Walled gardens are built to keep out the competition. Sometimes they keep out customers, too.


I recently started using a Mac for work and one of the first things I wanted to do was make sure all my software was up to date. Little did I know, this would end up being a two hour process.

First, I had to sign up for an Apple ID account to upgrade all my software. This left me scratching my head. “Please Apple, may I update my software?” I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t that! Next, Apple made me add a payment method to my Apple account before I could actually create the account. Now I’m really starting to get annoyed. Nothing I want to update costs money, why should Apple have to store my payment information?

When I tried connecting my PayPal account to my Apple account (since I figured that’d be at least a little more secure than adding a credit card), PayPal freaked out because I was logging in from a new IP address. This was after they blocked me from even accessing the PayPal website because I was using a VPN (I was served with a 403 error – this is becoming depressingly common).

After “confirming my identity” by entering a code they texted to my phone (!!), PayPal said “ok, now let’s secure your account” – as if my account was insecure in the first place, which it obviously wasn’t since I entered the correct password AND the code they texted to my phone – then forced me to reset my password. After resetting my password, PayPal finally let me into my account.

By this point, the cookie or whatever Apple was using to keep track of my account creation process had disappeared, and I had to start the Apple ID account creation process over and log into PayPal again to finish creating my Apple account. All in all, I had to fill out the account creation form for Apple and login to PayPal three times each just to create an Apple ID and update my software. This was a stupidly complicated process, and was a painful reminder of why I prefer open systems like Linux and Bitcoin instead of the supposedly-but-not-really more “sleek and user-friendly” proprietary systems like Apple and PayPal.

Walled gardens are built to keep out the competition. Sometimes they keep out customers, too.

Email is probably the most popular decentralized messaging protocol. Add yourself to my email contacts if you would like to stay in touch!

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