Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dear Apple, How the hell does this fit in with your slogan "It just works"...?

Yesterday I came across a very confounding thing about Mac OSX.

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This true gem of an error screen holds absolutely no clue as to its own meaning.
Seeing this for this first time, I understand this screen to mean:
"You are not allowed into your own Mac. No entry for you. Ingresso vietato. Eintrag verboten."... you get the idea. Especially if you speak Italian or German.

Right... ok so what now? Perhaps there is a reason for the entry restriction? Perhaps not?
Maybe your Mac just wants to mess with your head a little bit and then start working normally again in a while?
Check date - is it 01 April? No? So it's not an April Fools joke then.
How about holding in that power button for a few seconds and restarting - that usually fixes things, right? Not in this case...

Well as it turns out, after a few calls and some help from one of my close friends who I will just call "Google", that Apple error screen apparently rears its ugly head when critical system files are missing, damaged or corrupted, or when the hard drive is faulty or requires scanning using the Mac Disk Utility.
That doesn't really narrow it down though - there are a lot of other problems that can apparently cause this, so it's a bit like a really cool guessing game, except it's not that cool.

Nice one Apple. No quick and easy error message for us techies who actually have to fix the problem.

It seems that Apple are only now realising something that Microsoft cottoned onto way back in the 90's (see Lion Recovery Disk Assistant).
Remember something called Windows 95?
Even that had Safe Mode - something which could be accessed easily via the F5 / F8 key during boot, not some hypholuted key combo involving [Command]+[Alt]+[Shift]+[4]+[6]+[W]+[T]+[F]+[?], to be held down for 7 seconds thru 15 boot cycles, while scratching your left nostril and holding your right knee hovering just above your left toe. At 14:55 precisely.
In addition, such ridiculous key combos are known only to the Apple elite - a group of extremists akin to the Illuminati of the IT world...

Really guys, all you need is a few lines of text somewhere in that super snazzy looking error screen of yours - something along the lines of:
"The system has failed to start due to a corrupt system file or drive failure. To enter Recovery Mode press [KEY].
Alternatively please contact your IT Administrator or Apple Support on [INSERT NUMBER HERE]. [Error code]".

Apple products may be simple, intuitive and user friendly, but not when they don't "just work"...
So in conclusion:

Dear Apple and Steve Jobs in particular,

Please make it easier for IT Administrators and Support Technicians to fix your products when they break.


Scarred by Apple No Entry screen

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