Seriously, UPS… you had to TRY to do that much damage, right?

The other day I ordered a RAM upgrade for my new MacBook. I had contemplated buying it at Best Buy, but I balked at their price of $199. I went down to the Apple Store (no Internet on the Macs on display at Best Buy, and apparently they have the store wrapped in RF shielding, as I wasn’t even able to get a signal on my iPhone there, either), not expecting them to sell RAM upgrades, but at least knowing I could spend a few seconds on a display MacBook checking RAM prices at Ramjet. $69. So I ordered it as soon as I got home.

The package arrived today. Or at least what was left of it. Fortunately the RAM appears to be intact, no thanks to the best efforts of UPS to destroy it. The question of whether such a tiny product really needed to be shipped in such a huge box is another matter, but at least the RAM was shrouded in bubble wrap.

Here’s what I found at the front door:

ups_ram_7

And here’s the prize inside:

ups_ram_9

More photos after the jump…

And now I’m going to shut down my computer and install this RAM!

At this rate, what is the RIAA going to have left to protect?

riaadevil.jpgI’ve already made my opinion of the RIAA known, but this latest development is truly unbelievable.

Apparently, the RIAA now feels that CDs you’ve ripped for your own personal use are unauthorized. What ever happened to the long-standing clause in copyright law that allows the holder of content to make up to five copies for personal use? What of the fact that it’s built right into the stupid DRM that the RIAA has forced Apple to implement on iTunes that you can put purchased music on up to five computers (and, implicitly at least, an unlimited number of iPods synced to those computers)?

It is patently absurd that any kind of legal case to this effect could be made in the current technological climate. According to the RIAA, just about everyone who owns an iPod (or a similar device) is a thief, even if they’ve paid for every single song on the device.

Well guess what: fuck you, RIAA. We are not thieves, we are your customers. But maybe we shouldn’t be.

It’s here…

My new iBook arrived today! I am very excited about it… although my enthusiasm has somewhat been tainted by the whole China thing.

I knew Apple was “assembling” many of their products, such as the iPods, in China now, although I had previously assumed they were still “assembling” the computers in Mexico. It was just seeing “SHANGHAI CN” as the origination locale on the FedEx tracking site that did it for me. I realize they ship custom-built Macs direct from the factory, but for some reason I hadn’t put together that that meant FedEx would be receiving the package in China and delivering it two-day to my house.

I’m not entirely sure why this is bothering me as much as it is; I guess it’s just that I usually have some (illusory) distance from the fact that the things I am buying are being produced by what might as well be considered slave labor.

I guess I buy into the illusion Apple no doubt intends to engender in its customers that their computers are being assembled at a hippie love-in at Haight-Ashbury. (Why else would they boldly print “Designed by Apple in California” on a card you are forced to look at as you’re taking the computer from the box, while relegating “Assembled in China” to 3-point type on the undercarriage?)

Sure the blueprints are coming from California, but c’mon Steve, it’s time to crank down the reality distortion field: Apple computers are MADE IN CHINA. It’s not just that Chinese products still carry the no-longer-accurate stigma of poor quality. China is a vacuum sucking up manufacturing jobs not just from the United States, but also from the countries like Mexico that had previously taken manufacturing jobs from the U.S.

Now I’m not draping myself in the flag here. I’m not about protectionism. But there are a host of problems that go along with choosing to move your operations to a place like China, and by buying the products of those operations, I’m buying into that choice, like it or not.

So… it’s a bittersweet day for me. I can’t help thinking about those workers in Apple’s factory in Shanghai, and wondering what their lives are like.