Apple store, Applecare, Powerbook, and a near breakup

I took the Powerbook to the Genius Bar at the Newport Beach Apple Store on Sunday. The S key was popping off and clearly broken. This had happened previously to the space bar and they’d just replaced the thing.

My previous experiences there were uneven. There was one hard drive replacement under Applecare that they did beautifully, including additional buff-up repairs I hadn’t requested. The previous keyboard problem was also fixed in seconds. Another time, though, the power supply died on my previous Powerbook quite early in its career with the typical snap-and-short at the laptop end. That time they tried to tell me it was my “abuse” that had caused this, but since this one had been a floor model for a solid year before I got it, that wasn’t going to fly. I had to be really bitchy though. Then, that laptop really lost it; the case flexed and cracked and the hinge popped off so that it wouldn’t hold up the screen. This caused a full operating fight between me and the Genius Bar person because he simply declared that I had broken it and voided AppleCare. I was mad as hell and felt cheated. I did, however, purchase another Powerbook because I wanted both the hardware and the OS. The old one was given to Movie Guy Dan, who made mechanical repairs and continues to use it.

So this time I went in thinking “If they do this right they’re okay, but if they mess with me and try to bully me out of my warranty it will be ugly and I will never buy Apple anything again. I’ll just get a commodity x86 laptop, go back to Linux, and lose all this nice shiny consumer convenience.”

The guy looked at the keyboard and poked around. He told me he’d go in the back and try to find an S key, since they had lots of keycaps they pulled off dead keyboards and stored for this very purpose. “If I can’t find one, though, you’ll have to buy a new keyboard.”

“Oh, I have Applecare.” He looked back at the keyboard now with a more critical eye. He ran his fingers up and down the keys, looked at the bottom of the Powerbook and the outside, and then pointed to the spots to the right and left of the trackpad where my hands rest. “What’s up with this corrosion here?” he said in the tone Colombo might use with a murderer.

“That is due to sweat. From my hands. I sweat with them.” He said “Well I’ll see what I can find here.” I told him that I sincerely hoped he had an S key because otherwise it would be bad. He returned in about ten minutes with one and I was gone.

Dear Apple: Warranty cheats are one of the many reasons everyone hates car dealers. They’re legendary for redefining the warranty to classify failure due to their design errors as abuse. You have already done this with your horribly designed power supply, three of which have died on me at a cost of $80 each. Your currentidea of how to increase revenue and keep customers is to charge $350 for a service plan and then make sure that the service plan is always denied, and in the process insult your customers and force them into public arguments with tech support. This is a bad idea. Hugs, me.

keep dreamin’, keep believin’!

This is apparently from Apple’s shareholder meeting in 1984, just as the Mac was launched.

It’s a video, maybe a bit worn and torn by transfer from VHS. Just a video, maybe a bit garbled with repeated view, like a well-loved teddy bear.

But it has soul, and power, and spirit. This one will get you out of your seat, pumping the air, saying: today, I am going to be part of the magic. Today, we are Apple. We are all Apple now.

computers are hard and the government spies on me from the air vent

flata points out that some people lost their heads because the all-knowing government spy agency, the NSA, put cookies on people’s computers.

A “privacy advocate” named Daniel Brandt is upset about this, and has previously been upset about the CIA using persistent cookies on their public website.

I feel sorry for the web monkey who put those in for whatever boring typical reason people use persistent cookies, because that person is in big trouble. I also think that a “no persistent cookies” policy for websites of this kind is a fine idea, almost entirely because it reduces this kind of pointless paranoia. But let’s get real, here. You can turn off cookies, and anyone who’s serious about privacy does. There’s no way the NSA is using persistent cookies to track individual website visitors; that’s inane.

Danny boy, the NSA has shit you don’t even know about, probably archiving the entire Internet way better than Alexa and analyzing it and putting it in databases and crunching it up to find Al-Qaeda and screw the Chinese. They don’t need “cookies”, okay? Oh, and by the way, you keep mispelling “rendez-vous” in your emails to your mistress, the one in Dayton. Get that shit straight, okay?

This was almost as “good” as the podjacking idiot.

The Bootup Kids

The local rich kids all showed up at once and began staring at this laptop, giving me the opportunity to create my own D.I.Y. Apple ad. I’m not sure whether “Think Different” or “The Power To Crush The Other Kids” would be the best slogan to use. Maybe a new slogan for emo kids with lots of cash?

The Bootup Kids

Even funnier, I had to ask her to turn it down.

Weird and cool: Coming into the living room and seeing my 76-year-old mother watching Nick Cave on the TV. And liking it.

Weird and funny: Getting two text messages from bikupan that appeared to be from a year ago, one saying “What, no potato salad? Bah!” and the other “Is something wrong?”. I vaguely remembered going back and forth about my accidentally vegan potato salad recipe last year and having some technical snafus. But no, she really did send those last night, and it wasn’t a temporal wormhole in the SMS system.

Neither weird, funny, nor cool: My re-discovery tonight of the fatal flaw in desktop computers nowadays: they’re all I/O bound. Here I sit with an 800 MHz PowerPC and 1 gig of RAM in my lap and I can’t do jack. Why? Because there’s disk intensive activity going on. The window manager slows to a crawl, none of my apps respond except in annoying bursts, and inexplicable errors occur probably due to clicks and keyboard presses out of focus because windows are changing erratically. It’s like I’m connecting to my own computer over a crappy old 14.4 modem link. RAAAAAAR. I want IDE to go away. [/geek]

Neither weird, funny, nor cool: I am reading a book about the Vietnam war. Bad: we’re doing it again. Worse: we’re doing it again much more stupidly . I’m experiencing nostalgia for the sincerity, honesty, and sense of duty of CIA and military officers from 1966. YOW!

Weird and funny but not cool: Bro ‘n’ ho couple arrive in D’s tonight and she asks D., who is behind the counter: “Do you have Chocolate Tea?” A moment of silence, and D. says “Umm, no?” Customer says: “Could you do that, like, put mocha in tea?” D: “I guess, yeah!” Customer: “Would that be disgusting, do you think?” D: “Yes, it would.”

Today’s recruiter email

This is unedited with the exception of removing names and adding a few [sic]. Note to recruiters: If you’re copy/pasting the same thing to 200 people you’re shotgun-emailing, try spellchecking at least first. Measure once, cut twice, and all that. Quadruple-spaced semiliterate notes with bad spelling and technical errors and four or five exclamation points at the end of each phrase give people the creeps.

My name is [redacted] and I am a senior technical recruiter with [redacted]. I was contacting you today in regards to an exciting opportunity that I have for you.

Linux Administrator

HOT OPPORTUITIES!!!! [sic] High profile company in the financial industries!!!!! [sic] HOT TECHNOLGY!!!![sic] LARGE IT BUDGET!!!!

Experience administering Red Hat Linux in an enterprise environment

Must have expereince[sic] with PERL[sic], Borne[sic] or Shell Scripting

Team oriented, flexible, Subject Matter Expert in some Linux area

Must have experience supporting database applications

Must have a background in Oracle on top of Linux

Red Hat Certification is a HUGE plus

Will be responsible for OS level support

Please contact me when you get a chance, I would like to find out more about your background and experience.

One-Click Horking

Hi there. I’m going to talk to you today about website programming. You aren’t interested, but maybe you should be, because your bank sucks at it.

Today I cancelled a credit account that had been paid off a long time ago and was no longer useful. Before I called them up, I looked at the website for my account to make sure that everything was clear and that no pending or recurring charges would show up.

The account statement looked like this:

Available Credit: [redacted]

Current balance: $0.00

Minimum payment Due: $20.00

Previous Balance: $0.00

Last Payment: $58.97, 3/5/2005

I immediately saw that I had a $20 payment due, but missed seeing that my balance was zero. Oh crap, how long has that been due? At least since March! Better pay that last $20 before I cancel. I clicked on the “Make a payment online” button.

that’s when it got funny