nothing in stock. You’ll have to go to BestBuy. (Uhm, OK?! Usually, my only complaint about Verizon is their prices, but this experience was weird.)

Showed up at a BestBuy Mobile and talked to their representatives (which took seconds rather than 10’s of minutes). The edge screen does have a purpose, in fact more than one. It functions as a night clock, notifications bar, a color coordinated emergency contacts lightup thingy, a newsfeed for News/Twitter/other stuff I don’t use. Out of curiosity, I had them tell me the difference between the iPhone6 and the S6 Edge. Now, I’ve done no external research to verify, but the guys at BestBuy tell me that the camera is twice as good and my processor is an octo-core (8 cores) instead of dual-core (2 cores). I would guess that means my processor is about four times better. That’s right, I said my…so I bought the S6 Edge. After a few weeks, I’m impressed. The graphics are better, the battery life is better, the curved screen is sweet, and the price was reasonable. I guess I’m a Samsung enthusiast, for now.

TV Series Review: Fringe

Ok, so my husband and I have a tendency to watch an episode or two of whatever show we’re involved in before bed time. I believe it was on recommendation from my Mom but we started watching Fringe. I liked it pretty much from the beginning. Now that we’ve finished the series, I’m trying to work out how I feel about the show as a whole. Be warned this show has a convoluted plot so the post is going to be pretty long.

**SPOILER ALERT** I would like to talk about this show as a whole so if you don’t want to hear about major plot twists or the ending, stop reading. Go watch it then come back.

The premise for the show is pretty cool: FBI agent (Olivia) starts investigating cases that are on the strange side and needs help from the scientist that invented much of the technology that makes these cases strange (Walter). He’s in a mental institution and can only be signed out by his son (Peter). Olivia tracks Peter down somewhere in the Middle East where he seems to be conning people and running from life in general. Peter has a very strained relationship with his father but agrees to help Olivia and, to his dismay, winds up becoming Walter’s caretaker and mad-scientist-translator.

Eventually, Peter and Walter become permanent consultants for the FBI and with Olivia are made into a “Fringe” team. Think Scully and Mulder except with a crazy uncle hanging around saying weird things and self-medicating. That’s one thing I thought annoying about the show: quite a bit of drug usage. 

The events and technology that the team investigates are interesting, though often seem far-fetched. Whatever, it’s sci-fi; I kind of expect that. Along the way, we find out that Peter is actually from an alternate universe where almost everything is almost the same. Everybody in “our” universe has a duplicate character in the “alternate” universe. Turns out Walter’s son Peter died as a child and so he kidnapped alternate Peter and raised him as his son. His crossing of the universes winds up tearing holes in the veil between the universes causing all kinds of mayhem and almost destroying both universes. Walternate (alternate Walter) is ticked both at the loss of his son and at the damage to his universe where people are dying and being set in amber (like fossils).

He sets out to bring his son home and then destroy the universe that Walter is in. Of course, the Fringe team wants to stop him. Peter winds up in Walternate’s universe but is told that everyone on the side he was raised on will die. He has to make the choice of staying with his real (somewhat evil) father or go back and fight for the universe he was raised in. At this point, Peter’s relationship with Walter has grown enough to where you can see him not wanting Walter dead (though he does feel betrayed about the whole kidnapping thing). In a heartbreaking scene between Olivia and Peter, she finally tells him that there’s a bunch of reasons for him to come home, but the only one she really cares about is that he belongs with her.

About time. Shortly after, Faux-livia (alternate Olivia) infiltrates the team by switching places with Olivia while Olivia is held prisoner by Walternate. Relationship drama ensues when Olivia comes home only to find out that Peter never realized Faux-livia wasn’t her. Oh and when Faux-livia goes back to her universe, she finds out she’s pregnant. Yikes.

Despite the relationship drama, the team learns they have to save the world by putting Peter into this creepy machine that the Walters designed and built. It’s supposed to destroy one of the universes but instead he builds a bridge between the two universes, forcing the team to work with the alternate team to try to save both universes. This erases Peter from the timeline.

Here’s where things get tricky. The show starts doing weird things with time travel. Much of the plot above results from actions of the “Observers,” genetically engineered men from the future that come to observe the humans from our era. One Observer is told to erase what’s left of Peter (sort of a ghostly echo) but he disobeys and Peter manages to squeeze himself back into time and the universe proper. Only to find out that everyone has forgotten him. He thinks he came back into the wrong timeline and tries to get Walter (who believes both Peters died as children) and Olivia (who never met Peter in the first place) to help him get back to his timeline. The group works together for awhile and sort of regrows their friendships. A pretty miserable circumstance for Peter.

Eventually, Olivia remembers the first timeline (reference is made to relationships touching hearts in ways such that the soul cannot forget). And winds back up with Peter, having a daughter Etta (Henrietta). But the Observers get a little handsy and take over the universe. Etta is kidnapped at 3 years old; Peter and Olivia fall apart as a couple. He searches for Etta while Olivia works with the Resistance to fight the Observers. They all get ambered and Etta revives them after 21 years. Walter has a plan to save the universe but they have to scavenge all the parts in the places he’s hid them. Observers kill Etta, nearly destroying Peter and Olivia’s refound relationship.

Peter sticks an Observer’s brain chip into his own head and nearly becomes an Observer himself but removes it when he realizes he will lose Olivia (Observers have no emotion and therefore don’t love). They eventually get everything they need, including a child Observer (sort of) that needs to be taken to the future to stop the scientists from creating the Observers in the first place. Walter plans to take him (and is inoculated for the trip) but the boy’s father inoculates himself to take Walter’s place. Unfortunately, in the final gun battle, the boy’s father is killed and Walter must take the boy to the future. He has to stay there because otherwise there will be a time paradox or something.

In another heartbreaking scene, Peter calls Walter dad and tells him he loves him before Walter leaves for the distant future with the boy. This erases the Observers and the final scene shows Peter and Olivia playing with young Etta on the day when the Observers would have invaded. They seem to have no memory of the events or of Walter.

My interpretation of this is that there was a lot that they tried to wrap up kind of quickly. Maybe they realized they were not going to be funded for more seasons and decided to close up the best they could. Not bad, if that’s the case. The part that bothers me though, is that last part…I felt like the entire purpose of the show, the main message, the whole point, was this broken relationship between father and son (ok so kidnapped son). As the show progresses, Peter goes from darn near hating Walter, to tolerating him, to caring about him, to loving him. If everything happens and he just forgets that Walter ever existed, well then that kind of kills the point. Plus, without Walter the two had no reason really to ever meet and fall in love and have Etta.

That’s not even including the fact that if the Observers never existed, then Walternate wouldn’t have missed the formula for saving Peter from the disease that killed Walter’s Peter and Walter never would have kidnapped him. So Peter wouldn’t even be in the same universe as Olivia…not ideal for falling in love and again having Etta. And then finally there’s the growth of Peter and Olivia. Similar to the growing relationship between Walter and Peter, the relationship between Olivia and Peter similarly grows and hits major speed bumps and grows.

At the end, you really feel like a lot of who they are as a couple, their strength and love for each other, is what it is because of what they’ve been through. So how can they be the same people and not remember what made them who they are? I don’t know. The not remembering is too tragic. So, in my head, they remember.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts. Feel free to chime in if you have opinions.