Friday, April 13, 2007


It is not the strongest of the
species that survive, nor the most
intelligent, but the one most
responsive to change.
-- Charles Darwin
It's funny how Darwin's words apply equally to species as they do to companies, products, and code.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Problem Solving

The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.
-- Albert Einstein

Performance Management

In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.
-- Robert Heinlein

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Art of Troubleshooting

What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.
- Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Apple Technical Support

It's been a long couple of months with my shiny, new Macbook Pro. While I'm still excited about it, a bad motherboard has taken away some of its lustre. I have to say, AppleCare support has been great. Of all the consumer-oriented technical support services I have used over the years, Apple really stood out both for the expertise of their technicians as well as their willingness to listen and to talk above a novice level.

I ended up taking my MBP to the local Apple Store for more in-depth troubleshooting. They quickly isolated the problem to a bad memory socket on the motherboard. The computer worked perfectly as long as the second memory socket was empty.

They wanted to send my MBP to a service center for repairs, but when I explained that I couldn't be without it for more than a day, they quickly offered to order a new motherboard, let me take the computer home while waiting for delivery, and bring it back for a same-day replacement in the store. All-in-all, I walked away from this first recent experience with Apple tech support with a positive impression.

One criticism: I found that my local in-store "Genius Bar" is pretty hostile to anyone who has something better to do than waiting in line for a *long* time. It seems that the only way to get reasonably prompt service or to schedule an appointment in advance is to buy a $100 annual Pro Care plan (in addition to Apple Care). Otherwise, you're stuck with same-day, first-come, first-serve scheduling. While in the store, I heard another customer say that he was expecting to wait 3 hours for his appointment with a Mac "Genius!"

For the cost of the Apple Care service plan and Pro Care subscription, I would have preferred Dell's next day, on-site service for a problem like this. If Apple wants to attract more professional users, I think they will need to offer this kind of plan.