An Open Letter of Gratitude to Apple

Marketing shot of MacBookPro
Dear Apple,

Firstly I have to say that I was a reluctant convert to the MacBookPro. My daughter got one for her studies at University, and the run-up to Uni, College. Her, now aging, MacBookPro stood her in good stead during her time learning about the video game industry and still does quite well considering it is now several years old. She talked me into purchasing a Mac when my old PC bit the big one.

Amazingly enough, the big reason I decided upon the MacBookPro was the iMovie editing capability which, having watched my youngster edit her video reviews on game, looked infinitely easier than anything Microsoft had on offer.

I bought my Pro in 2013. I edited quite a number of videos in the UK, before you went and changed the way iMovie works. Still, I do not do videos that much anymore so that is not a real big issue, plus I’ve gotten used to the changes now so I forgive you for making it that bit more difficult.

So far my MacBookPro has survived being taken to South Africa on a whirlwind fact-finding tour where I had to interview several sources who claimed that Nelson Mandela died in June 2013 and not December as official sources insisted. It made a trip across the ocean to Las Vegas unscathed in 2014 and even managed to escape damage at the many conventions attended at Vegas. From The Amazing Comic Con to the Star Trek Convention, my MacBook resisted all my clumsy handling to stay scratch and dent free.

Later on at the start of 2015, while in the Southwest desert of Arizona, my MacBookPro has managed to keep working after being transported via backpack all over the hardpan floor and the local “one-horse” town. It still performs admirably despite it’s carrier falling down a wash while walking across the desert.

MacBookPro 11.4"
My trusty MacBookPro

It has also survived its owner being knocked off his bicycle by a hit and run driver in Love’s Truck Stop car park. An incident that resulted in my going airborne and landing on my back. The backpack with my trusty MacBookPro clunked heavily on the hard ground and 5 weeks later, when I could finally ride my bike again, I fell off the same bike outside the local Burger King and once again my poor MacBook hit the ground hard.

Despite all these tumbles and falls, the only real damage seems to have been on the case itself. A few scratches and dings that are superficial at best. This “cosmetic” damage has not interfered with the workings of my “laptop” and it still labour effortlessly as my only blogging and vlogging device. On top of being the instrument I used to write nearly 2,000 articles for the newspaper I worked for, it still functions as my main source of news from the outside world via the Internet.

My Survivor, you have to look close to see those scars…

I mention all this because I’ve never felt the need to write any sort of letter to any company, open or otherwise, about any of their products. My MacBookPro has proven to be the best purchase ever made by this consumer. Sadly, my iPhone 5 has not had quite the same track record, for some odd reason the display screens in my phone go off and I’ve had replacements twice now, but I am not complaining, as your customer service is head and shoulders above the competition.

In closing, let me just say thank you Apple for continuing to make such a workhorse of a laptop. I am writing this open letter of gratitude, admiration and praise about my MacBookPro, the one that I call survivor, and the dependable tool that I plan to use for a long, long time.

A most impressed customer,

Michael Knox-Smith

6 May 2015

New Toys


As I drag myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century, I find the collecting of new technical toys makes the journey less fraught and more enjoyable. That is not to say that this act of self dragging is not without its more stressful  moments. I have been trying to change the password on my new iPhone server for most of the day with no success.

But the culmination of all these new toys: MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone is that all my files (and therefore my “work”) are within easy access to me. I now have at my finger-tips, all the information via the internet or applications that utilise the internet that I could possibly use.

The photo at the top of this blog post was taken two days ago in a Norwich Starbucks with my iPad. It was an experimental gesture, which explains why I have such a bemused look on my face. I have “played” with all my new “toys” and found that in some cases that they are very user-friendly and in others, downright hostile.

I am fairly computer literate. Or at least, I once was. Years ago I got in on the ground floor of these “new-fangled” home computers, of course these new home computers were just practice for the office machines that we would soon be getting in our workplace. The “jump” was deemed necessary because we didn’t want to appear stupid. (or at least too stupid)

I remember the first ever work-related computer conference that we were required to attend as part of our foray into this new world. The chap running it initially addressed the crowd with the  words, “And if all else fails? Control, Alt, Delete.” The room exploded into laughter. We’d all been there, done that and had the various tee-shirts. Soon after, we got past the ctrl, alt,del stage of our knowledge, but we never forgot that “newness” and the feeling that we were heading for territory that, once entered, could never be left.

I have, over the years, sort of ‘dumbed” myself down. Many of my peers (and this amazes me) are not computer literate nor do they wish to be. They have the novice’s mistrust of the machine. They still fear that they will do something that will cause it to blow up or crash. This explosion or “death-knell” will be costly and complicated to fix. Better to not depend on these new-fangled gadgets than to waste all that money on something that little Timmy or Ellen can use in their sleep.

I am not sure where this idea came from. This belief that computers and electrical gadgets are for the young only. Sure kids pick it up quickly, it’s in their very nature to pick up new things quickly. Schools teach kids everyday and rely on computers to help handle the modern curriculum.

In the Norwich Apple store today, while I was getting my new phone charged up, I noticed a huge amount of what can only be termed as geriatric’s learning how to use iPads and MacBooks. The average age around that table of learning was about 65 or 70. Old ladies with blue-rinsed hair and old men with canes and comfortable shoes were learning about the intricacies of these modern 21st century toys.

They were, I might add, apparently doing very well. I do know that Apple pride themselves (quite rightly) for their after sales customer service, but I do believe that if the old folks being shown these new (to them) products were having too much trouble, I would have seen the smiles of the staff start to slip. I saw not one smile threaten to disappear nor slide into an exasperated frown.

After today, I don’t feel like “The Lone Ranger” in search of a computer loving Tonto. I feel like more folks my age and older are embracing the computer age right along with me. Of course some of the more arthritic ridden won’t opt for the iPhone, I think that if they had nimbler fingers that they would be joining me there as well.

I tried out my new phone’s camera today, and although my photographic skills leave a lot to be desired (Lord Snowdon has nothing to worry about) I can at least capture the image I am aiming at. Even if I am sharing the shot with my subject via my reflection.

Scary gorilla and some shadowy chap taking his picture.
Scary gorilla and some shadowy chap taking his picture.
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