Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

21 May 2012

Why Can't They Leave Things Alone?

I suffer from having been brought up in a time when things were built to last. Not any more.

I'm told my iMac, which I bought exactly FOUR YEARS AGO, is out of date. And it looks it because the blue screen has vertical pale streaks down it.

When I bought it I think it ran on an operating system called Panther (or was it Hellcat?) Then They updated it to Leopard and again to Snow Leopard. Every time I downloaded the new OS something else went out of date.

The first thing I lost was a wonderful software suite called MS Works which had a particularly useful database function. Then, with Snow Leopard, Photoshop CS which I paid a lot for went belly up with no updates available within a year of my buying it. And another superb piece of Apple's OWN software stared to play up - Appleworks - its 'draw' function was outstanding and I was still able to use parts of it until I download the latest OS - Lion.

The Lion download was cheap; less than $40.00, but those unconscionable bastards at Apple knew that it would force me to spend even more money. I had been using Photoshop Elements 4, a program that had come with my Canon Scanner. At a stroke it was rendered obsolete and I've just had to pay $200 odd for Elements 10 which I find so foreign that I've had to send off to Amazon for a manual - another  $50 or so.

Today my iMac keyboard lost all of its number pad functions so I had to buy a new one for $82.00 - and so it goes on. I wonder what will happen when They bring out Mountain Lion? More agony, I guess.

We all love our computers but what I don't love is the sheer greed of Apple which has become one of the richest  companies on the planet out of planned short-term obsolescence.

Interestingly we have an old manual typewriter on the desk. It's nearly 100 years old. It still works. It has no software and there isn't an Apple trademark on it anywhere!



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By Don Donovan

About Me

My photo

Don Donovan: Biography

I was born on 20 January 1933, nine days before Hitler came to power in Germany, I grew up in south London. Although evacuated during the phoney war and the quieter times I lived in and out of air raid shelters during the blitz and experienced both V1 and V2 attacks on London. Left grammar school in 1948 aged 15 substantially undereducated. I wanted to go to art school but because of family ‘poverty’ joined a commercial art studio in the West End. I was, thereafter, variously a messenger boy, commercial artist and typographer. I was in the Royal Air Force from 1951 to 1953 when the only useful thing I did was to take part in King George VI’s funeral parade.

In 1955 I married Patricia O’Donnell, a RADA graduate, at that time playing opposite Derek Nimmo, they were juvenile leads in a touring repertory company. He went on to great success because he had a funny voice.

We came to New Zealand in 1960 where I worked in advertising. At length I became managing director of one of the companies of whose holding company (the largest domestic advertising complex in New Zealand) I was also a proprietor and shareholder. I left the industry in 1990 when my company was bought out by American interests. My timing was brilliant, at that point my first book had been published and the next was on its way.

We have two daughters and four grand-children.

Now, apart from writing, I function as a self-educated grumpy old man.

Books & Writings

‘New Zealand Odyssey’, with Euan Sarginson, Heinemann-Reed, 1989.

‘One Man’s Heart Attack’, New House, 1990. (A special edition of this book was purchased by CIBA-Geigy for distribution to NZ doctors).

‘Open 7 Days’, Random Century, October 1991.

‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’ by Saint Publishing in 1995 followed by:
‘New Zealand House & Cottage’ in 1997. (Saint Publishing have also published calendars for the years 1994 to 2004 using my watercolour illustrations).

‘The Wastings’, my first novel was published in July 1999 by Hazard Press. Although an international subject it had very limited distribution, only in New Zealand, and the rights have reverted to me. (Colin Dexter read 'The Wastings' and wrote to me: 'I enjoyed and admired "The Wastings"... a beautifully written work... a splendid debut in crime fiction... More please!'.)

Also the texts of photographic books:
‘Colourful New Zealand’
‘New Zealand in Colour’
‘Top of the South’
‘Above Auckland’
‘Hauraki Gulf Destinations’
‘Bay of Plenty’
and a compilation of photographs and quotations titled ‘Anzac Memories’ 2004 all published by New Holland.

My written and illustrated book, ‘Country Churches of New Zealand’ was published in October 2002 by New Holland, who also published ‘Rural New Zealand’ 2004 (photographs and text), and a series of four humorous books of photographs and quotations in 2004 and 2005 titled ‘Woolly Wisdom’, ‘Chewing the Cud’, ‘Fowl Play’, and ‘Pig Tales’. My most recent book was published in August 2006 by New Holland, titled ‘Political Animals’.

Over the years I have written for NZ Herald, Heritage Magazine, Next Magazine and various local and overseas travel and general interest media.