on the edge

computers & technology, books & writing, civilisation & society, cars & stuff

Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at speed


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Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Fri, 06 May 2005

Apple support needs a wakeup call

Recently, I decided to have my Powerbook’s dodgy keyboard replaced while the warranty was still valid. At the same time, I decided to increase its memory from the clearly-inadequate 256 MB that it came with. Apple’s prices for GB chips are still outrageous, so I settled for an extra 512 MB on the grounds that 768 MB should be more than enough for a bit of web surfing, email and the odd ssh connection to machines of interest.

As it happens, the performance of the machine with the extra memory is still pretty woeful—although some of that might be a consequence of my too-hasty move from Panther to Tiger (of which more later).

What I planned to write about in the context of the hardware work was the difficulty of finding approved Apple places that were willing to be flexible and helpful in their approach to the job. I can list several places in Brisbane that I will certainly never take my business to, but I won’t as I don’t want to give them any publicity. However, having found a shop that seemed willing to help, I had planned to sing their praises once the job was complete.

Sadly, I won’t be doing that. They assured me that the parts would be in within two to three days and they told me that I had to swear on my mother’s grave to present the machine for the work to be done within 24 hours of being called. That suited me, so I happily waited for the call. After five working days, I called them. My contact was busy, but the person I spoke to promised me that he’d call me shortly. That was a Friday. I heard nothing. This was annoying, as I’d been confident that I would have the repaired machine for the coming (long) weekend.

On the Tuesday, I rang again. “Oh yes, the parts arrived on Friday.” So I offered to drive in immediately. That didn’t suit them and they put me off to the Wednesday. I arrived at the appointed time, handed over the machine and waited for the work to be done. When it was finished, I paid for the memory and went home. On arrival, I discovered that the protective sheet that had been between keyboard and screen was missing. I rang and they said I could come in and pick it up. I suggested that they could post it to me instead. They agreed and verified my postal address. It was to be posted that afternoon. It did not arrive over the next week, so I emailed them to remind them. I got no answer and it still has not arrived.

Yes, this is a small item and perhaps of no great importance, but it shows a contempt for the customer that sits badly with me. So, although they were helpful in some ways that their competitors did not even try to approach, they dropped the ball quite badly in other ways. So they don’t get any free publicity either.

As for Tiger, I’m so unimpressed with it and just want to say so here as a minor counter to all the Apple fanbois who seem to think it’s wonderful. My machine is considerably less useful than it was before—with applications crashing that did not crash under Panther and even the shutdown process hanging to the extent that a power cycle was the only way to get it to complete. Its wireless connections drop out constantly and get into weird wedged states at the drop of a hat. The silly dashboard stuff can’t be readily customised to work in Brisbane. And I could go on, but I suspect that a longer litany of complaints won’t help anybody.