On The State of the Mac

27' iMac

As part of my student loan, I upgraded from my aging g5 tower to the above iMac: 27″ (i7 model). I got it two weeks ago. It is enormous, pretty and blazing fast. It also has an odd screen flicker.

I tried troubleshooting it on my own–but when all the recommended cures failed to work, I called Apple.

I was on hold for a total of five minutes. By the end of my call, was directed to a specialist. Let’s call him Special K. He walked me through a few exercises and gave me a list of options:

1) Send it in, have it fixed
2) Get a new one
3) Try to bring it to a Genius at the Apple Store
4) Troubleshoot on my own a bit longer.

I went with 4. Special K thought that was a keen idea. After a few days of testing–wherein I determined that the longer the Mac was on, the more frequent the flickering became–I emailed Special K and told him what was the deal.

He called me back, on all my numbers, more than once. He also emailed me. Hell, the guy recognized my phone number when I called him back.

He gave me two options: Ship it back for repairs or get a new one. I opted for the latter. Before I knew It, I had an email with a shipping label and more directions on how the process works. When FedEx scans the old Mac, Apple ships the new one. It’s as simple as that.

This is how every customer service experience should be. It was painless. It was easy. Apple recognized that there was an issue and they are fixing it. I will be out of a Mac for about four days. I can use that time to write, read or just get to bed early. Hell, I can even check out the Java podcasts I need for my next class.

As shitty as it is to lose a computer, at least Apple is softening the blow by doing the right thing.

A New Direction

As part of my vacation, I got to tour the Microsoft campus. I’ve written about this before, and I am still amazed at it’s beauty, function and generosity of service. Seriously, free coffee, tea, soda and milk? Healthy and cheap snacks? I’m sold!

More importantly though, I got to learn more about programming and application developement. My friend Sandy quickly summarized the difference between testing, developement and project management. I’ve know about the delegation of duties, but Sandy made them crystal clear. This quick summary helped me figure out exactly what I want from DePaul. I want to develop the skills to be a project manager.

I think it’s something I can do. Coding may not be my strong suit. Testing is not something I want to do full time. And yet, I think I can learn enough code to guide a project. I know I respond well to honest and direct feed back. I also have developed a skill set where I can work with damn near anybody. So I think this is what I need to focus on for DePaul.

Sunday Plug

As Shannon and I pack and clean to stage the condo, I ran across Ouija Interview no 3:  Naomi.  Sarah Becan, whose website  c o m i c s is beautifully designed, is a fellow Beloiter, writer on Metroblogging Chicago and comic artist.  She has a number of her comics up for sale–the Ouija Interviews are fantastic–so I whole heartedly suggest you go and persue her site.

Nerd Memories

gameplaywright.net // story, games, together

Maybe I’m mashing these memories up, but I also remember I had a copy of Wraith: The Oblivion in my bag (I was the only guy who’d run it, in our group), with its rough-under-the-fingers glow-in-the-dark patch, and that I thought about what it would be like to publish my own games. To create something that would evoke and inspire stories among other groups of friends. I’d known already, since forever, that I wanted to be a writer, but White Wolf put those personal anecdotes and behind-the-scenes pages into their books that made it seem like their lives and jobs were all about bottling a vibe.

Will was the primary storyteller of our nerd group. He has planted seeds that even ten years later, still bear fruit. Go read the article.