About Jackie Annesley

Posts by Jackie Annesley

Dear iPhone, You Are Seriously Annoying

red apple core

Dear iPhone.

I used to quite like you.

When you were really new, all rose gold and box fresh, a 6S Plus in full working order with a massive 128GB of memory. Which wasn’t that long ago in the great trajectory of life. Only 25 months to be exact. If you were a truculent toddler, you’d still be in nappies.

But you’re not. You have become a really annoying pocket computer with a truculent battery (among many other things). It’s the very worst of combinations.

I have to tell you there was a time when man used to make machines to last. My grandmother had a Hoover which I swear was working perfectly 25 years in. My mother inherited it and I can see it now standing proud under the stairs. It had a simple motor that sucked dust into a bag. Job done.

These days those Apple engineers in Cupertino, California design computers like you that have the lifespan of a mayfly. Built-in obsolescence, it’s called. Who knew that a trick hatched on December 23rd, 1924 by a cartel of lightbulb manufacturers to cut the lifespan of an incandescent light bulb from 2,000 hours down to just 1,000 in a bid to boost profits would still be legally adopted by so many businesses almost 100 years later?

Longevity was never part of your DNA my friend, and knowing your demise had something to do with downloading the latest iOS software, I studiously rejected your persistent calls to “install now” the software update. For months and months. Then standing in the cinema queue recently without my glasses, an erroneous tap resulted in that single white line eating its way across a black screen – like a flat-lining cardio monitor heralding death.

The die was cast.

Fully charged at 6am, you used to be out of puff by 2pm. Now it’s 10.28am. Copy gets locked on horizontal mode. Apps refuse to open. Everything sticks. Especially the home button. Tapping the screen becomes a bad-tempered jab.

Your bosses were finally forced to admit the truth last December. Announcing it had been deliberately slowing down iPhones in order to “preserve battery life” and give us “a better user experience” (I mean who writes this giberrish?), Apple apologised for not telling us all sooner.

So its software “upgrades” had indeed been sabotaging the likes of you for years, mildly anaesthetizing every iPhone and iPad except the very latest model.

Seriously, it’s not like Apple is exactly strapped for cash.

A few months ago it posted record quarterly revenues – £61.9 billion with a capital B, up from £55 billion in the same period last year. As the high street dies (something else you’re not entirely blameless for), Apple stores blossom like Japanese knotweed. Boy have you lot come a long way since co-founder Steve Jobs set up Apple Computer Inc in 1976 in the garage of his childhood home.

There are now more than 1.3 billion of us Apple addicts around the globe, plus millions more who regularly get that “Your invoice from Apple” for various apps and music services. I pay a monthly £2.99 for “upgraded Apple storage” for literally I don’t know what. (Honestly, must cancel, pronto).

In the age of plastic-free Fridays, the world according to David Attenborough demands better sustainability and more transparency from the most valuable company on planet Earth and the most successful of the tech titans in the FANG gang – Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google. Instead of conning us with petty tricks, your name should be leading the way in making less disposable, more enduringly green machines.

It was your old boss Steve Jobs who once said: “My favourite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” This is undoubtedly true, although I’m not sure I believe him, given his avaricious obsolescence legacy.

Clearly, I’d like to spend less time fiddling with you, my obstreperous iPhone 6s, and more time fulfilling IRL long-held travel fantasies and the like.

A new battery – free to those within warranty, cheap at £25 to the rest off us – was subsequently promised by Apple to all owners of the iPhone 6 and more modern models  throughout 2018, no questions asked. At the time it said: “We are able to do the work we love only because of your faith and support – and we will never forget that or take it for granted.”

Obviously it has now both forgotten our faith and support and taken it for granted.

Because earlier last month (subs: early May) BBC’s Watchdog revealed that Apple’s “no questions asked” policy translated into squeezing customers for inconsequential repairs, charging them up to ten times the cost of the new £25 battery, before it considered honouring the replacement. For minor transgressions like a cracked screen which it says might “impair the battery replacement”. One viewer reported Apple insisted he pay £200 to fix a dent in the chassis before it would replace the battery.

Never mind taking our faith for granted, that sounds like fraud to me. When I went online and asked for my £25 new battery, they trotted out the same line: “If there are cracked screens or other damage that may affect the functioning of a new battery they are required to fix it”.

I’d take you in for a refit myself if I didn’t think I’d be stung in the same manner as our French intern. She  returned a brand-new £1,249 MacBook Pro which had developed dents on the hinges, only to be told she’d opened the lid too far and that would be another £380, thank you very much.

She paid up but her fellow countrymen are having none of these Cupertino capers.

Earlier this year the French government opened a fraud case into Apple’s ‘planned obsolescence’ which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and up to five per cent of a company’s annual turnover. It’s also facing eight lawsuits in California, New York and Illinois over the concerns.

Our laws are a bit more rubbish over here, so for the moment I’m stuck with you. Until I get a lottery win or a random tax return.

But I certainly can’t pretend to like you anymore.

My Best Spa Treatment Ever Cost Just £34

pink pants

I’m sitting on a tiled bench in my M&S black Brazilians at the top of a house in Ouarzazate on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Morocco.

This was where parts of Gladiator was filmed (remember the slave scene with Oliver Reed?) though I’m pretty sure Russell Crowe never made it to “Epices Maria”, the Hammam at No 1570 Hay el Wanda street, next to the airport. Read More…

The Joy Of Unknown Lands

Stacked Vintage Luggage

It was Sir Richard Burton who said: “The gladdest moment in human life, methinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” No, not the Welsh thesp who married five times (he surprisingly only ever got a CBE) , but the Victorian scholar-explorer, an anti-colonialist who spoke 29 languages and was the first European to discover Lake Tanganyika in central Africa.

Never mind that you may never have heard of him – Burton had the heart of a true traveller, always poised to shake off what he called “the leaden weight of routine…the slavery of Civilization”. I’m totally with you Dickie. The leaden weight of The World’s Longest Winter has me ready to head to Terminal 5 with a gladdened heart and onto the Atlas Mountains, of which more later. Read More…

The Power Of Looking Up

abstract space background

Today the sky above London is, for a change, the very palest Monet blue, with gossamer fine clouds bleaching it even more. If you ignored the Victorian rooftops and the chilly four degrees, you might just be able to imagine a warm morning above Giverny on the Seine, where Monet lived and painted for 43 years.

He knew a thing or two about being inspired to look up.  Yet it’s an art the 21st century seems to have lost.

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Let’s Talk About Joe

jackie annesley no

Let’s talk about Joe. Its been a while. I take down my cuttings folder and find a piece I wrote for The Standard soon after he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in January 2009.  There he is all blond and curly-haired and four, smiling through the yellowed newsprint in a striped t-shirt under the headline “A Cure For Joe”. I’m behind him, sitting on the sofa wearing a terrible pair of jeans and a forced smile.

I read through it for the first time in nine years and surprise myself with tears. The type that spill from your eyes and drip silently from your chin. I’m an infrequent crier – we’re talking years  between bouts – but this bit got me: “‘When I’m five…’ He put his hand up and spread his fingers out.  ‘I’m going to take the blood tests and zappers (injections) back to the doctors. When I’m five.’”

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8 Good Reasons To Give Up Uber – And Why You Never Will

the-world-according-to-jan-18
  1. It lies. Not big little lies, but big, big lies. Like concealing for a year that hackers stole data from 57 million riders and drivers. (You could be one of them). Then paying $100,000 in ransom for the stolen information to be destroyed.
  2. It’s been uber bad before. A crooked culture of workplace sexual harassment and hiring lawbreakers drove out CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick in June 2017.
  3. Its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced only this month eight new “cultural norms” to be adopted by the company. Norm No 4: “We do the right thing. Period.” Like paying off criminals. And employing them.
  4. Uber still rules London’s roads, despite Transport for London deeming it “unfit” to run a taxi service in September and refusing to renew its licence. Uber appealed, obvs, and London’s Mayor said the legal tug-of-war “could go on for years”. Winners = lawyers. Natch.
  5. Two words. Surge pricing. Researchers at the University of Warwick this year discovered Uber drivers gang up on us by logging out at the same time, tricking the app into thinking there are fewer cabs. Ergo surge prices. Mean.
  6. Uber POOL is not so cheap, peeps. Sharing your odyssey with strangers heading in vaguely the same direction can cost just 10% less than a normal ride at peak times. Riders and drivers hate it. (Talking of hates, NEVER look at ‘Your Trips’ on the app. *wails.)
  7. We’re getting granular here but it’s 2018 and there’s still no built-in option for multi stops guys! Picking up a friend en route defies this clever app. I mean. So annoying. (And a round trip? Totally beyond it).
  8. The mini rip-offs.  When they refuse to wait a few minutes extra. Or when  your Uber POOL driver cruises by you and then refuses to pick up your outraged call.  Then charges you £5 for a no show. Grr.

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