I embraced the doom when the customer service person told me his name was ``Annakin''.
The majority of my day was spent calling people or waiting for people who were pretending to call back, trying to get somebody to accept responsibility for it taking longer to repair the iBook than it took to repair Skylab. It's impossible, of course, to get such an admission from customer support people, who are there mostly to offer sad tales about how they can't do anything themselves, but if I would like, they could ``escalate'' the situation. Yes, I said, repeatedly, to people first in Singapore, then -- by their transfer -- in Australia, and then -- again by their transfer -- to India, where I met Annakin, a supervisor of goodness knows what.
Everyone agrees this should not take 15 days. Everyone also agrees it's strange the AppleCare Hotline set me on a full hour of being told that a representative will be along shortly last night. What they won't say is why. Steve Jobs hasn't e-mailed me back either. Annakin was quite surprised to find that according to my case file, the only thing they had on report was the logic board replacement; they didn't have a record of the hard drive repair. I should have gotten a new service number, he said, and I might well agree but they're the ones who didn't give it. He had one line that suggested my iBook was in Australia, but he wasn't sure about that. He pledged to call Apple Singapore and find out just what the situation was and ``get back to you.''
No; I told him, I've had that game played before. They do not ``get back to you''; the moment I'm off the phone they forget I ever existed. Keep me on the line, I demanded, until you figure this out. So -- after asking permission repeatedly -- he put me on hold, waited a few minutes, and hung up.
As I was getting ready to call the Hotline Singapore again I got a call back; I assumed it was Annakin or his subordinate. No; it was the Service Centre over in Yio Chu Kang; my iBook was ready to pick up.
I asked them -- they've actually turned it on and seen that it boots up? It's actually been tested? I can go down there and not get burned? The wincing person on the phone swore that yes, I would be able to come down, and run it, and everything would be just fine. I said we'll see.
After I got to the Yio Chu Kang station I went to the bathroom; a person at the door there said, ``Hello, sir'' to me. I have no idea who he was.
Ahead of me in line were several people with very detailed, yet uninteresting, iPod problems, one of them related to engraving. They didn't have to ask me for anything; they just brought it out and presented it to me to test. The computer started up, booting into OS 9. I rebooted into X, and got stuck in the Registration Wizard. Fine. It wanted me to create an account, and refused the ``short name'' (the Unix-style account name) I wanted. Why? They had no idea, and called in an engineer, who changed the account name and completed the registration. The problem? Well, my old account was still there, and I was trying to create a second account with the same name as the first.
All right. So the big good news: they saved all the contents of my hard drive. As far as I can tell nothing's been lost. They gave me a bigger hard drive, and of course the new logic board so that the formerly loose Ethernet plug is nice and tight again. The LCD screen was replaced for no reason I'm clear about, but they also replaced the slightly flaky keyboard that didn't lay flat and had a half-depressed space bar. They also replaced (don't ask me why) the touchpad, which behaves like it should.
If this were any of the first nine days I'd be delighted. As late as yesterday and I'd be happy; today I'm just relieved to have this done.
For those preparing the cultural reference guide on me, following the computer's installation back home I downloaded 376 pieces of mail -- 40 related to my role as instructor; 60 from mailing lists or such; 272 spam; and four that I actually in some fashion should respond to. That is, 99 percent of my life doesn't require my presence.
Trivia: The official state flower of Delaware is the peach blossom. Source: The New York Public Library Desk Reference, Paul Fargis and Sheree Bykofsky.
Currently Reading: In Search of Wonder, Damon Knight.