AMITIAE - Sunday 22 December 2013
Cassandra: Broken Passwords, iTunes Hesitation and Apple Help on Hold for the Weekend
By Graham K. Rogers
Buying from the iTunes Store - usually apps, and sometimes music - is more in the nature of impulse purchasing. I see something I like, a read a review, or something puts an idea into my brain. That happened last week when near the end of a sentimental movie, a song by Jimmy Durante came on.
Not many people will remember him or his gravelly voice, but over the years I have been familiar with some of his more famous tunes, partly from children's radio in the 1950s: some of his hits were that long ago.
I have a number of odd music purchases from a variety of sources, like a 16-year old Yehudi Menuhin playing Mozart's 7th Violin Concerto, Cyril Davies from 1963, and The Sex Pistols (and a lot more). Some of these come from my own disk collection, but more and more are being downloaded. Jimmy Durante would fit in perfectly and the iTunes store had the tune I wanted with several others on the $8.99 album.
I decided on the option that allowed me to reset the password via an email sent to the account I have registered with Apple. There have, however, been some changes. As this is the Thai store, all information now comes in Thai. I have reset a password before and that was in English. I can hold a conversation with a Thai taxi driver and I can buy fresh fruit at the local market as well as chat up the old ladies in the supermarket, but apart from the days of the week and names of my students my reading of Thai is abysmal.
I took a stab at the first link in the email, which turned out to be right. It took me to a page - again all in Thai - on the Apple site. Here were two boxes for entering a password and then confirming. What was above, below and to the side, I have no idea. One changed colour as I typed in a password, so I guess that was connected to password strength.
Sitting there, in a situation I had not been expecting, I had to come up with a suitable password. I looked around for inspiration. Was I running out of time? I grasped at a straw and entered nurofen_gkr, but Apple wasn't having any of that. Whether it was too weak or the two entries failed to match, I do not know. I tried again. Same result. A third try . . . nope. I started the processa again from the email, but the result was the same. I was unable to create a new password and I had no idea why.
Time for some help; but the Support page I linked to took me to the US site and there was no help for me there for problems in SE Asia. Back to the Thai site and I saw on one page that if I wanted help in English, I should try the regional site link.
By the time, I had worked my way through the list of questions to refine my query and was allowed to enter my details to ask a question, I was a little frustrated and made a couple of tart suggestions regarding the international nature of Apple.
Without a password, I cannot buy things. And if Apple looks at the last 12 months, my purchase record for hardware and software, as well as apps and music, is not at all shabby (let's use an Apple word, shall we?). It looked more as if it could turn out to be Apple's problem, both in terms of my inability to make further purchases online, and the point about keeping the customer satisfied.
I tried to quit,. After I ignored the warning that downloading was taking place, the application did not close. I resorted to Force Quit. When I restarted iTunes later in the day, I was asked for my password. Fingers crossed, I tried the previous password that Apple said I had mistyped. It worked. The last app was still there, still pretending it was busy. I deleted it, then I downloaded it again.
A couple of days later, the problem with a reluctant app happened again. This time, after Force Quit, I repaired permissions using Disk Utility. When I restarted iTunes (the password was requested again and accepted) the same app was shown, but when I clicked on it, expecting it to be deleted, I was informed it was ready for download. Down it came without problem.
There was more. What started the problem was that music download . When I finally made the purchase, one of the 12 Jimmy Durante tracks stuck on processing: just like the apps. When I restarted iTunes (again Quit, followed by Force Quit), it was shown correctly in the music library. Although I was pleased with the result, there is some inconsistency here. I reported the problem on the Apple Feedback page.
A lot of users will have partners who will be able to guide them through the texts, but not all will be able to grasp some of the concepts. Google makes it easy to switch between languages and it might be helpful if Apple were to provide such an option in countries where there is a significant number of users not from the specific nation, particularly with ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration in little over a year (2015).
I would of course have suggested that to the Apple representative, if I had been contacted on this Help request within the 48 hours.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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