Monday, August 20, 2007
Genius Bar? I don't think so.
"Hi Mr. Emawkc, this is Aaron at the Genius Bar. I was just calling to let you know your computer is ready and you can pick it up any time at the Apple Store."
"I picked it up yesterday."
"Oh?! Well... er... Ooh I see. We had an Internet outage yesterday, so it must have gotten lost in the shuffle. Okay, I guess you're all set."
The call I received this morning was just the latest example of how the Genius Bar at the Apple Store isn't restricted only to genii.
It all started two weeks ago when my iMac shot craps. I was getting ready to sync my iPod before heading out on some errands when Apple HQ sent out a message that I needed to do a security software update. No problem, it's a pretty standard deal. I click the "install" button to do the security patch.
A few seconds later, I get a message that the install is finished and I need to restart my computer. Kind of annoying, since all I wanted to do is sync my iPod, but okay. I restart. I get a message that I need to restart my computer. I restart and get the same message that I need to restart my computer. I do, same message.
Clearly something is wrong. The "geniuses" have bricked my computer. So I call and get an appointment at the so-called genius bar to have this fixed.
When in get there a couple of days later, I explain to the genius on duty that the software update they sent ruined my computer and I would like it fixed if you please. After a few minutes of triage, the young genius tells me that the motherboard on my computer is fried and will need to be replaced.
"That sounds expensive," I say.
"It is," she replies. "It's about a $900 repair and you are no longer covered by your warranty."
Luckily, this genius then does the most genuis-like thing of this whole experience.
"Don't worry, " she said in a bad news/good news voice. "This model qualifies for an extended warranty Apple Quality program. So there won't be a charge to you for the repair."
I told her that would be just fabulous.
Fast forward a few days and I get another call from a genius.
"Well, we replaced the mother board and power source and your computer still doesn't work. The issue is with your hard drive. We can replace it but we weren't able to get any data off your old one."
The genius tells me that a third party data recovery company might be able to save the 3,000 or so family pictures saved on the drive. Of course, it will cost me $250 if they succeed, but I won't have to pay anything if they fail.
Fast forward again, no data is recovered. Apple says they'll need $150 to replace the hard drive, plus they will keep the old drive to send back "to corporate" wherever that is.
So I get to pay $150 for a new drive and I lose my old drive (which has my passwords to all the porn sites I go to). Or I can pay $75 to by a new drive that I install myself, get three times the disc capacity for half the cost and I keep the old damaged drive and my secret plans for taking over the world.
The geniuses at the genius bar had a hard time understanding why I didn't want them to do the work.
But, in the end, I get a new mother board, new power supply and a hard drive upgrade all for a total out-of-pocket expense of $75. Not bad.
The bonus is that when I got everything going again, I found that I had backed up all of my photos onto an external hard drive, so I didn't lose any irreplaceable data.
No thanks to the Apple geniuses.
tagged: Apple, computer, iMac, Genius Bar, crash, data recovery, hard drive