Update to Special Notice: Posted 8 February 97



"PB Jelly" Part 2: "Fry Ice"......

7 February 97

On Thursday 6 Feb 97 we "Bit the Bullet" (as mentioned in the 4 Feb 97 entry) and ordered the hardware upgrades to remove the "Crash-O-Matic". no thanks to Apple or "Customer Relations" that assured us "we had nothing to worry about" before we accepted delivery of the "PB Jelly" PowerBook. FWIW, we had to upgrade from the Crash-O-Matic even though we've assigned all of our hardware budget is assigned to PowerPC Platform (PPCP nee CHRP) boxes for purchase in Q3/Q4 97.

By Friday 6 Feb 97, "PB Jelly" still hadn't been returned so we still don't know if we have "PB Jelly" or a working box. FWIW, "hopefully" we'll get the box returned on Monday, at which point it will be "moot" except for following the aforementioned doctors' orders to avoid turning in two legs for four wheels. Also, so much for "expedited" repairs on the "repairs"....

As an aside. One of the reasons we went ahead with upgrading from the "Crash-O-Matic" is that we not only realized that the "Trusty PB" was no longer "Trusty" but we also needed to have a totally "stable" File/Fax/Internet Server at "Echo 4's Satellite Facility". Not to mention the fact that Apple and its entire channel needed the revenue boost after hearing Dr. Amelio's speech at the annual meeting.

So.....

Forgive the "PMR" (piss,moan and rant) below, but it is "quite tame" from its original version. We wrote it on the same day we received the "Fry Ice" attitude from that Customer Relations Rep. but we didn't post it until after really "cooling off" and judiciously editing out some of our emotions.

Bottom Line? Now you know why the sites haven't been updated recently, as well as the fact that Echo 4 Communications' network, not this "Free Site", will be going down over the weekend (After the Weekly Update & the Special Report are sent out) to effect the upgrades. As well as some other "periodic" shutdowns to effect other upgrades after we get rid of "Crash-O-Matic".

8 Feb 97 Supplement: "PB Jelly" was returned in "working order", but with the "MacOS Downgrade" (What, REP can't install 7.6, 7.5.5 or even 7.5.3?), and not even the "software fixes" Apple released to cure other associated problems like the "Climate Control" fix for the Trackpad. And, the "Flavor" of 7.5.2 they installed (can't blame me for this one!) isn't "recognized" as 7.5.2 by any of our MacOS Installers.

They really need to get their act together there. Especially if someone had 7.6/7.7 installed (Hint!) and gets back at box with 7.5.2 installed. And don't use "the software was the problem" excuse. Apple stressed that "Everyone" upgrade their systems to at least 7.5.3, and the "REP" uses 7.5.2. Are they inferring that I should run 7.5.2 because the recommended upgrades caused the problems? That's rich. This is one area where they don't need to take lessons from Microsoft's playbook. Marketing, yes. "Shift the blame", no.

And, after all of this, I'm going to have to "erase, reformat and reinstall" everything because they still haven't "fixed" the "PB Jelly" to where it was before it ws sent to them. And they want me to drop $6M for a 3400/240? After this?
4 February 97

The "PB" was returned on Tuesday with the (ahem!) "repairs" allegedly completed. Oh, the hardware issues were resolved and the "REP" fixes completed, but there was still "PB Jelly" as the PB couldn't be used. After we couldn't get it "back to normal" (Disk Tools won't boot up a "Test_HD_0") we called 800-SOS-APPL and Tech Support couldn't suggest anything we hadn't already tried. When they couldn't "Fix-It", we were "informed" that we would have to send it back to be repaired from the "repairs". Ergo, at least another week before we might even get it back (hopefully in working order). However, we're not so sure now.

FWIW, Tech Support had never seen a "Test_HD_0" and was "stumped" even after asking others:
"Test HD? What's a Test HD?"
.

And, here's a "first". When the "repairs" and "recovery" were "done", they deleted the MacOS version we were running and installed a "MacOS Downgrade". Cool, huh? Just what I always wanted, a "Clean Install" of 7.5.2 ....

Never mind the fact that Apple Customer Relations stated on "29 January 97: A Day That Will Live In Infamy" that not only would they get the box fixed and shipped on Friday 31 Jan 97, but it was "fixed & shipped" on 3 February. What's 3 extra days between "friends"?

With the "PB Jelly" Saga having gone "beyond farcical", we called Apple Customer Relations to see what they would do. Having "screwed up beyond belief", we expected them to give a better response than the one on 29 January. And no, we didn't wait 9 hours like we did the last time. We made a large pot of coffee and poured it into an MTK Mug (Thanks "Nephew" for making me a "5 Mugger") and let our fingers do the walking. Suffice it to say, the attitude we received was "Fry Ice" after going through the previous rigmarole from 29 January 97.

But this time, the (Soon to be Downsized?) "Customer Relations" Representative said, and we quote: "Read the Warranty..." Never mind the smooth assurances that we received from Apple Customer Relations before that PB was delivered (after it was initially ordered) that "we had nothing to worry about..." Uh, huh. Right. "And you'll still respect me if I accept delivery?..."

"Read the Warranty" Gracie? It was Apple Customer Relations Department who told us we had nothing to fear in accepting delivery as the "PB Jelly" would be taken care of as long as we owned it. Now to be told to "Read the Warranty" is like Apple Customer Relations saying: "Well, we'll take care of it as long as you own it but on our terms even after we screwed up..." So much for those "smooth assurances".

After that response from "Customer Relations", Robert Morgan came darn close to "losing his normally extremely tolerant nature" so he decided to disconnect from "Customer Relations" before he blew up. And yes, we know that Apple's Customer Service is at the top of the industry, but the "horror stories" that are archived on O'Grady's PowerPage regarding PowerBook "REP" repairs should be read to be believed.

"Customer Relations" wouldn't fulfill its previous assurances, and even though they knew all of the ugly details, the Rep's attitude was summed up with : "Fry Ice". And with the current state of image with Apple, their responses should be more accomodating than the response we received.

Why Don't You Just "Bite the Bullet" and....

So, why don't we just "Bite the Bullet" and go out and buy or rent another PowerBook as a "replacement"? As well as replacing that "Crash-O-Matic"?

First, there's principle as far as the PowerBook is concerned. They should live up to their word, and go beyond it after messing up and dropping the ball on their end.

Second, we can understand the first instance but after the "repairs" were messed up, the resutlant response from Apple Customer Relations was abhorrent.

Third. We're not about to buy boxes that are going to be "outdated" by July 97. All of the box upgrade budget is reserved for PPCP/CHRP boxes. The only reason the "PB Jelly" PowerBook was purchased in the first place was to comply with doctor's orders. As for the "Crash-O-Matic That 7.5.5 Made", ibid. And if we do "bite the bullet" and replace that boxbefore PPCP/CHRP boxes are on the market, it will probably be a StarMax box. That 5 year warranty is pretty appealing.

Fourth. "Renting a Replacement" is not a viable option as the boxes we use for the Indicator Analysis use proprietary information and "trade secrets". And, we don't think the rental agency would appreciate us returning to them a rental with a military wiped hard drive. NOTE: RFI did wipe the proprietary info off the PB before sending it in for service, after an extremely frustrating session of ever so painstakingly dealing with that "PB Jelly" to remove the information, etc. that had to be removed. And it's something we didn't want to have to deal with doing to a rental unit.
Bottom Line?

We'll send that "PB Jelly" PB back to Apple to have them "repair" the "repairs", but Apple Customer Relations has about "hacked us off" to a fare-thee-well. Messing up something so basic is something we expect from WinTel Cloners, not Apple. And yes, we placed a complaint regarding the attitude we encountered.

And as for the "Crash-O-Matic", with Macsbug at least we can see "why" the "Crash-O-Matic" is crashing, even though the problems inflicted by that ill-fated 7.5.5 Update installation can't be repaired...

We'll keep you posted as to when we're back up to "cherry status" at "Echo 4's Satellite Facility".

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