Thursday, November 15, 2007

Just Genius

Void. I've been in a void. Technologically, knitologically, and physiologically.

I'm on someone else's computer right now as my 2 computers are both out of commission. Yes, 2. And, here, I'm going to rant at Apple. I became an Apple convert in the early '90s. I had been a programmer (the use of the word dates me, doesn't it?) It was sheer joy to discover a computer that allowed you to be simply a user. I have the capacity to learn the technology behind the user interface, but I wanted to be freed from that and Apple did that for me. It allowed me to focus my energies on other things. And, they weren't IBM or Microsoft. (Showing my bias from within the industry at the time.)

Now Apple could be losing me. Not that I have the funds to get a new computer and all new software right now. Nor the interest in re-training myself. However, I need my technology to work. I left the IT world for a reason and I don't want to be mired in techie work. When I take my computer for service, I expect a thorough examination of the problem and a meaningful repair. When I'm told that I must upgrade my operating system to work with my new printer, I expect the transition to be smooth enough to leave me operating. My laptop, which is my life's blood for my business, has been out of commission for 8 weeks. My desktop, which should be able to stand in, has now been un-operating for 2.

They never should have called their service desk the "Genius Bar". It's too ripe.

Here's an example of their Genius: after having my hard drive replaced, I brought my laptop home and tried to restore my data from my backup drive. It won't restore. Stops progressing about 85% of the way through with a perpetual clanging sound. Like a ball in a roulette wheel. So, I take it back in and tell them my problem. The Genius of the day, erases my hard drive and re-installs the operating system and tells me the problem is fixed. Only that is exactly where they left off the last time. He tells me to go home and try the restore again. (Because it would take too long for them to do it.) It was late in the evening and I walked out with a skeptical gaze. The computer went back two days later with the same complaint. This day's Genius wanted to erase the drive, re-install the system and have me take it home and try to restore. The brilliance! Why hadn't I thought of that?! After some insistence that this was not acceptable, he asked to keep my backup drive so that they could try the restore. This being my only copy of the data, I asked, "how often do you lose these things?" He answered, with a straight face, "never." He's either a liar or a Genius. (Apple is singlehandedly redefining this word as the long sought after P.C. euphemism for "retarded".) Desperate, I said they could have it overnight, but that I would pick up the drive the next day. I sent someone to pick it up. Here is what he reported: "The guy that was there today, didn't understand why your computer was in for a backup." Huh? The Genius that had taken in the computer and written the work order had written that the tech guys should backup my drive. Not restore. Nor did he mention that this was because the drive was failing and the restore was to test the drive. So, they hadn't done a thing. Did they call me for clarification? No. So, I now have the backup drive and they have my laptop. And I don't see how this problem will be resolved yet. Since, it is apparently insufficient for me to say that the restore fails, so they have no intention of actually testing the drive. I'm fairly certain that they installed a drive that has a corrupted section which they never accessed with the system install. I was told when I brought the computer in the second time that they do "what gets it back to the user the quickest" rather than thoroughly troubleshooting and repairing the underlying problem. If that's their protocol, it's Genius!

I think it's no accident that they refer to their service desk as a Genius Bar. People often go to a bar to drink themselves stupid. I've never been much of a drinker and rarely go to bars. I don't go to Apple to get intoxicated. I'm no Genius. I want my computer to work for me.

When I first brought the laptop in 2 months ago, I knew that the warranty would expire in a few weeks. Expressing concern about that, the Genius sold me a ProCare service package. He sent me off to have the drive looked at by a third-party data recovery service. I returned two weeks later and was told that my warranty had expired. The ProCare package has NOTHING to do with a warranty. Apparently, I paid $99 for the onerous privilege of pushing other people out of line and getting their parts if I need them. (Ok, maybe I am a Genius!) When I complained, they determined that since I had originally come in while the warranty was valid that this repair would be covered. The Genius plan of selling me a service I didn't want, got Apple a cool $99, but they've lost me as a customer for service and possibly for future computers. For 15 years, I hadn't considered the options. A Genius Bar can do that to you.

I haven't even begun to talk about what happened to my desktop upon trying to upgrade to Leopard so that it could drive my new printers. Sheesh. Lucky for anyone who might bother to read this, I've got to get off this borrowed babe and hope that someday soon, I'll be back in the land of the technologically living.

Until then....