Apple Does Migrations (Almost) Perfectly

Just got a new Macbook pro. I’ve been on Mac for about 5 years now, and the number one most impressive feature to me is the migration. As someone lucky enough to be in a place with a fantastic IT department (yes, I know that’s unlikely, but our IT people are superstars) it means just dropping off my old Mac, and, voila! few hours later I have all the setup I had before (down to the browser history items), reproduced on a lovely new machine.

Just a few things went wrong, most of which are Apple’s fault, and some of which are quite annoying.

First, the Mac didn’t recognize the iPhone. Luckily I was clever enough to think of checking for a Mac software update, and sure enough, the only update available was a fix to this bug. +1 point, Apple.

But it got worse once the iPhone was recognized. Soon enough I got this notice right here:
Annoying.

OK, a little scary, and totally wrong (not getting into DRM discussion here) but not so bad as a user experience — the dialog allowed me to continue, give me options, I can live with that (but why didn’t the migration carry forward my authorization?). Anyway, I asked to authorize, only to get another prompt: Something like “sorry, you already have 5 authorized computers”.  This time, I was offered no way out other than acknowledging that lovely, yet curious fact (which 5 machines I had authorized? Ayman certainly didn’t get my permission for any content!). I was too shocked to take a screen grab of that pesky dialog. Still, this wasn’t a big deal, because I knew what to do – de-authorize all my computers (the only one I knew I had authorized was not with me — I migrated from it, see — so I couldn’t just de-authorize it). But that’s wrong, Mr. Jobs. Why would a “normal” (i.e., not 6’8″) user know how to de-authorized their other computers? Instead, I would like to have seen this process:

1. “Hey, it seems like you already reached the maximum number of computers allowed to access your licensed content! Would you like to fix that?”

Options: But of course! / No, I’ll just curl up in the corner and cry

2. “Here are the details of your 5 authorized computers. Which one(s) would you like to de-authorize?”

Options: Select any number of computers to de-authorize.

3. Done!

Easy, Steve? -gazillion points, Apple!

Another thing that didn’t migrate properly was my Screensaver (although my desktop pictures preference were kept). I guess that’s because in Snow Leopard you need to use iPhoto albums to choose screensaver photos. But why would Desktop background work and screensaver break? Slightly bizarre.

The wifi was also a mild annoyance, forgetting all my preferences (but at least remembering the networks’ credentials for secure networks).

Finally (geek/grad student topic alert), I lost my Latex (MacTex) installation in the migration to the new Mac. I mean, the files were still there but the migration broke a few symbolic links and just tampered with a folder structure enough to make my various Latex editors not find the MacTex installation. MacTex have a several-step solution, but you know me, I take my short cuts (just upgraded to MacTex 2009), which fixed all these issues.

So, Apple could have made this really close a perfect game, but allowed a couple of walks in there late in the innings, just to have Naaman complain. Well, what would I do without them.

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