Dear Apple …

Dear Apple:

You suck.


I dread the cute little “Upgrade Your Apple Software” window. Whenever it pops up, I cringe. Then I evaluate whether or not it’s really worth the pain of upgrading. Don’t get me wrong — I like that Apple is doing its best to keep me from getting haxxx0red by script kiddies … when they aren’t busticating iTunes. No, it’s this little window right here that is my kryptonite:

Problem with shortcut: This action is only valid for products that are installed

Whenever Apple does its little upgrade thing, the next time I click on any of the shortcuts in my Quickbar, that’s the message I get: “This action is only valid for products that are installed”. But wait, didn’t I just install the product?

My Quickbar, post Apple upgrade

Or did I?

The image on the right is what happens when I do an upgrade — I get two shortcuts to the upgraded app. The top one in the image was generated by the upgrade process. (Did it ask me if I wanted a shortcut added to my Quickbar? No, of course not.) The bottom one was there from the original install, then replaced after each upgrade process. It’s the bottom one that doesn’t work, while the top one does, even though the bottom one had worked just fine until I upgraded. Every. Frickin’. Time.

Am I the only person on the planet that has multiple Quickbars? I’ve got them organized by app type, so that all of my browsers are in one place, my office tools are in another, web apps in another, and so on. Doing that with a single vertical Quickbar is a nightmare, as the icons rearrange randomly and often.

The problem is that Apple shortcuts aren’t shortcuts. No, really. Look:

How Apple generates a shortcut, versus how Firefox generates a shortcut

The image shows the shortcut property page for Safari, and below it is the relevant section of the shortcut property page for Firefox. See the difference? The Firefox shortcut, like almost every other shortcut on your system, points to the full path of the executable. You can make as many copies of the shortcut as you like, placing them anywhere on your drive, and you can upgrade Firefox as often as you want, and all of the shortcuts will still work. Safari? Notsomuch.

The Apple-style shortcut points to a specific installation package, not to the executable. Each time you upgrade an Apple app, the old installation package is voided and replaced with a new one. Shortcuts to the old installation package stop working and start producing the error message. If you’ve copied the shortcut to other places, like a different Quickbar, the shortcut is now just dead bits. You need to manually go through and replace them all with the new shortcuts. Again. And again. And again.

I’m sure Apple thinks it has a really good reason for creating shortcuts like this … but I don’t have the slightest care what that reason is. It’s annoying. It’s counter-intuitive. And, if I may go all righteous, it’s very un-Apple-like.

Published by

Rick Osborne

I am a web geek who has been doing this sort of thing entirely too long. I rant, I muse, I whine. That is, I am not at all atypical for my breed.