My Apple repair story morphs into the absurd.

Yea, it just gets better.

So I got fed up with my local retail and decided to go above their heads to get an answer. I called the 800 customer support number, who called the manager of the store, who called the chief genius in and they got things moving quite quickly. Apologies up and down, and a $50 gift card. Quite a nice response to what has been a pretty miserable event. They also said ‘we feel it is stable now and you can come pick it up this afternoon’ so I ran to the store, talked to the nice senior Genius (who took over my case) and he said it was fine and I should call him personally if there are any more problems.

The store opens at 10. I’ll be calling at 10:01.

I was playing with the machine last night and just had to laugh. Yes, the machine is stable, but it is running 10.5, the operating system from about a year ago, not 10.5.5, the upgrade that had sent my computer into a tizzy. The whole reason I took the machine in for repairs was difficulty in the upgrade from 10.5.4. to 10.5.5, and Apple’s store just erased my disk, reinstalled 10.5 and pronounced my machine ‘ready’. (For the record, I had 10.5 stable the day before I took it into them, even writing out on my notes ‘10.5 works, but 10.5.5 is having the problems).

Oh this will be a fun call to make. Basically a week spent to get me back to where I was a week ago.


When the Mac Genius isn't one.


Tomorrow will be day 14 of my Mac Pro saga. It started with blue screens of death and bad memory and has expanded into bad hard drives and a ridiculous amount of ‘we’re about to call you’ replies from the Mac Geniuses.

What really is bugging me, beside the fact that at this point, we’re talking a clean install, start over (i.e. something anyone with the original software disks can do) is the fact that every time I call to check the status I get a five minute hold while they debate which genius will take my call and then a response ‘we have just one more thing to do and we’ll call you right back’. Those calls never come.

* They didn’t come Monday, when the machine was first promised to be done (after being ‘fixed’ the week before and not really working).

* They didn’t come on Wednesday, when I called and asked ‘could I just come pick it up tonight’.

* They didn’t come on Thursday, when the staff told me it just had to check one more thing and would ready in the morning.

* They didn’t come on Saturday, despite the plea ‘he just went to get some lunch and will call you as soon as he gets back’.

So now I’m stuck. It’s been two weeks since the blue screens and quite frankly, my faith in the Mac Geniuses is starting to falter. I think, in part, the Apple stores have seen the quality level of their senior staff get somewhat diluted. When they first opened, you would go into say Tysons and get some guy who had 20 years of experience with Macs. Now you get a 20 year old kid who simply follows the established procedure check list (this diagnostic, that diagnostic, etc).

Anyway, time to dial them again and maybe this time I’ll just stay on hold until I actually get to talk to someone.

UPDATE: The guy is at lunch. Of course the store just opened 15 minutes ago. Yeah right.


Blue screen of death and kernel panics on my Mac after 10.5.5


My Mac is at the Apple store after making an upgrade to 10.5.5. I awoke the other morning to find my computer stuck in a ‘blue screen of death’ (yea, it was actually a blue screen) that came on after the original grey Apple and spinning wheel. It was quite annoying to say the least.

I started to do a debug (as I’ve done a few times before) but then I realized ‘hey, this machine is still under warranty.’ I was also worried their might be some hardware issues so I decided to take it up to the Apple store and get them to work on it. I removed the extra storage hard drives (for security reasons) and dropped it off with the genius bar.

After about 48 hours, they came back with the answer I suspected (i.e. their default answer)–there is a problem with the 3rd party RAM. This is the usual answer they give for most hardware problems (whether or not it is totally to blame is another matter). They took it out, reinstalled 10.5.5 and did the updates/data migration and pronounced it good to go. And as fate usually has it, I brought it home, put my drives back in, turned it on, and boom–kernel panic. Reboot, and the blue screen.

I then threw in a new drive, did an install (clean, on a clean drive) got it up and running with 10.5, but when upgraded and migrated, again, the blue screen of death. I took the drive out of the slot and moved it to another–BSOD. I put all the drives in–BSOD, and all the drives out–BSOD. Clean reinstall-BSOD.

So I said screw it–back to the store. It’s there now (what Apple calls a ‘looper’ in that it looped back in after a previous ticket) and I’m waiting to hear from them.

After doing some research, it seems that 10.5.5 is causing a number of problems with other users. Apple’s support documents are rather sparse (they love to blame one thing, not always every thing that causes a problem). The discussions are showing quite a few bugs with 10.5.5 and I’m digging through trying to find if there is a solution in the complaints on the forums (USB seems to be a big suspect).


Being a lawyer again for a few days listening to CLE online

Illinois changed the requirements since I graduated from law school (over a decade ago) such that I now have to have a certain number of CLE courses (Continuing Legal Education) courses. When you are in a firm, they have a person who hounds you basically to make sure you keep up with your state’s requirements.

It’s a neat idea, but honestly, it’s rare you get a CLE course that is that interesting. I have a few I downloaded that started out as interesting topics, but the professors giving the lectures are pretty scholarly or dull. But it’s a requirement, and given my desire to wait to the last minute for basically everything I’m stuck having to do about 20 hours in the next 96 hours. Thank god they are mp3s as I can put them on in the car and listen during the commute (which will be about 8-10 hours worth of the listening over the next couple days as I have quite a bit of driving to do).


Why Obama resigned 'early' from the Senate


Obama’s replacement will be given seniority in the 110th Congress, making that person one notch higher than the people who won election in November and will take their seats in the 111th Congress in January. That is if the Illinois governor can move quickly to fill the vacancy and if the lame-duck session next week accepts the appointment and swears in the new Senator.

While it likely won’t make a difference in the 111th Congress (outside of a slightly better office, perhaps) in the 112th and 113th that person (if they are still around) will be given better committee assignments and be higher up on the chain for a chairmanship than their colleagues who won election a few weeks ago. Not a bad deal for a few days worth of work in the 110th.

(FWIW, I started working with the 100th Congress. Man I’m old)


Did FDR prolong the depression

UCLA economists think so.

“Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. “We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

“President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services,” said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. “So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies.”

Maybe if Obama wins tomorrow we’ll get to see if this recession can last a few more years after they implement some rather whacky laws that are in his economic ‘platform’.