The world has been abuzz with generative AI since the launch of ChatGPT last November. Within seconds, one can now easily generate text summaries, generic blog posts, grammar corrections, images like the one above, and computer-generated narration.
Impressive? Sure, but these tasks just don’t do it for me. If I had my druthers, generative AI would help me solve thorny computer issues like the one that made me lose my marbles over the past three months.
Get your popcorn ready.
Adventures in MacBook Pro Hell
By way of background, I’m no neophyte. I’ve been pecking at a keyboard almost daily for nearly 40 years. (Yikes!) In 2010, I bought my first MacBook Pro and have never looked back. In the past 13 years, I’ve become pretty adept at fixing problems as they appear. Still, some are trickier than others—like this one.
To make a painful story short, its über-valuable Continuity features started flaking out in May. For example, hitting the F6 key no longer activated DND mode on all of my Apple devices. During a few client calls, my iPhone would inexplicably ring. Unlocking the Mac with my Apple Watch inexplicably failed. Finally, Universal Clipboard ceased to work—an issue that I temporarily addressed by creating the following Notion page.1
At first, I thought that the hindrances stemmed from a software update that Apple launched in May. It seemed like a reasonable hypothesis at the time.
Complicating matters further, these annoyances were intermittent. One Apple rep infuriated me by refusing to even look at an error log that I saved because “that’s an engineering issue.” Calm blue oceans.
Nevertheless, I persisted. Stubbornness can be a virtue. Game on, Apple.
A trip to the Apple store, dozens of e-mails to the support folks, several screen-sharing sessions,2 and oodles of brainstorming with my tech-savvy, Mac-using friends ultimately failed to bear fruit. The same holds true for a few afternoons sleuthing on Reddit and Apple forums. Time to bring out the big guns.
I then performed suggested maintenance-related tasks, including setting up a new user account, rebooting in Safe Mode, and reinstalling the Mac OS not once, not twice, but thrice. And lest I forget, I devoted a few hours to my cable modem and wireless router. A senior Apple rep suspected that external hardware might be the culprit.
No dice, but maybe he was on to something?
Renewing my IP address solved the problem for a hot minute, but it returned a few days later with a vengeance. For a brief moment, at least, all was right with the world.
Brass tacks: None of these actions brought me no closer to a permanent resolution.
Yes, in 2023, invoking trial by error and the process of elimination often remain the best clubs in the bag.
(Hopefully) Solving the Problem
Would my computer work properly today? If so, then for how long?
The culprit? As far as I can tell, the ostensibly innocuous HiddenMe app was wreaking havoc with Continuity. Once I uninstalled it, reinstalled Ventura, and renewed my IP address, the computer started working as intended.🤞 Copying and pasting among devices has never given me so much joy. #geek
In hindsight, the inability to use these features didn’t rankle me as much as the sense of unpredictability I felt every time I sat down to work. Would my computer function properly today? If so, then for how long?
I can write my own blog posts and generate my own book outlines for myself and my clients. Yawn. Sign me up for the AI tool that streamlines manual error-resolution processes. If techies like me struggle trying to get their devices to work properly, I can only imagine the difficulty and frustration that non-techies experience.
What do you want AI to do?