Friday, October 17, 2008

Cigar Time - It's a Bot!

One purchase, three bots. Taken on my new baby Bot 3.

I've had a bit of an antagonistic relationship with Apple and their products. They make beautiful machines that are fun to use, but they charge a lot for that beauty and, in my experience, their wares are not necessarily designed to last.

I have insurance on my expensive toys, and that's a good thing because since joining Apple's Cult of Functionality I've had two iPods crash on me and, worse, I'm now on my third Macbook in a year and a half.

I bought my first Macbook - Bot 1 - in March of '07. It was nicer and, literally, more expensive, than anything I'd ever owned, including my cars. I was thrilled – until that weekend when it suddenly went black and wouldn't come back to life (I cried and pleaded and almost tried CPR). I took it back to the store and they scratched their heads, apologized and gave me Bot 2.

Bot 2 and I were doing fine and were on our way to a beautiful, system failure-free life together until the second week of our honeymoon, when I tripped walking down the stairs holding it in my left hand and a fresh cup of coffee in the other. I cracked the screen on my knee, trying to prevent dropping the laptop, and spilled my coffee on it, soaking the motherboard. When I got Apple on the phone (I'm not going to lie, I was a mess) I was informed that the screen was a cool $800 to repair (insane, considering the laptop was $1,100 new). Since I had insurance, I asked them to just write off the bot as a total loss, considering whatever damage might have occurred from the coffee spillage might be a little tricky to completely assess and fix. They said no, they have a special policy where they'll fix any defect up to the cost of the highest repair charge and guarantee the computer after that. I had no choice so I played along with Apple's reindeer games.

This was not a good call. Within months my DVD drive failed. By the summer I started to have complete system crashes (the really terrifying ones where a dim screen descends covered in Japanese text and the guy from SAW stares out of the screen darkness into your soul). I took my computer in for repair probably six times in two weeks, leaving it overnight with the Mac Jawas each time, who squeeked in Jawaese and insisted that, contrary to appearances, the hard drive was not failing. After weeks of this madness and numerous bandaid solutions the hard drive finally gave up the ghost, taking a lot of my important data off to bot heaven with it.

The Mac Jawas replaced the hard drive, which meant that, while technically I was still on my second bot in under a year, it had a new baboon heart and was really a different animal. It was really Bot 2.5.

In the months to come I started losing my screen brightness. A dark smokey film was constantly coming out of the back vents ("Oh, that's totally normal" one of the larger Mac Jawas told me, before squealing "Ooo-Tee-Bee!") My monitor also started going black depending on how far up and down it was extended. This got really maddening, really quick. I sent it in for repair along with a laundry list of things of other issues I needed fixed (such as the fact that the first time I had received my laptop back from Apple after the screen crack/coffee disaster, the bottom right plastic surrounding the monitor was partially unattached.) I received my bot back in the mail days later. The screen was now staying on all of the time, but the other half a dozen issues I had requested service on had were ignored. There was no note of explanation.

Before I could get Apple on the phone, I had to leave town for work. Within a few weeks my screen was back to its old ways, going black on me unless I had it bent toward me in a 45-degree angle - fun!

So, last week, I decided to call Apple and just ask them to give me a new computer. The lady on the phone listened to my story, took a quick glance at my 6-foot long repair rap sheet in their system and then, to my surprise, said "sure."

"Wha-?" I said. "You're really going to give me a new one?"

"Sure," she said.

I couldn't believe I hadn't thought to ask this question a year ago. A friend of mine, when told this, cynically replied that it's only because Apple is about to unveil their new line of MacBooks and was probably happy to clear the warehouses of my model. I prefer to think that it was my exceptionally balanced tone when speaking to the Apple operator that won them over.

A few days later I had a brand-new bot in my hands. Everybody say hi to Bot 3.

To be continued...


Marie Lasferatu said...

Dude, good luck.

christopher said...

honestly, how many layers are you wearing in that picture?