My baby’s back!


My iMac is finally back home – picked it up this morning, and spent most of the day restoring software and files. And experimenting with Tiger, since the TekServe guys erased my hard drive and installed the new OS. Turns out they had to replace both my CD/DVD drive and my logic board. $840 worth of repairs, all covered by my now expired Apple Care protection plan. Talk about timing – my first phone call to Apple regarding the problems I was experiencing was on the last day of my service plan (May 1). It was certainly worth the $150 or so that I spent on it when I originally bought the computer. Heck, the cost of the service plans for my iMac, my brother’s ibook, and my powerbook still cost less than the repair bill.

Definitely worth it. When they brought out my computer, I actually hugged it. The repair guy’s response? "I know how you feel…"

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This screen is too small.


I’m still stuck on my powerbook, because the new optical drive for my iMac has still not arrived at Tekserve.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my powerbook, for what it is, which is a useful computer to travel with. That’s why I got the 12" model. But for regular computing, I really need at least my 15" iMac screen – I feel like I’m going cross-eyed after two weeks of this. Not to mention the non-ergonomicness of it all. And the wires running every which way since I have all of my stuff (backup drive, printer) now plugged into the side of the pbook rather than discretely in the back of the iMac.

It’s all just so frustrating. How friggin’ hard is it for them to get an optical drive? I mean, they are put in every computer that Apple makes…

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laptopping it.


Well, it turns out that it may be my optical drive that is intermittently failing. Went to Tekserve this morning, and after 3 hours and another phone call to Apple, it’s getting fixed for free. So that’s something. My Apple Care actually expired on May 2. My problems started appearing on April 30. But since Apple spent three weeks giving me the runaround, Tekserve couldn’t agree to repair it for free until I got a special code from Apple that essentially said they would pay for the repair. Note that this was a different code than the case number I’ve been carrying around for three weeks. I spent so long on hold while at the store, that they set me up with my own phone and a chair.

I will say that the Tekserve guys were awesome (you may have seen the store featured in the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie’s laptop dies). It’s an old-school mac repair shop on 23rd street, and they know their stuff. It’s too bad that, even though they were the original apple specialists here in NYC, and are still the best repair shop around, Apple is obviously trying to put them out of business. When I originally went in to buy a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, they didn’t have them for months after release, even though they had placed multiple orders. A friend of mine had to cancel her order for a pink iPod mini last year, because she waited two months for the order to be filled.

And the latest news is that Apple is planning on opening another Apple Store in Manhattan, only two blocks away from Tekserve. It’s fairly obvious predatory behavior, but it makes me want to frequent Tekserve even more.

In the meantime, while my iMac is in the shop getting overhauled, I’ll be operating from my little powerbook. I just spent a few hours restoring all of my iMac settings to the PBook, including all of these wonderful blog files.

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And Apple was supposed to be the *good* company.


So. I finally got my Tiger replacement DVD today. And I put it in my computer. and it launched, and told me to restart in order to start the install, and I did. And then the computer sat there. For two hours. refusing to start up from the dvd drive. Or do anything. Thankfully, In my first, 6 hour, session with the Apple brainiacs three weeks ago, I did acquire the very useful knowledge of how to force a reboot from the hard drive even when there’s a cd/dvd in the drive. Computer started up fine. Tried installing other software, just to test out the drive. That installed fine.

So I called Apple. again (I’ve now spoken to: Elizabeth, Rob, Erica, Paul and William). My favorite part was where the automated phone tree actually hung up on me twice instead of transferring me to a tech. After I waited on the phone for 15 minutes each time. And then finally transferred me to the "overflow" tech, who had no inkling of how to help me. So then I had to get transferred again. And then, after all of the remarks about my "really extensive" case file, William told me he thought it was my computer, not the disk, because, in his mind, there’s just no way that I could get two faulty disks. Ignoring, of course, the fact that there were apparently hundreds, if not thousands, of these defects floating around the northeast after the Tiger launch.

Never mind that I spent six hours with Elizabeth two weeks ago testing out my entire hardware configuration (his response? "well a lot can happen in two weeks"). or that the drive could read the dvd just fine when it was inserted, but the dvd wouldn’t boot the computer. or that I tested the drive by re-installing one of the myriad of programs that I hadn’t gotten around to installing after my prior hard drive wipe and restoration.

So now I’ve got to drag my iMac to TekServe on Saturday (they being the folks who sold me the original faulty disk) and get it checked out. To make sure I don’t have a "progressive optical disk failure". Which will, of course, be covered not only because I have Apple care, but even if it’s a software problem, Apple’s going to pick up the tab because they’ve given me such a hard time. The tech who lied to me a week and a half ago about my software being shipped out last monday (only to call back this saturday to find out that it was still sitting in the warehouse) was probably what pushed me over the edge.

Ignoring the fact that if you billed out, at my current hourly billing rate, the amount of time that I spent on the phone I could not only buy a new G5 iMac and a flat panel TV, or that I’ve actually bought three apple computers in the past three years (my iMac, my powerbook, and an iBook for my brother), and hence, am an extremely good customer, I’m really losing my faith in the company. Mistakes happen. I get that. Software can be defective. But the complete runaround that I’ve gotten from the company is really souring me. I’m certainly not going to be encouraging others anymore.

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Almost impossible, really.


Apparently, my Safari problems a few weeks ago were only a minor precursor to the hell that was my attempt to install Tiger.

On Saturday, fresh from re-tape measuring the entirety of my new apartment, I stopped off at Tekserve to pick up a copy of Tiger. Got home, dropped it into my disk drive, and got a disk error. Repeatedly. Gave up trying to install at about 1 in the morning.

On Sunday, I went back to Tekserve, and got a new copy. The customer service lady mentioned that I wasn’t the only one having problems (you’d think that this would cause some hesitation on my part, but nooooo, I need to have the shiny new operating system, so I must forge ahead). The new disk? Got about halfway through installing before it crapped out on my too. So I called Apple. Because at this point, I’ve got half an OS on my system. Elizabeth (who is my new best friend, by the way), said that Tiger is actually really picky, and the fact that I had problems with two disks means that it might be a problem with my computer, rather than the disk. So we walk through repairing any disk errors (there were none), and she suggests an Archive and Install, rather than upgrade. So I start that. It does get a little further, but still stops in the middle. So I call Elizabeth back (I have her direct extension at this point). Hours of attempts go by. Finally. I decide to do a clean install, because I back up everything nightly onto a LaCie drive (see? I can be smart sometimes). Still doesn’t work. At this point, my only solution is to do a clean install of Tiger, which I do. Elizabeth and I then start manually copying Tiger folders to my computer, just to see if we can find a problem, because she does agree at this point that it doesn’t look like the problem is my computer.

Well. About halfway through copying the seven thousand or so system files, we start getting file error messages. That certain miscellaneous files cannot be read. In the meantime, I had gotten on my laptop (again with the smart – two computers is pretty handy once in a while) and on the Apple discussion board there appeared to be all sorts of people having similar problems. So we agree that there must be something wrong with the batch.

She’s sending me a new copy (from a different batch, naturally), and they’re going to try and figure out what’s wrong. She thought I was the most awesome customer ever, both because of my patience through the whole process, and my willingness to experiment. And I swear I could hear her doing the dance of joy when I mentioned my rigorous backup routine. Because apparently a lot of customers don’t do that sort of thing…

But I swear. If it weren’t for the fact that Microsoft sucks rotten eggs, and the fact that Apple does have awesome customer service, I’d have thrown my iMac out the window at this point. Because how do you ship an entire batch of corrupt disks on a major launch release? Quality control? something?

I’ve been reinstalling the oodles of software that I had on my computer, and it’s going to take me at least a few more days to get everything up and running…I didn’t lose too much that I can see so far. The biggest loss that I’ve found so far is the contents of my delicious library. Which sucks because I manually entered all the information…

The plus side? My computer does seem to be running a heck of a lot faster…I guess that’s what happens when you completely wipe it of three years worth of scattered files…

Stay tuned for my further attempts…

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Sometimes they make it really hard for me to love them.


My love of Apple computers generally knows no bounds (and it’s love of the product, not corporate policies like suing bloggers, that I’m talking about), but once in a great while? They border on wintel levels of incompetence. Like this week. They released a "minor" update to the operating system, which was supposed to enhance certain functions prior to the launch of Tiger. But instead? This happened. And obviously not just to me.

I even tried all of the workarounds suggested in the apple support forums, but, unfortunately, none of them worked for me. So I resorted to the ultimate workaround. downgrading to Safari 1.2. For me, Safari wouldn’t just crash when encountering java, it wouldn’t launch at all. The icon would bounce up and down in the dock for about 30 seconds, and then I’d just get an error message that it crashed. And while I temporarily switched over to Firefox (you know, to access those pesky support forums), I couldn’t change my default browser because, well, you can only control that from inside Safari. So that kind of sucked. Hopefully there’ll be a fix in a few days (or I’ll just wait to upgrade to Tiger (and Safari 2.0) on the 29th). But this certainly isn’t the best way to encourage your user base to go out and spend another $129 in two weeks on a product was being developed at the same time…

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subliminal reporting.


I know the point of this article in the Post is to highlight the fact that Apple’s new products are lower-margin, and thus have the potential to lower Apple’s overall profit margin if they sell really well, but a few things stuck out to me in a way that was perhaps unintended, particularly this:

Not only do the new products carry lower gross margins, but Apple’s costs are also higher than that of other personal computer makers. Apple’s selling, general and administrative expenses and its research and development spending accounted for 17 percent of revenue in the most recent quarter. For Dell Inc., the same percentage in its most recent quarter was 10 percent.

I realize that it’s supposed to highlight that Dell manages expenses more effectively, but all I thought when I read it was, "hmm, no wonder Dell computers suck ass."

If there’s anything that a high-technology company should be funneling as much money as possible into, I’d think it would be R&D. And maybe that’s why, regardless of market share, Apple has always had the reputation of having the highest quality products on the market. I mean, if over 90% of Dell’s money is not being spent on R&D, what’s it being spent on?

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Just when I think I’ve spent enough money…


Apple goes and releases this. I am SO getting one of these for Chanukah, even if I have to buy it myself.

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So I’m thinking about finally giving in and upgrading my iPod. I still have my original 10gig one, which I bought almost two and a half years ago when they were first released. I’ve been increasingly jealous of the newer versions and their slickness (at least compared to my deck of cards sized one), but I couldn’t justify spending the money on what would have amounted to just an aesthetic upgrade, since the features were the same. But the new model actually has a few technical improvements that may push me over the edge. Including longer battery life (and my battery is finally starting to give out), and the ability to create playlists "on-the-go" (I always considered the lack of this feature to be the iPod’s biggest deficiency). Plus, it’s really cool looking.

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I [heart] Apple.


I don’t mean to be a corporate shill, but this? is awesome. Granted, I have a mac, but I’ve already had one windows user describe their absolute flabbergasted-ness about how wonderful iTunes is. Now I think it’s all a plot by Apple to get people to fall in love with their software and move in droves to their computers. A really good plot.

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