Cat got your … Mac?

It's Yosemite, Sam.

It’s Yosemite, Sam.

So this guy walks into an Apple Store with a busted iMac and — stop me if you’ve heard this one before. …

OK, so you may not have heard this one before.

Long-suffering readers of the DogS(h)ite know that my once-trusty late-2009 iMac went sideways shortly after I “upgraded” it to Mavericks, in the process leapfrogging over Lion and Mountain Lion from Snow Leopard.

Its misbehavior gradually intensified, and unable to diagnose the problem and devise a solution I finally dragged it down to the Duke City Apple Store, where a Genius critical of my OS management advised a nuke-and-pave of the hard disk drive and another “upgrade,” this time a clean install of Yosemite.

Five days and five crashes later I returned to discuss the issue further, and this time they took the doddering old iBeast in for a full brain scan.

“You might want to crack the case and check it for schmutz,” I quipped. “We have a dog and two cats, and there’s probably enough fur in there to build a yeti.” Oh, how we chortled there at the Genius Bar, techs and customers alike. Laugh, I thought I’d die.

A few days later the telephonic discussions commenced. The Geniuses were unable to replicate my issues, and their extended evaluations, like my own basic home-mechanic checks, found no hardware issues. The iMac was running a sparkling new OS and nothing but Apple software — save for Flash, which I needed for video, and SuperDuper!, which I needed to back up the drive before service — and they, like me, were at a loss.

Hard drive? Fine. Video card? OK. Bad memory? Nope. Thermal management issues? I’ve heard about temp problems, sensors detaching from drives, fans failing. Sorry, we don’t find any hardware issues atall atall.

“Did you crack the case and have a look inside? We have pets, you know. …”

Bingo. They finally opened ‘er up and found enough dust and fur clogging the fans to assemble an earth-toned pantsuit for a plus-size crazy cat lady. It actually felt a couple pounds lighter as I carried it out of the store.

This morning the old iBeast is ticking over smoothly, which if it continues will be nice, because the 2010 Mac Mini I’ve been using since Tuesday doesn’t have the oomph to run a couple different versions of the WordPress CMS, edit words, photos and videos, and do all the other things I need to do to keep my share of the lights on here at Rancho Pendejo.

Best of all? No charge for the janitorial work. When was the last time you walked away from a mechanic of any sort with your pants up and your wallet still in its pocket? I call that service and then some.

I’ll have to inform the cats who run the Innertubes. Medals, commendations and promotions may be in order.

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18 Responses to “Cat got your … Mac?”

  1. Stan Thomas Says:

    “Best of all? No charge for the janitorial work”

    Oh you’ve paid, and you’ll pay again.

  2. Steve O Says:

    // Best of all? No charge for the janitorial work. When was the last time you walked away from a mechanic of any sort with your pants up and your wallet still in its pocket? //

    Happened to me 3x over last 15 years or so. Twice we were 3-4 months past Apple Care expiration and they still honored it. Third time, an 80 gig hard drive died so they replaced it with a 160.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      They must like you. Probably them cute little kidlets. When I blew up the HDD in the black MacBook after some short-term light duty the Bibleburg Apple Store required me to deploy the Visa card to get up and running again … and they didn’t upgrade the size of the drive, either. Shoulda done it myself but I was in a rush.

      Man, you should see the Apple Store down here. Nuts doesn’t begin to describe it. Place looks like an Irish pub giving away shots of Jameson with Guinness backs on St. Paddy’s Day.

      • Steve O Says:

        Full disclosure, first two times, it was my significantly better looking half who brought the machine is. My ugly mug never rates that kind of service.

        Forgot one: #4, 8 gig 3G iPhone went bad, replaced it with a 3GS 16 gig.

  3. Jon Paulos Says:

    Maybe I’ve been twisted by my training, but they know where their bread is buttered with you, Patrick. They’ve got a fairly adept user who does most of his own computer work, and who has demonstrated significant loyalty to the brand. All they have to do is take care of the occasional weird shit for you and they’ve got a customer for life. So you get behavior like you saw. What’s the next computer you buy? I’ll bet you the 100 rupee note in my pocket that the manufacturer name will start with “A” and end with “e”.

    Contrast that with me. I approach computers like I approach cars. Buy whatever, ride it hard, put it away wet, then whine when it breaks, and throw money at it. Brand loyalty? Meh. So they know when I walk in that the service they give you, if given to me, won’t get them anywhere when the next computer is purchased. There is no payoff for them down the road, so the payoff is now and it’s time for me to open the wallet.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, it’s true, if I buy again it will definitely be Apple. Herself switches easily between platforms, but I’m a much older dog and less flexible in all senses of the word.

      Funny thing is, I could have handled this issue myself if Apple hadn’t moved away from machinery that’s easily serviced by the end user. With my old G4 Power Mac, you pull a ring on the right side and drop the entire panel to expose the guts, making it ridiculously easy to work on/clean up. Samey same with the older models of the Mac Pro, which for that reason alone would probably be my next purchase if it became necessary.

      With the iMac you have to employ suction cups, plastic prybars and whatnot to get inside, and once you’re in there it looks like a car bomb went off in a RadioShack.

      As to getting good service, it probably helps too that I strive mightly to not be my amazingly dickish self when I’m in someone’s shop. I figure working retail these days is a lot like being a protologist without the high pay. it’s probably refreshing to take your eyes away from the assholes, if only for a moment.

  4. bromasi Says:

    Shave the cats.

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Humor gets you better service. I’m surprised they just didn’t give you a free iMac after that yeti bit. Funny stuff.

    Cleanliness will get you on the good side of herself. I used to have a dog that liked getting vacuumed. Duffy doesn’t like it. Let us know if you decide to vacuum Turk and Mia. I’m sure all of us would like to watch.

    Heat can produce weird symptoms in electronic equipment. Back when I fixed electronic equipment for a living, we kept a can of skin refrigerant on the bench for troubleshooting heat problems. Got it from the fort hospital. We ran the equipment until the failure started, sprayed the suspected component with refrigerant, and if the problem went away we would change that component. Worked well.

    Watch out with the Flash plug-in. They have a number of security patches going on right now. Safari is having serious issues with right now, you have to do a force quit to get out of hangs. I blocked Flash until they sort it out. I wish Flash would go away. Obsolete shit.

    Are you still going to pop for the Apple TV. Now that you have Yosemite, the iTunes radio is sweet. Plus you can use airplay to watch stuff from your iPad.

    • Steve O Says:

      // Humor gets you better service. I’m surprised they just didn’t give you a free iMac after that yeti bit. Funny stuff. //

      I think it was a Freakonomics article about that

      When I lived in Korea, every time I needed to fly somewhere, I showed up at the airport with a bouquet of flowers and a box of donuts.

      I once had five bags, each 100 pounds, didn’t pay a dime for excess or oversized baggage.

      Works a helluva lot better than scowling and threatening.

      • Larry T. Says:

        Tried that airport scheme lately, when it seems the staff at the check-in must be working on commission when it comes to charging for baggage?

  6. Larry T. Says:

    Your story reminds me of the first (and only) brand-new Toshiba laptop I ever bought. Weeks after the warranty ends, it starts acting up. Sent at my own expense to the official service center, they’re unable to replicate the problem, but as soon as it’s back on my lap the problems being anew. Finally gave up and sold the thing off for parts to the folks we now buy refurbished ones from. So 2nd PO’G’s suggestion of buying something used so the bugs have already been dealt with.

  7. Libby Says:

    I like how the computer story that was a mystery/suspense/what dunnit was solved by Yourself, the narrator. And the culprit was fur from your two, small, innocent creatures! The Turk must have wrote the script!

  8. khal spencer Says:

    Happy 17th, O’G

  9. Darwin@OS X.com Says:

    I told you to stop whining. More times than not Apple takes care of things including out of warranty. Try that with Dell etc.

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