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About zealousagenda

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    New Mac Geek
  1. I'm not sure where in the MacCast Forum I should place a review of my experience with an Apple Store's repair personnel, so I will place it here. The basic problem was that my MacBook Pro (4,1; 15" Early 2008) had a faulty AirPort card that would not connect to N networks, but worked without error with G and other networks. Below is the complaint letter that I sent to the management of the store in question. This was sent on Friday, May 30, 2008, at 10:21 PM EDST. === I would be grateful if the only progress that the King of Prussia Apple Store accomplishes by consuming and reflecting upon this e-mail is that the management takes away one moral from this story: Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I write this to you after being forced to argue with two store employees to have my MacBook Pro rightfully returned to me. I write after finally receiving my computer after 2.5 days of repair time elapsed for a problem that would take 1 hour of actual labor to rectify. I write this with a sense of eerie fascination given that I have just been a party to a dismal service experience, what I would have previously believed to be completely uncharacteristic of the Apple brand and the Apple culture. My MacBook Pro (Serial: W#######YJZ) needed the AirPort card replaced (Repair No: R163#####). I knew this when I originally addressed my WiFi connectivity problems in early March 2008, soon after receiving the newest model (4,1), when my computer was diagnosed as having "no hardware issues" by a KoP Apple Store Genius. Instead of using WiFi with my AirPort Extreme Base Station, I plugged it in with a cable, knowing that the WiFi problem would need to be fixed again. During the morning of May 28, after 20 minutes on the phone (1-800-APL-CARE), the telephone technician who opened the case (No: 993#####) was confident that I needed the AirPort Card replaced, and he was convinced that a repair at a local Apple Store would be faster than shipping the machine by DHL to the repair center. The telephone tech made an 11:45 AM appointment for me at the KoP Genius Bar. After 15 minutes, [Genius Name] (R###]) at the KoP Store was also relatively sure that the card needed to be replaced given that it would not connect to N networks (and only N network connectivity was the problem). However, [Genius] was thwarted by his own store's infrastructure when he realized that none of the MacBooks or MacBook Pros around the Genius Bar were able to successfully connect to the store's "Apple Demo" (N) network, and that network's hardware needed to be restarted, which would take 30 to 60 minutes to accomplish according to his report to me. The network's hardware was not easily accessible, he said. [Genius] said that he was unable to be definitive about the diagnosis of the MBP's hardware problem without a properly functioning Apple Demo network in the store. He prompted me to leave the machine (at approximately 12:10 pm), and once the requisite N network was up and running, someone would call me with the final diagnosis and estimated repair time before the end of the day. I received no phone call from the KoP Store on May 28. On May 29 at 9:12 AM I called the store to learn that no one had looked at my computer by that time (21 hours!), but that someone would work on it shortly, and they would call me with an update before too long. I received no phone call. I called the store myself at 8:01 PM on May 29. The rather juvenile person who answered the phone put me on hold for a few minutes, and then came back to say that she did not have the password to access the computer that carried the records of the repairs and their statuses. She asked me to call back in an hour. This time I did receive a reply from [Manager Name] (phone number 610-3##-###7) who left a voicemail at 8:18 PM that said that they were "still attempting to verify the issue", but there was no one in the store to work on it at that time, so it wouldn't be ready before 9:30 PM on May 29, but that someone would call me on the morning of Friday, May 30. [Manager] said I could call back, but I did not want to be a hassle since there was obviously a staffing problem at the store, and I reasoned that those types of problems happen with young smart people in the summertime. On Friday, May 30, I received no phone call from the store. I finally called the store myself at 2:42 PM on May 30. The person who answered took my repair number, put me on hold, and a different person came back onto the line and said that the new AirPort card had been installed, and that the WiFi was being tested. I asked some questions about the repair, and then I asked how much longer it would be tested for, and when I could pick it up. He said he wasn't sure, but that someone would call me. Aware that no one had called me any of the previously promised times, I told that person, "If the repair is complete, I will be in the store before 8 PM to pick up my MacBook Pro if I do not hear from you sooner." He said OK, we both hung up, and I received no phone call. I arrived to the KoP Apple Store at 7:45 PM on May 30. I handed my repair paperwork to a light-blue-shirt, and he disappeared to the back room. Five minutes later, he returned shaking his head in a "No" manner, and told me that my MBP WiFi connection has been tested with constant streaming for the past 12 hours without a problem, but that the technicians needed more time to confirm that the repair was properly completed, so someone would call me tomorrow (Saturday morning). The gall of this man to think that I was not going to leave without my computer after such a length of time had passed was simply appalling. After telling him that I wasn't leaving without my machine, he said I should talk to a manager. [Manager Name] (Assistant Store Manager) was called over, and I told him that I was not leaving without my machine. After a bout of back-and-forth about the "testing" being "necessary" to ensure that my hardware was indeed in proper working condition, I asked him whether a piece of hardware that had not failed after 1 hour, or 4 hours, was bound to fail within a reasonable timeframe after that. [Manager] had no answer. I repeated that I would not leave without my computer, and described how I have witnessed AirPort cards being replaced at Apple Stores in a half-hour, so the fact that this repair was already at 56 hours was downright disappointing to say the least. He went into the back and returned with my MBP and Airport Extreme Base Station. I asked for the repair paperwork and he went in and back to retrieve the papers. I signed the store's copy of the repair order, asked for the method to provide written feedback about my experience with the KoP Store, and I complimented David on his active listening skills. I departed, disgusted. Let me define some basic parameters with respect to the moral I provided for you above. A "perfect" replacement of a MBP AirPort card would have taken place in 4 hours, and that timeframe is even generous and allows for "testing" time. A "good" replacement of a MBP AirPort care would have taken place in 24 hours. That timeframe is even generous, and allows plenty of time for the first-come-first-served repair queue to proceed to my MBP's place in line. If you question the "reasonableness" of a 24-hour repair turnaround in your current store's situation, then I am asking you to seriously reevaluate the current staffing levels and repair procedures enacted at your store. An "acceptable" replacement of a MBP AirPort card would have involved regular updates each time a delay was encountered in the repair process. Since phonecalls could tax an already inadequately resourced repair center, a detailed repair status Web site could serve as an acceptable proxy for informativeness. But the experience that I had with your store was utterly unacceptable. Being told that my computer had been "tested" for 12 hours without problems, but that the testing would need to continue overnight, smacked like nothing other than desperate last-ditch guilty excuses to buy just a little more patience from me. If this hardware problem was something totally bizarre and unknown then I might have settled for those excuses. But having performed the very replacement procedure myself on various out-of-warranty Apple products in the past, I could smell nothing but fish coming from the back room of that store. I certainly appreciate thoroughness, and I even understand the variety of processes that are in place to protect Apple's reputation. This experience, however, reeked of nothing more than systemic mismanagement emboldened by an illusive misdirection and shuffling. Other customers may have settled for a 72-hour turnaround time, but my background with replaceable hardware malfunctions (like AirPort cards) has demonstrated that three days would be absurd if everyone involved in the process were putting forth their best efforts to be efficient and effective in their duties. Problems began when the critical diagnostic tool, in this case the in-store "Apple Demo" network, completely failed and could not be conveniently repaired. Problems continued when the communication I requested was not delivered as promised. And the situation spiraled straight into despair when the gentlemen returned empty-handed from the back room shaking his head "No" as if I was silly for thinking that a simple repair should be accomplished in far less than 56 hours. No, returning to the store the following day after someone would supposedly "call me" was simply out of the question. I would encourage the repair center at the King of Prussia Apple Store to get its proverbial house into order. I hope that the detail that I have provided to you will serve your store, and your company, as a case study to not be repeated. Thank you for your attention to this message, and best wishes to your staff. Sincerely, [my given and surname] [my address and phone number]
  2. I've been searching for forum postings and blogs that provide details of other users problems with the newly released 15 inch MacBook Pro with the Penryn processor and multitouch. I'm running Leopard, and before I did anything else I ran all of the software updates. There are very long delays before it lurches into action. This is best shown by the Disk Utility during permissions repair, where the on-screen status says the repair will take less than 1 minute, and the process does not complete for at least 9 minutes, with the first 7 minutes indicating nothing happening. Parallels 3 misbehaves regularly, with installation of a WinXP virtual machine timing-out or failing and restarting regularly. I read forums and found that I should do a custom install, step-by-step, increasing the allocated RAM. That was helpful, as I could proceed further into the installation process, but ultimately the installation fails, or it restarts repeatedly. I booted to the Leopard install disk in order to repair the disk, but that didn't solve any problems. I've reinstalled Leopard, only to sadly learn that the same problems persist. I will try calling AppleCare tomorrow. Is anyone else having these problems, or other wonkiness with the Penryn MBP? Any other suggestions?
  3. I have purchased what I believe is an arguably "good" podcasting setup from www.proaudioguys.com, the items being: - Samson C03U USB multi-pattern super-cardoid microphone - Samson SP01 Shockmount - Desktop mic stand - adjustable Pop filter mounted to mic stand - windscreen for mic (For reference only, the link to the company's setup is here, but I didn't pay the price advertised on this page thanks to eBay's "Make an Offer".) I've connected this setup to my PowerBook G4 (15" Aluminum), and I've been using Audacity because I don't own GarageBand and some Web articles have argued that for beginners Audacity is fine. I've read Leo Laporte's TWiT article about his podcasting equipment, and he makes some comments about technique and experienced broadcasters being "on mic". I'd like to know more about miking techniques, but haven't found a truly useful how-to article about the technique. There's much reference to trial-and-error, but I'd like at least a written tutorial full of sage advice from the experienced to the novice. I've also listened to Adam's recent Maccast from the podcasting expo where they delved into some hardware and Victor suggested lots of additional equipment, but there still wasn't much talk about mic usage and recording technique. If there aren't any Web articles and no one feels the urge to share some information here, I'd also take suggestions for books that dig into the topic. I appreciate the information.
  4. How can I force Firefox 2.0 on Tiger.9 to open all windows in the exact same location? I want to set the size and location of all windows, and I want all of them to open in the exact same place, one on top of the other. I want this capability because I have my browser windows always taking up the maximum screen real estate possible, and I want to Cmd+~ through all of the windows. It is my method for keeping my multitasking straight (and for preventing others from seeing all of my multitasking). I tried a Google search, but repeadedly was given hits for the other OS. Thank you.