Friday, October 9, 2015

Apple and the Art of Business Communication

I bought my fancy new MacBook Air a while back, and a great big new Thunderbolt display screen to go with it. The little computer is perfect for travelling, and the big screen is perfect for when I'm at home.

I had some trouble with the display, though, pretty soon after buying it. I took the computer in while it was under warranty, and the Genius at the Apple Store diddled with the port on the side where the display plugs in. He said he would order the part anyway, in case his diddling didn't fix the problem; that way they'd have the part in stock if I had to bring it back.

The diddle did work, for a while at least. I thought the problem was solved. I got an email from the guy a couple of days after the service visit, with a subject line like "your recent visit"; the first paragraph of the message was along the lines of "So glad to be able to work with you recently." The second paragraph started out in the same vein, so after a sentence and a half of such sincere gratefulness, I hit the delete button and went on with my life.

Then, last month, the Thunderbolt display started blacking out. I went back to Apple (after a very frustrating attempt to schedule an appointment, during which Apple's online misdirect system seemed determined to avoid any customer's presence at their store, prompting me to give up on the web site and just call the store -- also not an easy thing to do) to get a fix.

I found out then that (a) the port is attached to something called a Main Logic Board, and that the entire board has to be replaced, which costs nearly $500; and (b) the unctuous email from the service Genius last year contained, at its end, the information that the part was in stock and I could bring my computer in to have it replaced under warranty.

Needless to say, it is no longer under warranty. And a $500 repair to a computer worth only about that much is a silly waste of money, leaving me with a useless Thunderbolt display: a very expensive, though stylish, piece of junk.

So, a note to Apple: when writing a business communication, the important information you wish to convey is appropriately in the subject line, and a single expression of gratitude (or similar emotive expression) is all that is needed by way of introductory smalltalk. Your customers, appreciative though they may be of your sentiments, have better things to do that read through repetitive utterances of that sort.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The New Trip Pics Are Up! The New Trip Pics Are Up!

That's right, the pictures from last month's trip across the country's heartland are up already on my Picasa site.

Click HERE to see if there are any worth looking at.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Before I Forget...

Next weekend marks the start of the Most Important Sporting Competition In The Whole World, possibly excepting the World Cup: the English Premier League. Every year I predict who will finish where, and every year I forget what my prediction was. (My predictions are, apparently, eminently forgettable.) So this year, I'm writing it down. Here:

1. Arsenal
    Yes, things will finally come together for the Gunners, and things will fall apart for their main rivals.

2. Man Utd
    Close, but no cigar.

3. Chelsea
    The wife's favourite team will have more than its share of problems, and their manager's verbal antics will lose a lot of their ability to distract.

4. City
    They'll just barely squeak into the last UCL position, after another tumultuous season of melodrama on the sideline.

5. Spurs
    Sure, why not?

6. Liverpool
    My favourite team has really not inspired me to believe they can get back into Europe. Their signings, as much as their inability to retain the top people they've had (Suarez, Sterling...) reflect their diminishing status in the world of European football.

7. Saints
    And this time, they won't start off surprisingly high in the standings and then fade; they'll just putter along slightly above mid-table.

8. who cares?