Written: July 16, 2013

How Long Should Hardware Last?

In my small business I buy computer hardware to help me communicate with clients, do work and keep informed. Recently my Apple magic mouse died after only about three years of use.

apple magic mouse

This Apple mouse is a thing of beauty, and like most Apple hardware it’s pricey at $69.00. My short-term remedy was to swap out the dead mouse with a Logitech wireless mouse and then plan a trip to my local Apple store at Bridgeport Village.

logitech mouse

 

I’ve been using Logitech mice for decades and never had one die on me, oh well.

The amount of time required for me to buy the replacement Apple magic mouse was a business loss, and hopefully one that will not happen again. I’m thankful that my computer hardware and software enable me to run my web development business very efficiently, it’s just when something goes down I lose my productivity gains.

Current trends say that we are replacing our laptops at a slower pace now and choosing to hold onto them longer than before.

I’ve been replacing my laptop every two years for a newer model, although I still buy used laptops like the MacBook Pro to be fiscally conservative. What has your experience been with hardware reliability and upgrading?

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Apple Provides Excellent Customer Service

In business I love a good deal, so when my daughter wanted to upgrade her phone she fell in love with the iPhone. I knew that AT&T offered refurbished phones for a good price online, so we logged into our account and found a refurbished iPhone 4 for just $0.01.

iPhone 4

 

The phone was shipped to our home within 2 days of ordering, and my daughter enjoyed using her first smart phone. She was so excited about the iPhone that she started downloading apps, changing the ring tones, getting a case, etc. that we didn’t activate the phone until 15 days later. Upon activation I called her iPhone but she couldn’t hear me speaking. We ran through some diagnostics at the Apple support site and concluded that the speaker wasn’t working.

We phoned AT&T and explained our audio problem with the iPhone and they told us that we were one day late beyond the 14 day limit for a return, instead we needed to talk with Apple directly. The nice AT&T support person connected us with Apple and we found out that we could either have a replacement mailed to us in a few days, or just schedule an appointment at our local Apple store using the online scheduling with the Genius Bar.

Monday morning we arrived at the Apple store in Bridgeport Village and received our replacement iPhone 4, at no cost. The blue-shirted  employees at our Apple store greeted us warmly, found our reservation, and helped us quickly and efficiently. Now that’s superior customer service that will likely make my daughter a lifelong Apple customer.

Apple Store, Bridgeport Village

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GoPayment + iOS6 = Apple Oops

Mobile credit card sales using your smart phone are booming however you need to hold off on using Intuit’s GoPayment with iPhone or iPad using the latest Apple operating systems, iOS6.

 

I usually upgrade my OS as soon as possible, and in this case I’m not using GoPayment so all should be well for me.

Friday: Wow, that was fast.

Intuit announced a fixed version of GoPayment today, now available at the App store. Enjoy.

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3 responses to “GoPayment + iOS6 = Apple Oops”

  1. Anthony says:

    Will there be a solution for ios6 soon?

  2. Daniel Payne says:

    I would guess about a week or so because Intuit is very motivated to keep their GoPayment vendors happy.

  3. Daniel Payne says:

    Anthony,

    Intuit fixed their app in just two days, enjoy GoPayment.

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Customer Support Done Right

I’ve called tech support dozens of times over the past 30 years of using computers and software, so today was a special delight when customer support was able to help me out over the phone at no charge.

My issue today was how to register my MacBook Pro and iMac computers, both bought used from private parties on craigslist.  When I would login to https://supportprofile.apple.com/ and try Registering a New Product it would prompt me first for the serial number, which I had. Next, it prompted me for the original purchase date, which I didn’t have because I bought the computers used.

A Google search turned up the advice to phone AppleCare at 800.692.7753. The automated attendant couldn’t understand what I wanted so forwarded me to Tech Support, which then asked for my serial number. I spoke my serial number, but the automated app couldn’t understand that, so transferred me to a human.

Fortunately the human understood my serial number and my dilemma to get two used products registered online. He guessed that the MacBook Pro would accept a purchase date of July 4, 2009, which it did. Hurray!

Next, I entered the serial number for the iMac and the web page didn’t even ask for a purchase date, in spite of being made in 2008.

Success. Now I have all three Apple products properly registered.

Summary

For used Apple products just phone up AppleCare and tell them that you cannot register. In spite of having no AppleCare, the support guy simply helped me which in turn creates increased customer loyalty. Thank you, Apple.

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2 responses to “Customer Support Done Right”

  1. Krys says:

    I contacted THE REAL AppleCare, Because this same number you’ve listed as if it’s legit kept calling me. They had an ID that came up “Apple” and for some reason, I even had an email address: itunes_account_support@apple.com – But, I called Apple, and they said they would NEVER call a customer for ANY reason and that this is DEFINITELY a phishing scam. IDK if you work for them or not, but it could just be that these scammers gotcha! apple.com is the apple website. You shouldn’t Google things that are easy to find through the manufacturer. Good luck. I don’t expect anything is legitimately registered.

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Apple Stumbles After Steve Jobs

Today the one-time brilliant marketing department at Apple made a major stumble.

What was it you ask?

Well, for the past 9 years I’ve enjoyed using a 17″ laptop every single work day (and play day). Once I found out how useful and productive the big screen was I vowed to never go back to a tiny 15″ or 13″ display.

Today, Apple announced brand new MacBook Pro laptops in only 13″ and 15″ sizes, no 17″ size. Somehow they forgot that the pricing on the 17″ laptop was higher than the 15″ and 13″ models and therefore had the most margin, and they have no 17″ laptop in their product line.

Yes, I do like the Retina display because my iPad 3 (aka New iPad) has it, however I would never downgrade from a 17″ to a 15″ display, never.

Apple, if you are listening, then please make at least one 17″ MacBook Pro prototype with the new Retina display and I promise to be your very, very best beta tester ever on the earth, so send one my way up here in Tualatin.

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One response to “Apple Stumbles After Steve Jobs”

  1. Daniel Payne says:

    If you want to voice your opinion that Apple should make a 17″ MacBook Pro, then come Like our new Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/MacBook-Pro-17-We-want-a-Retina-Display/384423851613825

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My Experience with Mac OS X – Lion

If you are a Mac user then you’ve been hearing Apple beat the drums about their latest OS upgrade named Lion. Being an Apple faithful I clicked on the App Store last night and started the download process. Here’s what I learned.

Install Issues

The App Store prominently featured Lion and it was simple to click and start the process after I provided my iTunes login credentials. I could see an icon in my dock indicating that Lion was downloading but couldn’t figure out how to see the percentage progress or estimated time to complete.

In the App Store I had to click on Purchases to see the progress of my download, that’s not intuitive.

When the multi-gigabyte download did complete I clicked the Install button in the App store. Eventually my Macbook Pro was restarted and I saw a Disk Utilities app take up the whole screen. Very odd, why do I want a disk utility?

One of the choices in the disk utility was to re-install Lion. Huh. I had already clicked the Install button once in the App store, why do I have to re-install Lion to continue?

Clicking re-install completed the installation of Lion, like I said not intuitive.

Up is Down, Down is Up

I’ve been using my Macbook Pro for two years with the magic mouse that already uses gestures and to my laughter the first thing I discovered is that Apple decided in Lion to reverse the scroll up and down gestures with my mouse and touch pad. More intuitive, not to me.

Fortunately the Apple developers had the sense to let me use the System Preferences to uncheck their new default for up and down.

Swipe Left to Backspace in Browser Changed

I’m on the web all day long and I often want to go back one page in my browse. The magic mouse has that feature with two fingers swiping left. In Lion they changed that gesture to now mean swipe between full screen apps. I don’t want that so had to once again change my System Preferences.

2nd External Monitor is Dead

I went into my office on Thursday morning to connect my MBP with two external monitors however only one of them worked, the one plugged into the USB port was dead. A little Google Research showed that I needed the Lion drivers from DisplayLink.org

Clear 4G WiMAX

This is a 32 bit app and simply wouldn’t start in 64 bit Lion without rebooting in 32 bit mode. Luckily the Clear web site had a 64 bit upgrade. Of course, to download the new upgrade I had to find a WiFi signal because my 4G connection wouldn’t work.

Login Window

On the top-right of my screen was my full name, that was different, before it was just my first name. I clicked on it and saw a drop-down menu so I clicked Login Window. Not smart. It showed me a login window and I couldn’t escape, couldn’t type, couldn’t click, the cursor turned into a swirly rainbow and I had to push the power button to regain control.

250 New Features

After loosing so much time trying to get my MBP back to a funtioning state I’ll have to wait until the weekend to discover the other 248 new features that Apple cooked up for me. I’m not impressed with the $29.99 investment so far.

Sticky Mouse

Drag and drop suddenly stopped working and I searched several forums online and found that many other Lion users have the same issue. The only work around I’ve read and used is to Sleep my MacBook Pro, then wake it back up.

 

 

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4 responses to “My Experience with Mac OS X – Lion”

  1. Daniel says:

    Well, two weeks into using Lion I just had my first Panic screen from the OS asking me to, “Press the Power button to restart your computer.”

    I’m starting to feel that Lion OS is about as unstable as the old Microsoft Vista.

  2. Daniel says:

    Another feature that is broken with Lion: Setting my Desktop image to update every 15 minutes. Instead of working I see a grey desktop. The only fix for this bug is to restart my laptop.

    When I used Microsoft Vista I also had to often reboot, deja vu, all over again.

  3. Daniel says:

    An interesting article on CNN with, “Apple’s 7 most stubborn decisions”. See, I am not alone in pointing out usability issues with Mac OS X.

    http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/technology/1201/gallery.apple/index.html?iid=L_Jump

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Computer Woes this Week

A client informed me that the latest DVD I sent was not working, nothing was showing up even though on the back of the DVD we could see that data had been burned. Sure enough, when I loaded the DVD on my laptop there was no data. I tried putting a blank DVD into my HP laptop but it wasn’t recognized.
Oh well, the DVD burner was broken so I just ordered a replacement on eBay and will install it later this week.

Plan B – use my iMac. I inserted a new DVD, got my folder ready, clicked “Burn folder to DVD”, then nothing happened. Disappointed with this reaction I clicked the Eject button, again nothing. Then I tried five other ways to eject a stuck DVD but none of them worked.
On Monday I dropped off my iMac at the Apple store in Bridgeport Village and the Tech guy spent an hour on my machine. His conclusion, the hard drive was suspicious but it would take more testing.
Tuesday morning I heard from another Apple tech guy that my OS was corrupted and that he would have to reinstall the OS.
Tuesday afternoon the Apple tech guy said that my RAM was failing.
Wednesday morning I heard that installing a new Super Drive did not solve the eject issue, so it must by the Logic Board at a cost of $740 installed.
I chuckled and noted that I only paid $1000 for the used iMac in October, so I would not be having them replace the Logic Board.
So today I’m going to pick up my sick iMac without a working DVD, drive to Fry’s and buy new RAM. Maybe in a few years when the Logic Board prices go down I’ll buy one and replace my original.

Yesterday my PC laptop screen started to get fuzzy and show mostly red colors, so I phoned a local laptop repair place in Beaverton. We both thought it was the LCD display, so I drove in with my laptop and we plugged in a new LCD and all was well.
I went home, installed the new LCD and it was perfect for about 45 minutes, then back came the fuzzy screen and red colors. Some Google search told me that many other HP Pavilion laptop users had this similar issue and it was caused by an overheating GPU chip from Nvidia which was highly publicized.
I then remembered how my old laptop had so much dust that it clogged the heat from escaping causing overheating, so I got out my vacuum cleaner and cleaned my laptop. It’s been working great for almost 24 hours now so I think I’ve solved the problem. Now to find out if I can get a refund for a new LCD used only one hour.

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One response to “Computer Woes this Week”

  1. Daniel Payne says:

    Good news: Apple returned my iMac on Wednesday and charged me $0. They said, "Don't put another DVD into the iMac it doesn't work."
    First thing I did at home was install a DVD, and it's ejecting now!
    I took my defective RAM to Fry's in Wilsonville and they swapped it out for new RAM, thank you!

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