An Island and a Cloud.

Apple Prison? More like Apple Island.

Four years ago, give or take a few months, I’ve changed my work and home machines to Apple systems, abandoning the mixed Windows/Linux environments that accompanied me since high school.

It was a quick change fueled by a couple of teammates and the fact that I’ve bought an iPhone a few months earlier. All my Windows machines were dead or in need of repair, and I was just sick of the finicky Vista that was installed by default in my current machine at that time. Those were dark times for Microsoft OSs.

The change was made and some months later I was completely sold to Apple Software and Hardware.

One of my favorite things about Apple is the seamless integration of all their products. Connecting my iPhone to my MacBook Pro and easily sync my data between devices, even though iTunes isn’t the best interface to accomplish my syncing needs. Also, the iCloud option for backing up my “mobile data” is also noteworthy although one needs to keep the data hygiene for the free tier.

Unfortunately, I’m a victim of the mid-2010 MacBook Pro but even so, the combination of Apple software and hardware bring a level of reliability, far above average. Recently, I even boasted of my 127-day uptime to my teammates that usually restart their machines now and then. I know that any *nix user out there will claim even longer uptimes, but with a maintenance cost that I don’t want to pay every day.

Currently, I own a late-2013 MacBook Pro with retina display, 512 GB SSD drive plus a DDR3 memory total of 16 GB. Obviously, this isn’t a machine that the common user will take advantage of but for an I.T. professional like me, this is surely one of the best machines that my money could buy. Add the current Apple option of upgrading OSX free from charge and you have a system that can last for four or more years without the need of a drastic and expensive upgrade. As my fellow Software Engineers out there, I love to tinker with my hardware and software occasionally but that’s it. My machine is to work on, and not to bring me extra work just to keep it updated and running smoothly. I have joy and fun hacking away…But I would rather not do it every day.

If I need any piece of software for my tool belt, I just hit a few search queries and the App Store provides. Regardless of the fact that I don’t actually know the people and processes that Apple uses to accept a new App in their store I always have a sense of security of the available products. Having at least a primary barrier against mediocre software prevents the application spam that other vendors suffer from their so-called openness.

And because of the above reasons and so many more, many people would say that Apple software is evil for creating a prison that they cannot leave or decorate on their terms. In my opinion, this is not really a prison, but an exotic island where I can live happily without the diseases spreading on the continent. As a bonus, I can live knowing that the environment is cared, groomed and curated.

Above and beyond

“No man is an island” is a well-known quote and truth. We need to communicate and interact with others to grow, evolve, and produce something that everybody can be proud of. In order for this to happen, we need to leave our beautiful Island and interact with the harsh environment out there. In this area, I need to champion Google.

The Drive/Docs combination is amazing, for me, my team and several stakeholders of the projects where I’m currently committed to. The aforementioned pair brings a powerful tool to keep our product backlog stories, specs and assorted meeting minutes. Minutes that are edited concurrently between me (under the hat of team lead), a designer team account and a product owner. All this while ideas float around the meeting table.

Drive accommodates much storage giving us the sense that it is an infinite local share. I just hope that Google invests in improving Docs and Drive interfaces up to the level of most of Apple software. Now and then I need to restructure my Docs and Drive area, but the current interface surely needs refinements and a good UI/UX boost.

Gmail is widespread and Inbox is a step forward in solving the current e-mail hell. My personal mail account is Gmail, and the company where I’m currently working, has Gmail from their beginnings. I can’t remember a day that Google cloud services failed and caused embarrassment on my company services and processes. Add Google Chat on the mail interface and instantly kill many unnecessary e-mail exchanges.

So “Google” reads all my emails? No problem my friend. If I need to pay those services only by receiving targeted publicity (on a very discrete manner) then please do. Avoid sending me those ads for car rims that I do not care and sell me the smallest pocket wallet on the market. In the middle of that insurmountable pile of data, I’m a male 25-35 years old that is a geek and sports lover. My personal data is protected by numbers that grow every day just as though a flock survives predators with sheer confusion of Agile movement and bird count.

My environment

Monopoly is a game that I loved to play when I was a kid and even nowadays is a well-spent night with friends but is something that is very dangerous in the real world. I hope that none of these companies can achieve a market position that can dry completely all of their competitors, but right now I choose to spend some years in this lovely Apple island with a Google cloudy sky.