Saturday, September 22, 2007
Why my gardening website is stuck in August
Alternate title: "Why I hate Dell"
Alternate title #2: "Why I Heart Apple"
I've been a PC person for years. PCs were inexpensive, you got a lot of bang for your buck (so I thought), and I found Macs to be prohibitively expensive... ok, and a bit elitist in a lower-case "i" sort of way... and software for them was limited. Two years ago, I invested in a screamin' Dell 9100 PC with a terabyte hard drive. That's a whopping 1,024 Gibabytes! Oh, and it had this special RAID configuration that was supposed to be lightning fast... and it was... until the whole thing crapped out on me after about a month.
You know the PC guy in those mac commercials? Not the cute nerdy Mac guy who's dating Drew Barrymore... the cute nerdy PC guy from The Daily Show who is lying on the bottom of the cart in a fetal position because he's suffering from the "blue screen of death"? Well, that's me. That's my computer. The dreaded blue screen of death.
When I called Dell customer service, I patiently endured the very polite but very I-am-going-to-take-up-hours-of-your-life (that you will never get back)-without-really-understanding-or-fixing-your-problem customer service representative in India. His conclusion, despite the fact that all signs pointed to a hardware problem that Dell should fix, was that my new computer suffered from a software problem... a Windows problem... and they were unable to help me. In other words, the buck was passed and I was stuck with a brand new, expensive, broken box. I was SOL.
I was computerless for a couple months and only by the sheer coincidence of being married to a software engineer was I able to get back on that box without taking it to a computer repair place. I lost a lot of data, drives were shuffled, the amazing RAID configuration had to be UNCONFIGURED, and I was left with a slow, grindingly loud, crippled computer. I took all this as a sign from the gods that I should take another look at Apple. There were more signs-- Apple prices were dropping (probably thanks to our insatiable appetite for iPods), I learned that Apple is a blue company and Dell is red (and I am oh, so blue), and I do a lot of photo editing and Macs are great for that.
So I ambled over to our friendly neighborhood Apple Store and fondled the MacBook laptops. The display on the little Macbook was amazing, and the price wasn't bad! I figured I'd have to spec the thing and wait a few weeks for it to show up on my doorstep. No. What? You mean you have them in stock... right now... and I can walk out of the store with my new laptop, thereby experiencing one of my favorite things of all time, immediate gratification? Woo hoo!
Flash forward six months or so to late August. My Dell 9100 desktop's remaining hard drive... you know, the one with all my photos and website files and stuff.. disappeared. Died. The computer is out of warranty, of course, and the futility of another tortured customer service call weighs heavily on me.
At the same time, I started experiencing an intermittent strange clicking noise on my Apple laptop's left-click button. I asked the computer gods, "Does this mean all computers are crap and I just have to deal with it?" They replied, "Go to Apple.com and make a Genius Bar appointment." When I arrived at my next-day appointment, the Apple store was crazy busy! My name was called and a nice young Genius listened to my complaint. Expecting to have to defend myself against accusations of eating at the keyboard (guilty as charged) or of left-click abuse, instead I am told that he, too, hears the intermittent clicking and that it shouldn't do that.
Can I wait thirty minutes while you replace the whole top of my laptop with a part that is (queue singing angels) in stock? Well, heck yeah, I can! Not only that, I think I will go try on pants while you fix my computer. Two pairs of jeans later, which you girls know makes thirty minutes go by in a flash, I get a call on my cell phone that my laptop is ready. With a "thank you very much" I am on my way. Free of charge. Now that's customer service. If I knew a little Apple dance, I would have done one, right there, in Arden Fair Mall. My next desktop is soooooooo going to be an iMac. Until then, I can only dream of a PC-free life.
I apologize for not updating my gardening website and for not answering my gardening-related e-mails, which can only be read in Outlook, which is on my dead D: drive. Hopefully, I'll be back online soon to help ring in the Fall planting season. In the meantime, I'll continue blogging on my ultra-fabulous, inexpensive MacBook.