iTunes and iOS and HSBC and FML

Well … after thinking last night that I was on a lucky streak, today was pretty miserable.

iTunes – still a mess

A week or two ago, when Apple released the latest version of iTunes (if you’re on Windows it’s version 12.7), they made a big deal about removing the app store and app management from iTunes.

Yes, iTunes is a bloated mess. But I thought that taking out the apps was a big mistake. Now I can only manage and add apps directly via the mobile device. Since I have both an iPad and an iPhone, now when there is a new update for an app, I have to download it twice. I also lost the ability to easily browse apps I’ve downloaded in the past but no longer have on my devices – something I do more than you might expect (especially with location-specific travel apps, which I’ll load for a trip and delete when the trip is over). And I liked looking at apps on my desktop, on a 27 inch screen, before deciding whether to download or buy a new one.

They also removed the iBook store from iTunes. You no longer have a nice admin page in the app to see all of the books in your library. In my case I have dozens of books in my library that I hadn’t loaded onto my iPad and now I have to dig down to the file level to see what they are. And now I can only get new books onto the iPad via drag and drop – no more “add file to library.”

iOS 11.0.1 Update – Torture

iOS 11 came out a week ago. Today Apple released 11.0.1, a quick update to fix bugs. I updated my iPad and that went smoothly enough.

Then I went to update my iPhone – an iPhone 7+. Nope, couldn’t update it, and no reason given, just that the update failed. Tried again, same result. So now I had to restore my phone.

This turned into a nightmare (of admittedly small proportions) because even though my phone is backed up daily, for whatever reason after the restore completed, my phone thought it needed to re-download most of the 119 applications currently residing on it. 119.

I’ve got a 100 Mbps fiber connection at home. But these downloads took approximately 9 hours!

You can see where I’m going with this, right? If the apps were still in iTunes, it would have taken about 15 minutes to transfer them from my desktop to my phone. But they’re not in iTunes any more, so it took 9 freaking hours.

When all of that finally finished, I had to re-log into a lot of different apps. Some of the apps, such as WhatsApp and WeChat, thought I had now installed them on a different device and made me jump through hoops of fire to get them going again.

And then, but of course, my Apple Watch was no longer paired with my phone. I had to go back to the watch, reset it, re-pair it with the phone, and then restore it from a backup.

But that wasn’t the worst of it ….

HSBC – Kill Me Now

If you do internet banking with HSBC Hong Kong, they have two different methods of logging in. One is a dual password approach, which I never used. The other is a small device with a keypad that generates security codes.

My keypad worked flawlessly for at least three years. But I was always afraid that it was going to die at the worst possible moment. So when HSBC came out with a mobile banking app that would let me use my fingerprint to log in via phone or generate security codes for desktop login, I thought that was a great thing. But I didn’t think it through … and I wonder if HSBC did.

The first thing to know is that when you set up the mobile app, your keypad device gets permanently de-authorized. The second thing is that you can only set up the mobile app on one device.

So … after finally getting my phone updated, I went to the HSBC app to check my bank balance. And the app doesn’t want to run. You get their cutesy photo of a girl scrawling on a yellow wall with crayon. What that has to do with HSBC I have no idea. After that, the screen just goes all white and stays white and blank. And that’s it. It’s done. (Oddly enough, the app functions just fine on my iPad, but I never registered that.)

I killed the app and restarted it. I rebooted the phone. Nothing.

Finally I gave up and called HSBC. I was told that because I never used the dual password authentication method, the only thing they could do was to send me a new keypad device. And that since I’m in the Philippines, it would be sent by special courier and it would take 4-5 business days. That means for the next week I can’t pay certain bills, I can’t transfer money, I can’t even check my balance (without calling Hong Kong).

I said to the customer service rep, “You said it would be sent by special courier. Is there a very special courier? A super special courier? I’ll pay more!” Nope. All I can do is wait.

I said to her, when I get the new keypad, I can keep using that, right? I don’t have to use the mobile app again, do I? And she said, right, I can just use the keypad. Because even if I get it working again, there’s no guarantee it won’t break the next time that Apple puts out an iOS update, or the time after that.

(She also told me that I should register for the dual password method just so I’m covered for the future. First time I heard this suggestion but I will definitely follow it.)

One more thing …

Tomorrow is my final day with my current job. I’ll be returning my MacBook Air to the company. I bought a new laptop for personal (and possibly business) use last weekend in Hong Kong.

I did not buy a MacBook Air or Pro.

I bought the Dell XPS 13.

Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake processor, 16 gig RAM, 512 gig SSD, 3200 x 1800 resolution 13.3 inch touch screen, two USB 3.0 ports and a Thunderbolt port and an SD card slot. (No built-in HDMI port, I had to buy an adapter for that.) US$1,600.

One thing about the Dell is that the screen size is the exact same as the MacBook Air, but overall the Dell is noticeably smaller, due to its having almost no bezel around the screen. I’m very happy with it. (But not abandoning iPhone/iPad any time soon.)