Crisis Management 101

Bender_blogThe trackpad on your MacBook Pro begins to malfunction, making it nearly impossible to navigate through your hard drive, let alone through the internet. What do you do?

1) Resist the urge to throw the computer across the room and/or out the window.

2) Repeatedly swear at computer.

3) Feeling a migraine attempt to explode behind your right eyeball, give up, take medication, and go to bed.

4) Get perhaps three hours of sleep before your brain wakes you up with a “pssst….hey, you have an old trackball plugged into the much older non-functioning desktop over in the corner.

5) Try to sleep anyway. Not much success.

6) The next morning, try plugging in the trackball. No success.

7) Borrow laptop from very nice neighbor and finish the paper about a fictitious disaster along the Mississippi River for your “Crisis Management Law” class. Turn assignment in. Get a 92% (That’s an “A”)!!

8) After perusing the Apple User Forums, you take MacBook Pro to Apple Store where it is diagnosed with a bad battery (bad battery! bad!). When batteries go bad, they swell and – being located directly underneath the trackpad – place pressure on the trackpad, confusing it. New battery: $140.

9) Start working on next assignment for your “Crisis Management Law” class. The cat – the most sweetest, calmest tabby ever – sitting at your feet suddenly flips over onto his back and makes like a turtle which has been flipped onto its back and can’t right itself. Seizure lasts nearly a minute.

10) Forget homework. Rush cat to vet. Battery of tests: $300. Results negative.

11) Hope it’s a one-time event. Cat has another seizure three days later, doing the “drunk walk” like his back half and front half aren’t speaking to each other.

12) Rush cat back to vet. More tests and x-rays: $300. Results negative. Most likely diagnosis: neurological. Conclusive results would require $1500 MRI at neurologist. I don’t have $1500.

13) Put cat on phenobarbital to control seizures. Hope for the best. Drugs: $40

14) Suffer through series of tension-related migraines during the next couple of weeks.  Run out of migraine medication.  Order more: $15

15) Only with the help of the calming influence of acupuncture, manage to complete the next “Crisis Management Law” class assignment. (And some really nice friends who proofread.)

16) Start working on final research paper for “Crisis Management Law” class and discover the MacBook Pro’s problems have not been completely solved by replacing the battery.  Symptoms not as disruptive, but still damn inconvenient. How’d you like it if your computer spontaneously minimized windows you were working in, or thinking you had clicked on something you hadn’t?

17) Decide to work on WordPress blog posting instead. Malfunctioning computer “publishes” the blog before it’s finished despite the fact that I never clicked on “publish.”

18) Delete half-finished blog and do it over again.

19) Resist the urge to throw the computer across the room and/or out the window.

20) Instead, go give love and attention to ailing cat.

Dear Apple: I hate you

images-2Two months ago, I changed email service providers (and, thus, my email address). Simple, huh?

Wong. If you are an Apple customer, with iTunes and iCloud accounts, your email address is synonymous with your Apple ID. After going through the tedious process of notifying various friends and businesses of the email change, I discovered I could no longer access my iTunes or iCloud accounts.  Why, you ask? Because every time I tried, it kept directing me back to my old Apple ID (the old email address).  I repeatedly was confronted and confounded with screens which wanted my password, but would not let me change the related Apple ID.  iTunes and iCloud would not recognize the old password or the new password.  Hunting through “settings” on my iPhone revealed no place to change my Apple ID (it was always grayed out).

I turned to the online Apple User Forums. Wonderful folks! They directed me on how to fix the problem. I don’t remember all of the steps I had to take, but they included: temporarily switching back to my old Apple ID (fortunately, I had not yet cancelled the old email account so Apple could perform its due diligence in verifying me); turning off find my iPhone; deleting my iCloud account and starting all over again; and doing a hard reboot of the iPhone.  I then had to repeat all of these steps (yes, there were more) for my iPad.

Although my frustration remained (why is it so hard just to change your email address?), the problem was solved. I had access. Or so I thought.

Fast forward to this past week, Apple announced a “limited recall for certain iPhone 5’s” and, since the battery life on mine was really sucking, I checked my phone’s serial number on their website. It says it qualified. So I scheduled an appointment with the Apple Genius Bar staff at their Bay Street store in Emeryville, CA. images


Upon arrival, they checked my battery, and discovered that it is still good despite being in the designated batch (not every battery in the batch will actually be bad, they explained). I complained that it must be because my battery life sucked. He took another look at the phone and discovered there was some corruption to the iOS software which, admittedly, was my fault. Like a lot of you, I repeatedly double tap the home button to get to the app switcher and quit apps by swiping up. Guess what? You’re not supposed to that! The employee explained that even though the apps appear to still be running, they are dormant and taxing the battery in minute amounts. That process is only for quitting apps that are frozen.  So – don’t try that at home kids!

He offered to reset the phone in order to wipe its memory (and the battery’s memory). I said yes. My mistake. We went through that process, he ran me through how and where to look on the phone for the button that chooses which iCloud backup to restore from when I got home when I was on my own wi-fi network. I left the store.

I got home. Discovered that when I chose that restore option, the next screen it led me to wanted my password re-entered (for obvious security reasons) but…guess what? It pre-populated the Apple ID for me. You know what’s coming next, right? It was the old Apple ID coming back to haunt me!

The phone did offer me the opportunity to continue on without restoring from that iCloud backup (so that the phone would be functional) but warned that it would not give me all of my purchased content and, of course, I still wouldn’t be able to access anything in iCloud.

Furious, I called the store. Could not get a live human being on the phone. (I later found out the trick to do so: don’t respond to the recording with anything like “my iPhone is broken,” rather ask a retail question like “how much is the new iPhone?” or “does the store have the new iPad Air in stock?”  You’ll thank me later for that advice.

Still furious, I drove to the store. Encountered a very nice young woman who navigated to the screen where she was able to change the Apple ID to the correct (new) one, and began the download of my iCloud data for me…over the store’s wi-fi…which is very slow to say the least. She warned me not to leave the store because it would cancel the download and I would have to start all over again (but be back at the same initial problem of having the wrong Apple ID confronting me).

So I stayed. And I stayed, and I stayed. Until they kicked me out at closing time. Because of the limited number of stools available in the store, I was on my feet for over three hours. The only plus side to this incredible time sink was that I had brought my textbook with me, and I did all my reading.

They told me I could stand outside the store and still be connected to their wi-fi, which I did for a little while, until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I said screw it, and even if I lost the still-not-retrieved-photos, left.

Guess what happened next? You got it. I walked in my door, pulled my iPhone out of my pocket, set it on the counter, and glanced at it. Without me pushing any button or selecting anything, it had automatically connected to my home wi-fi and resumed the download of my photos and apps. And it did so at near the pace of lightning.

So. Approximately four hours of my life wasted that I will never get back because the Apple Genius Bar employee isn’t such a genius after all. And don’t get me started on how many times she kept telling me “we respect your time.”  Gah!  I can think of at least one Apple employee who needs a new job.

Of course all this wouldn’t have happened if Apple didn’t make changing your Apple ID such an incredible hardship.

There are reasons for that, a different employee explained to me, but I will address that topic in my next blog posting which will be titled “Guilty until proven innocent.”

In the meanwhile, thanks, Apple, for the migraine I suffered a sleepless night with, thanks for making me run out of migraine medication, thanks for the heartburn, thanks for wasting my time.

The Apple slogan of “It Just Works” is bullshit.