Part of being a great consumer technology company is not screwing up the products you sell people. But sometimes the measure of a great company lies in how it deals with the inevitable screw-ups that do occur. On Friday night -- after a day of waiting, literally, at the window for the Airborne Express guy to come -- my Winter Solstice present to myself finally showed up: a new dual processor PowerMac G5. I spend an hour in that blissful, unpacking-my-new-computer mode: plugging everything in, inspecting the design, launching a few built-in apps to marvel at the speed. And then I go to insert a CD to start installing applications, and -- clunk! -- the optical drive won't open. After a little inspection, I determine that it's been installed just a fraction of an inch too high, and so the CD tray is banging into the case when it tries to open.
My mood darkens.
Then I open up the case, and it's clear that the drive has been mounted at a slight angle, causing the front of it to be higher than the opening. But for the life of me I can't pull the thing out to re-mount it. I try wiggling it around for about half an hour to no avail. (An annoying process: wiggle drive, close up box, restart computer, then press eject. Then shut down computer, pull out power, open up box, wiggle drive, etc.) With each failed wiggle, I can see the next week unfold with increasing clarity: I have to wait until Monday to send the box back to Apple, and if I'm lucky, a repaired machine comes back four or five days later. It's an infuriating thought, because I know this is a problem that a technician could probably fix in five minutes, and now I'm going to lose an entire week with my beautiful new machine.
But as it turns out, when I finally call Apple the next day, they say: "Just take it down to the nearest Apple store and they should be able to fix it right there." So I hope into a cab with my 40-pound machine propped up on the seat next to me, and head into the Soho Apple store, and then lug the box up to the Genius Bar. Sure enough, they whisk it away for all of seven minutes, and come back with the drive reinstalled perfectly. No charge, no paperwork, no wait. The trickiest thing about the whole operation was trying to hail a cab in the middle of Soho on a Saturday afternoon with a $2,000 computer in one hand.
Since then everything has been fine. Not just fine, actually -- blazingly fast. With all this horsepower on my desk, I should easily be able to post to the blog twice a week from now on. Maybe even three times.