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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Apple Computer Geniuses to the Rescue

Personal Weather Report - Calming trend with relief from former high pressure.

Writing Activity - Other than emails, nothing at all.

Five days have passed since my trusty Apple® put on a spectacular light show, resulting in one third of the screen hiding beneath ever-changing bands of color and leaving me hungering to know what's wrong with my computer. Following numerous calls to Apple to clear up a registration snafu, the apparent result of another customer's typo causing a different person to be listed as owner of the iMac with my serial number, I received the go-ahead to take my sidekick to the Apple store yesterday.

After driving one hour into the heart of Sacramento from my home in the Sierra Foothills, I took the first parking spot I found, grasped my computer firmly and headed for the Apple Store. Not venturing to the big city on my own very often, I didn't realize how far away I'd parked. Many heads turned as I lugged my computer across the food court, through Macy's and up the escalator to the second floor. By the time I saw the familiar Apple logo on the front of the store, my arms ached.

A nice salesclerk in a turquoise tee relieved me of my burden as soon as I entered and directed me to a gal clad in bright orange, the "Concierge." She checked me in, told me there would be a wait as they were a bit behind schedule and assured me that, yes, my name was on the list of those who'd made an online appointment, mine being at 12:20 p.m.

For over an hour I stood in front of the Genius Bar™ watching my name creep from number five to number one on the large overhead screens, thoughts of a late lunch flitting through my mind. As I waited, I made a quick perusal of the new products. Thankfully I'd used my hubby's laptop the day before and realized I'm not a fan, or I might have been tempted by the sleek Mac Book Air. I did waylay one of the many busy clerks and purchased an external hard drive, one more precaution to prevent potential data loss.

My sale complete, I did what any writer would do. I watched people. Clerks scurried to assist one customer after another, sales of iPod-related products being brisk. Children as young as two sat on bean bag style balls playing computer games on screens the size of soccer fields. And those clad in black behind the Genius Bar worked minor miracles, many resolving problems faster than I can scarf down a Taco Bell burrito.

A realization struck me as I stood in a store surrounded by Apple products and filled with eager customers. I'd entered a safe zone. Not one person in that crowded shop questioned my loyalty to my Apple computer. No. They shared it.

As the noon hour came and went, my hunger pangs grew. But no way would I risk leaving the shop and missing my turn. When my name finally appeared at the top of the list, I rejoiced. After an hour and a half, I got to talk with a wizard, as I refer to those bright individuals who understand the inner workings of mind-boggling machines that can store more data than I'll produce in a lifetime.

The "Genius" who assisted me assured me that despite all the hassles I had proving ownership of my machine and its extended warranty over the phone, he would take care of me. The fact that I had the original receipt, my copy of the protection plan agreement and the actual computer convinced him I'm the rightful owner.

When the technician plugged in my computer, I held my breath until my iMac came on with the wacky third of the screen visible just as I'd said it would be. Visions of my computer proving me wrong and starting up without a glitch vanished as I released an audible whoosh of air. His eyebrows rose as a vertical band of black an inch wide separated the working portion of the screen from a damaged four inch section on which the image repeated itself.

An I-told-you-so grin spread across my face as the right hand side of the screen proceeded to dance, erupting into a light blue pattern with horizontal lines, one I hadn't seen before. Two other Geniuses' eyebrows rose as they witnessed the spectacle. After a whispered exchange with another technician, mine told me my screen didn't need replacing. Most likely the trouble is with the logic board. Sounds serious to me, but he didn't seem concerned, so I gulped inaudibly. With his flying fingers a blur over the keyboard of his laptop, the young man typed voluminous notes as I watched and wondered.

Half an hour after my summons to the Genius Bar, the technician looked up from his computer and nodded. Unsure what his gesture signified, I asked if he was going to ship my computer somewhere to be fixed. No, he told me. The work would take place in the back room. I smiled and asked, "So, there are more of you wizards working back there?" The young man servicing an iBook next to us smiled at that. I'd read the front of his black tee earlier. "Not all heroes wear capes." So true. A sense of relief washed over me as I headed out to finally get some lunch.

And now I wait as my computer works its way to the front of the queue, a process that may take a week. My daughter offered to share her older model iMac. I appreciate her generosity, but oh, how I miss my computer with my bookmarks, address book and latest version of programs. Going from warp nine to warp five is tough, but I'm grateful I have a machine to use until the Apple Geniuses come to my rescue.

Have you dealt with a computer crisis? If so, how did you cope? What lessons did you learn from the experience?

1 comment:

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Keli,

Sounds like quite the ordeal! I have fears of my laptop crashing. What would I do?

Hard to admit, but I'm quite addicted to my computer. I don't even like my kids to touch it, as if they might jinx it. I'm not really prepared for a computer crisis - guess I should learn how to avoid one.

Do you ever take yours in for a tune-up, like a car? I've wondered if I should, but part of me thinks they do something and it will never be the same. Hmm - dilemmas!

We miss you on the GH loop. I'm off to a writer's conference this weekend. Can't decide if I should pitch or not. Mentally I'm not prepared at all. And the thought makes me so nervous.

Anyway, hope your computers back by then.