Finally getting round to it!

As the holidays have now been upon me for almost 3 weeks now, I have finally got round to getting my iMac repaired. It would refuse to start up when there was a stick of RAM present in one of the slots, it was fine with the other slot filled up, but would not even make the startup chime with the first one. Thus I concluded that it was probably a logic board problem and that the logic board needed replacing. Oh and this also happened almost 6 months ago. The only reason I continued using it was that I found a temporary solution with only 512Mb of RAM. Fairly slow, but really not that bad once you get used to it; I’m now using a Celeron 2.67Ghz and 1.25Gb of RAM on my Hackintosh and in some respects it feels faster, which obviously shouldn’t be happening…

Still, when when you phone up AppleCare, try explaining that you pretty much worked out what the problem was, and found a temporary solution based on your diagnosis of the problem. It just doesn’t get through! Firstly I assume they are trained/told to regard the customers that phone them up as fairly stupid and ignorant: the majority of the customers
probably just say “Its broken… what should I do?” This should work well in theory as most people are like this and haven’t a clue what they’re going on about. Although in practice, some of us know what we’re talking about and thus in essence sound like we know considerably more than the ‘technician’ at the end of the phone. In that case it would be better speaking to someone who a) understands that we’re not stupid, b) is aware that we know something about Macs and c) doesn’t read through lots of flowcharts to sort out/attempt to diagnose the problem (I am making the brave assumption that they do this, it can’t be far off). One other problem that arises is the language difficulty. The call centre’s may not be based in India any more (apparently they were changed and I was sure Apple had at least one call centre in Ireland) but I was sure that the ‘technicians’ first language was not. This really isn’t a problem though, except when they fail to understand what you’re getting at. As in my conversation which went something like this:

Me: “Quite a few months ago I found that the problem was that the computer refused to boot up when there was RAM present in the top slot”

TechGuy: “So this happened to you just now?”

Me: “No, it happened back in January sometime, I found a temporary solution so it works fine currently as I’ve taken out the RAM from the bad slot and just using half the RAM.”

TechGuy: “What is the problem then?”

Me: “One of the RAM slots doesn’t work! I’ve just got it work temporarily by using half of the RAM. I’ve got it on and working as we speak.”

TechGuy: “Turn off the computer.”

… checks his notes I think …

TechGuy: “We are going to try resetting the SMC.”

Me: “Does it matter that I only have one stick of RAM in and that it is working fine?”

TechGuy: “Once the computer is off, unplug the power cable from the back of the computer and from the wall and wait 30 seconds.”

Me: “Should I put both sticks of RAM in?”

TechGuy: “You only have one stick in?” Sounds fairly surprised!

Me: “Yes, that’s why it was working, I’ll change it now.”

… I run upstairs to get the other stick of RAM, run back and begin changing it around with one hand using the end bit of the screwdriver as I’ve lost the rest of it for now! All whilst on the phone.

Me: “Its done now. I tried resetting the SMC and the PRAM back when it originally happened.”

He clearly pays no attention and/or assumed something must have changed thus goes through both!

Anyway, that was an interesting conversation I had, but at least it resulted in a guy being sent out to pick up/repair my computer. He, strangely enough, knew what I was talking about, then again he said it was a weird problem, blatantly hinting that I somehow did it myself, but then again if I was in his position I would say the opposite to reassure the customer. After all it just requires a new Logic Board. That can’t really (or didn’t used to) be a problem for Apple, have a look at some of the repair manuals from 1995ish. The solution was pretty much always replace the logic board. In most cases that didn’t fix anything as it was an underlying design flaw with the Performa Series, but that’s a story for another day.

Moving swiftly back to the problem of technicians not understanding you. If you happened to instead go to an Apple store, and go to the genius bar. Then the people there will speak your local language, whether it be Japanese, English, Italian or Spanish, they will also be able to see you in person and determine whether you have an idea about what you’re talking about, or if you’re lost… Its such a brilliant idea, pity they don’t have a store near me yet! What is so remote about Edinburgh anyway?

As my iMac is away, I’m using my Hackintosh, which I mentioned, it also looks very different and cluttered, so I’d thought I’d get a picture. Its annotated, but you might have to go to Flickr to see that bit!

In other news, I’m aware the ‘Album Of the Week’ has been around for almost 3 weeks, but I might get around to changing it soon, so hold out!

There’s a new version of Flock… yay! It has some awesome features such as tab restoring when you quit but most spectacularly a feature that allows you to restore recently closed tabs (I’m told that this is in Safari 3, but I’m more into Flock nowadays and haven’t tried Safari 3 yet). Even better, I has a cooler new interface with a split bookmarks bar with cool little buttons and other amazing features! I will try and get a writeup done sometime, but for now, do give it a go. I thought last release was great, this is spectacular!

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