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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gaaah...

Computer from Hell Update

Yesterday (Saturday) I got an e-mail from the owner of the computer shop where my poor iMac has been held hostage since February 23rd (not counting a two-day period when I was allowed to bring it home).
"We'll have your Mac ready for you by three," he said.

After my laughter died down, I wrote back, "Wheee! Happy dance! Happy dance! But don't you guys need to test it for a few days?"

His answer was almost immediate. "No. We'll have your machine put together by two. You can pick it up at three."

I told Dagmar about it. "The computer guy said he'll have my Mac done at three today." I haven't heard her laugh so hard, so long, in months. When she stopped wheezing and wiping giggle-tears from her eyes, she said, "So, what shall we do today?"

"Well," I answered, "since there's no chance I'll have my computer until Tuesday night, let's go to the IRCC meeting, then go to a park or something. We'll make a day of it."

"Oh, you think you'll have your computer Tuesday already?" Dagmar answered as she gathered her stuff. "You won't see it until Wednesday, and that's IF the repairs were done right. Chances are they'll need to replace something else now and it'll take another week."

So without another thought about the computer we left town. At about 3:30 (I think) my phone rang. The computer shop.

"Hello, we have good news!"

"I can pick my computer up?"

"Well, no," the man said, "but we're nearly done putting it back together. I'll load some random software on it tonight and we'll test the hard drive over the weekend. If it all works, you can probably pick it up Monday or Tuesday..." I suppressed a giggle.

"Just out of curiosity," I asked, "why does this take so long? I mean, you're just replacing a cable." I've asked this question about five times, and each time I get a slightly different answer.

"Well, for your model of computer we have to take the entire machine apart to get to the cable, then reassemble the whole thing from scratch. It takes about eight hours if you're not interrupted." ("Interrupted by ME," I thought to myself -- I tend to call the shop several times a day.)

"Okay, so if there are two possible things wrong with my computer, the SATA cable and the power supply, and replacing the SATA cable takes eight hours, why didn't you try the power supply FIRST? That only takes minutes to replace."

"Well, the book says that we're supposed to replace the cable first." ("Yeah," I thought to myself, "so you can charge the customer for eight hours' labor, even though there's a 50/50 chance that's not the problem.")

And so there we are. Tomorrow will mark the one-month anniversary of when I took my machine into the shop to get the hard drive replaced. Tomorrow night will be the one-month anniversary of the first broken promise, as the shop told me way back then that they'd have my problem fixed "by the end of the day." A month ago.

I can't complain too awful much (though I really want to!) -- the shop gave me a loaner iMac to use (though it has a quarter the RAM my machine has so it's awfully slow running memory-hogs like PhotoShop and InDesign and is built with an older architecture that won't run half my design software), and I really like the owner of the shop... But gosh, it seems like every day they give me one or two promises, and have not yet kept a single one. That's the frustrating part! I understand that these things can take time, that sometimes parts get backordered, things go wrong... But gosh, don't promise me things you can't deliver! It's infuriating!

3 Comments:

Anonymous Poobomber said...

Man, this is turning into an epic saga!

Those Macs must be nasty to work on, hardware-wise. They're nice and compact, but to replace a mobo must be the job from hell compared to a regular PC which takes about 10 minutes even with giant shaky hands like mine.

Would you buy a Mac again after all this? I'm interested to hear your opinion.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Hi Poo! You should see all the epic whining I've been doing on FaceBook!

To be honest, yes... I'd buy another Mac. But rather than getting an iMac and beefing it up, I'd get a Mac Pro (the old-fashioned "tower" with a separate monitor) instead. I had no idea the iMacs would be so difficult work with! The Mac Pros (and every other Mac I've worked with) are very easy to fiddle with... I've added, swapped, replaced hard drives and RAM in many Macs without a hassle.

In other words, I still think Macs are stable machines that are worth the money if you're a "power user," but I'd make sure to get one I can fix myself next time.

I'm sure it's the same way with most "all-in-one" machines -- it's just easier to work with a tower than an all-in-one.

12:07 PM  
Blogger D A said...

I would be very concerned about the statement "well the book says..." If they don't know enough about it that they have to do what a book says, that speaks volumes about their ability. Ask them what book they were talking about and buy one for yourself.

7:10 PM  

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