Lost and Finder

My Macbook Pro died yesterday; it was a peaceful death in its sleep. It was two years old and I can’t complain too much. I’ve had a good run of luck with most of my Macs, and the older models are running smoothly in various rooms, including this five year old macbook I’m typing on in my office just now. The problem is, I’m a bit of a technology junkie and failure usually means that I have a new opportunity to try something new.

I bought an iPad (32g since they were out of the 16) and so far I’m not that crazy about it. I think it’s mainly that I miss my notebook. It’s not an alternative. The primary reason, which I haven’t heard anyone mention yet, is that it lacks finder. You simply can’t move or locate a file where you would like– no uploading or downloading outside each application’s interface. Yuck. Now I remember why I resisted macs for so long. Way back in the 80s, I tried to use one at a Kinkos to scan some stuff. The scans would happen, and then the files would be transfered to some mystical place that I couldn’t find. Being used to DOS, this was a real nightmare for me. Oh, my mac friends would ask me later– did you try finder?

Years later, I switched completely mainly because I was tired of looking under the hood of windows to figure out what was crashing, and I’ve been mostly satisfied. I just use the machines, I don’t have to know how to troubleshoot one (very often, at least). Consequently, when it comes to hacking I’m mostly lost. When I found out that the MT 5 rich text editor simply doesn’t work with my iPad, my heart sunk. I could write posts in html (I still remember how) but that is simply no fun. The third party blogging app I bought also doesn’t support rich text, so no cut and paste from Pages. Yuck again. I can’t copy and paste a picture either, or upload one. I can only link to a flickr image or such, which would have to be uploaded via email. Why? No finder— no basic file transfer capability outside the application interfaces.

As a reader, the device is awesome. I knew it wasn’t a computer when I bought it, but I really hoped to be able to use it to write. I can, but only in plain text unless I use some third party nonsense that I haven’t’ located yet. This is very un-apple behavior. I’m used to the devices being, well, complete and ready to use when I buy them. I don’t care about multitasking, or the lack of a built in camera, or any of the other complaints leveled against it. I simply want basic file management that doesn’t rely on iTunes. Would that be too much to ask?

I’d like to use it with my cameras as well to upload or otherwise store photos. It remains to be seen if it can do that. I avoided the Kindle and Nook because I prefer dead tree books, and was seduced here because of it’s potential for web surfing. But web surfers do more than simply read, they tend to interact and move files. That’s the missing ingredient for me. I’m lost again.

* Editing this entry on the iPad has required paging through three screens to locate the keys to type in the HTML plus an extra app because the MT editor won’t scroll. all I really wanted to add was the thought that the basic unit of the new computer/communication paradigm is the hyperlink rather than the file. This is huge; instead of transferring actual things we are expect to turn them over to the custody of apps/sites and are only allowed to point at them ineffectually. So, this is the new read/write web? More like the read and gesticulate web.

** Editing through the third party app (blogpress) also stripped paragraph tags, ruining the original post. It does, however, place give me the option to send a notification link to Facebook. No wonder the signal to noise ratio on the Internet is getting so bad.