Monday, July 26, 2010

Technology: Apple Keeps a Customer

TORONTO, ONTARIO - My computer problems may have been solved for less than $100. With an appointment made, I decided to take a trek out to the Apple Store at Sherway Gardens mall today to talk to the Genius Bar about my 2005-era iBook, which had the non-functional trackpad. After I presented the history, the Mac Genius had some ideas for workarounds, and after more than fifteen minutes of trying, he managed to get a mouse fully working by forcing the setting to disable the trackpad (which was very difficult to do without the trackpad itself or an external mouse working). That gave me a backup computer that I could use.

Then, he agreed with my assessment that my 2008-era MacBook probably did have a failing drive, and pointed out that any 2.5" serial ATA-drive could be installed. So, I went across the street to Tiger Direct and purchased a $10 mouse (for the iBook) and a new $65 hard drive which is twice the size of the drive that had been installed--that's almost a justifiable upgrade, never mind the need for repair.

First, I satisfied myself that the backup computer was working. It's rather funny how many settings just worked, even after two years of sitting in the closest. One of the first things I did was to tune in the KUOW internet stream, and the old RealPlayer software and old URL worked just fine and the audio started playing. I had forgotten how much I liked the feel of that iBook. Furthermore, as a G4 machine, it can still run in Classic mode, so I was able to launch Word 5.0 for the first time in two years. I now have the project of going through the process of printing all my old Word documents (which don't open properly in newer versions of Word or OpenOffice) to a Postscript file, and then opening them in Preview (which automatically converts them) and saving them as PDF files that I can open on more modern computers. It's a slick process on the old computer, essentially impossible on my newer machine.

Once that was in place, I changed hard drives in my MacBook and started the long process of installing the system software, performing updates, and re-installing all of my software, settings, and documents. The process went smoothly, and I am actually writing this blog entry on the new computer. There so far has been no sign of the issues I was having, so it appears that the problem was indeed the hard drive--and now I have one with a lot more space available.

I still don't think the logic board (or perhaps cable) in my iBook should have ever failed, and the hard drive in my Macbook shouldn't have failed. But, if I can fix all my problems for less than $100 (even including my transit fares yesterday) and Apple will provide in-person help with the issues at the Genius bar, that's better than any other computer manufacturer would do. Apple probably saved itself from a lost customer today.


Dan said...

I realize that it is too late to do it, but you probably would have had an easier time had you cloned the failing hard drive to the new one. That would have copied all of your applications, data and settings to the new drive, and thus you wouldn't have had to start from scratch.


Glitch said...

It's a bad idea to clone a drive with known and unknown corrupted files. The only reliable solution was to start from scratch.

Dan said...

Ahh, I didn't realize that it was partially corrupted.

Well, nevermind me then.