Nothing to display

This week, nothing happened.

Nothing happened

This is exactly what you expect to happen after breaking your MacBook Pro’s display when the lid snappily closes on a dangling charging cable by a fluke of probability. A week of suffering and blaming later, you finally get your hands on someone’s old CRT desktop monitor and setup Duet to at least get yourself independently working on the go, using that iPad as a display. And unfortunately, Apple doesn’t provide repair services on high Himalayan mountains yet. It’s also less roomier at 10.5 inches compared to that majestic 16 inch display - the display you’ve come to love, the display that stopped working after a tiny scratch.

Lessons learnt as an Apple buyer

  • Duet’s great: I now plan to have Duet permanently installed on all my personal computers, seeing how useful it has been in these times. I had expected Apple’s sidecar to do this job, but its been completely useless in my predicament. Apple may have ripped ‘em off, but take a note Apple - Sidecar is not the same quality at all. But I finally got the answer to this question - Who pays 39 USD a year on a software that does the work of a HDMI cable? I guess people who buy 2000 USD machines. (Awkwardly looks in the mirror)
  • Apple makes great computers, but they should stop making cables and fragile displays: My first laptop, a Lenovo Z500 (may it rest in peace) had a half-cracked display, besides dust and water droplets in its internals (broken plastic body + humid climate, now put 2 and 2 together) at the end of its life and still worked nicely till I exchanged it. Apple’s unibody aluminium build is undoubtedly much better without a single scratch so far (it just has a broken display), the display quality is great - I just feel that this incident shouldn’t have completely wrecked the display. Maybe use that Ceramic shield in your MacBooks too, eh?
  • Accessibility: For years, Apple has been touted as a company that thinks different, and thinks exhaustively, for amazing reasons. But as of macOS Ventura, I had a hard time trying to switch from Universal control to sidecar using voiceover. But that’s not what Voiceover is for, ya filthy animal! You need the Display to change Display settings, everybody knows that.
  • Apple Support is really limited: The geniuses were out of ideas on this one. On two occasions, I’ve had Apple support remotely access my computer to diagnose some problem, I feel remote access to change display and sidecar settings should have been possible in this case as well as a temporary remedy. I told them that the touchbar was working. Voiceover should have been able to read and take care of the remote access permission prompt. But that’s not what Remote access via Apple support is for, its for diagnosing and resolving issues. Borking the display of a 2000 USD computer doesn’t count as one.
  • You couldn’t get AppleCare+?: It wasn’t available in India back in May, 2020. Now here I am, debating if I should pay for a new display or a new MacBook Air. Surely, money is no issue for people who don’t have jobs, right?
  • Voiceover: This one’s a good thing. Its not perfect, and definitely has some issues, but the work put in so far is a lot better than in other operating systems, including Windows. Good work there, Apple!

Lessons learnt as a software developer

  • Turning off the display is the best way to test accessibility for blind users. Seriously, do that sometime. Just remember, screen curtain or setting display brightness to zero will do the trick here, no need to break that display.
  • If this guy is blaming Apple for accessibility issues on macOS, he should equally to be blamed for accessibility issues in his own software, right? Oh wait, does anyone use this guy’s software?

I’m tired after self-destructing repeatedly now. (Looks at MacBook repair costs once more, hoping they’ve fallen) I’m already on a mountain, maybe I’ll find someone who’ll teach me to live like a hermit now.

UPDATE: Its been almost 3 months, and I finally found a replacement display for 37,000 INR (roughly $450), which isn’t cheap, but still better compared to every other alternative I could find in my area. Typing this on my MacBook Pro, I’m amazed how accustomed I’ve gotten to looking at the iPad Pro’s small 10.5-inch screen these past few months, and how suitable it has proven for many of my use cases.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.