Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pure Genius

I’ve been typing my stories on a MacBook Pro for more than 2 years - ever since I took the plunge and finally got exasperated enough to leave the Microsoft sphere of bloated software built on sub-par hardware. It’s not that I hadn’t wanted to leave for years; it was that I was afraid to learn a new system. Even hard-drive crashes, DVD-drive failures, and virus’s that decimated my Windows machines weren’t enough to convince me it was past time to break up (it’s not me - it’s you).
What convinced me? A donation of a Mac Mini to my office. The transition was incredibly easy because the way the software works is so intuitive. And it’s a complete package - hardware and software designed by Apple that operates together seamlessly. No bloatware. No going to the Internet to find obscure drivers for peripherals because Windows can’t install the new hardware. No buying software (or finding crappy free software on the Internet) to edit my home movies or put together picture albums or play my music. No virus software that bogs down my operating system and couldn’t stop a cold, no less a computer virus. Working on the Mac was like I died and went to computer heaven.
Within a year I had rid myself of everything from Redmond, WA. My underpowered desktop tower - replaced by a sleek iMac; Gateway laptop with never ending battery problems - replaced by a Macbook Pro; add a first generation iPad for eBook reading, watching movies, Internet surfing, and easy email; and I’m looking forward to an iPhone when my contract with Sprint allows it. Some say I’ve gone over to the dark side. I say I finally saw the light. 
This past week I decided to bump up my MacBook’s memory and bought a couple chips to more than double it. It was an easy procedure, but when I turned on my beloved laptop it simply beeped at me. It had never done that before. PANIC!
After calming down I decided it would be best to go the Genius Bar at the local San Francisco Apple Store. I’d bought a 3-year warranty and I figured calling the helpline wouldn’t probably help since I couldn’t get the computer to turn on. I’d been to the Genius Bar before and it is one of the things I love about Apple. Easy, same-day appointments, T-shirted people greet you when you come in, check you in and point you to the Genius Bar. Unlike the idiots at Geek Squad where they won’t even look at your problem without forking over a small fortune (even with a warranty)--then they keep it for a week and tell you you need a new computer--the guys and gals at the Genius Bar really know what they’re doing. 
I handed over my beloved MacBook explaining what I’d done. The nice young guy looked at it, turned it on and told me I’d need to buy a new computer...pause for my reaction...then a big smile...“just kidding,” he says. “I think I know what it is. I’ll check it out and be right back.” In ten minutes he was back, had my computer working perfectly, handed me the bad chip in a Faraday bag that was causing the problem, advised me how to get a refund from the vendor, and escorted me away from the Genius Bar after making sure I didn’t need any more help. Oh--no charge. Thank you very much.
I get this type of treatment in Apple stores whether I’m there purchasing something or getting software troubleshooting/advice/training, or whatever I’m there for. This alone is worth the price of the products they sell. No fuss, no hassle, people who know what they’re doing and value their customers. That’s what I call Pure Genius.  
Thank you, Steve Jobs for instilling this kind of culture at Apple into an otherwise bleak corporate world everywhere else. We will miss you and hope that what you started will continue without you. 

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