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Apple and Me

What was the proverbial "foot in the door"?

iPod Shuffle

It was an "impulse item" that found its way into my basket. Believe it or not, the thing still works (though the battery life is only a couple hours now...)

I've had a rather long relationship with Apple. Back in the dark ages before I owned a computer, I saw a demo of some intriguing music software on an Apple II.

Then I made the mistake of asking how much it cost. The machine plus the software totaled about 10Gs! Woah, I couldn't afford that!

I ended up (several years later) getting the first of many PC Clone boxes. They ran MS DOS, OS/2, and every version of Windows from 3.0 on forward. I ultimately turned what had started out as a hobby into a career by taking a series of Novell Netware training courses and turned computer support professional.

My last home desktop PC was an off-the shelf HP box that started acting flakey roughly two months after the warranty ran out. Facing a looming project deadline, I was in a bind.

Mac me!

Having grown tired of the PC experience, I jumped at the chance for a serious hardware upgrade: a dual-quad-core Mac Pro. My first Mac software purchase was a copy of Parallels, with which I was able to "clone" my dying HP box into a virtual machine running inside Mac OS X.

This machine is by far the finest piece of computer hardware I have ever owned. The "fit and finish" is exceptional. I have had the case open a couple of times, once to add a hard drive, and later to add more memory. There isn't a sharp edge or burr to be found inside.

As a comparison, I had one of the HP servers my workplace owns open a year or so ago to install a RAID controller. I actually managed to get a nasty cut on the back of a finger from a sharp corner of the case when my hand slipped. Considering that the HP box cost about $500 more than my Mac, I was not impressed!

Superior customer service

The other thing that really makes me happy with Apple products is their customer service. My first call to Apple tech support was a shockingly great experience.

The phone rang twice, and I heard "Apple Canada, my name is James, how can I help you?" I barely managed to locate my jaw after it hit the floor and scraped my eyebrows off the ceiling! I asked my question and got a quick and very professional answer.

No voice mail jail. No broken English as a Second Language on a static-filled, low-fidelity phone line from the other hemisphere. No brain-dead non-technical person reading from a script. No throwing software solutions at a hardware problem. Yes, HP, Dell and Computer Associates and almost every other IT company's industry "customer service", I'm talking about you...

Another service experience

Not long ago, I discovered that the G, H, and R keys on my Mac keyboard were producing gibberish characters instead of the expected letters. To be sure that this wasn't some sudden software bug, I connected the keyboard to a USB port on my old Toshiba Windows laptop. Yup, same thing...

I had purchased the extended warranty "Apple Care" with my Mac, so I was covered. I went online using the old laptop, and signed up for a "Genius Bar" appointment at our local Apple Store. I was out the door with a new keyboard less than five minutes after arriving at the store. No questions asked.

I don't know what else to say about my experience with Apple. Since my first iPod, I have added a variety of other Apple gizmos to my collection of techie toys, and every one of them deserves its "you'll pry it from my cold dead fingers" feeling. Not much different than the way I feel about my MINI Cooper...and that's high praise.

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