11/13/02 One of the problems


One of the problems with being a raving technophile (no, not the dancing kind) is that you stand on the front line of all new gadgets and cool electronic stuff and take a lot of arrows for your trouble. It happened with the satellite radio, when we couldn’t get signal anywhere from W. 26th St. to Bleecker (XM Radio said that the National Security Agency were broadcasting on the same frequency), and it happened with the Pink House movie, where we were the first to marry DV, 16mm film and ten different kinds of animation.

It happened this week as well forced into a bit of a computer scarcity, we bit the bullet and bought the best Mac currently for sale, a dual-processor 1.25GHz G4 with Final Cut Pro 3. It’s the sort of system we spent afternoons dreaming about, particularly the afternoons spent waiting for the old G3 to render video. It has more hard drive space than the Siberian plains, and it starts up so fast that it takes a few times to get used to it.

Problem is, it doesn’t work. At least for us making movies. There are so many weird balls in the air when it comes to Final Cut Pro the editing program doesn’t particularly like OS 10 yet, you have to have QT 6, the “media” has to be on separate drives, and there are “capture” issues. In fact, there are “so many” niggling little “problems” that I have to put it in “quotation marks” because I have “no idea” what is going on past a certain point.

Wow, that last sentence looked like a Zagat review.

Anyway, our intrepid editor Jessie spent damn near four hours on the phone with Apple, then logged another 3 hours with the people who sold us the computer, then with the people who sold us that G3 years ago. Tessa took her turn for two hours, with Support Professionals determined not to help us unless we spent the requisite $799 for a year of tech support. In my book, that’s highway fuckin’ robbery for a product that should work in the first place. It makes me believe that the G4 computer itself is a loss leader, something Apple sells for no profit as a way to get you to buy all the crap surrounding it. One of the biggest loss leaders in business are the burgers at fast food joints; McDonald’s loses money on a Big Mac, but the profit margin for cokes and fries is astronomical.

Now, I’ve always been Apple’s biggest defender: I have one of the first Macs ever made (the Mac 128K), I cut my teeth on the 512K then spent three years on a Mac Plus, and followed that up with three more on a Quadra 660AV (still working) and a Powerbook 1400 (regrettably sold on eBay to make room for this very iBook I’m typing on now). But Jessie may be on to something when she says that the move from OS 9 to OS X which is a shift from Apple’s old system code to a more universal, UNIX-based system

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